Tea for two

A retired couple enjoy their English-style home in the Sharon area.

The owner of this pretty home in the Sharon area, a retired cosmetician, said her son once pointed out that almost everything she had chosen for it had a floral theme. Until then, the owner said, she hadn't realized it herself. Indeed, there are flowery chintz curtains and rugs and lamps with a flower design. Even the dining room and kitchen chairs are upholstered in floral fabric. There are also beautiful flower arrangements throughout the house - and it's impossible to tell if they are real or silk. "Sometimes I mix them," says the owner, "and there's a secret as to why they look so real - a bit of water in the vase does the trick." Eve and Yigael have lived here for 20 years. When their children moved out, they reasoned that they no longer needed a nine-room house, and considered looking for something smaller. In addition, Eve, who had worked out of a suite of rooms in the house, was retiring, and no longer needed all that extra space. But somehow, they couldn't sell it - and now they're glad they didn't. They are planning to do some renovations and have managed to find a use for all those rooms. THE HOUSE is reached down a long path, through a beautiful and well-tended garden and up steps to the side entrance. The door opens straight into the living area, which is full of light and delicate pastel shades. Two steps down is the lounge. The dining corner is on the entrance level and the kitchen is around the corner. A small indoor garden, which is open to the elements, is visible upon entering. "We bought the plot about 20 years ago and I worked closely with the architect, Gidi Bar-On. It was a wonderful period in my life," recalls Eve. "We were on the same wavelength and I felt creative, I knew what I wanted." Having come from England (Yigael is Israeli), Eve spent hours poring over glossy House and Garden magazines, and realized that an English-style home would suit her best. "All my ideas came from there," she says. Much of the furniture came from England as they had spent several years there. All the lounge and dining room furniture is British. The lounge window, which looks out over a wheat field, is typically English, with its small panels. The pink and beige color scheme is pretty and feminine, while the stark white walls keep the room bright and airy. Two two-seater settees face each other while in another part of the lounge, a small sitting area with two carver chairs and a round, lace-covered table can be pressed into service when visitors come. Some exquisite ornaments are placed on the mantelpiece above the fireplace, which is used extensively in winter. Wall niches contain flowers and books. The floor is made of small octagonal white tiles, which Eve considers old-fashioned and is planning to change. She also wants to change the marble in the kitchen, which is solid black, while the cabinets are white. "I still like the shape of the kitchen, but it does look rather dated," she says. The side window looks out over the luxuriant garden. In fact, parts of the garden are visible from every window in the house. And in case that is not enough, the small indoor garden, open to the sky, brings more nature inside. The house is built on six levels, but it is not as tiring as it sounds - some of the staircases consist of only three or four steps. The basement has everything the five grandchildren could need; it is also home to Yigael's wine cellar. The old waiting room is decorated in shades of blue, and now serves as the television room, complete with an "Archie Bunker" chair for Yigael. One of the bedrooms has become a study and computer room. It is also where Yigael likes to relax and play a leisurely game of chess with one of the grandchildren. The master bedroom has a flowery bedspread, a pink carpet, side tables covered in rose-pink tablecloths and glass-fronted closet doors. With so many newer homes defined by modern minimalism, here is a house in the classical European style. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail gloriadeutsch@gmail.com.