Deep in the countryside

A tranquil holiday home offers uninterrupted views of the surrounding fields and the sea.

countryside 521 (photo credit:
countryside 521
(photo credit:
After living in their holiday home in Ramat Poleg for eight years, the retired English couple that owns this house decided that the area was becoming too built up and they wanted something quieter.
In England they live in a thatched cottage in Middlesex, outside of London. And while they did not expect to find one like this in Israel, they were certainly able to find the peace and quiet that are prerequisites to a tranquil holiday home – in Zichron Ya’acov.
“We like the town, which is very pretty, and the historical associations make it interesting too,” they say. “But we wanted to build our home in Israel in the countryside.”
And they found it – an area a few miles from the center in a street of houses, all well-spaced and with uninterrupted views of the surrounding fields, and the sea clearly visible not far away.
Starting with nothing but a large plot of land, they set about designing their dream holiday home with help from their daughter in London, who is an interior designer. The plan was to build a home with enough space to be able to accommodate the whole family – three children and seven grandchildren – together if necessary.
The first task was to pick a floor covering that would be the same all over the ground floor, as the whole thing is open plan, with the entrance hall merging into the lounge, the dining room and the kitchen.
They chose a slate tile from India, which they loved because it is so different from the usual marble.
“It’s easy to keep clean, as it’s sealed,” explains the owner. “I like all the different colors that you can see in the floor, and if you look closely you can see leaves and insects fossilized in it.”
The lounge is furnished with a dark gray brocade sofa with floral cushions in orange and blue velvet. A French window leads onto a patio from where they can view the surrounding countryside. The dining room has an expandable glass table and comfortable gray-upholstered chairs, which fit nicely with the blue and gray rug underneath.
On one wall, the owner has hung a mirror that was in her parents’ home in London and dates from the 1920s.
In a corner is the display cabinet, which they describe as a “folly” because it contains all kinds of souvenirs picked up around the world in their travels – stones, vases and a beer mug from Munich dated 1914. The huge urn on the floor was bought in a nearby Arab village.
On the walls are several Turner prints. The owner’s own paintings are also scattered around the house, as she is a keen amateur artist who took up painting only 10 years ago. A part of the house off the kitchen has been turned into a studio.
The kitchen is furnished in wood, with a substantial table and matching basket-weave chairs. An extension to the kitchen provides an extra Passover kitchen, while cupboards have been built to store the washer and dryer out of sight.
The entrance hall is furnished with a matching table and mirror that they found in a French-owned furniture shop in Jaffa. It was hand-made in the Far East and is made of wood that has been treated to look like metal.
With very unusual and varied designs painted on it, it makes the entranceway striking as well as practical. Most of the furniture in the home was acquired in Israel.
In the basement there are four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, always ready in case anyone wants to come over from England at short notice. The master bedroom is furnished with a geometric bedhead and matching side tables, and there is even a chair in one corner with the same wrought-iron design. All the furniture in the bedroom comes from the Iron Bed Company in London, which specializes in comfortable and authentic reproductions.
While the house is deep in the Zichron countryside and there is no corner grocery store anywhere nearby, they find living here very convenient.
“We’ve got five supermarkets within a five-minute drive,” they say.
Both very keen bridge players, they play with other English-speakers every week at the local WIZO house.
Visits to Israel are frequent and when they come, they stay for two months at a time.
“And when we aren’t here, we’re busy in London trying to brush up on our Hebrew,” they say.
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