RINATA BELSON, INTERIOR DESIGNER, KFAR VRADIM
Interview by Veronica Yudkevich PHOTOGRAPHY BY INBAL CABIRI
When I first entered Rinata’s house I felt right at home. It might be true that part of this feeling is due to Rinata’s warm hug or her welcoming smile, but it is also because hers is the home of my dreams, even though unconscious ones. It is a home I long for not necessarily for its physical manifestation but for the calming, warm atmosphere, enveloping its comers with an invitation to participate.
This open invitation stems from the deep connection between a home and its owners. Rinata also suggests that the location itself, the Galilee, adds to the equation. According to Rinata, the Galilee is a paradise, a unique place that attracts people by enabling them to create in a different way than in any other setting. Committed to her calling, she moves in her beloved spheres of colors, creations, materials and art, working, among other things, in designing spaces and homes, mainly for women.
Each home, starting from her first one bought at 26 and up to her current abode, into which she moved about a year ago, Rinata describes as a journey. Her last house, that had also become the project of her life, was a love at first sight. This love comes through every detail and every corner of the house, because when you make something you love with a wide-open heart, you arrive home.
How do your values show themselves in your home?
I always stay true to my love of raw materials, simplicity, and my favorite color palette. Much of my inspiration comes from nature. For years I’ve been watching its colors and its ability to change, grow, and renew – these are the skills I embrace.
I think homes reflect their owners’ personalities, and everybody that comes to my house relates to me because my house is me. It's like my business card. I’m not into trends; I’m looking for a story behind everything, that’s why every object is so important to me.
Tell me about your collections.
My collections were born many years ago, each in another loop, like taking a train every time to a different direction. I've had a thing for baskets since I was a child – I had baskets in my small room in my parents’ house, and I remember bringing baskets from flea markets in Germany. Then I got tired of it and gave or threw everything away. Next I decided to collect glass; I had lots of unique glass objects, almost none of which are left today. At some point my mother said: “No glass, only wood.” My mother loved wood all her life; she had and amazing collection of wooden objects and tools. When she passed away I took her collection and have kept adding to it ever since. I have collections of cutting boards, rolling pins and other kitchen utensils. I hope that after me the girls in the family will continue this tradition that is associated with family, kitchen, and mothers.
I’ve completed the circle and came back to baskets again; now I have a collection from all over the world. It’s hard to tell where my love for baskets comes from, but I think there’s something feminine in them – like women, they contain, for better and for worse. I also really like wearing baskets – there’re small ones, big ones for the beach, an even bigger ones for groceries and a basket for Tzuki (the dog) that, incidentally, also likes baskets. I’m the lady with baskets.
Do you have a favorite object?
I have many objects I love. I’ve never learned how to pick just one.
Are designed objects/home design an overindulgence or a must?
Definitely a must. Even dropped in a beach hut in Sinai, I’d try to create my own space by making a mobile from cockleshells, for example. Everybody has this existential need for a private space. Even homeless people make themselves a corner to sleep in.
How do you transform a house into a home?
It’s a thing of beauty, an art of connecting pieces. I want my home to reflect my story, my life journey, my loves, my desires – those are the most important points to emphasize. That way, a house will become a home and not a hotel. Our home also has to serve us and to feel comfortable.
When I smell something baking or a fabric softener it means home, when I see objects it means home, but stains and mess are also part of a home – it means somebody is living in it. It’s true that I have a tidy home, but when the kids are here everything is allowed. Anyway, I like clearing out the mess afterwards; this is the dynamic of movement, like in nature, that renews all the time.
Do you have a favorite area in the house? Why?
Every place I have lived in I always find myself sitting in a spot from which I can observe the house. I can gaze for hours, watching and dreaming. In this house I like sitting on the sofa, looking towards the living area and the kitchen. There is something very soothing about this high-ceilinged space. The kitchen, on the other hand, is a gathering space. I always entertain in the kitchen; I really like everything about food, snacking, chitchat, and general clutter.
Tell me about the making of this home. Was it different from working with a client?
Yes, certainly. I’m attentive to my clients, bringing together their worlds and mine. My home is 100% me. Having a three-dimensional vision, I immediately picture the space just from a description, which then leads me to a sort of a journey around the objects and space. Sometimes I don’t sleep the whole night just thinking and imagining where everything would be placed. The same is true when I work for a client. People tend to scatter things everywhere and I do the opposite - assemble together many times what is already there– and sometimes remove when a home is overstuffed. The objects are tools I use to create a story. Every home will have my signature in the natural materials, clusters and trios, with touches of color in the homes of color-loving clients.
What’s the worst design decision you’ve ever made?
I don’t think I ever made a bad design decision. I’m prone to totality, so if something is not ‘wow’ it won’t exist at all.
What will make the most impact in a home design-wise for a minimal cost?
The right pairing of objects. Home design is not about money. Good designers know how to reorganize a home, sometimes add or remove.
Can you recommend a book or other information sources that you find useful or important?
I find the Wabi-Sabi book truly inspirational; the perfection-in-imperfection philosophy is also the motto behind my design approach. That duality that is a part of me and my personality represents my vision and point of view: I’m accurate, but not quite, a little rough, neat and messy, contemporary and aged.
Two other books that are important to me are The Things by George Perec and Conversations with Brancusi. I’m an interdisciplinary person, who’s inspired by different worlds and balances them together. My muses hail from literature, philosophy, art, design, Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophical teachings and the Yemima method that I’ve been practicing for 13 years, helping me to stay focused and precise.
Location: Kfar Veradim
Size: 175 m2
Architect: Batya Alon
Residents: Rinata (women's home stylist ) and Tzuki (the dog)
Living in the house since 2016
Rinata recommends – design related shops in Northern Israel
- Beit Melacha (Workshop House) in Regba – a beautiful space, thoughtfully made, home to events and handicraft workshops; everything in there is for sale.
- Nima in Evron – a sweet little shop run by two clothes designers with a keen eye for unique pieces. (Soon a coffee shop and patisserie is going to open next to them.)
- Boa'cha Yodfat commercial center in Yodfat – a must visit
- Studio Derech in Shavei Zion – a concept store
- Studio Jara in Klil – glass artists
- Yonit Crystal from Yavne'el – traditional crafts workshops
- Hasi Naveh textile studio in Bustan Hagalil
- Vintage and second-hand shops: Yalduti Hashniya (Kfar Masaryk), Babushka (Regba), Matmonit (Evron), Devarim Bet (Manot), Shniya Mehaboidem (Carmiel)