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teen room 298.(Photo by: Eyal Izhar)
A Ramat Hahayal home comes close to collapse, only to be redesigned with supreme elegance.
The Agam family acquired a 50-year-old house in Ramat Hahayal and completely transformed it. "It's the same building," says Irit Agam, the designer, "but the plants growing around it and above were completely out of control and the roof was made of orange tiles." The aim was to remove all the exuberant vegetation and bring in masses of light, while at the same time maintaining the authentic look of a home which would blend in to the old neighborhood. The small front garden was paved with concrete and parts were covered in a pebble finish while the soothing sounds of a fountain set in the front wall prepare the visitor for the vision of light and glass seen through the front door. "No, it's nothing to do with Feng Shui, I just like the sound of the trickling water," says Irit. While the first impression, on walking through the deck that leads to the front door, is of a super-modern interior, a second glance reveals several pieces of antique furniture and old bronzes which add interest to the streamlined overall look. The kitchen and dining room are built in one long line from front garden to back garden with light streaming in from both sides. Only a small and unobtrusive breakfast bar, with four tall black and metal chairs, juts out across the seemingly endless straight lines of the room. "I like to entertain, especially on Friday nights, and the dining table can extend right out to the front patio," explains Irit. The kitchen counter is several meters long, a homemaker's dream, and extends the whole length of the room. It's not just very long and practical, it's also very beautiful, with a falling leaf design printed on vinyl sandwiched between two layers of glass while the backdrop is an attractive brick pattern. All the glass work in the house was done by A.A. Mirrors, one of the biggest glass works in the country, and Irit is full of praise for their workmanship. When work began on the house they had some sticky moments when the old wooden beams were removed and there were worries the whole house might collapse. "The builders had to reinforce the ceiling with iron supports built into the walls," explains Irit. "All the old wooden window frames were removed and replaced with metal frames." The floor is covered in extra-large off-white stone tiles with a high gloss finish. The salon has an old Philippe Starck sofa which has been reupholstered in purple, a color Irit likes to work with. Violets have been placed on the dining room table to link the two sides of the room, color-wise. The room also uses a play of black, white and grey all blending in together for stunning effect. Oversized cushions are lined up on the sofas and the striking corner standard lamp is a copy of a Twenties design. Over the coffee tables Italian lights hang low. Between living room and kitchen the staircase to the second floor is fronted with what looks like raw concrete - in fact a special plaster finish - and beneath this a shiny white wall which doubles as a screen. At the press of a button the gas fire underneath springs into life and Irit tells me it warms the whole house in winter. What used to be the old kitchen has been transformed into a symphony of black and white with a design in black stuck to the white wall and an animal print black-and-white rug. From the supreme elegance of the family living quarters, the teenage daughter's abode is pure fantasy. As well as the pretty red bedroom, with butterflies hanging and angels on the walls, she also has the entire basement room to herself which even has its own entrance. Here the imagination of the designer knows no bounds. Nude dummies on the walls, huge paper flowers growing in glass vases, less-than-subtle wallpaper and uninhibited bright colors make this a fun place to be. With a shocking pink dressing table, artificial flowers and her own television set, it's an idyllic place for any teenager; and Irit is able to keep her living area in picture-perfect condition always. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail:
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