‘Israelis are mad about interior design,” says Sharon Hibsh, a writer who has just published her first book, Israeli Apartments, published by Steimatzky and available at their stores for NIS 169.With many design articles appearing in various publications, Hirsh reached the conclusion that a book of homes, covering a range of budgets and put out by designers and architects, would be something the Israeli public would turn into a best-seller.“There are tips and ideas in every chapter so that it can be helpful to someone designing their home who is not a professional,” she says. “We decided to choose a representative selection of homes, all from different areas of Israel. The result is a glossy coffee-table book, covering 31 apartments, which is fun to browse through, but which also has many ideas that potential home builders can copy.”One of the original ideas is in a medium-sized apartment owned by a cat-lover.The designer created a passage through one of the kitchen cupboards for the cats to go straight to their litter box, which is kept in the bathroom.The apartment featured here represents the high end of the homes that were chosen. It belongs to a semiretired couple and was designed by husband-and-wife team Dan and Sharon Koniak, who studied architecture in London as well as in Israel. The brief for the 16th-floor apartment was to create a space which would be suitable for an older couple who chose to downsize a very large villa in north Tel Aviv where they frequently entertained and were known for throwing large parties.“Once they moved, their lifestyle changed with the change of environment,” explains Dan Koniak. “They decided that they didn’t want to entertain on such a lavish scale any more, but wanted to invite smaller groups of people to their new home.”With this in mind, the architects created two seating areas, one slightly more informal for the family and another which would be reserved for outside guests. Both sides are continuations of the same long lounge, with an equally long terrace outside the large windows of each part of the living room.Another requirement was that the sea would be easily and always visible, as the owner is a sailor and has, as Koniak says, a love affair with the sea.The more informal side is furnished with an L-shaped suite in off-white linen, a comfortable spot to watch the large wall-mounted television. A carpenter made the fitted sideboard and library containing ornaments and photos as well as books.Also custom-made is the central ottoman, draped with a gray patterned blanket. The effect is of a quiet, harmonious corner for relaxing and reading as well as watching television.The area set aside for receiving guests is furnished with a square leather-look sofa and two easy chairs in a darker shade of beige.The room has an opening to the terrace and several other windows. “We had the option of having one big window,” says the architect, “but decided it would be nicer to have a series of apertures in the wall creating frames so the incredible views would look more like pictures.”Both the kitchen and main bathroom have significant balconies looking out over the urban panorama of Tel Aviv to the south.Both rooms are decorated with sculptures done by the wife, and in the bathroom a special niche was created to display one figure. A freestanding ladder-like object is in fact a towel rack.The large bedroom has a sitting area placed between two floor-to-ceiling wardrobes, while off the bedroom is an en-suite bathroom furnished in brown wood. A Persian rug brought from the previous home covers the teak parquet floor, and on the bed is a leopard-patterned throw.The terrace off the lounge is like an extra sitting room with cedarwood parquet flooring, a complete three-piece suite in rainproof material and a central glass-topped coffee table.“They can sit out most of the year and enjoy the views,” explains Koniak. This is the place where more sculptures are displayed and where, on balmy summer evenings, they can sit and watch the sun sinking over the Mediterranean, a sight that never fails to inspire.