Photography: Shiran Carmel
In this apartment, located in the Old North of Tel Aviv, lives a young neuropsychologist and his 4-year-old son.
The apartment is 83 square meters, located on the fourth floor in a building from the 1950’s. It was originally divided as a four-bedroom unit with a hallway connecting the rooms.
The request was to create “A home I won’t want to leave,” with a feeling of natural light in the entryway, spaciousness and with a connection to the city in the background. He also requested two small, cozy bedrooms for father and son and a spacious living area.
Additionally, the owner stressed the importance of leaving something from the original essence of the building… a hint of its past life.
The wish to connect to the busy city outside and to preserve something from the past comes to life in the character of the new apartment. Instead of hiding the battered old fixtures, such as pipes running through living areas, ceiling beams and structural pillars, we tried to feature them on exposing portions of these elements and using them well in the new design.
Two original concrete beams were used in the new layout of the space and 3 meter high ceilings weren’t lowered. A former drainage pipe in what was once a closed balcony, was left in place and covered by a black iron pipe. In the father's bedroom, an original wooden window was preserved as a romantic memory of what once was.
A large and spacious entry way separates between the two sections of the apartment.
On one side are the private areas, which face the rear, quieter side of the house, looking onto the green gardens of Tel Aviv.
On the other side, a living area spreads out against the city background. A floor-to-ceiling window façade was installed, running through the entire length of the room, enables the feeling of the busy, bright outdoors, but also protects from it through the use of draperies that dress up the room.
Two concrete pillars were exposed as a part of the building front and are utilized in splitting the window facade to two, forming a bookshelves and signifying a visible separation between two functions of the open front of the flat: a work space on one end and a dining area on the other.
Shop drawing of the central cabinet
books with a view
A central cabinet creates a separation between the living room and kitchen, that at the same time divides the area into two purposes but also unifying the two public spaces. One side contains a television and other electrical appliances, books and media and the other side is used as a dining island and as storage for the kitchen area. The unit ends in a built-in planter, adding green to the urban scene coming in from the outdoors.
A long kitchen stretching between two concrete pillars that define the central space.
An upper shelf running from one end to the other begins as a three dimensional object for storage and display and also camouflages the range hood. As we get closer to the junction with the built-in cupboard, the wall turns into a two-dimensional dry-erase board.
The choice of modest materials – dark Formica and white brick tiles -- is part of the general approach we have taken to leave things simple.
A floor to ceiling cupboards function as part of the kitchen, then turn around toward the entrance space, where they function as a coat closet.
The living room is a collection of items that were collected over the years. Just like the apartment itself, which tells its real story, here too, a decision was made not to erase the past and start over, but instead to include the past in the present. An antique sewing machine table was converted into a desk, which perfectly fills the function and fits well with the living room furniture, putting the homeowner’s personal stamp of style into the room.
For the bathrooms, we chose simple, white tiles, making a light room with the only dark element being a black wooden framed mirror and above it, a romantic light fixture.
In the father’s room, the limits of the room made using a standard bed impossible, yet the request for a small, cozy space challenged us to re-examine the idea of the “bedroom” and to turn it into a cozy sleeping area. Between the walls, we built a raised platform with a built-in mattress. Next to the pillow, we worked an indentation into the carpentry on which to put books and other personal items. The front side is used for storing magazines and slippers
On the other side sits another custom wooden facade, into which we’ve installed a television, and to the right, one enters a hidden walk-in closet inside of which are the washing machine and dryer.
In the son’s room, the false ceiling was used as a storage cabinet above the bed. This has created a cozy sleeping corner. On the other side stands a clothing closet together with a “story corner”, for father-and-son reading time before bed.