Selwyn Elkin, one of Israel’s bestknown interior designers, died Monday at his home in Rehovot. He was 80. Elkin was featured countless times in The Jerusalem Post Homes Column, which I wrote from 2001 to 2015. He was a perfectionist who demanded the exact fabric, texture or object, even if it meant traveling to Europe to get the precise thing that matched his vision. He was born in South Africa and grew up in Worcester, a town in the Western Cape where his family owned furniture and carpeting stores – all the things he would be using to such effect in his career.He was briefly married. It is possible his parents hoped to avert his homosexuality but the attempt failed. It was decided that Selwyn would immigrate to Israel, which he did in 1975, leaving his successful designing business behind and starting from scratch in Tel Aviv. Soon after arriving, he met Yehuda, a Yemenite Israeli who became his life partner. They lived in a small but exquisite apartment in Tel Aviv, decorated in Selwyn’s superb style and filled with priceless antiques he had brought from home.He had a wonderful eye for color, didn’t shy away from chintz curtains and flocked wallpaper where necessary, but always produced a contemporary look. His designs were stunning to look at but also practical for living. Color, symmetry and warmth were the hallmarks of his work. While he was frequently employed by the super-rich, who would fly him over to Italy at the drop of a tape measure, he was happy to work on modest homes too, using his skills to make the most of limited space.Selwyn was a very gifted artist, and a friend, who left his mark on Israeli aesthetics.
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