A collaborative practice based in New York City, Yellow House Architects is a firm on the move, having been inducted into Architectural Digest‘s exclusive AD100 list in 2021. Founder and principal Elizabeth Graziolo created Yellow House Architects to “foster creative collaboration, expressed in the language of architecture,” with a nod to the positivity represented by yellow (also Graziolo’s favorite color, needless to say). The firm’s work can be seen everywhere from the Upper East Side to Palm Beach, as well as in the model units of One Wall Street.

We spoke with Elizabeth about the foundations of her career starting back at Cooper Union, her years as a partner at Peter Pennoyer Architects, and her passion for sustainable design work. See what she had to say, and be sure to browse a curation of her Chairish favorites—yes, including plenty of punchy, poppy yellow finds.

Shop Elizabeth Graziolo’s Chairish Favorites

Yellow House Architects
Elizabeth Graziolo of Yellow House Architects. Photo: Joshua McHugh.

Tell us about how you got started in architecture. What led you to pursue this field?   

When I was young, I was uncertain about which specific field to pursue. I was passionate about art, mathematics, and science. I applied to various universities and programs and ultimately decided on architecture after being accepted into Cooper Union. My first semester there solidified my love for the field, as it fed my curiosity and allowed me to see the world from a new perspective. Architecture plays a significant role in our daily lives, impacting our health, economy, and overall well-being. The more I learned about the field, the more I was engaged, and I never looked back.

How did you decide on the name, Yellow House Architects? What’s the meaning behind it? 

I am, and always have been, drawn to the color yellow, which represents inspiration and optimism worldwide. Our “House” is a gathering place for those passionate about learning and thinking critically, where diverse perspectives are shared. For us, “Yellow House” is a forward-thinking space that fosters creative collaboration in the language of architecture. And let’s be honest: It also makes for some pretty killer Instagram photos! 

Yellow House Architects
Photo: Brittany Ambridge

How would you describe your personal design style?  

Classic, contemporary, colorful, and collaborative

Prior to working for yourself, you were a partner at Peter Pennoyer Architects. What were your biggest takeaways from that experience, and how did it shape the launch of your own firm? 

At Peter Pennoyer Architects, I was introduced to traditional architecture, a different style from my studies at Cooper Union. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects, including apartment and townhouse renovations, ground-up houses, development projects in China and Hong Kong, and even mid-size towers in New York City. As a partner, I learned the business side of how an architecture firm operates and was able to foster numerous relationships with clients and industry colleagues. All these experiences significantly shaped my practice, and I am grateful for them. 

Having run projects in various cities around the world, do you have a favorite place or type of project to work on?    

I loved working in Dalian, China. It was an incredible experience to learn about a different culture while discovering new construction methods in a foreign country. That said, I don’t have a preferred type of project or location. I thrive on variety and enjoy learning something new with each unique project, be it a different style of architecture or another corner of the world. That is the most enjoyable aspect of my work, continuously learning and growing with each project.

Yellow House Architects
Photo: Brittany Ambridge

Many of your projects have incorporated sustainable design principles. Tell us more about that.   

From the beginning of any project, sustainability is central to our design concept. We start the design process focused on project siting to maximize natural light and minimize glare while facilitating natural ventilation. One of our core design principles is to promote biophilic design, which encourages connections between nature and human habitats. Humans have evolved over millennia in the outdoors, and even though we spend much of our time indoors today, an innate connection to nature remains. While we strive to incorporate plenty of vegetated outdoor spaces into our designs, this is much easier to achieve in new projects versus preservation or restoration projects.

Other elements that we focus on include studying the thermal envelope as a primary strategy for reducing environmental impact, incorporating thick exterior walls with robust insulation that can meet Passive House standards, and utilizing low-flow plumbing fixtures that provide a luxurious experience while also being water-efficient. Currently, we are exploring all-electric cooking to reduce operational carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Yellow House Architects
Photo: Brittany Ambridge

On Chairish & Vintage Shopping

What do you find most compelling about Chairish?     

I love the variety of products available at Chairish, from antique pieces with rich history and character to sleek and modern designed items that push the boundaries of innovation. The best part is when these two are combined, where antique meets modern to help us create unique and dynamic spaces. 

How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?  

We have found a wide range of sustainable and eco-friendly products on Chairish that are beautiful and contribute to our planet’s well-being. We believe there is a product for every taste, style, and budget, whether antique or new, and we dedicate ourselves to helping our clients find those perfect pieces to bring their design vision to life. 

Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have?  

Oh yes, a beautiful yellow or mustard leather tufted chesterfield sofa! I can just picture it now, nestled in a room with a warm lighting and a cozy fire. (Please let me know when one arrives on the site!) 

What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?

  • Melted Disco Ball Sculpture: I can’t get enough of this piece! We even have one in our office, and every day from noon to late afternoon it reflects the sunlight wonderfully, making us all very happy. 
Yellow House Architects
Photo: Brittany Ambridge

Some Design Favorites…

Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:    

We enjoy using bold light fixtures or large-scale modern art pieces or sculptures

Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:”     

We love using vintage posters to add a sense of history to a space.

Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:

Hans Werner Wishbone chairs or an Isamu Noguchi coffee table. (We love using this table base with a stone top.) 

Favorite paint color:

Farrow and Ball Babouche (yellow) color, of course! 

Favorite piece of decor in your home:

I’m partial to an old smoky mirror framed within an old window sash I found in a thrift shop in Hudson, New York. 

Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:

I can’t possibly choose just one! Jean-Michel Frank, Jean Prouve, Tabouret Méribel and Tabouret Berger, Dorothy Draper, and India Mahdavi—I adore her use of color.

Photo: Brittany Ambridge

Some Lifestyle Favorites…

Favorite vacation destination: 

There are too many to list! Not to mention, I am always excited to visit new locations. If I had to list a few places I enjoy going back to often, they are: Paris (and anywhere in the south of France), Tel Aviv, Malta, Fez, Marrakech, and everywhere in Italy.

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling: 

Six Senses Shaharut Resort, Israel  

Favorite restaurant: 

Feast & Floret, Hudson, New York   

Favorite small museum: 

The Museum of the City of New York

Favorite podcast: 

The Architect’s Podcast Network

Favorite Instagram accounts to follow: 

There are so many! AD and Elle Decor are among my top favorites. 

Favorite flower: 


Favorite adult beverage: 

A nice glass of Sancerre or Chablis   

Favorite way to unwind at home: 

Relaxing with a good show on Netflix   

Favorite entertaining essential: 

An excellent cocktail mixer and Moroccan tea glasses 

Lead photo: Brittany Ambridge

April 21, 2023

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.