Mixing old and new
By GLORIA DEUTScH
Photos by URI MESSA
What better position could a retired couple want than an apartment looking onto the Iris Nature Reserve outside Netanya?
“When the owers are in season, we see black irises and poppies from our balcony and we’ve also seen gazelles and other animals that live in the reserve,” say the owners, who came origi- nally from South Africa, but lived in London for many years.
With a son and other family living in Isra- el, they often came to visit, but finally they decided to make aliya themselves a year ago to be near the grandchildren and watch them growing.
As they are both very keen golfers, they chose the area to be near a golf course and they play as often as they can, although sorting out the apartment and getting it just the way they wanted has been very time consuming.
They engaged another ex-South-African, Sel- wyn Elkin, to be their project manager and take charge of the decorating.
The challenge was to find a place for the antique English furniture and objets d’art the couple brought with them and make sure anything new and modern would blend in well. Also, place had to be found for hundreds of books.
Elkin accompanied them on shopping trips every time they visited, choosing light fit- tings and furniture to supplement what they already had.
“He was marvelous, bringing his expertise from the moment we acquired the apartment when it was still in the planning stage,” they say. “When it came time for the final deco- rating, he brought his own team of expert workers.”
The dining table, which they had for many years, came from Harrods in London, and the Regency chairs are authentic 18th-century originals but newly upholstered with a rust vel- vet material to match the sofas in the lounge. A delicate mahogany sideboard is inlaid with walnut, and above it hangs a family portrait echoing a famous David Hockney painting.
For the lounge, Elkin took them to Roche Bobois in Herzliya Pituah, and together they chose rust-shaded sofas to form a conversation corner with two large wicker tub seats
from Soho, also in Herzliya Pituah.
Orange patterned cushions were added for extra color.
“I really wanted white cushions, but Selwyn said they would look wrong, and of course he was right,” says the owner. “But I was able to put some white cushions on the wicker chairs instead.”
The coffee table is like a cement slab on a metal frame and stretches almost the length of the sofa. It was also acquired in Roche Bob- ois. The colorful check rugs were brought over from London where they had graced their home for many years.
For the end wall of the living room Elkin de- signed a unit in black wood to hold the large television screen, with plenty of storage space below and at least part of the vast book collec- tion.
The taupe kitchen units were made by the Décor company and the area is separated from the living room by an island. Besides the reg- ular oven, there is a steam oven, which they nd very useful, and under the counter is a built-in wine refrigerator.
For the kitchen table and chairs they chose a set, made of transparent plastic, from the Italian company Calligaris, which has a store in the Dan Design Center.
The bedrooms are set apart, reached by a doorway out of the living area. Laminated parquet is used for the ooring and the master bedroom is vibrant with turquoise and green Renby fabric from England used for the two rocking chairs.
The sliding wardrobe doors are fronted with mirrors to give the effect of a much larger room. White lmy drapes soften the perpen- dicular lines of the metal window pro les.
Above the bed hangs a naïve painting from the Gina gallery in Tel-Aviv, adding a ash of bright color to the room, and more color is provided by a check blanket at the foot of the bed and a patterned carpet.
Space was easily found for a grand piano, which lends itself to being a family portrait gallery with photos shown in a variety of frames. A striking painting of commuters reading newspapers, a work by English paint- er P.J. Crook, almost covers the narrow wall.
The spare bedrooms are kept ready and waiting for whenever family and other visitors feel like dropping in for a stay, and these are the rooms where the owners hang pictures painted by fami- ly members, in particular the wife’s father.
In practically every room the sea can be clear- ly seen, providing the best picture of all.