The egg-yolk yellow drapes, framed by a cornice of silver moiré' fabric, are a burst of bold color in this Colts Neck home office. Sheers with applique's of swans sit behind the drapes. Designer James Yarosh came up with the yellow and silver palette as a fitting reflection of his client's career as the head of a tanning equipment company. A contemporary chrome yellow file cabinet behind the desk is functional and also strikes up a playful note to compliment the formality of the French desk. A curved wall at right is covered in a reflective silver foil paper and hung with family photos. Two patterned abstracts in yellow sit atop a tea cart, Yarosh added them to the room's eclectic mix of art to complement the more significant pieces.
Writer Robin Amster • Photographer Patricia Burke • Designer James Yarosh
James Yarosh believes homes should be "self-portraits."
That's an apt analogy from an interior designer who is also immersed in the world of fine art. The owner of James Yarosh Fine Arts & Design Gallery in Holmdel, Yarosh says when an art collector also requests his design services, it's the start of a very special relationship.
That's exactly what developed when Susan Miller asked Yarosh to design the office in her colts Neck residence. Miller had worked with Yarosh in acquiring most of the art for the home.
"I got to know Susan's tastes from our work with art." Yarosh says. "She's a dynamic businesswoman with a huge heart. I wanted this room to reflect a strong, smart woman, but also wanted it to be personal."
Opposite: A Portrait of a woman by Russian Realist artist Alexander Kopeyko sits behind the stately French reproduction desk. A "borne settee," covered in a silver metallic vinyl, adds glamour. The borne and a yellow chair with a French Directoire-stlye back, one of two in the room, are custom.
Yarosh took Miller's career as the CEO of an international tanning equipment company as the basis for what he calls the "subplot" to his design of her office.
Her career led him to propose a palette of yellow and silver. Miller loved the idea, and the collaboration began. "That's my job, to bring sunshine to life, and James brought sunshine into my office," Miller says.
Yarosh also drew inspiration from the yellow-and-silver combination from two spaces he visited during his travels abroad: museum rooms at the Galerie Belvedere in Vienna and the Prado in Madrid.
In these rooms he saw that using yellow drapes against grey walls is an effective way to use the strong color without painting the walls with it. That would have created a "yellow" room, he says.
"Yellow can be a hard color to pull off," Yarosh says. "A strong yellow demands attention. You have to use it judiciously so it doesn't become overwhelming." He calls the yellows in the Miller office bold but feminine. "The room needed to be feminine, but why shouldn't it be strong?" he asks.'
And as Miller says, "It's not about an all-yellow room. Yellow compliments or accessorizes the room. It brings the whole environment to life."
In addition to the egg-yolk yellow drapery panels, Yarosh selected two yellow side chairs and a chrome yellow cabinet to play against tone-on-tone silver-gray marquetry wallpaper. A cornice of woven silver moiré' fabric frames the draperies and sheers with a swan applique' pattern. The silver-gray tones comprise a neutral background for the dramatic yellows.
Yarosh also placed an unusual piece in the room: a custom "borne settee," which offers 360-degree seating and is covered in a silver metallic vinyl. A "borne" is an upholstered ottoman-style sofa that originated in France during Napoleon III's reign in the mid-1800s. Here it provides both function and a touch of glamour.
Another distinctive element--- a curved wall --- is covered with a reflective silver foil paper "to highlight the roundness." He also designed plaster moldings and had them cast in the shape of the curved wall to make the space less modern.
An array of Miller's cherished family photographs adorns the curved wall. The room's artwork includes an important Russian Realist portrait of a woman that sits behind a French reproduction desk with wood inlays.
Yarosh mixed this sophisticated piece of art, which anchors the room, with less solemn, colorful pieces such as two bright yellow patterned abstracts in Lucite frames placed above a tea cart at one side of the desk.
Yarosh acknowledges that homeowners can be frightened of color but says, "It can also be very original and breathtaking, especially if you approach it with an artist's eye. Susan understands this, and we collaborated wonderfully on this room."
Miller works from an office at her company headquarters but also spends a great deal of time, including every Friday, working from her home. The home office has become her favorite room in the house.
"The room makes me happy," she says.