Architect Michael Peled surveyed the apartment of his client, a young mother, and saw something she hadn’t noticed. She had purchased a second-story flat in the Carmelia area of Haifa, Israel, with help from her parents. Perched on a hillside, it had a small enclosed room in the back with corner windows that peered over the Mediterranean. The laundry room at the end of a long hallway had another wide exposure hidden behind rain glass windows.
Kitchen Cabinets & Carpentry
Shower & Mirrors
Closets & Carpentry
|Grand Total: $114,975|
"I said to them, ‘You must turn it all around to face the view,’" Peled says. "I told them, ‘I know it’s a really limited budget for this project, but the main effort needs to be to open all the crucial spaces in the apartment to that beautiful view.’"
Before: Bathroom/Laundry Room
After: Dining Room
Peled flipped the floor plan, knocking out the walls in the back half of the apartment. He replaced the opaque windows in the former laundry room with wall-to-wall triple windows, turning it into an open dining area graced by green treetops. The small corner room became an open-plan living room with corner windows overlooking the sea. The three bedrooms shifted to the other half of the space, strategically located to allow for a possible future extension for an additional bedroom.
The retrofitted layout extends natural light from the dining and living rooms to the kitchen, which is inserted in the former hallway along a new wall of seamless custom white cabinetry—all fabricated with MDF to reduce costs—and fitted appliances.
A quartz-topped island integrates an electric cooktop, cabinets, a sink, and a TV niche facing the living room. "She really hated that long narrow corridor, and that was one of the [reasons] she wasn’t so sure about [buying] the apartment or not," Peled says. The drastic flip of the layout eliminated the need for that awkward hallway.
After: Master Bedroom and Bath
A former enclosed balcony is claimed by the master bedroom, giving the room a generous wall of daylight. Another wall of white custom cabinetry has been inserted for closets. An en suite bathroom with a glass shower and custom vanity connects to the rerouted plumbing. As elsewhere, the floors in the bathroom are matte-gray, ceramic tile.
Altogether it was a four-month construction process on a conservative budget. Most of the costs went to general construction, followed by the windows and cabinetry, transforming a 1960s apartment into what looks like a newly constructed condo. Like any perfectionist architect, Peled only regrets small details like the electric sun shades that couldn’t be hidden in the walls, as he would have done in a new building.
"It’s a really simple and not extravagant project, but what makes it so wonderful for me is the big change that occurred—and the great appreciation I had from the owner," Peled says. "She was really grateful because she didn’t even realize what she had in her hands, and she is now living in a place with light, with a lot of green, and with big windows facing a really nice view."
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