The joy of color

This Ramat Aviv artist's palette is reflected in her decor.

living room 88 248 (photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
living room 88 248
(photo credit: Eyal Izhar)
'I'm obsessed with color," says artist Sylvia Yaron, "and the need for color gets stronger as the years go on." She's talking about her paintings but could just as easily be referring to her apartment, which is decorated and furnished with splashes of bright strong colors - reds, blues and bordeaux - that stand out against the overall bland background of neutral walls and floor tiles. On the fifth floor of a 30-year-old building in Ramat Aviv, Yaron moved in three and a half years ago and undertook a complete renovation, taking up floors, revamping the plumbing and electricity, the kitchen and all the bathrooms. "The only thing I didn't change were the windows which give me all the light I need for my painting," she says. Two large windows, framed by golden beige drapes, with matching pelmets, allow her to turn her living room into a studio where she revels in the large open space and where she can close the curtains if she wants to stop light coming in. To facilitate the transformation from elegant living room to temporary studio everything she needs is on a wagon which is rolled in and out as necessary. "I don't have any plants in the lounge as I can enjoy the trees outside my window from the park below," she says. She also has a limited view of the sea from her kitchen - "no more than a drop" she admits - since a new project went up next door. "I chose the apartment for its clean straight lines," she says, "and the palette is toned down to emphasize my paintings." The cheerful abstract oils cover all the spare wall space. "My paintings have a story," says Yaron whose work is now on view at the Amalia Arbel Gallery in Tel Aviv and who has had a one-woman show at the Tel Aviv Bible Museum. "If you look you can see figures, animals and places - children see a lot of things in my work." The main sitting area has a beige sofa with two adjacent armchairs in thin-striped bordeaux velvet with matching custom-made cushions on the neutral sofa toning with the colored chairs, and made of a light-changing shiny fabric. On the wall are several of her oils in bright primary colors. "I've never tried to match paintings to furniture," she says. "I buy what I like and if the colors fit, it's good, if not it doesn't matter." Every piece of furniture is in dark wood, much of it oak, and was acquired over several years from the flea market in Jaffa. Even the guest bathroom has dark wood fittings. The second, less formal, seating area is separated from the first by two rustic French chairs which she had covered in light green velvet and several large Moroccan ceramic pots, also from Jaffa. This is the spot for watching television from the flowery chaise longue, reading and writing. A large antique vitrine on the wall next to the kitchen holds a collection of silver and other decorative objects. "I far prefer antique to new furniture," says Yaron. "New is also expensive and I think these things are more interesting." The kitchen is separated from the den area by an open cupboard in a light coffee shade with bentwood chairs upholstered in green, while the dining room chairs are covered in royal blue leather. The main bathroom has mirror-backed shelves with her collection of perfume bottles. "These bottles are beautifully designed and it's a pity to throw them away," she says. The other bathroom, belonging to her soldier son, is the only modern-looking room in the apartment and has a colorful collection of Kinder toys on a wall shelf. "They say when you walk into a home you can tell a lot about the personality of the owner and they way they see things," says Yaron, who made aliya from New York 32 years ago and studied graphic art and interior design. "Well, I feel that both my paintings and my home tell a lot about me. Like them I have many aspects to my personality and I think this is reflected in the home I live in." Do you feel you own one of Israel's most beautiful homes? Please e-mail: