Photography: Elad Gonen

Restoring an old house is no small feat. An architect/designer needs to integrate modern touches with much caution and lots of care and to work closely together with a skilled team to make magic happen.

In this instance, a remarkable historic landmark house with a huge garden built in the 1930s was the project at hand. We had to be extremely careful to maintain the character of the rooms as we strived to return the former beauty and glory to this formidable mansion in Jerusalem.

View of the refurbished mansion from the outside

View of the refurbished mansion from the outside

Due to strict regulations, the exterior was not allowed to be altered, and even the original iron front doors and porch railings had to be maintained and restored.

The only addition permitted was a sunroom. We decided to design it in a totally different style; in a minimalistic style. We wished to convey a sense of elegance and sophistication, but in a manner, that contrasts to the century-old abode.

Entrance with restored porch railings

The front of the house was cleaned and re-clad with the mandatory and original Jerusalem stone, which is a pale limestone and the original railing was carefully reinstalled. The plush green backdrop makes you feel as if you have traveled back in time, which is exactly what we wished to convey — a timeless beauty. Landscaping is as important as it contributes to the overall beauty of a home. A gorgeous garden can uplift you and invokes a feeling of wellbeing. We were lucky to have worked with landscapers Weingrod Abrahamson who were able to beautifully create and integrate the outdoor surroundings with Marc Flam’s architecture.

The elegant marble foyer with an intricate and decorative wrought iron railing, classic area rug and chandelier hint at the luxury that follows inside. (Note the renovated entrance door)

Elegant glass dining room table with upholstered chairs in cream satin and a crystal chandelier

I wished to design a stylish and exquisite dining room that was light and grand at the same time. The interior design consists of a regal and formal glass dining table with upholstered chairs in cream satin. The wooden door frames of the rectangular doorways enhance the interior design of the space, while the crystal gold-lined tableware offers luxurious appeal. Botticino marble floors provide unparalleled beauty — always!

family room
family room

Casual yet elegant library and family room

Fifteen feet high ceilings can be observed in this library/ family room, one of my favorite spaces in a home. It is the room with a perfect setting for escape, whether to read, do some work, or indulge in a real conversation. In this instance, I created a casual and comforting ambiance using textures, colors, and lighting. The importance is always to create and design a space that has unity and that is harmonious.

The sun room, surrounded by floor to ceiling windows and a skylight. The only addition to this old abode

The kitchen design that I chose for the home is classic but I combined contemporary design elements too. The outcome is a harmonious whole. I find this furnishing style to be absolutely beautiful. The brick-like backsplash is old school, the vent hood is sleek and modern stainless steel, the marble countertops give the kitchen a brilliant shine, the cabinets are state of the art of a traditional design, while the dark bar stools are modern and eye-catching.


Kitchen with contemporary design elements

As for the bedroom I went with plush purple accents. Purple is often associated with royalty and power it stands for luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also the color of passion and romance and represents prosperity and extravagance, which is exactly what I was looking for. The quality bedding, throw pillows, upholstered headboard, magnificent chandelier, high-pile rug, heavy draperies, and statement staircase leading to a roof-top balcony set the perfect scene for a grand look.

As for this classically designed master bathroom, it perfectly suits the grandeur and regality of the rest of the house. The bathroom is clad with book matched elegant Statuario marble slabs that are white and laced with delicate grey veins. The same stone is used for the moldings of the bath, as well as the shower door and window frames so that there is an even and calming consistency to the scheme. To summarize: the design is simple and sophisticated which lets the natural beauty of the materials take center stage. We see here again harmony and beauty for a subtle yet very much felt luxurious ambiance.

To conclude restoring a historic house is a large undertaking. You need to be extremely careful with old structures and know that surprises may await you. However, if you are successful with the final result, there is great satisfaction in bringing new life to an old house and creating a dream home for someone.

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Annette Frommer was born and educated in Belgium. Her work is influenced by European culture, elegance, and sophistication.