The glass house

How a large modern home can evolve from two small rooms and a kitchen.

house interiror 88 224 (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
house interiror 88 224
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
Sarit Pomerantz, one of the first people in the country to produce glass art, has an inordinate number of large windows in her Kfar Saba home. "Glass goes with a great deal of light," explains the religiously observant mother of four whose work is on permanent display in two Tel Aviv galleries. "Whoever likes glass needs light, otherwise you can hardly see anything." The house, in which she creates her beautiful tinted birds, faces and torsos, was the original home which her parents-in-law moved to in 1952, in an area known locally as Shikun Lampert. Lampert was an English Jew who owned orchards in the town. He was so grateful to the Jewish boys who had joined the Jewish Brigade of the British army that after the war he donated large tracts to be divided among the soldiers who returned. One of these was Sarit's father-in-law, who moved into the small two-room house in 1952 with his wife and child. Her husband, Yitzhak, was born there and grew up with all the other children of the neighborhood. "It was like a kibbutz," says Sarit. Eight years ago a reunion was held of all the people who had been born there and moved away and a memorial booklet was published with pictures of the area as it was in the early 1950s, rows of identical small houses. Lampert also left instructions that a corner of the orchard should be left as a public park in memory of the soldiers who did not come back - and this lovely old park, visible from the kitchen window, is called Gan Hamaginim (The Defenders' Park). Over the years the houses were enlarged and renovated and today the area is one of prestigious villas. Many have a second equally splendid house built in the large gardens for the second generation, but not this one. The sitting room with its seating arrangement of non-matching chairs around a rectangular coffee table serves as a backdrop for some of Sarit's glass art. She became an artist relatively late, having first studied biology and later done medical research. But her credentials are impeccable as her grandfather, Elhanan Hesed, was brought over by Boris Schatz in 1924 to become one of the first teachers at Bezalel. "We still have the letters, in Russian and German, inviting him to come over with his wife and four children. He taught leather craft and bookbinding and opened a small factory in Jerusalem." Standing in front of the window through which one can glimpse the back garden are four glass sculptures which represent the different hours of the day and the different lights and colors typical of the sky, whether it be sunrise, sunset, noon or midnight. There are several busts and torsos on display and many birds, some sitting on the bare branches of a tree. The adjacent dining-room table is also made of opaque glass on which the two Siamese cats feel free to roam as they do all over the house and kitchen counters. A large niche separating the kitchen from the living room is a perfect display area for one of her latest works, a series of different vessels. The original two rooms of the old 1950s house are now a television viewing room and a guest room, while the original long balcony facing the street was turned into a workroom for Sarit to make her first designs, usually in clay. The second floor, added on over the years, has several bedrooms and workrooms. The new part of the house with its second floor is on a different level from the old house, but they are linked by the wood-lined corridor which joins them with steps to accommodate the different heights. This long narrow area is put to good use, partly as a library, partly as a display area for more glass sculptures. The roof shape of the ceiling and the walls are finished with white boards, the floor with light pine and the whole thing smells like a sauna on a hot day. Yitzhak's study is also here, under the eaves, a welcoming room completely decorated in wood. It is a testament to the quality of the 1950s building that so much could be added on over the years and a large modern house could materialize out of two small rooms and a kitchen. Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: [email protected]