Historic Site: The Pagoda House

 The Pagoda House, situated on Nahmani & Montefiore streets was built in 1924 and designed by architect Alexander Levy. He came to “Palestine” from Germany during the Bauhaus boom of the 1920′s, lived and worked here for several years but “never felt at home” and later returned to  Germany where he was killed at Auschwitz.  

This noble structure, originally built as a private home; is a combination of Western and Oriental styles.  It is not open to visitors, but the outside is unlike most buildings here in Tel Aviv and worth a visit.    

The pagoda House in 1988 before restoration

Here it is as it stands today

Not only is the house amazing, this area just off of Allenby street is full of cafes and shops and is  fun to explore.  Around the corner at 39 Ahad Ha’am Street there is  Yaniv Glass Gallery, a small but beautifully curated gallery that also showcases fine works of art in their shop.  Keep walking to 68 Ahad Ha’am and you will reach Elemento, a shop that carries contemporary items big and small. 

Room with no view

View, no view…

I am not big on window treatments and as a matter of fact I don’t have a single curtain or window covering in my home.  If it were not for the permanent blinds that are on every building here in Tel Aviv, my apartment would be an open fish tank for all to see!  I came across a window treatment that I think has potential, but I can’t figure out if they slide side to side or are stationary.

Orgad a company based here in Israel, is a supplier of window treatments.  I found these on their website and thought they were worth a share.

The panels here are semi-sheer and let in some light, I like this quality in a window treatment but if they don’t slide away from the window or roll up like a shade does then I think these are limited.  I know that some views are not ideal, but there is something to be said for having access to a natural light source.    

I like the way these add color to the room.  Most window treatments are beige or white and blend into the decor unnoticed.  You have to have guts to add colored window treatments to a room, if you ask me not enough people do.


Here are some white panels that double as room dividers, not a bad way to create another space but I feel sorry for the room in front that is loosing it’s light source.  I hate the fabric here and find the “all white” interior disturbing, I guess that blue chair in the background is holding up the color end of the deal here… 

On a positive note, I can see using this type of treatment in an open doorway or an exposed pantry as an economical solution to an unsightly situation.


SpiceIT – again

Last week I wrote a post which some people thought was rather harsh (and extremely funny) about the design firm, SpiceIT. I’m not going to apologize for that post. I still think that it takes a lot of chuztpa to put twigs in a vase in a room with only a bedroom set and call it interior design. What design? You picked out the bedroom set? You hung a net shmata from the ceiling? Not interesting, and certainly not design.

However, This week I’m going to show their living room designs, and some of these I do like.

I love color, and you don’t get much happier colors than those used in the salon above. The space is young, exuberant and inviting. I would have loved living in a place like that back in the day as a singleton in Tel Aviv.

With that said, it doesn’t say designer space to me. One hires a designer to create a look that they could not do on their own. Something divine, transcendental, incredibly different. While the space above is sweet and funky, it also wreaks of student – which is not the target market for interior designers.

The living room, above, looks almost like the pages of IKEA, only not quite as interesting. I have to admit, they lost me here. There isn’t enough color to warm the space, and the overload of IKEA furniture makes it dull. Where is the creativity?

This is what bothers me about their work. You can’t just go, pick out pieces that are already shown together in a showroom, and call it design. Design is about pulling in the unexpected, about subtlety, nuance, ambiance, and interest. Buying everything from the same shop, and slapping it together so that it looks like the showroom, is none of those things. Yes, I love IKEA and I think they do great work. I have friends with fabulous spaces where most of the stuff comes from IKEA - but not everything does. They pull things in from souk ha pish pishim in Yaffa, or tchochkes from their travels, and they create an interesting space. The space above is fine for what it is, but it is also quite dull.

My favorite part of the space above is the breakfast bar on the back wall. Otherwise, the bricks add some interest, which is good. The colors are subtle and interesting. The carpet has a nice texture. It’s ok.

Overall, the salons are better than the bedrooms. Of course, considering what I thought of the bedrooms, it really isn’t saying much.

Designer review: Klaus Haapaniemi

Dinner plate

Dishes are really something special, especially this unique product line designed by Finnish designer Klaus Haapaniemi.  The patterns seen here are inspired by traditional Finnish folk tales, what a strange little owl. 

Espresso cup

If you are interested in adding these to your dinnerware collection, the dinner plates go for $40.00 each, the espresso cup can be had for $11.00 each and mugs for $22.00 each.   Unicahome ships internationally with a minimum oredr of $100.00.



I can see using these decorative dishes along with a set of whites.  These would be a welcomed gift in my home.

Getting started: Furniture arranging kits

I had never heard of a ”furniture arranging kit” before I wrote this article.  I found this product to be interesting, especially for my profession in Feng Shui which focuses on furniture placement in the home.  I may even purchase one and try it on for size!

* I don’t think they ship to Israel

The kit includes a series of templates like the ones shown here.  You can select which rooms you are interested in planning and the buy the templates based on that.  You are a candidate for this product if you are : an interior designer or interested in design, moving into a new home, involved in Feng Shui like I am or anything in the area of floor planning.

Paper dolls for grown ups… what fun!


Artist review: Hagit Dvir

Sometimes a room needs a touch of nostalgia …

These delicate paintings by artist Hagit Dvir can add a bit of nostalgia to any home.  Something about these pieces remind me of my grandmothers house. 

I can see this yellow ochre cabinet in any kitchen.  This piece has such country style flair!

I have seen so many designers lines that feature “all white” furniture these days (boring), the addition of a painted drawer changes the whole personality of this piece.

Painted wall plates can liven up any blank canvas, hang three or four and you’ve got a collection. 



Color trends

Cobalt blue pigment in its natural form

 Color trends are all about the way we see things.  There are many paint & color forcasting companies that publish current trends in color and design at the start of each New Year.  I use this information as a guide for fashion and home furnishings. There are local and international resources to choose from, here you can check into Israeli paint company Nirlat’s color trends report.  They are updated through spring 2008. 

Just because you worked at IKEA in display

Doesn’t mean you can set up your own interior design firm.

SpiceIT are an interior design team based somewhere in Israel. My husband sent me their link and asked me what I  thought of them while he was researching topics for tchochkes.co.il.

I find their work provoking. I say this because I looked at page after page of ‘straight out of IKEA’ boredom and dullness and wanted to scream. Where is the style? Where is the individuality? Where is the creativity? Where is the design?

I think their work sucks. The room above, for example, has no actual bedding on the bed. The silver lamme drapes should go down to the floor. The padded walls make it look like an asylum. The white on white everywhere is done the wrong way and the IKEA table is just stuck there, too far to be a bedside table, too small to be a coffee table for the sitting area. The silver cushions are tacky, the silver on the door is worse.

I like the color of the base of the bed. That’s it. The room above looks like it was decorated by kids in high school who are simply copying IKEA. If that were the case – I would love the room. However, one has higher expectations from someone stating to be an interior designer expecting to be hired.

Anyone who would pay to have a room look like that should have their head examined.

The room above would be fine if it was, again, just someones room. Actually it looks like a room in a zimmer (Israeli version of bread and breakfast). Still, my old complaints are there – where’s the bedding? What is the purpose of the netting at the foot of the bed? It’s obviously not against mosquitoes. Only one bedside table has a light on it. The bed needs a box spring – the mattress is way too low. And then of course, my favorite – twigs in a vase.


Also, what are those blue things on the bed? They obviously aren’t rose petals. Rose petals don’t come in that color. I can’t imagine why someone would decorate a bed with marbles…

Apparently someones poodle died in the center of the bed.

Hate it.

I do like the drapes. Their tonal shading is quite nice. I also like the wall bedside lamps.

Lucky for me, SpiceIT also has kitchens on their site – which I will give my comments on later this week.

Color by color: Blue

An all blue room…

Blue is one of the most popular colors.  I call it a genderless color, it is accepted in both male and female circles.  This year Pantone, a leading color forecasting service has predicted it as “The Color of The year“.  here it is, Blue iris; a rich red based cobalt blue.

I like blue for its soothing qualities.  It is a color that reflects the oceans and the sky.  Historically, royalty and richness were associated with blue.  There are so many shades of blue to choose from, like the combination shown here that utilizes turquoise blue with yellow walls.


Very Mediterranean blue, this door is framed with a different shade altogether.  And just by changing the shade of blue as on the door below, we are instantly transported to the french countryside.   


Recognize this flag?  This year Israel celebrates its 60th year being blue… we are so in fashion!

We are not the only ones, here is an entire blue city in Jodphour India.

Well, I have herd of a white elephant but never a blue one…

Very cool blue!

The ugly sofa

I came across these sofas from Milano bedding that are quite expensive and I think pretty darn ugly.  This company not only boasts style but also ultimate comfort.  I searched and searched for the comfort aspect on their website and I could not come up with anything to show.  The price tags starting at 9,000 and up to 40,000 NIS are not in the bargain shopper range to say the least.  I even think that IKEA has some comprable sofas for half the price.

Ouch, this sofa looks sooo uncomfortable.  I would not last long sitting here.

It looks like they left the down comforter on the sofa… Where is the style here?

Oh, that’s where I left my yellow sleeping bag!

This sofa had possibilities but I think you can find a similar one at IKEA.

I almost thought this one was nice but then I noticed that they forgot to iron the skirt.  The crinkle thing just does not work for me.

Not only is the couch boring and uncomfortable looking, the room setting is horrible.  Are those square covered in the same fabric as the couch, yikes!