It was a simple office, we turned it into a warm home for lone soldiers

In response to a request from the Big Brother Organization for Lone Soldiers, the KOREN Design Company was called into action. In collaboration with Natam Property Management and a long list of sub-suppliers, we turned an office into a warm home within a few weeks.

  • Walla!
  • May 2023
  • Walla.co.il! Home and Design
The Living Room in the “Big Brother” Home after its Renovation

“We wanted a design that gives a sense of family warmth; instead of white, we chose light brown and cream colors, and the light blue of the Tel Aviv seashore,” recounts Gali Koren, an owner of KOREN, about the way they responded to a request received in a phone call from Daniel Aharon, Executive Director of the Big Brother Organization for Lone Soldiers in which he asked for their help constructing and designing a home for lone soldiers who have come from abroad before their enlistment, who in many cases do not speak Hebrew and reside at the Big Brother Home until their enlistment into the IDF.


Daniel Aharon, Executive Director of the Big Brother Organization for Lone Soldiers says “Lone soldiers during their service have many housing solutions; however, none of these exist before they enter the army. I am pleased that with our partners, we have successfully realized this project that provides these young people a place they can work with the Dan and Isrotel hotel chains during the time before they join the army, and also offers high-quality housing thanks to the mobilization of the employees and managers at KOREN and Natam. Thanks to them, the Big Brother Home offers quality housing for lone soldiers to have a calm and secure start to their military service and life in Israel.”

KOREN Visual Solutions, headed by Lior Koren, is a leading and veteran company for designing and constructing supermarkets, shops, and commercial spaces. The company has 30 employees: a multi-disciplinary studio and a project management department. Once a year, as part of the company’s policy for contributing to the community, KOREN renovates a home for at-risk youth while combining the staff’s professional experience and capability to recruit their sub-suppliers and employees. KOREN begins the renovation by mapping preliminary needs, including a site tour and conversations with the various officials, budget allocation priorities, and design selections, all done collaboratively.

Gali discusses designing the Big Brother Home, “The project took four months. With Dorit Bliman, who joined our staff this year, we conducted  preliminaries that included three months of meetings, measurements, materials, fundraising, finding subcontractors, ordering signs and furnishings, and everything we required to carry out the renovation.”

“We waited for some of those soldiers living there to begin their army service and for the home to empty. Infrastructure and renovation work on the home took about three weeks. It is not always possible for us to work on a house in such depth, in the current project, thanks to the mobilization of Natam Property Management, who volunteered to oversee significant infrastructure work in the ceiling and floor, and electrical and plaster repairs to adapt the property for residential use, we were able to carry out a more comprehensive renovation than usual.”

“It was important for us to create for the young people a home-like warmth while incorporating local motifs that would coincide with their desire to take part in Israeli society:  instead of whitewashed walls, light and warm colors were chosen in shades of cream, light brown, and a light blue (inspired by the Tel Aviv seashore). The photographs chosen for the complex were original illustrations by CityKat Stories that combine local landscapes in a young and modern style. The front door was covered with decorative film coating, signage, and a custom-made branded doormat. The foyer was designed as an entrance to a house. It included a decorative wooden console, a mirror and decorative accessories, and a bench with a coat rack. Each room has been furnished with a wardrobe and nightstands as storage solutions for personal equipment; in addition, night lamps, full-body mirrors, rugs next to each bed, a mesh board for hanging personal photos, decorative pillows for beds, and racks for bags and clothes were purchased for each room. Light-colored but partially opaque curtains have been installed on the shutterless windows, allowing sleep during the day for those residents who work night shifts. A two-user computer station, including donated chairs and computers, was added to the living room area. In the kitchen, additions to the storage cabinets and work areas were purchased and installed, as well as shelves for the walls. A wooden opening dining table, including chairs (second hand in a good as new condition), replaced the folding plastic table, and a magnetic decorative bulletin board with inspirational phrases was designed especially for the project. In the corner of the computer workstation, a poster of a “world clock” was hung on the wall (with the thought that everyone comes from a different country). The property had an old wall-to-wall carpet in poor condition that was replaced with laminated wood-like parquet. After completing the infrastructure work, purchasing the equipment, etc., the company’s staff embarked on a concentrated day of painting and cleaning the complex, and after installing the parquet, another team was sent to complete the hanging of the accessories, assembling and placing the furniture, arranging and completing the work. We are proud of the result and thank the team at KOREN, who lovingly contributed to the intense work. To the young recruits who came to us from abroad – our best wishes for successful and significant service in the IDF” – Koren summarizes the project.

Alex Lozovik, CEO of Newmark Natam Property Management:

“When we heard about renovating a Big Brother house for lone soldiers before their enlistment, we were excited and joined wholeheartedly. Such a project corresponds directly with the values of Zionism and the sense of giving shared by our Newmark Natam staff. I am pleased we have the opportunity to help these wonderful young people. I’m proud of our employees, and as I always tell them, ‘Don’t look down on someone unless you give them a hand to stand up.'”

A list of the suppliers who contributed and helped towards the success of the project:

  • Yehuda Import-Export – donated the acoustic ceiling
  • Ya’ad Fittings – donated fittings and accessories
  • Yashir Group – donated electrical accessories and lighting fixtures
  • SunShield – decorative films for the windows and the front door
  • Ilan & Gabay Office Furniture – office chairs
  • Perfect of Parquet (Hanan Peled) – parquet installation
  • Sogrim Pinah – (Eliran Okashi) installation work
  • Canaan Printers – printing photographs and decorations
  • Hezi Aba’adi – replacement of window panes and repairs
  • Penthouse Furnishings – donated a living table
  • Ofer’s Drapes – donated drape rods
  • Shoket Aluminium – donated the framing of a large bulletin board

Additional companies that assisted in supplying goods and services at a significant discount:

  • A.S Building and Architectural Services – parquet and floor panels
  • Citykat Stories – decorative posters
  • Contour Photos and Mirrors – picture frames