Located in central Jaffa in Tel Aviv, Israel, this two bedroom apartment was recently renovated by Studio ETN in order to create a thoroughly modern, light-filled home in tune with the lifestyle of its owners, a professional couple with a young daughter. Occupying a typical Jaffa building, architect Eitan Cohen has channelled the neighbourhood's amalgamation of past and present by combining local materials and industrial references with a contemporary aesthetic of minimalist refinement interlaced with playful details.
The apartment’s layout was completed redesigned in order to create a spacious living area for entertaining guests—one of the owners is a chef—which meant demolishing most walls, doing away with corridors and merging the kitchen into the living room. In order to address the uneven distribution of natural light due to the new layout brought and the building’s window configuration, Cohen introduced glass dividers framed by thin Belgium profiles to separate the living room from the master bedroom and study. This ingenious solution allows daylight to evenly flood the living area throughout the day, facilitated by the apartment’s high ceilings which have been wisely retained by eschewing the use of gypsum boards, while at night, different lighting scenarios create a more intimate or social atmosphere.
Screed floors, exposed concrete beams, and black steel elements, along with visible air ducts establish an austere, urban aesthetic that is enriched by local materials such as terrazzo and stone, and the use of brass. The muted palette of white, grey and black is complemented by the pastel hues presented in the modern furniture and the kitchen’s cabinetry, indoor plants, and the wooden window frames and shutters, a traditional feature in Jaffa’s buildings, while the daughter’s room is infused in pale pink.
Despite its minimalist sensibility, the interior design abounds with beautiful construction details including custom carpentry and metal work. Check out the dining counter which is partly suspended from the ceiling, or the way the terrazzo floor tiles in the kitchen meet the floor screed, or how the air duct effortlessly penetrates the glass partition. Cohen has also included several instances of playfulness that subtly subvert the décor's austerity which also serve as unofficial hallmarks for his design practice. Small skulls take the role of drawer handles, potted plants transform a shelving unit into a botanical wall, and a reading nook upholstered in green velvet makes a surprising dent in the apartment’s wardrobe; the later conceived as a modern interpretation of a “tree house”, a romantic concept of escape that also aptly describes the overall feeling of this welcoming apartment.