Downsizing doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Just ask designer James Yarosh, who helped transform a Tinton Falls townhouse into a jewel box of a home for Carol Pardee, who was moving from a larger estate in Freehold.
“She was ready to create something new that was wonderful,” remembers Yarosh, who was brought into the project when the townhouse was still being built. He and his client aimed for “custom and upscale,” he says, even perhaps “a little bit of a tease.” Evoking a feminist icon, the adventurous fictional spy of British TV’s The Avengers, he adds: “like an alter ego of Emma Peel.”
Pardee requested blues and greens, and to that end Yarosh chose a lush green de Gournay wallpaper with peacocks to be the showstopper in the living room. “I’m always trying to reference the arts and use things that are beautiful, not follow trends,” Yarosh explains. “I’m trying to create something that’s unique to the homeowner.” The eye-catching wallpaper ended up being Pardee’s favorite part of the whole project. “It’s beautiful and timeless,” she says.
Pardee’s old house was more neutral and traditional, but she appreciated the way Yarosh pushed her out of her comfort zone for her new space. “I tend to be a little conservative,” she admits. She wanted this home to be a nice balance of elegant and livable, and in the blue velvet sofas in the living room, for instance, she got her wish. “They are comfortable,” says Yarosh. “You can lie on them and watch TV. But they are also a little bit sexy, like a leg coming out of a skirt.”
The dining chairs also have a rounded, feminine profile, which contrasts nicely with the geometric vertical lines of the dining table, the vintage Italian chandelier and the window treatments. The same sheer pinch pleat curtains are found throughout the townhouse to provide light but diffuse the view and create a consistent feel.
Another eye-catching geometric element in the living room is the trellis design of the laser-cut wood wallpaper surrounding the fireplace. The townhouse plans didn’t include a fireplace, but Pardee wanted one, so they created a bump out in the living room to accommodate a ventless gel version that mimics the real thing. “It even crackles a little, which I like,” says Pardee.
She’s also a huge fan of the gold, floral wallpaper in the primary bedroom, one of three bedrooms in the townhouse. “I just find it very soothing and beautiful,” she says.
Yarosh went with an Asian feel in the master, creating a custom upholstered bed that is reminiscent of a pagoda. The trim in the room is painted a shell pink, and the shutters on the window are blush. “The room is a little full-tilt but very romantic, sort of a treat for oneself,” says Yarosh.
Self-care is important, and it explains the importance of the home beyond just housing,” he goes on. “You’re saying this is how you want to live, this is how you want to feed your soul. You’re surrounding yourself with beauty because this is how you want to wake up in the morning and begin a day. Like setting an intention for yourself.”
Yarosh’s care and attention to detail impressed Pardee. “There’s nothing he doesn’t think about,” she says. From the selection of wallpaper to the acquisition of artwork, curation is the word to describe Yarosh’s process, he being an artist and gallerist himself. His Holmdel gallery exhibits new and established artists such as Miriam Beerman, a 20th-century expressionist painter whose abstract hangs above the small china cabinet near the dining table.
“The artwork creates depth because as new construction, the house didn’t have history,” Yarosh explains. “Art shouldn’t be additional decoration. It should be more an intellectual engagement that makes the space much more avant-garde and interesting.”
Finishing touches like artwork and objects such as the antique tea set above the bar cabinet made the townhouse really begin to feel like a home for Pardee. “This process was a great focus for me, going through some personal things,” she says. “It was something positive. This was going to be my home, and I wanted it to be exactly what I wanted it to be. James helped me achieve that.”