Urban Chic by Keren Niv Toledano

Urban Chic is a lovely eclectic home located in Israel, designed by Keren Niv Toledano.

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A fusion of styles, layering of materials, and elegant design are the prominent features of a home designed by interior designer, Keren Niv-Toledano. She designed it for a thirty-something couple and their son in one of the most pastoral community settlements in the center of Israel. The urban-industrial concept, with a minimalist nod, provides a warm and cozy ambiance thanks to surprising combinations of elements. A glimpse of a refined, meticulous living space that matches the spirit, desires, and tastes of its owners without resorting to trends.

The fantasy to create a precise, meticulous and fun, residential space was fulfilled in the home of a couple in their 30s with a young son. The exterior shell of the home, located in one of the most tranquil and verdant communities in Israel, was designed by architect, Eyal Ben Ayun – a perfect wrapping for the interior design entrusted to Keren Niv-Toledano. She successfully created an elegant and inviting living space for the family by planning the woodworking details and selecting the wall coverings, lighting fixtures, furniture, textiles, and abundant art which adds a cultural and personal dimension. The design provides a fully functional solution for the occupants of the home and includes storage solutions that leave the space neat, airy, and organized.

As in all her work, Niv-Toledano was meticulous about the treatment of the inner shell of this house too. Beginning with the wooden and stone floors, to the walls that are highlighted with shades and textures, and, finally, on to the ceilings. These all provide a precisely detailed setting for the additional elements: woodwork, lighting, furniture, textiles, art, and accessories. Her process, the layering of materials such as concrete, wood, and iron, alongside soft, refined, and transparent materials such as linen, velvet, crystals, and rattan, produces full-depth environments with a sophisticated and rich look.

The house is located on a half-dunam plot and is divided into three levels: an entrance level with an impressive foyer, a sculptural staircase that rises to a double-height, kitchen, dining area, living room, guest bathroom, and pool and yard access. A patio bridges the entrance and living floors, allowing natural light into the house.

The design is not “pretentious” or “chintzy”. On the contrary, it is urban, industrial, and somewhat masculine with a minimalist touch, simultaneously transmitting an abundance of warmth and tenderness. Niv-Toledano diligently used strong, dominant, and rough elements and created strata of materials, textures and patterns, built-in layers, rendering an original, updated, and innovative look. The exterior remains classic, almost neutral. The large, massive elements serve as a background upon which the secondary elements were based – tone on tone, graduated from light to dark. Small items like pillows, art pieces, and accessories are what infuse the space with a fashionable and colorful dimension and provide an aspect of drama and interest.

The entrance to the house features an impressive door made of black painted oak. Upon entering the foyer, one discovers a cultural display that combines various influences and styles. Examples of this are the eclectic, original carpet, art pieces, and the lighting fixture that cascades from the double height of the space and adds an authentic, original touch. The staircase, with its spiral framework, bluestone cladding, and handmade custom railing, is made of iron and integrates well with the black window profiles. The foyer walls are painted and highlighted in industrial gray.

The patio that bridges the two levels produces unity and flow between the spaces. It is paved with reclaimed bricks imported from Belgium, which lend the surroundings a textural, rich, and urban appearance. The kitchen area, located in the center of the space opposite the dining area and double-height space, is defined by dark grey stone flooring distinguishing it from the remainder of the space with its smoked oak, herringbone parquet. Its large windows bring the outdoors and nature inside. The kitchen’s contours are straight and linear, and in its center, there is a wide, accessorized island above which are three light fixtures. Made of black iron, brass, and milky glass, the fixtures link the industrial style to the clean line. The climate control system was modified to fit in the kitchen’s dropped ceiling, allowing the rest of the space to remain at the original height.

Between the dining area and the living room, Niv-Toledano created a relaxing and tranquil niche where one can sit and enjoy the patio while watching the views outside. The dominant, sculptural light fixtures she used unify functionality and harmoniously tie the varying ceiling heights together.

In the living room, she created material contrasts: the prominent iron bookcase, handcrafted by an artist, stands out against the backdrop of the soft curtains, wooden panels, velvet upholstery, the camel colored, rough-out leather sofa, and a tribal rug in shades of black and white. The dark rattan, feathers, ethnic elements, and touches of greenery that add freshness, combine to form an intriguing contrast between the rough and the refined.

Photography courtesy of Keren Niv Toledano

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- by Matt Watts