A family affair

Hila Cole shares her renovated home.

THE EMPHASIS on wooden cabinets and counter tops, accented in a pale sky blue, is the designer’s homage to her time in England. (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
THE EMPHASIS on wooden cabinets and counter tops, accented in a pale sky blue, is the designer’s homage to her time in England.
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
 Hila Cole grew up in Hadera in a small house situated in what is today one of the most sought-after areas of the town, Neveh Haim. After returning from an eight-year sojourn in London with her husband, Jonathan, she decided to renovate the childhood home to make it into a place that both she and her parents could live in – together but separately.
The result is a cozy home which reflects her different influences – the Russia of her parents, the England where she studied interior design, and the Israel where she lives.
In London, she studied to be an interior designer at the University of the Arts, and worked for several years as a kitchen designer. Once she began working on the joint home, the kitchen became the place she could express herself and realize a long-held dream. As her part of the joint house is in the front, it is one of the first rooms to be reached on entering the house.
“When I was studying in England, I saw a picture of a pale blue kitchen in a magazine and I loved it. I had it in my head for years so when we came back to Israel, I was able to recreate it in my house,” she says.
The wooden cabinets are a pale skyblue, and the worktops are made of a contrasting wood. Cole admits this is not as practical as the more common granite, in that the surface can’t be used for cutting or putting down hot pans, but she feels it was worth the extra work of putting down boards and trivets to achieve the look she wanted.
A poster from Ikea was put in a white frame and hung on one side of the sink unit, and the colors pick up the blue of the cabinets. On the opposite wall, two decorative shelves were made to hold spice jars. The goldfish on the counter was a going-home gift from a party for her son.
Next to the kitchen is the dining corner, with cream furniture and a tabletop connecting to the kitchen worktops. The space under the stairs was closed off into cupboards, which serve as a larder. On the wall, a Modigliani print in the same blue shades as the kitchen also provides a link between the two rooms.
The curtains were handmade with fabrics imported from Sweden, and reflect the exact same shades of blue and cream.
The living room actually belongs to her parents’ part of the house, which is joined to the younger couple’s by one common wall. The style is quite different, more traditional, with a rustic flavor from the overhead wooden beams.
“When we began to plan the house together, they told me what they wanted and one of the specific requests was for a large and comfortable living room,” explains the designer. “The beams are not just decorative, although they do look nice – but they also hold up the roof.”
What looks like a mobile suspended from the beams is actually a very unusual chandelier, with discs that light up. European-style furniture sits around the Chinese rug, while the wall of the television is solid concrete painted in a greenish color.
On the far wall, what looks at first glance like a Frans Hals painting is actually a joke family picture with everyone dressed up in 17th-century costume, something anyone can do in a special Tel Aviv studio.
Another thing her parents really wanted was a large bedroom with a bathroom attached, which would be comfortable and in the European style they liked.
The wall dividing the two parts of the room is papered in a rich red and gold wallpaper. In the bedroom, the inside of one of the cupboards is hung with hand-crocheted curtains, not an element one sees much today in modern design.
The adjoining bathroom even has an armchair as part of the décor, with the glass around the shower embellished with stick-on flowers.
“We were aiming for a regal look in the bedroom and bathroom,” explains the designer. “So we chose gold for the window seat and gray satin for the bed.”
In the nursery, the dominant feature is a stylized picture of a tree with flowers, leaves and birds.
“We ordered it from China and each piece has to be stuck on separately,” she says.
For Cole, good home design is fundamental to good living.
“There’s nothing more important,” she says. “It’s what organizes our life and brings us to the place we want to be.”