For the young couple living in this house in Beersheba, one of the main requirements was that it be easy to maintain.Both woman and man are busy working in their own establishments – she running a private X-ray business, he a private gymnasium – and the home is the place they come to after a hectic day’s work to relax and enjoy the leisure hours.The entrance to the home, built in a pleasant villa area of the Negev’s capital, is very impressive.A portico with four stone pillars leads to a heavy front door covered in brown embossed leather, which makes for a very original entrance door.Besides being good-looking, it is also a smart door that can only be opened with the owners’ fingerprints.To the left of the porch is a water feature made of stone panels set on pebble stones, which the architect, Iris Shamir, feels brings good energy.“I don’t exactly subscribe to all the theories of feng shui [ancient art of placement], but I do agree that flowing water at the entrance to a home is an attractive feature,” says the highly experienced Shamir, who heads a large architectural firm and has created many public buildings as well as private homes. “The fountain is set to come on every evening at 6 p.m.” Adding to the impressiveness of the entrance is the floor, which looks like parquet but is in fact made from granite porcelain tiles.“It’s quite an amazing surface to walk on,” says Shamir. “It feels like natural wood.”Because Beersheba is very sunny most of the year, she did not want to use real wood for the surrounding floor. The different extremes of hot and cold that characterize the area are likely to cause cracks in real wood. It also needs tender loving care to keep it looking good; with the wood-look tiles, a good wash down is all they need.The same four columns from the porch are repeated at the entrance to the sitting room, creating a gate-like approach to the formal living space.A wall unit runs the entire length of the room, and includes the television and several horizontal and vertical drawers. Not wanting to spoil the smooth, clean lines of the unit, the architect has not added any handles, and every drawer opens at a touch.The area above the unit is covered in a 3D brown wallpaper and the color scheme of the room is brown and cream: brown sofas and rug with cream woodwork. To liven up the kitchen, which has a pale yellow Corian work surface, Shamir introduced a flower motif in the form of printed glass panels above the area of the sink and hob.“The rest of the kitchen is very subdued, so the bright red flowers brighten it up a lot,” she says. The upper cabinets use frosted glass while a glass cup collection of several hundred items is housed high up in cabinets fronted with clear glass, illuminated with ceiling spotlights.Over the dining table hang four very striking light fittings, made of aluminum strings. The table echoes the wooden kitchen surface and the two separate areas have the same white leather-look chairs, making it easy for the hostess to entertain people for dinner with everyone having a matching chair. One wall has three symmetrical high niches painted in a contrasting color, to provide interest and allow a play of light in the niches. Sliding doors in the master bedroom conceal floor-to-ceiling closets and open to reveal an en-suite bathroom tiled in exotic natural stone in shades of blue, white and gray. The space is used to great advantage, with the entire wall devoted to storage.For the daughter’s room, Shamir allowed herself to be rather more daring with the color scheme – creating a very pretty room in shades of lilac and blue, with a textured, brightly colored wallpaper, lilac curtains and a thick carpet made from what looks like balls of wool in similar toning shades. The dividing wall to the bathroom has built-in shelves to display a collection of souvenirs.The hot Beersheba sun might be blazing outside but in the house, all is calm, orderly and soothing to the eye.