Desert Oasis

Last Updated: 09 Jul 2014
Lisa O’Neill

Israel’s coastal town Herzliya Pituach endures lengthy and scorching summers, hence the creation of this dramatic home that both worships and respects the intensity of the sun.

With a palette of whites in varying textures, and splashes of glossy black, this home – designed by Oded and Elizabeth Tal Architects – is just as dramatic and glamorous as its setting.

The owners regularly rotate their works of art, and their love of colour is perfectly highlighted against the white and black background of the home.

Set in arguably the most affluent neighbourhood of Israel, Herzliya Pituach, this imposing yet private abode emerges from a long and narrow 800sqm block and is spread over four levels.

A designer's dream, Oded and Elizabeth's fashion-designer client made only one stipulation – "a very modern house, interior and exterior" – before completely handing over the reins to the architects.

"We were given a free hand to design and express ourselves," says Elizabeth. "We design our buildings according to the site, optimising natural light and breezes, so we decided to divide the house into three zones."

The first zone is the entrance area and the central atrium space that connects the entire home. Natural light spills into the zone via the 'long wall of windows' on the eastern side that welcomes the morning sun and avoids the oppressive heat of the western aspect in the afternoon.

The application of large, feature windows including a 'window wall' on the eastern side of the home, maximises the morning light and protects the home from the western sun's intensity in the afternoon.

The atrium is a spectacle, encased by a round, curtain glass wall that allows visibility of every level, from the basement through the ground, first and second floors.

On one side of the atrium, on the ground floor, can be found the formal living space, with dining and lounge rooms perfect for hosting guests. The cream lighting fixtures that hover unobtrusively over the dining table were selected to fill the intimate space without overwhelming it.

The formal lounge was designed to be as simple as possible, with white walls and marble flooring, and recessed lights studding the ceiling so the owner's selection of artwork and furniture could shine.

"We wanted to create a backdrop for the owner's colourful furniture, art and accessories, allowing him to change pieces periodically as in a gallery," Elizabeth says.

Currently overseeing the riot of colour that bursts from the formal lounge is a piece from Chen Wenling's Red Memory series, standing proudly on the perimeter of the lounge, magnetic with its glossy red exterior.

Leaving behind the bold features of the formal zone, a more relaxed vibe is conjured on the other side of the atrium, where you'll find the non-formal family lounge room, kitchen and entrance from the garage. Tal Architects included
a feature wall in the kitchen, using oak panelling to match the custom-made cabinetry, table and bench from Semel Kitchens. The abundance of oak creates a unique look for the kitchen, defining it from the rest of the zone.

The basement is the only area that shuns natural light, and combined with the dousing of darker shades over the floors and walls, the moody vibe is enhanced – perfect for the home cinema and three bedrooms.

The white aluminium roof reflects the heat, while its curved shape allows maximum volume of usable space of the upper floor level, where the guest bedroom suite is located.

The first floor houses more of the family's bedrooms, all with adjoining ensuites, while the second floor (and highest level) plays host to the guest bedroom and ensuite. Said guests will be delighted by the upper level's rooftop sun terrace with magnificent views of Herzliya Pituach and the garden and the pool below.

With the azure waters of the infinity-edge pool contrasting with the surrounding white stucco and emerald lawn, it's easy to see why Tal Architects created a strong marriage between the ground floor and the exterior.

"Israel's weather allows for outdoor living most of the year, so the ground floor allows maximum access to the pool area," says Elizabeth.

A retractable fabric sunshade facilitates multiple usage of the area, plus the clever concept of a removable pool fence permits freer access to the pool. "It is removable when the pool is in use and stored in the basement," says Elizabeth.

And to make the glassy surface of the infinity-edge pool just a little more enticing, one of Tal Architect's statement designs was included.

"We create a green perimeter for each site, which creates privacy for outdoor living areas," says Elizabeth. "Our clients can dip naked in their swimming pool without neighbours overlooking."


Careful consideration was given to the placement of furniture and storage spaces within the guest bedroom to cope with the unusual roof design above it. The floor-to-ceiling, half-crescent window creates a soft light for the room.

Pools Design Global Interiors

Latest stories