Occasionally I use this space to vent my various frustrations with the world. (Okay, maybe more than occasionally.) For example, when I find myself yelling at Donald Trump (Don the Con) on TV, I know it’s time to write more and yell less. That’s why I’m grateful to have “Laughing Matters.”
These columns also allow me to write about some of Santa Monica’s most accomplished and colorful characters i.e., Gloria Jaroff. We’ve been neighbors for so long we joke we were born at the Shores. (Actually, for Gloria, moving here was like being “reborn.”)
Gloria is an architect, interior designer, author and lecturer. She is an Emeritus member of The American Institute of Architects and a graduate of New York School of Interior Design. She studied architecture at Columbia University and CCNY and has been a licensed architect in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Her design practice spans 50+ years on both coasts and overseas. (I, on the other hand, yell at TVs and write jokes.)
But Gloria is definitely not all work and no play. She studied jazz piano in New York with famed musician, Lennie Tristano. She has performed with the West Los Angeles Jazz Ensemble and also at Zipper Hall in the Colburn School of Music, as well as at the Santa Monica Library with the annual Unfrozen Music event. She has also played at numerous Shores parties and is terrific. (My proficiency with instruments is limited to the TV remote.)
Gloria has also been an avid scuba diver in the Caribbean, Central and South America and Hawaii. (She’s also a dedicated lap swimmer in the Shores pool 25-meter pool and, no, she doesn’t bring her scuba gear!)
Gloria began her architectural career in the 1960’s with the firm of Frank Santillo. Then she was hired in the interior design departments for Macy’s and later Bloomingdales. And the list goes on. In 1965 she was employed as a head designer by Ethan Allen in Connecticut; 1980-83 she was the head interior designer for Horace Ginsbern Associates where she designed projects for The World Trade Center. (She still has drawings from the 100,000 square foot space on the 19th floor of the WTC – dated 9/11/81)
Somehow Gloria made time to be married and raise two sons, James Jaroff (deceased) and Joseph Jaroff, owner of Jaroff Design in New York. His custom metal and glass designs include installations for the Guggenheim Museum, Louis Vuitton and the Palace Hotel. Gloria has five grandchildren, three in the arts (music, acting, dance, curating for the arts) and two in marketing and teaching professions.
The interests Gloria passed on to her children and grandchildren, were likely passed to her by her father, Samuel Berlin. His Yorkville Lumber was the first lumberyard in Manhattan and furnished wood for stage sets for Broadway and the Metropolitan Opera. Gloria’s article about her dad was awarded runner up prize by Hanley Wood in their contest, “Words on Wood” (Dec. 1, 2011 to Feb. 29, 2012.)
Gloria’s voluminous career resume reflects her flexibility and being able to continually re-invent. From 2003 to 2011 she was a consultant to Wells Fargo, renovating their banks and corporate centers throughout Southern California. Other projects included theme parks in Japan, California and Paris for Walt Disney and Universal Studios.
Teaching computer drafting at USC and a design class at Learning Tree University were gratifying for Gloria. She’s also lectured at Lightopia in Manhattan and Laguna Beach and at LightShow West at the L.A. Convention Center in 2015. But perhaps Gloria’s most rewarding work accomplishment took her the longest to achieve.
For 3 1/2 years, Gloria devoted herself to “The Nature of Color in Interior Design,” with support and editing from her nephew, Richard Buday, (FAIA) an architect and recipient of over 40 international awards for lectures, digital media and publications.
“Nature of Color,” offers a new way of viewing color in a natural light system. It’s based on colors inspired from photographs of Gloria’s travels worldwide. This gorgeous book will absolutely make you see color in a whole new light. (Pardon the pun.) Ever-energetic Gloria, for select corporate and residential clients, still does color, lighting consulting and design. She’s amazing.
Now this is done, I’ll probably resume yelling at “Dirty Don” Trump on TV. (See why I’m grateful to have this column?) Clearly, I’m headed for T.A. Meetings… Trump Anonymous.