View from the top

Twenty-one floors above Tel Aviv, a London couple has combined two apartments, creating one enormous sprawling space with a stunning view.

Tel Aviv luxury apartment (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
Tel Aviv luxury apartment
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
If you ever wondered what the view is like from the top of a Tel Aviv skyscraper, here’s the answer. Twenty- one floors above the bustling city, a London couple have created a splendid home that combines contemporary and antique in perfect harmony. They wisely decided that drapes across the wall of windows were not needed – who in their right mind would block out this incredible view?
Looking out of their living room, they can see Jaffa, Neveh Tzedek and the sea. At night, with the lights of Tel Aviv glittering in the distance, they say it’s “like a fairyland.”
They decided to buy two apartments in the five-year-old high-rise and joined them into one enormous sprawling space. This allowed them many extra features, such as having an entrance ramp rather than steps down to the living area and three separate guest suites, each with its own bathroom. With all the children and grandchildren still in London, being able to accommodate visitors easily was a top priority.
Another was to create a space that was light and bright, unlike the house they had in London. They realized that the heavy old dark furniture that had looked so good in a London suburb was all wrong for a modern Israeli home overlooking the Mediterranean. They kept a few much-loved pieces, told the children to take what they wanted, and gave the rest – more than a million pounds’ worth – to charity.
The first view of the home as one comes in through the front door is of a white kitchen that barely looks like a kitchen at all – it’s all smooth and flat. Even the faucet over the island collapses, the sink is concealed, and there isn’t a pot or pan in sight.
The surfaces are made of corian, a special material that is much more expensive than marble or granite but very practical. It looks good, and it can be molded and shaped so if it is ever damaged, the piece can be cut out and remolded. The drawers open at a touch, and sliding doors conceal all the necessary kitchen appliances.
Breakfast is eaten here, sitting on the high and very comfy mushroom chairs that look out at the stunning view.
For more formal meals, they use the white lacquered oval table that seats 12 but can open to seat 20. The chairs were brought from England, and the original brown mahogany has been painted white to match, with pink and gold upholstery to match the Sevres chandelier.
In this part of the room they added a special glass cabinet to display many of their smaller treasures. Well lit at night and with plenty of daylight illuminating it during the day, it’s the perfect way to display exquisite antiques all at eye level and entirely visible.
Around the corner of the living room they have created a cozy sitting area decorated in cheerful stripes and squares, where they keep the remainders of some loved collections, the TV and games for the grandchildren when they come to visit.
ON ONE wall is what remains of the teddy bear collection, which in its heyday numbered 700 items. On another is a miniature motor bike collection. In this corner they also keep an impressive number of golf trophies proudly lined up on a shelf.
The colors and non-matching fabrics are daring but it works, making a welcome corner in which to relax and, of course, enjoy the view.
Mixed in with the riot of color in this corner they have placed an antique chair from home, upholstered in the same bright turquoise featured on the couches. One of several bronze statues also manages to encroach on this scene.
The lounge is furnished in a sand-colored suede corner seating unit, which again allows an uninterrupted view of the sea. It was acquired in separate pieces, as the length they wanted would not have fitted into the elevator. Plenty of storage behind the couches ensures that the room doesn’t look cluttered with children’s toys, and the air conditioning unit is also secreted away.
In what was the second apartment, the bedrooms and work rooms are well away from the living area but still have their own amazing views. As she is a keen potter, the wife has her own studio where she does hand-painting on fine white porcelain, which she then puts into her small kiln.
“I can use all the things I make,” she says.
Her husband, who still has business interests, has his own study. The laundry room and guest bathrooms also occupy this part of the home.
The master bedroom is on a corner, so as well as the sea they have a great view of the red rooftops of old Tel Aviv down below. The headboard is made from an old screen they think came from Spain, and the bed cover is made from a hand-woven tablecloth from the Far East.
A central vacuum system makes keeping the place clean simplicity itself. And a complex music system can pipe music into any of the rooms in the home with a choice of 1,000 songs.
The owners are delighted, not just with the home but with its location in Tel Aviv. They are very central and can walk to the opera, the concert hall and even to Jaffa. The apartment is something they enjoy every day.
“It’s not often that you have a dream and someone actually creates the dream for you,” they say.