Country cheer

A neglected old house just needed a little love - and a lot of vision - to turn into a home.

patio country 88 298 (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
patio country 88 298
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
'God is in the details" proclaims a wall picture in Kim Lindy's lovely home, and a quick look around confirms that principle. The single mother of two bought an old house that had been on the market for six years and nobody wanted. She put her heart and soul into it and turned the 50-year-old house into this glossy magazine picture-perfect home with its overtones of Tuscany and Provence. "And I did it all myself," she says proudly. We sit in the peaceful garden next to a gently gurgling fountain, and Lindy tells me the story of the house and what drove her to invest so much time and energy into it. Situated in a rustic neighborhood on the outskirts of Ramat Hasharon, the house was built in 1954 ("The year I was born," she says) and had been seen by a stream of potential buyers who all brought architects and all said it had to be knocked down. The problem was that there was no permission to build. Lindy bought it at a bargain price and proceeded to transform the house without adding a brick. "It was April 2004, the height of the bombings, and I did it all with Chinese workers, buying everything at rock-bottom prices," she says. "I would go to warehouses and run around till I found the best quality for the least money - and almost everything is blue-and-white." For the look she wanted she plowed through piles of home d cor magazines and decided early on that the aim was to make the house and everything in it look a hundred years old. "I went for a look that made me feel good and happy," she says. Although she works as a high-powered executive search professional, at home she wanted the simple rustic look. The garden has been paved with terra-cotta bricks which really do look as though they have been there for a century. Flower beds and a rockery fill the space, and in a corner she has put a kitchen with grill and a taboon oven. The sink is made out of a ceramic planter. The walls and ground are inset with a variety of colorful tiles, all different, and all picked up "for a song" as none of them match, which suits her fine. The entrance to the house from the garden is through green Belgian profiles which were put in to the original openings. "None of the doors would open as the ceiling had sunk down," she recalls. The whole thing was strengthened, and in one window she has put a decorative glass bought in the Paris flea market depicting birds perched on a branch of cherry blossoms. She thinks it's at least a hundred years old and was brought back lovingly in hand luggage. Almost all the furniture, particularly in the kitchen and dining room, has been "distressed" to give that "been around for years" look. The dining table was just an old formica-covered thing which had its top stripped off and was painted in a dark yellow. Two vases sit at either end, one from Tuscany and one from Provence, and both filled with fresh bright flowers in shades of peach and yellow. The dining-room chairs are covered in a material brought from France. Along one wall of the kitchen, the big stone sink sits under a windowsill full of ornaments and spices from which Lindy can look out on the geraniums growing wildly outside her window. The impressive copper faucets were found, again at reasonable prices, as the importer was going out of business. Around a supporting pillar beautified with rough bricks, she has built a breakfast bar, one of three places to sit and eat in this most hospitable of homes. Another is the dining corner, furnished with bright red chairs and an old Madeira cloth, which belonged to her grandmother, on the table. The guest bathroom, glimpsed through the archways that separate the kitchen from the bedrooms, is tiled with many non-matching colorful tiles and the sink and backsplash were bought for a song at a very expensive store "because nobody wanted them," she says cheerfully. The master bedroom has a large wooden bed covered in a snowy lace-edged cover set on a light parquet floor. Everywhere there are interesting light fittings and wall sconces in many different styles, but like the mix of furniture, some antique, some rustic, it all blends harmoniously together. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: