Explore a Mysterious Cave-Like Home Near Tel Aviv’s Old Jaffa Port

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In the ancient Israeli port city of Jaffa in Tel Aviv is an old cave-like dwelling that was transformed into a minimalist home that draws you in like a chiaroscuro painting.

Located along one of the oldest sections of the harbor with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, this 1,076-square-foot residence boasts mysterious arched corridors, vaulted rooms, clandestine crevices, and corners that create interesting fluctuations of light and shadow. 

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Refurbished by Israeli architect Pitsou Kedem, the entryway to the home is set into an arch, with vertical metal grills on one side and an asymmetrical, black metal door on the other.

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The house consists of an entrance courtyard, living room, kitchen, dining room, study with an en-suite bathroom, bedroom, bathroom, and a sea-facing patio that's accessible from the bedroom. 

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There are no doors in the house. Instead, arched thresholds indicate the end of one area and the beginning of another. 

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Kedem united all the rooms into a single flowing space, much like an underground lair in a secret tunnel. 

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Storage space was created from both existing and new crevices. The restoration involved removing the ornamentation left on the arched ceilings by the previous owner and covering them with white plaster. 

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In contrast, the plaster concealing the kitchen’s impressive domed ceiling was removed. 

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To even out the ground, Kedem adjusted the floor height throughout the property using raw-cast concrete. 

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Filling stone accents were used throughout various sections of the interior. 

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The arched thresholds and corridors were strategically left doorless to frame both the bright and dark areas between the rooms, as well as perspectives of the sea, which can be seen from all rooms. 

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Blackened-tin frames were used for the arched windows in order to provide a progressively modern contrast to the white walls. 

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By expertly blending the old and new, Kedem created a contemporary abode that honors its historic past while being well-suited for modern-day use. 

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Project Credits: 

 - Architecture: Pitsou Kedem 

- Design: Irene Goldberg, Pitsou Kedem 

- Architect in Charge: Raz Melamed 

- Builder: Asaf Lupo Ltd. 

- Styling For Photography: Eti Buskila

- Photography: Amit Geron