The melody lingers on

This Cambridge-educated couple wanted the openness of a modern home but with enough warmth for a family with small children.

living room 521 (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
living room 521
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
For young designer Nicole Nakash every place in which she has worked has its own theme and every family its own language.
“In the old days the rooms were smaller and each room could be totally different because they were separated,” says the talented Nakash, who made aliya from the UK as a child.
“Today, with the openness of the modern home, everything has to connect. For me it’s like a song being sung in all the different parts of the home and in each section one returns to the refrain.”
In this house the “language” had to be appropriate for two young Cambridge, UK, law graduates with three small children who came to live in Israel a few years ago.
They wanted to live in Ra’anana, be near the synagogue and have a home where the children could be playing in the lounge and their mother could be keeping an eye on them while she was busy in the kitchen.
The look they wanted – the “song” in Nakash’s words – was contemporary but not minimalistic, clean lines but not cold. It had to be easy to maintain for a young family, with the outside – the surrounding deck and garden – being visible and as much a part of the décor as the inner walls and furniture.
Some basic knocking down of walls and reorganizing were required in the relatively old house, built 15 years before.
“In the original house the kitchen was where the dining room is now and the guest toilet was somewhere else. We turned the office/playroom on the right into a bright, sun filled kitchen,” explains Nakash. “The great advantage is that not only does the light pour in from the two windows but there is also a door opening to the garage making it convenient for bringing in the groceries or, for that matter, the small children, buggies and anything else.”
ONE OF the most striking features in the house is the gas fire, which was set into a white brick surround constructed next to a supporting column and raised from the floor for a lighter look. Since they were not able to remove the pillar in the middle of the room, they decided to turn it into a feature in its own right, emphasizing its existence by using it to display photos including some nostalgic views of Cambridge, their alma mater of not so many years before.
The main color chosen for the living area is what Nakash calls “greige,” an earthy warm mix of gray and beige in various incarnations.
The chairs around the white epoxy table are a soft gray, the rug also and the display units combine the various subtle shades, all complemented by the warmth of the parquet floor.
The lighting plays an important role in the overall look of this home. Over the large table are pretty, custom-made hanging lights in the form of bundles of crystals which look especially beautiful when lit up at night.
Another important light is the free-standing one curving over the lounge suite, which is there to create atmosphere.
Much of the lighting is concealed, an idea which the designer is particularly fond of and uses a lot.
“I like to do hidden lighting in a dropped ceiling so the light shines up and spreads across the white ceiling,” she says.
“With either LED or fluorescent, it lights up the space and keeps the whole effect sleek without heavy dangling light fittings.”
The long, gray-framed mirror above the cream leather couch is another feature which combines looks with functionality.
“It opens up the space, so if you are sitting in the dining room you are looking not at a wall but a garden reflected in the mirror,” she explains.
The kitchen is small but user-friendly with plenty of working space and all the major appliances built into their own niches. The colors of the living room carry on into this space too, with white epoxy, “greige” walls and lots of sleek glass unifying the whole living area. Glass too is used for the staircase surrounds and carries on up to the second floor.
In the living room the three-piece suite, coffee table, the rug and the mirror all carry on the neutral color scheme so Nicole has added splashes of color in the two bright red cushions on the couch.
“Because it’s all so subtle we don’t want it to look anemic, so the addition of two red cushions lifts the whole look and makes a statement,” she says.
Outside, a secluded deck and garden make for perfect playgrounds for the children. It’s all a long way from Cambridge, both physically and spiritually – but for sure they get a lot more sunshine than they did in their previous existence.