Behind its elemental facade, this family home by Israelevitz Architects reveals a surprisingly bright and open interior.

Challenged by a relatively small, square lot, design duo Dan and Hila Israelevitz of Israelevitz Architects set out to create a unique home that would meet the needs of an active family of five near Tel Aviv. Working within the constraints of the limiting lot, the team designed a geometric structure where the cube of the first floor "hovers" over the ground floor. The house is full of contradictions; between hidden and open, and also between contrasting volumes and colors.

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The home’s facade is private and mysterious, without discernable windows or openings. The exterior is made of concrete tiles, black plaster, and wooden trellises. The trellises act as a light screen, allowing only cracks of light to penetrate the exterior. The entry is camouflaged in the plane of the trellises, which adds to the opaque and impenetrable aesthetic at the front facade.

Inside, the home immediately opens up with light and natural views. The cantilevered stairs leading to the first floor offer a dramatic focal point. The stairs, wrapped in natural oak, are anchored to the exposed concrete walls on one side, and bordered by a clear glass railing on the opposite side.

A well-lit and open ground floor with a strong interior-exterior connection was at the top of the family’s wish list. The kitchen makes the most of a compact space through its intimate relationship with the adjacent pool and public outdoor space. The spaces features hardware-free white cabinets and a stainless steel center island. The white kitchen floors provide visual continuity with the white pavement directly outside.

Along the side of the home, parallel to the pool, is an expansive glass wall that maximizes the feeling of openness in the first floor living space. The pool is heated by a repeated energy air-conditioning system, which conserves energy expenditure.

In the master bedroom, warm hardwood flooring and backlit perimeter lighting make the space bright and inviting. Panoramic windows overlook the urban cityscape, fostering a feeling of both openness and privacy.

The sleek master bathroom features a freestanding tub, black mosaic tiles on the floor, and black natural stone on the walls. A natural oak vanity and oak accents add warmth to the otherwise cool and contemporary space, and a glass wall on the opposite side creates a sense of connection with the master bedroom.

Downstairs in the basement, an entertainment room is inspired by the idea of an English pub. Dark, rich wood tones are favored in this popular meeting place for friends. The space was designed to be soundproof in order to maintain privacy from the two older children's bedrooms, also on the basement level. A wine bar, flat screen TV, and stainless steel table complete the space.

The voluminous black plaster cube appears to float over the open first-floor at the rear elevation. On the roof, solar panels generate about 80 percent of the home’s electrical and heating needs. The landscaped backyard was designed to resemble an orchard, and includes several defined areas for socializing and entertaining.

  • Israelevitz Architects