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July 23, 2015
This historic home by Henkin Shavit Architecture is reimagined through a modern lens.
Upper interior courtyard in a renovated home in northern Israel

The original home was built in the shape of the Hebrew letter “Chet," which wrapped around an open courtyard. The courtyard was closed off to become flexible public space, and now lies in between two private living areas. A steel and wood bridge connects the private wings of the home, which consist of bedrooms, bathrooms, and working spaces for the residents. 

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Limestone walls and original stone stairs in a renovated home in northern Israel

The walls are made of recycled limestone sourced locally from dismantled houses. The stone staircase, original to the home, was kept intact and wrapped in tin boards. Though it used to lead to the home’s roof, it now connects the kitchen and dining area with a new addition above. The door frame of the guest unit is fabricated in varnished steel to complement the natural beauty of the surrounding stone

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Interior courtyard in a renovated home in northern Israel

Irit and Zohar imagined a space that would be a cohesive blend of old and new. Stone, metal, glass, and wood intersect in the interior courtyard. Large skylights bring light in, and play upon the indoor-outdoor functionality of the courtyard space.

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Courtyard in a renovated home in northern Israel

Warm and casual furniture is favored in the courtyard. Colorful seating, wood stools, and smart built-in shelving complete the space. The expandable table by Henkin Shavit is flanked by seven hanging pendant lights, symbolizing the branches of the Menorah. To the right of the table, the original stone arch leads to the home’s wine cellar. 

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Master suite below a stone archway in a renovated home in Israel

The master suite is housed in a cozy ground floor nook that takes advantage of the home’s original archways. Transparent and semi-transparent glass are used to create privacy without sacrificing scarce light. Understated sunken floor lighting adds a subtle accent to the perimeter. 

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Glass and steel doorway leading to master bathroom in a renovated home in northern Israel

The master bathroom is framed by a glass and varnished steel doorway. Minimal white tiling and concrete floors allow both the original stone walls and graphic geometric glass openings to take center stage. 

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Exterior of a renovated stone home in northern Israel

The historic facade blends in with the new stone of the addition. Several balconies on the upper level encourage outdoor living, and enable movement between the two private wings of the home. Situated on a hill in the old historic district, sweeping views are enjoyed from these private outdoor retreats. 

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Upper interior courtyard in a renovated home in northern Israel

The original home was built in the shape of the Hebrew letter “Chet," which wrapped around an open courtyard. The courtyard was closed off to become flexible public space, and now lies in between two private living areas. A steel and wood bridge connects the private wings of the home, which consist of bedrooms, bathrooms, and working spaces for the residents. 

From the street, this 18th-century stone residence blends in inconspicuously with its neighbors in the old city of Safed in the north of Israel. Architects Henkin Irit and Shavit Zohar preserved the historic shell, while introducing contemporary elements to the interior including concrete, wood, steel, and glass. After navigating an arduous documentation process to move the project forward, the architects went to great lengths to preserve and embrace the rich history of the home, while pushing design boundaries on the interior.

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