Small but perfectly formed

With help from a good designer, the owner knew he could turn an old third-floor apartment in Givatayim into a comfortable living space for his family of five

Givatayim Apartment (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
Givatayim Apartment
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
When the owner of this apartment inherited it from his mother, he decided to stay and make it livable for his family – himself, his wife and his three children. Although there are only 65 square meters in the entire apartment, he thought that with help from a good designer, he could turn the old third-floor apartment in Givatayim, in a building constructed in the ’70s, into a comfortable living space for his family of five. After all, they had been a family of six living in the space until his mother died.
With a very limited budget – both parents are government employees making a steady but modest income – they turned to interior designer Galit Dayan-Raviv, who has plenty of experience in maximizing space, and told her what they wanted. The most important factor was privacy for the three children. The five-year-old twins had until then shared a bedroom with the parents, while the eight-year-old daughter had slept on a closed-in balcony. Now they were determined to give their children rooms with dignity.
Another need that had been overlooked in the old flat was for cupboard space where things could be stored and clutter minimized.
Both parents are dedicated smokers and in the old home they had kept a large balcony for the purpose. Dayan-Raviv decided the balcony had to be incorporated into the new home if they were to have enough space to do everything they wanted. She managed to section off a niche in the kitchen, built a large window and hoped that would be enough.
“We completely gutted the inside,” she says. “There wasn’t a single wall left standing and we were able to change all the inner rooms to give us exactly what we wanted.”
On entering the apartment, one is greeted by a pillar of white bricks – not quite a wall – which the designer felt would both make an interesting feature and have a practical purpose.
“It’s a wall yet not a wall,” she says. With attractive LED lighting on the entrance side, the back of the free-standing feature is also a place to connect the television so the family can sit in the small lounge and watch.
A recurring theme in many of Dayan- Raviv’s designs is to hang light fittings in threes. In the master bedroom there are three white spheres; in the twins’ room three brightly colored fixtures; and in the kitchen three tubular lights of different shades.
“I love playing with the different shapes and I think that three light fittings make much more of an impact than one,” she says.
“Also, the ceilings are very high so it gave the possibility of hanging quite large fittings to create interesting effects.”
The master bedroom was created from the old smoking balcony. With pale blue walls and white linen and curtains, the purple and rose-pink cushions provide contrasting color. The kitchen is a triumph of design. All white with one brick wall to match the free-standing column, it has ample eating space for the family and plenty of storage. They even managed to build a small pantry, and the refrigerator is set into a niche with opaque and glass-fronted cupboards around it.
The floors are covered in porcelain tile that simulates parquet and looks just like it from a distance, with the added benefit of being easy to keep clean.
The bathrooms have been decorated in what the designer calls the “vintage” look.
With natural bleached wood on the walls and old-fashioned copper fittings, they have a blue-and-white tiled floor and the tiles are repeated on some of the restored old furniture.
The lounge has a blue L-shaped sofa decorated with many colorful cushions, and in the center is a coffee table made from an antique leather suitcase that has been topped with glass. On the wall is a digital picture made by Dayan-Raviv that she gave them as a gift.
Although the budget was very tight, Dayan- Raviv emphasizes that the couple weren’t prepared to compromise when it came to quality and put in more money than they intended to get good products, like the ceramic flooring and the kitchen cabinets.
“Now friends and family come to visit and say how beautiful the home is and they no longer have to feel ashamed of it,” she says. “I would say it’s changed their life.” ■
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