Carved in stone

This almost-finished home is defined by its unique combination of wood and stone.

living room house 88.298 (photo credit: )
living room house 88.298
(photo credit: )
"Everyone who walks in says 'Wow!' when they see the house," says Tiki, the proud owner of this brand new house in Netanya. Built in an area of what had been small houses - possibly given to people who had fought during the Second World War in the Jewish Brigade but she's not sure - the situation of the house is unique, being built in a quiet cul-de-sac near the center of town, with a very convenient roundabout at the end, making turning a car around a carefree procedure. Tiki, a teacher, and her husband Daniel, a businessman, had been looking for a house for a while when they saw the For Sale notice one day when they were out for a walk. They bought the old house, knocked it down and hired architect Oded Lavi to design their dream home. "I like his style, but the best thing is, he listens to what you say and tries to give you the look you want," she says. She also used art expert Dafna Naor, who works with the High Touch kitchen company, to advise her on what sculptures and paintings to buy. "Everyone is an expert in one field," says the sensible Tiki. "I was never exposed to choosing art before, so I turned to someone who understands it. But obviously I had to agree with her choice." Because they were starting from scratch they were able to plan the garden and house together. An ornate front gate, designed by the architect, opens onto a pretty garden and the front porch is reached by marble steps. The heavy wooden front door leads directly into the living space and the "wow" factor comes into play instantly as the eye takes in the various rooms, all visible, and the stunning floor which covers the whole area. "It's called 'Bourgogne' and it comes from France," explains Tiki. "As far as I know it's cut from old stone, and some of it is even taken from old houses." The flagstones are all uneven sizes, colors and textures with shades ranging from dark grey to beige to light brown. It does indeed look like the stone farmhouses so common in Burgundy and is a very dominant feature in the beauty of the house. To the right, a long refectory table is decorated with a dish of dried chili peppers and small bronze birds. Over the table the light fittings which hang low are made from upturned crystal vases. At the end of the room a built-in, glass-fronted fitting stretching the whole length of the wall displays glasses and dishes. Conveniently next to it is the wood kitchen, furnished with an island and liberally supplied with storage drawers to help give the uncluttered look. A pantry off the kitchen contains the washing machine and dryer as well as storage for food, and a door from here leads directly into the garden to a secluded spot where washing can be hung up to dry without being seen from the pergola. On a wall next to the kitchen hang two Aliza Olmert prints, purchased well before her husband became acting prime minister. The furniture in the living room came from the previous home but luckily the teal and mustard couches fitted easily into the space. An elegant chandelier, bought locally, hangs over the coffee table. On one wall a striking sculpture by well-known Israeli artist Avi Shaham is displayed, again chosen for the d cor by Dafna Naor. The second floor, visible from a gallery, has two bedrooms - all that the couple needs now that the children have moved out - and is waiting to be beautified to the same level as the downstairs when finances allow. The way up, however, looks particularly inviting with very old wood used for the stairs. By contrast, all the windows have new oak frames on the inside and aluminum on the outside. With plenty of space outside for family dinners - a built-in barbecue is partially camouflaged by the plants - and a pergola and even a sand-pit ready and waiting for the future grandchildren, Tiki and Daniel are enjoying their new home and looking forward to completing it very soon.