Photography by Patricia Burke

A MASTERPIECE TO CALL HOME:

James Yarosh’s Renovated Seaside Townhouse

Part of the art of living is living with art.

James Yarosh, gallery owner and collector of great works of art, lives for and with art---and most inspiringly so.

In 2006, Yarosh completed the design of his own home after “full immersion in the project, the only way to achieve excellence,” he said. “Both the physical and mental commitment allowed for the final result – a place to enjoy art, but not a museum. A place to feed and renew ourselves, welcome friends and family, a place to use, create in and just plain live in.”

Yarosh’s keen sense of design, however, turns “just plain living” into an elegant haven, replete with his collection of fine art on the walls that read like a “Who’s Who” of the Russian art world: Vachagan Narazyan’s 2003 commissioned diptych stands proudly on a statuary fireplace from England, two Zabelins, a Yuri Kugatch, a Koslov, and an Ilya Yatsenko. Yarosh particularly champions contemporary Russian work, some of which he places in grand 22-karat gold frames, part of his frame collection from Russia and elsewhere. Throughout the house are many other objects and works of art, such as a Michael Malpass sphere and, in the living room, a pair of 1930s Lalique chandeliers hanging below hand-carved ceiling medallions designed to elongate shadows thrown by the light. Decorated “against type with mid-century moderne furniture,” as Yarosh puts it, “the house is a reinvention and a new way of looking at the Directoire period, after Louis XVI.”

Furnishings are primarily French Moderne and Italian. A James Risom couch with walnut detail and wool crepe complements two Vladimir Kagen Lucite and mohair stools, a Henry Probber bench, walnut club chairs sporting Clarence House fabric, and several pieces designed by Yarosh himself, including a walnut coffee table and two dowel-and-glass end tables. Amid a glorious cache of art books and trip diaries one may also find a bronze railing created after an antique print drawing, stone Bottichino decos in the marble flooring, Scalamandre pom-pom fringe along the drapes, and a Chesney marble fireplace surrounded by reclaimed turn-of-the-century tiles. A 2003 commissioned diptych by Vachagan Narazyan crowns the fireplace, and both artworks are framed in printed silk drapes.

“I want the house to seem like the home of an artist who loves beautiful things,” said Yarosh, “but is still thoughtful, very personal, and not just a showy showplace, but a place to appreciate art in an appropriate setting---to surround myself with things I love to nurture, along with faith in the arts.”

A devoted and well-traveled designer, Yarosh pays attention not only to detail, but applies an astute repetition of circle and bead patterns that flow perfectly in the rooms. Even the collection in white of Narazyans in the stairwell guides the eye in a circle from the outside and into the tiny pencil sketches. These offer more of the Non-Conformist artists in another medium, adding insight to their fanciful as well as fantasy-laden stories. Artists from the Moscow School of Russian Realism bring hundreds of years of history and discipline to an ironically quiet living space. Sharing Yarosh’s personal lifetime acquisitions, the woodwork and frames---and therefore the artistic philosophy in collaborating with artisans to enlist in his creation accentuate the “muscle” of heart and soul that makes this home capable of unfolding artful secrets while embracing new and unusual visual literacy.

Said Yarosh, “There is a consistency in the strong discipline that never gets lost when the passion of showcasing fine art is the ultimate goal.” Through glimpse into his home---his first masterpiece---one begins to see his world through his eyes and almost feel the love and pain, ever the universal couple.

As featured in Art & Antiques magazine
As featured in DesignNJ magazine
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