Home away from home

Knowing where to shop is one secret to furnishing your house.

Home away from home 521 (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
Home away from home 521
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
Still used as a holiday home by an English family that visits at least four times a year, this apartment in a garden complex in Herzliya Pituah could easily be a permanent home if the owners ever decide to move to Israel permanently.
It has everything a family with three teenagers could want – plenty of space to entertain visitors, a fully equipped kitchen, separate bedrooms for everyone and a patio/garden with a clear view of the sea.
The family acquired the holiday home in the 30-year-old complex about six years ago and found they needed to change very little to make it livable. The previous owner had even left some furniture.
But when they needed to supplement what was there and spruce up the place they turned to interior designer Liz Harris, who lives in the same building, for help.
“We did quite a lot of our shopping in Shapes, a very trendy furniture store in the Florentin neighborhood in Tel Aviv,” says Harris. “We wanted a solid dining table which would just fill the space, and we saw a small one made of glass perched on a solid oak pedestal which we really liked. so we had it made to our specification,” she recounts. “The table is very wide so instead of one chair at each end we were able to put a two-seater bench, giving enough room to seat 12 easily.”
Between the dining area and the long narrow kitchen is a free-standing separating wall with a built-in sideboard. In the niche that was created is a large mirror reflecting the room and the striking long light fixture over the table. Anyone standing in the kitchen has a view of the garden and pool of the complex, which was designed by architect Ram Carmi and contains 16 apartments.
The main seating area of the lounge is furnished with a long cream-colored sofa, contrasted with two bamboo chairs and two easy chairs, one in vivid orange and one in vivid green. Cushions in the same bright colors decorate the bamboo chairs while the colors are repeated in the handwoven rug. This corner of the living room is enhanced with a very striking curved lamp, made of papier mâché bobbles, standing over the scene. At each end of the sofa stand two massive stone tables which were originally out in the garden but the designer decided they were wasted outside and could contribute much to the inside decor.
On the mezzanine level, a TV corner was created for the children and furnished with an L-shaped brown leather sofa in front of a massive screen.
The girl’s room is all in pink – from the shocking pink lacquered table and chair to the baby pink bed linen and the pink bedhead and blinds. The two boys each have their own bedroom, cleverly situated with a shared bathroom in between.
The main bedroom has a color scheme of eau de nil, cream and gray – very soothing – and has every convenience, with a well-stocked bathroom, walk-in closets and a good view of the sea from the adjoining terrace.
Around the house there are several interesting paintings and, as there are many white walls, the owners chose to use long photographic prints to relieve the expanse of white.
The project was one of many Harris has worked on since making aliya herself only six years ago.
“In England I used to do up rental property, but here I really got into the design side and love it,” she says.
In spite of being a new immigrant she quickly learned her way around and knows all the best places to go to find the decorative items she needs.
“People don’t realize it, but there is a wonderful selection of sanitary ware and flooring in Israel,” she says. “It’s not so great for carpeting, but for items like lighting, bathroom fittings and tiles, we are the tops.”
She has also discovered that Jaffa is a great place for finding offbeat items like wrought iron beds and old decorative doors that can be transplanted.
“If you hunt around you can find some marvelous items,” she says. “There are great metal pieces which can be used as garden ornaments, and not long ago I found a wonderful old ornate mirror in Jaffa which I put in a garden.”
She feels that good antique furniture is lacking here because so many people came as refugees with nothing, and the imported stuff tends to be no earlier than Victorian era, or else madly expensive.
“But you can find some very good retro design here,” she says. “You just have to know where to look.”