Have you always wanted to own your dream home in Israel, beautifully designed and decorated? Whether you already have a home in Israel or are considering buying one, architect Amy Cohn is ready to turn it into the home of your dreams. Amy and her team offer a soup-to-nuts architectural and design service, which can include choosing a building site, finding an existing house or apartment, executing plans, overseeing construction, designing interiors and selecting furnishings. Her customizable and extensive services meet her clients’ unique needs and geographical locations. Some clients have already made aliyah, others purchase an existing apartment or house while still contemplating the move. In fact, 90% of her clients are Anglos. Many are bewildered by what to do next, how to optimize the space, especially when they are remote. “Land is at a premium in Israel and my clients feel more confident knowing that I will maximize their space in a way that will best serve their needs.” Amy explained. “Additionally, building anywhere can be a bureaucratic tightrope, and my team and I are able to help the client navigate the system and deal with problems as they arise.
“Some clients have requested we handle all details involved in setting up a home, from the slabs and beams of the foundation all the way to final details like purchasing linens and cutlery. We also have a roster of reliable real estate lawyers, first-rate contractors, craftsman, consultants and suppliers of quality building materials to choose from. We pass on our professional discounts from plumbing and electrical suppliers directly to the client, which can also provide valuable cost savings,” Amy told The Jewish Link.
Amy’s office is centrally located in Jerusalem where she does most of her work. She has worked on residential apartments, private villas, swimming pools and offices, and was responsible for the redesign of the prime minister’s office in the Knesset.
A native New Yorker, Amy grew up in a Zionist family. “Our family would spend every summer vacation in Jerusalem,” she recounted. “It gave me a familiarity with the winding streets and a love for the Jerusalem stone facades.” On how she got into architecture, she said, “I loved drawing, painting and best of all chiseling sculptures. I got a degree in fine arts and interior design from Stern College and the Fashion Institute of Technology and then a master’s in architecture from Parsons School of Design. While I was studying basic drafting skills, I interned for the summer at Kolker Kolker Epstein, a Jerusalem-based architecture firm. The office was working at the time on several projects, among them the new Jerusalem municipality building. I knew then and there I wanted to be an architect and make aliyah.”
At the time that she met her husband, she was working at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with the internationally renowned architect James Freed on the Israel Museum’s new Entrance Complex. “My husband wanted us to make aliyah right away,” she shared. “I had this incredible job and was working on an international project so I wasn’t ready to leave in the middle. We compromised, and he came to the States until the project was completed and then we made aliyah.” That was 23 years ago. One of her first projects after she opened her own firm in Israel was the renovation of the apartment her parents had bought in 1974. Her father has since passed away, but her mom still lives in that apartment today.
“I have lots of different clients,” Amy reflects. “I love the challenge of taking a space that is not working and maximizing the use of that space. I worked on an apartment with a footprint of 90 square meters on each floor and turned that space into a duplex, a five-bedroom, four-bathroom home while still maintaining a feeling of space.” Amy has built homes from scratch but most of her business is involved in renovations. While she loves completely renovating a home, if all you need is a new kitchen or a room addition, she’s happy to oblige. Amy feels entry foyers are often a space in a home that is overlooked. “I believe a well-designed entry should be like a good novel, that grabs you at beginning encouraging you to turn the pages as the novel unfolds.”
Corona and travel restrictions have not kept Amy and her office from operating as usual. Amy has always been adept at working virtually with her clients as many of her clients live overseas. She is great at keeping clients involved who want to be involved and can still go tile shopping and furniture shopping with them thanks to Facetime and WhatsApp.