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Meet Gloria Jaroff of Gloria Jaroff Design in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gloria Jaroff.

Gloria, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Design is universal knowledge but each of us is “gifted” with a unique creativity. Mine is a talent for storytelling combined with an insatiable curiosity for understanding the order of things, especially things in nature. My interests culminated in the creation of a new color system which I codified in my book, The Nature of Color in Interior Design.

The road there was circuitous. At twenty-one, with a B.A in biology from New York University, I searched for answers while working in a medical lab but felt isolated and longed to ”connect” with like-minded people. Following my mother’s footsteps, I explored business and bookkeeping. Eight years later, I entered the design world through the back door of the business. As administrative assistant to the president of Environetics (a national design firm), I reviewed drawings of many corporate design projects. Realizing the similarity between a section of tissue and a building section, the career change to design and architecture was obvious but not an easy choice.

Born in New York and practicing there before moving to California in 1990, my fifty-five year career as an architect and interior designer encompasses both residential and commercial projects from small projects to theme park design for Universal Studio and Walt Disney Imagineering in Tokyo, Paris and California Adventure. More recently, I’ve been a consultant to Wells Fargo Property management designing renovations of banks and corporate centers. I’ve worked on many large-scale architectural projects through affiliations with corporate architectural firms: Ellerbe Beckett, DMJM Rottet, HNTB Architects, Cunningham Group and Cannon Parkin Architects.

East Coast projects include corporate interiors for Deloitte and Touche for their practice offices nationwide.
As head interior designer for Ginsbern Associates, one project involved 100,000 sq ft of offices for an insurance company on the 19th floor of the North Tower World Trade Center, NY. Ironically, the plans were dated September 11, 1981. In 1970, at Ethan Allen Corporate Headquarters in Danbury, I designed and merchandised three furniture stores. Residential clients include movie director, Robert Altman, author, E. L. Doctorow and TV Evangelist minister, Reverend Ike.

Has it been a smooth road?
I decided to change careers when I became a single parent raising and supporting two young sons. After completing the evening courses at New York School of Interior Design, I attended two years of night classes at Columbia University School of Architecture. Graduating ten years later with a B.Arch degree from City College, my youngest son, Joe a freshman at Rochester University attended my final thesis. At fifty and licensed in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, my architectural projects for the next five years included more than thirty residential scale renovations, additions and interiors.

I had an angel on my shoulder during the fifteen years I supported my family. Whenever a job ended, the phone would ring with another opportunity. The 2008 recession and sudden death of my oldest son in 2010, brought new challenges but also presented me with both the time and the opportunity to consider a new direction.

But where was my angel, then?

East Coast, 2013. Motoring up scenic route 17 to Ithaca for a family graduation, I am in the backseat of a car enjoying the scenery. My angel appears and whispers in my ear. I study the countryside, suddenly rediscovering color in a more profound way — through contrast and movement. Through nature.

I grabbed a legal pad and wrote the outline of a new color theory, which became my book. My nephew, also an architect supported my effort and acted as my editor, which made it possible for me to tell my story. There’s a lifetime of knowledge and experience with color and design in that book. My son, daughter in law and five grandchildren (all with careers in the arts) also made significant contributions.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Gloria Jaroff Design story. Tell us more about the business.
I believe that the design of every project begins with a story, and I have been blessed to help so many clients tell
their stories. In addition to color and lighting consulting and business coaching for professionals in interior design, my focus now is public speaking, presenting my belief that contrast is much more important than any single color. After all, since the brain perceives and interprets what we see, no two people see the same color, the same way.

I have conducted multiple workshops on color and light for Lightshow West (Los Angeles Convention Center), LightSpace California (Long Beach Convention Center), Santa Monica Public Library and Lightopia (a lighting store in Manhattan Beach). Through collaboration with lighting and engineering sources, my presentations include current information and methods for controlling the effects of natural and artificial lighting on color.

At Santa Monica Interior Design Meetup by Gloria Jaroff (currently 216 members), both homemakers and designers work on color projects. We share insights and solutions to current design problems. Our last meetup, sponsored by West Elm Furniture in Santa Monica covered business aspects of interior design using presentations from my portfolio.

The Nature of Color In Interior Design, is a re-examination of color through the eyes of Mother Nature, and it’s an additive light system. The book examines the human need to tell personal stories through more than thirty color renderings, each connecting with the essence of a natural environment. Sixteen high contrast/low contrast Benjamin Moore & Co. power palettes and color wheels help simplify color selection for architects, designers, contractors and homemakers. The book also includes historical references to traditional and mid-century modern furnishings.

On my website, readers can take a test to discover their color contrast personality and view a slideshow of the 3-d color models used as illustrations in the book. The Nature of Color in Interior Design can be purchased on Amazon in print or ebook format, through my website or directly from me. It is also available at the Main branch of the Santa Monica Public Library and the Mark Twain Library in Redding, CT.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
With constant advances in LED lighting and IoT (the internet of things), I look forward to big improvements in the connectivity possibilities between lighting and color. I hope that my color theory will be adapted and presented with lighting as part of the curriculum at design schools


  • The Nature of Color in Interior Design available on Amazon: Paperback $26.54, ebook $11.99

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Sylvia Greer

    April 5, 2018 at 18:12

    Thanks for sharing so much good background info and your inspiration! I learned even more about you and your creative path. You get A++++ for your story. (Thanks for including my art, too).

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