Interview with Netanel Buta, Element Omanut be-Etz

Where Wood Meets Art



What is Element Omanut be-Etz (Wood Design)?
We’re a boutique company that provides quality, personalized garden and patio design services. We use a variety of different types of wood and other high-quality materials to offer special, non-standard design possibilities that give the finished product a unique appearance, such as combining different colors of wood, suited to the client’s tastes and requests. We accompany the client from the planning stage – including design and three-dimensional imaging – to the finished product. Our company specializes in building American-style houses, pergolas and decks, wooden storerooms and tzimmers, fences and stairways, as well as laying synthetic grass and landscaping gardens.

How did you start out?
Wood has been part of my life since childhood; it’s part of the world I grew up in. My grandfather was a building contractor, and my uncle was a builder who worked with wood. Element Omanut be-Etz was established in 2009, and since then, we’ve worked in many different parts of the country. It’s very important to me to keep up with new products and techniques, and every year I visit exhibitions and factories in Europe where I am inspired by new ideas that I can offer clients. I’m also a licensed building contractor for Etz ve-Etza, and I completed their wood construction and painting courses. Over the past two years we’ve introduced color woods, which bring new life and vitality into a sphere which was previously fixed and static.

Who is your staff?
I’m proud to say that we have a highly-qualified, all-Jewish staff. I have three professional workers who have been with us from the start.  We provide our workers with the most advanced tools for efficient and effective work.

Tell us about some special projects you’ve worked on lately.
One special project that I completed recently included a special luxury area with wall cladding, a Jacuzzi and sauna, surrounded by a deck and covered with a pergola, creating a magical, relaxing outside area. We used Douglas Fir with a brushed finish and Burmese Teak for the wall cladding and the floor. I enjoyed the work and it turned out superbly.

Another project was a deck and patio with a unique, interesting combination of colors that created a very impressive result. An interesting color scheme can produce beautiful results, even without using the most expensive materials.

How do you adapt a project to suit not only the client’s requests, but also his budget?
The first stage starts with determining what the client wants for his yard. On that basis, we create a plan within the confines of the budget. I must emphasize that I’m not willing to provide cheap, shoddy work at a low price. I believe in quality. I prefer to remove a few elements from the project, while still achieving the client’s vision, than compromise on quality.

Do you define yourself as more of a carpenter or an artist?
I define myself as an artist in wood, as in the name “Element Omanut be-Etz”. The idea of the company is to provide creative, non-standard solutions. When I sit with a client, I have a picture of the finished work in my mind, and the client usually ends up choosing what I propose.

Is there any particular treatment for wood that can protect it from the hot Israeli sun?
It depends on the item. For a pergola, the wood and paint must be stronger from the outset, and it’s a good idea to wash off dust once a year and to repaint every six years, depending on the type of paint used. For a deck, maintenance should be done annually, including a proper cleaning with a high-pressure hose and an oil coating. Maintenance is not as frightening as it sounds – it’s not hard work. Just as one has do gardening upkeep every two months, so too, the deck needs a yearly treatment to maintain a clean, fresh look.

Tell us about the sukkah pergolas that you build.
A kosher sukkah pergola is a creative solution that offers a stylish, shady pergola during the year that becomes a kosher le-mehadrin sukkah for Sukkot. It’s built in such a way that no steel is touching the standing pillars or the crossbeams. The crossbeams are connected using a unique, strong, drawer-like technique that requires no nails. Our kosher sukkah pergolas lend the garden and yard a touch of luxury. The client can also order different types of walls for the sukkah that open and close.

How can one maximize space in a small garden?
Planning a small garden is a challenge because one has to fit all the elements that the client wants into a smaller space. I recommend a deck and synthetic grass, with trees and plants included in the deck area. Of course, special attention must be given to lighting and an irrigation system. Adding hanging plants and building flower boxes into the sides maintain a green and colorful appearance while saving space.

Which item do you build most often?
It’s difficult to name just one item, because our projects are generally all-in-one solutions for gardens and yards, including decks, pergolas, wooden fences, synthetic grass, and a smart electrical system.

What effect does an attractive garden have on the home?
A well-designed, tidy garden is a continuation of the home and invites you to sit outdoors and enjoy the tranquility. A well-planned, shady garden makes the house feel bigger, because the yard becomes integral to relaxation and quality time spent with family and friends.

Is it different working with Anglo clients? Do they want different things?
Absolutely. The Anglo clientele appreciates professional workmen, and they put an emphasis on quality materials and good work. It’s easy for me to communicate with them because they understand what I want to give them. They don’t have fixed ideas, they’re open to new and different suggestions.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I get enjoyment from what I do every single day. I like seeing an area that was empty or neglected turn into a place where it’s nice to sit and entertain, like a picture from a catalog. My greatest enjoyment is when I get positive feedback from clients and see how happy they are with the results.



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