Seaside haven

Paying respects to the sea through interior design.

Interior design (photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
Interior design
(photo credit: URIEL MESSA)
‘I had to pay my respects to the sea,” says Sigal Avital Gillon, explaining why she chose blue as the dominant color in this five-room apartment in Netanya.
The petite 45-year-old Gillon is an experienced interior designer with a practical approach to her work. With a bachelor’s in art and sociology from Tel Aviv University and a qualification from a Tel Aviv design college, she is well-known for her common-sense approach to design.
“I sum up my style as having clean and modern lines with a touch of color,” she says. “However, I also have to provide for the needs of my clients and listen to what they say.”
For this project, which she finished only six months ago, she was very happy with the dialogue between herself and the owners, which resulted in agreement on almost every aspect of the design.
(Photo: Uriel Mesa)
The apartment in the 19-story building was already completed, and the builder had used it as an office, so many of the items that the buyer would usually choose were already installed.
The bathrooms were fitted, the Regba kitchen was built and the air conditioners were in place.
Fortunately the owners, a semi-retired couple who had lived for over 40 years in a house in Kfar Saba, had no problem with the choices that had already been made, and only a few minor additions were necessary – particularly the carpentry, which was quite extensive.
The living room wall was textured and painted with the sea-blue shade visible through the three sliding glass doors across the balcony.
On this wall, Gillon designed a long sideboard, raised from the floor for lightness and with two glass-fronted cabinets that house the couple’s various collections.
The middle cupboard with the wooden door opens downward and hides all the electronic equipment for the wall-hung television and stereo system, and also has enough room for a china tea set.
Above the television, two shelves – containing family photos and well-loved ornaments – wind around the corner to a narrow wall dividing the lounge from the study. A mirror on this wall can be seen on opening the front door.
“This was the most difficult part of the design,” recalls Gillon. “I did four different sketches for the shelving until we settled on this one.”
It was agreed that the whole unit must be lightweight, and another place in the apartment would have to be found for the hundreds of books the owners could not part with.
In the end, a small library was built in the hallway leading to the bedrooms, so they were able to put the books from their university studies half a century earlier on display, and everyone was happy.
They try to keep the lower unit uncluttered, but decided there was nowhere else to put the bar, which consists of a drink tray and glasses at the window end.
The rocking horse, a 50-year-old family treasure from England, was allowed in the living area.
“It’s almost a sculpture,” says Gillon.
The lounge was furnished with one long neutral-shaded sofa from an inexpensive Italian store in Netanya, and two retro easy chairs custom-made at a kibbutz furniture factory in the same sea-blue but in soft velvet. Patterned cushions in various shades of blue cheer up the beige sofa.
Gillon completely vetoed the husband’s dream of a Dr. Gav-style orthopedic armchair.
“You don’t have enough room,” she said firmly.
When it came to the dining room, budget constraints meant that they had to keep the suite they had, a solid mahogany oval table made in the mid-20th century in England, and stylized chairs recently reupholstered in a light turquoise fabric.
Now rather tired and somewhat out of place, they are making do with it until something lighter and more modern can take its place.
A white Natuzzi two-layer coffee table on an Eli Sasson blue rug completes the lounge.
For the main bedroom, the ubiquitous blue gives way to aquamarine.
A shaped, textured bedhead across the back wall stands out against a rich wallpaper with shades of turquoise, dark gray and off-white. When the owners asked Gillon if they could hang a picture there, she said, “No need, it’s like a painting in its own right.”
The white bedspread is enlivened with scatter cushions in two shades of aqua.
“I’ve had them for years, and they never really fit into my previous home, but here they are perfect for this room,” says one of the owners.
One entire wall is fitted with a wardrobe that has drawers, upper storage cupboards and more hanging space than even the sharpest dressers could ever need.
The carpenter, Shimon Buzaglo of Jaffa, also added two wall-hung bedside cupboards with two drawers – small but adequate – and a third drawer by the window with a large winged mirror on it, which is used as a dressing table.
Each of the owners needed their own study/workroom, as both are still working, and the wife also uses her room to create and display her collection of hand-made miniatures.
All the lighting in the apartment was acquired after one exhausting but fruitful visit to Lucca in Herzliya Pituah. Large, often round, and very modern were the predominant choices. The electrician also added concealed LED lighting all around the lounge and kitchen.
“It was a really fun project, and I very much enjoyed working with them,” says Gillon. “The client comes with a dream – and it’s my job to listen and translate the dream to reality.”