Interiorssneak peeks

A Family home in Israel filled with Vintage finds from around the world

by Amy Azzarito

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Friend and travel photographer Sivan Askayo calls Karen Shavit, the Israeli Martha Stewart, meaning that she is both a designer and an entrepreneur in lifestyle and design. Four times a year, Karen curates and produces what she has dubbed  “Collage Sales”.  It’s an effort to provide a platform for young  designers to show and sell their artworks.  Karen features everything from jewelry and hats to fashion and decor at these shows. Each event is held at a different location and lasts for three days. In addition to showcasing the work of other artists, Karen produces her own line of colorful scarfs and women’s jellaba. With so much professional activity, it is particularly important that home be a calm, relaxing escape as well as place to nurture creativity. Karen’s house is located in Kibbutz Gvat, in Izrael Valley (Emek Izrael) in the North of Israel. It is built on a hill, overlooking endless cotton fields, sunflowers fields, orchards and olive trees. She, husband, Edan Shavit (a software engineer) and their two daughters, Alma (7) and Noga (4), have lived her for just about a year, but it already feels like home. Thanks, Karen and a big thank you to  Israel-based Sivan Askayo ! –Amy

Image above:The family living room: These are furniture pieces that I collected and brought from different places all over the world. The table is from England, the mustard colored chair is from Denmark and the rocking horse- I found in a flea market in Belgium. The flower ornament and the pictures on the wall are from the US. The doors in the back are old doors that were re-painted and re-constructed. I found them in a market in Haifa, Israel.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek

Image above: Our dining table. The chairs were found in the street and I restored them. On the shelves I have placed my vintage collection. From the kitchen windows, you can see the green fields and nature that surrounds us and the house. The vintage collection varies; ceramic dutch houses miniatures, mugs from Marakech, babushka dolls from Russia and dishes I use for formal dinners.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek

See more of this family home in Israel after the jump!

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: Kitchen: My friend built these shelves for me; They are very basic and simple. I use these shelves to store the dishes we use on a daily basis. I just love the can opener in the shape of a mermaid.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: I wanted to place the mirror on the wall above the kitchen sink.  The mirror is like a substitute for a window for me. It also allows me to watch my daughters when I’m preparing their dinner, and they are playing in the living room or next to the kitchen’s table.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: This is our dining table after a Weekend Brunch. My husband is usually in charge of the brunches. I love to have flowers at home and on the dining table. The mugs varies; some are ceramic and the pink one made of plastic and belongs to my younger daughter.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: The view from the window in my kitchen. I found the hand painted vases in a flea market and the flowers are from our backyard garden.

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Image above: We decided to ‘mark’  and differentiate the cooking area in the kitchen from the dining area, by using colorful concrete tiles, with eastern ornaments

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Image above: Above the dining area, I’ve hung a morano-glass lamp I have found and bought in the flea market in Jaffa, Israel

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: My working space: The wall serves as an inspiration board for me. A collection of pictures and vintage lamps that I found and bought in various flea markets in the world. The vintage wallpaper I found on eBay. The long working counter is used by all family members; it is also my husband’s work space and where my daughters are do their homework or their drawings. We bought the counter from an American designer. It was originally an industrial counter in a diamond warehouse.

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Image above: A closeup of my working space. Where I spend most of my hours, writing my blog. You can see my laptop alongside my husband’s computer

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: The Girls room: The massive wood closet I found and bought in Belgium. The colorful suitcases I bought in a flea market in Jaffa. My girls use these suitcases to store some of their toys and for their play dates. Hanging on the handle is my older daughter’s ballet tutu.. She is proud of it.

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Image above: The master bedroom: I love to collect old handkerchiefs and turn them into decorative pillows. The floral quilt add a romantic flair to the bed.

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Image above: A peek to my bedroom. The floor is made of real bamboo. The lace curtain I found in a local flea market. It is a hand made French Embroidery that used to be a table cloth. I’m happy to say it cost me only 2 dollars and 50 cents. The door in my bedroom is an old wood door that was repainted and restored and kept its ‘vintage’ look

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Image above: The “Make up Desk” in my bedroom. I found and bought the Danish chest of drawers in a local vintage store called ‘Vintagemania’ in Israel. The mirror I found and bought in Ardingly, an antique fair in England. The jewelry boxes were bought in various flea markets, some used to keep cookies fresh.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: A closeup of my vintage ‘make up desk’. This 1950s statue is the Artemis Goddess riding on a horse. The Artemis is my favorite goddess. I  found it early in the morning in the flea market in Haifa, Israel. I knew I had to come early before the rest of the crowd start shopping.

Design*Sponge/Sneak Peek
Image above: A peek to our Weekend Brunch. The dining table in the center of the kitchen is also the center of the house and the center of our family life. Around this table we eat, the girls do their homework and sometimes, we host friends for lunch and dinners. On one of the walls, I have installed shelves to hold my colorful and diverse vintage collection. It is a huge collection I am very proud of.


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  • I am a huge vintage collector and it is fantastic to see things displayed and not look like complete chaos. Everything about this home is welcoming… Simply put, looking at the photos just makes me happy, I cannot imagine how it would feel to be there in person.

  • live the house -such a delicate combination of details – making a beautiful home!
    and of course Sivan’s shots are perfect!

  • Simply lovely! The bouquet of daisies is so cheerful. I love that time of the year when my lawn is covered in daisies.

  • What an amazing house full of love and happiness :)
    the most unique vintage collections put together so beautifully.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this tour. I’ll probably revisit it again tomorrow since I love all the details and I’m sure I missed something wonderful.

  • What a happy home you have created by surrounding yourself with the things you love! Each capture was better than the last, thank you for sharing!

  • This is a beautiful unique home–especially compared to what I have seen there. I can’t remember seeing a floor other than stone!

  • As a swede its fun to see the beloved caracter Pippi Långstrump or Pippi Longstocking in a home so far from Sweden (the photo in the table with 3 children on a horse). This home reminds me a bit of hers with all the colours and vintage touch. :)

  • I’ve been a longtime quiet observer of this site and I feel I just have to say that this is probably my favorite tour that has ever been shown. There is just so much to love, namely the ‘real-ness’. Just when I was starting to suffer from pinterest-perfect eye candy burnout, this gem comes along and makes me want to get to know the people living there.

  • Haven’t seen such a fun, amazingly done place in awhile! What a treat, thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you all for loving our home.
    The paint color in the kitchen wall is hand bland plaster by a color artist, Michael Cohen.
    I’m deeply touched by your wonderful comments.

  • It is a very personal space, and this for me, makes it outstanding. No trends per se, just well loved objects that make this family happy. Well-done!

  • I find this very interesting. In fact, I was able to get some tips from you about creative styling. You know, I really like vintage stuffs especially to create a classic atmosphere at home. This is such a great idea!

  • It is so refreshing to see such a unique Israeli house, far from the cookie-cutter boxes and trisim of Tel Aviv. And what excellent finds from the Yafo flea market! I never get there early enough for anything good.

  • This is the most charming and personal home I have seen in years, you really made it your own. Lovely family, I so enjoyed all the photographs. Thank you for sharing, you have given me lots of ideas!

  • What a pretty home! I love the personality and depth. There is a sweet whimsy in all the items and rooms featured. Good one!

  • Your kitchen is the most amazing one that I have seen anywhere, and I look everywhere. It really makes me feel so peaceful, I just love gazing at the pictures, there’s so much to see and wonder about with all the vintage history it holds. I am curious about the the glass attached to the wall above the sink, can you tell me what it is and what you use it for. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely family and home. Etta

  • These amazing photos remind me of a scene from”Little house on the prairie”….
    Where is Laura Ingles?!
    Beautiful home Karen!

  • Thank you all for loving our home, for your questions:

    ETTA KELLEY – the glass attached to the wall above the sink is an old vintage mirror that i found on a flee market in the u.k. we use it to catch the light in to inner wall instead of a window, and also when I stand with my back to the dining table, I still have eye contact with my family and friends.

    GALIT – Laura Ingles is also here, alive and kicking :

    I’m deeply touched by your wonderful comments, thank you.

  • Fabulous collection of vintage pieces that you have put together to make your home cozy and personal!

  • I was wondering what type of wood and stain your cabinets are made from. Would love to know where they came from.

  • LOVE your kitchen so much! What’s the name of your marble countertops? I’ve searched high and low for just that color/pattern. I’m obsessed!

  • I love the peek you gave us into your home! So many beautiful things! I never thought of putting a mirror in front of a sink without a window but what a great idea! I think a small mirror with a window would be great too. For like you said you can see what your family is doing behind you. Your vintage collection is so much like the one I use to have. When we NAD to move into my aunts home to care for her and my now deceased grandmother, I had to give it all up! It was one of the hardest things I had ever done! A lot of years and “hunting” went into my collection just like I’m sure yours is. I believe my favorite item in your house is that gorgeous table cloth on your table! Is it another find or did you do it yourself? Again the k you!