When they are not out running marathons, which is one of their many interests, Nitza and Shai Lifshitz of Herzliya are at home in their fourth-floor apartment, enjoying the attractive space that they created for themselves when they did a renovation 12 years ago.Or rather, that Nitza created with the help of interior designer Yona Wolman.“Shai’s main contribution was to complain about the expense,” says Nitza with a smile, “but in the end he enjoys it more than anyone.”Nitza took a great interest in the design, to the extent that she wonders if Wolman considered her a nudnik.Basically the professional designer created the overall look, while Nitza thought up the smaller touches. She became so enamored of the whole interior design scene that she actually took a course and qualified as a designer herself.“I studied at a college in Tel Aviv, twice a week for two years,” she says. “It was very hard, and in part of the course we had to learn graphics and make models.”Not quite yet ready to give up her work as an accountant, she thinks it’s a possibility in the future. The five-room apartment spreads over 164 square meters, with a large south-facing balcony off the living room which doubles as a garden. The uninterrupted view stretches for miles towards Petah Tikva and Samaria, and on warm summer evenings, it’s the place to sit and reflect on the busy work day.The living room is furnished in basic coffee and cream and broken up with splashes of color in the featured paintings and flower arrangements.Although it makes a great deal of mess and decorators don’t like to do it, Nitza insisted on a lacquered finish to the walls in the basic off-white shade of the armchairs.“I like the polished, smooth look of the walls, and I think it adds to the illusion of height,” she says.Two tables, one oval and one slightly asymmetrical, are made of painted wood with the same shiny finish. They are both on wheels, making them easy to move around.On the reddish-brown real parquet floors, a striking flower carpet designed by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola adds a whimsical touch to the room. The owners find the parquet floor practical and well worth the expense.“It doesn’t show any dirt, and I can easily clean it with a wet cloth,” says Nitza.A black leather chair on a cream base perched on one corner of the rug completes the seating arrangements. The two colorful paintings were done for her by a late friend, while the portrait over the sideboard she painted herself.The kitchen is separated from the living room by a half-wall and continues the cream color scheme. A dark, oak panel above the sink unit provides a backdrop to attractive china, and a small cupboard with a glass door lifts up from the bottom. The wall behind the sinks is lined with stainless steel.The work tops are made of a cream Caesar stone, and an island doubles as an eat-in kitchen table. The extra sink in the island can be useful, but the extra expense makes it a luxury that others would choose to do without.Since the dining corner has no window, Nitza and the designer found a creative solution to the lack of light: putting a decorative glass ceiling in the area. Made by glass artist Tova Carmon, it looks like a piece of sophisticated stained glass that reflects the furniture of the living room from certain angles.The large table is made of maple wood and received the same lacquered finish as the walls, although it looks slightly darker because of the different lighting. Built-in shelves next to the table hold a variety of objects, including a large lamp shade.“We used to have a television in that space, and when we took it away we had to put something else; hence the lamp,” explains Nitza.Several other works of art are visible from the dining corner, all paintings she has done herself. A built-in niche contains books, while on the top shelf are a few of the all-important trophies the two have won running marathons.