Contemporary fusion

What this Herzliya Pituah home lacks in color, it certainly makes up for in classical elegance.

pool real estate 298 may (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
pool real estate 298 may
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
'I thought the beige tones would have a calming effect on my four boys," says the owner of this beautiful home in Herzliya Pituah to explain the overall neutral color scheme. But what it lacks in color, it certainly makes up for in classical elegance, with an emphasis on natural materials like stone and wood, spacious rooms uncluttered with superfluous decoration and wide passageways leading to the various wings. The owner made the transition many years ago from the gray northern English city of Manchester, where she grew up, to the exotic Mediterranean town she now inhabits, but she still has a yearning for the European look. The result is a kind of fusion design, with elements that are reminiscent of English drawing rooms, like the lowered cornices with concealed lighting, and the almost farmhouse look of the variegated stone floor in the living room and the patio outside facing the respectably sized swimming pool. The owner was very happy with her choice of architect, Angela Lanciano, who took the old house the owners had acquired and renovated it to look the way it does now. "I wanted to work with a woman," says the owner. "I had a theory that another woman would understand what I wanted." The front door opens directly into the hall, from which one can see the living room and garden to the left. Supporting columns from the old house are still there, creating a niche for which they were able to find a solid wooden table to fit it exactly. While there is little extraneous decoration, I immediately spotted the antique Stergene bottle on the corner of this table, while on the floor in the corner stands an authentic diver's helmet placed not far from the simple brick fireplace. "We have many other unusual items, but I haven't had time to put them out yet," says the owner, whose husband is an Israeli-born lawyer. The water-weave rattan lounge suite is from their previous home and will be replaced eventually, while a built-in cupboard to house the stereo facing the sofa has all the electrical workings hidden behind a specially built iron grille. They were lucky to find a Russian immigrant who does exceptional metal work, and other examples of his talents can be seen around the house. Some yellow and green cushions on the couch and a hand-woven rug supply a touch of color. For the kitchen, the owner went for a locally made one. "I wanted to support local industry, and also I felt that if anything was broken or missing, it would be much easier to replace," she explains. The long kitchen has a solid wood central island with the gas range built in and is, according to the owner, "super-convenient." One of the built-in cabinets contains a coffee machine with great coffee always on tap. The breakfast bar looks out onto a side patio of Spanish arches with deck chairs set out on the grassy verge. For more formal meals, the dining room is situated conveniently next to the kitchen, and the table is made from old English oak. Over the table hangs a contemporary light fixture of what looks like metal coils, and the owner tells me this gives a gentle attractive light. The wide staircase is also made of vintage wood, and at the top of the stairs linen cupboards and display shelves fill the entire facing wall. There are several bedrooms - one even has red bedding, bringing a touch of unexpected color - but the one the owners are particularly proud of is the master bedroom, which is actually a suite and fulfills one of the owner's original requirements that the design should be "romantic and sexy." A rough brick wall divides the sitting room entrance with its comfy chairs and television from the actual sleeping area, which has a large bed draped in white linen facing the balcony. From this vantage point one can look down at the garden and the pool below. They decided against having walk-in closets but built wardrobes instead, with long metal handles made by the same artisan who did the iron work in the lounge. The patio next to the pool has another huge wooden table for family get-togethers. The whole house has an unmistakable contemporary feel and everything is in subdued good taste. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: