A place to hang their hats

An older couple refurbishes a home away from home in Israel.

kitchen 88 224 (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
kitchen 88 224
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
With family living both here and abroad, many older couples try to divide their time fairly so they get to spend quality time with children and grandchildren on two continents. But where do you hang your hat when you come to Israel for half a year without spending a fortune in hotel bills or imposing on the children? In the case of this older couple, the answer was to buy an old apartment in the Sharon area, not far from where the offspring live, and to renovate it as economically as possible to create a tranquil and aesthetic home in which to spend part of the year. The 30-year-old apartment needed bringing into the 21st century but without breaking the bank. Fortunately for them, they found an interior designer, Anat Goren, who was able to bring her artistic talents to create something very pleasing to the eye, practical and harmonious with many innovations, but always keeping an eye on the cost. "Whenever I approach a project I look on it as a composition, almost like a painting where there has to be connection and balance between all the elements," explains Goren. "To achieve the harmony I wanted, I chose the cream shade as a basic color which would give the restful feeling I wanted, and highlighted it with many touches of chocolate brown which added interest but also emphasized the peacefulness of the overall basic color." Touches of brown are everywhere, sometimes in vases and small accessories, other times in larger items like the easy chair or the dining room table. "We were careful to choose accessories which were both practical but also esthetic quality items which were all hand-picked," emphasizes Goren. She also had to come up with creative solutions such as filling in the missing floor tiles in areas where walls had been removed. The floor was in good enough condition to be kept as it was, and new tiles of the same type were unavailable. She created an area in the lounge made up of mosaic tiles which had the advantage of breaking up the plain floor to give a rug effect, and provided another touch of color which could be seen on entering the apartment and through the glass tables chosen to stand on it. In the far corner of the lounge she created a small card-playing corner, as the owners are avid bridge players, and here again mosaic is used for the round table and chairs. Here the mosaic has an antique look as opposed to the modern look of the floor inset, but she feels they blend well with each other. A round table was chosen to create a better flow. In the lounge itself the cream sofa dominates, and on the facing wall a sideboard has a wooden base made of several different shades of recycled wood. A wall was built from plaster board, providing shelves on which to display items and place a stereo. It is designed with one long vertical niche which echoes the very long horizontal line of the three-meter sofa. The kitchen was completely redone continuing the same cream and brown color scheme and opened up to the dining area instead of being closed off as before. The owners had asked that space be found for a cloakroom to hang visitors' coats, as this was a feature totally absent in the old apartment. She solved the problem by taking space from the very large bathroom off the corridor and still had enough room left to furnish the bathroom with two sinks and decorate it in the same cream with brown marble and add a pebble-studded tile to add interest. Dried flower arrangements add a spot of color. The lounge window has two curtains, a white filmy drape which she feels softens the cold look of the glass and at the side, purely for decoration, a swathe of cream silky material elegantly draped and held in place by a rich tassel. To relieve the monochrome look, the owners have added some vividly colored paintings and filled the place with plants and flowers. When it is time to fly back to the States, they say it is very hard to part with the pretty home they are leaving behind - but only for six months. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: [email protected]