Design that flows

Floating cupboards and a space-age kitchen in this classical contemporary home.

noah kitchen  224 (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
noah kitchen 224
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
Whenever I get a call from Selwyn Elkin, my favorite designer, I know I'm going to see a beautiful home and don't need to check it out before visiting. The South African-born Elkin, who made aliya in 1979, has designed homes for the rich and famous and has a style one could best describe as classical contemporary. This home in Ra'anana belongs to a fellow South African couple who bought it two and a half years ago from the original architect. Although the house is only nine years old, they carried out quite a substantial renovation. The result - a home filled with light and space with soothing color combinations, exceptional carpentry and a kitchen which is the last word in modern design. As one walks into the entrance hall the spiral staircase ahead makes an instant statement as an aesthetic feature in its own right as well as a way to get up to the bedrooms. The whole of the ground floor is one huge open space, with lounge and dining room to the right and kitchen to the left, and the pretty, well-tended garden is visible from both sides through large windows providing a colored backdrop to the soft muted shades inside. "The first thing we did was to install the beam going around the ceiling, which had the double purpose of covering the ugly metal boxes needed for working the electric shutters and also adds an interesting feature to a plain wall," says Elkin. The owner, who does all her own cleaning, was happy with the suggestions Elkin made with regard to choices of furniture and went along with his ideas. "He's wonderful to work with," she says, "because he understands my taste and knew what I wanted, and he always works within the client's budget." The choice for the lounge was a suite with a long sofa and two shorter ones facing each other, covered in a brownish-gray textured fabric. Between them stands a large rectangular coffee table in dark wood whose white surface is painted to give the impression of a fabric. It's practical and stainproof which makes it ideal for formal entertaining. The dining room has dark wood furniture with the chairs covered in a striking brown and off-white fabric with a damask medallion design. The owners are especially pleased with the sideboard which runs the length of one wall. Set into a frame it looks like a floating cupboard especially at night when the concealed lighting behind makes it look airy and almost ethereal. "I'm especially pleased with the color which looks like venga, a very expensive wood, though in fact it's oak which is much cheaper," says Elkin. The top, which at first glance looks like highly polished wood, is, in fact, synthetic marble which makes for a perfect dining room working surface. The same "floating cupboard" technique is used to great effect in the space age kitchen with its glass breakfast bar and Habitat Perspex chairs. Elkin reorganized the space so that the owner was able to have a pantry as well as room for two stoves, two sinks and two dishwashers, quite a feat given the comparatively small size of the room. A storage cupboard has glass shelves rather than the more conventional wood and the high gloss painted surfaces are kept clean with window cleaning spray. The blue-furnished basement is the place for sitting and watching television or having a drink from the well-stocked bar. Off the bathroom a well-used sauna has been installed and the large area also has room for an office and a spare bedroom. Although below ground, light comes in through several large windows. The master bedroom is furnished in dark wood with an undulating effect of the head board running across to include the bow-fronted side tables. In the adjacent bathroom, the dark-brown textured tiles were chosen to match the dark wood bathroom cabinets. The daughter's room, by contrast, is done in soft pastels with all the ornaments safely dust-free in glass-fronted cupboards. "Since I do all my own cleaning, it has to be easy to maintain," says the owner. "The house is well-designed and it's very comfortable to live in with everything to hand. It flows." Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: [email protected]