From the April/May 2016 Issue  

Social Design

Writer Judy Jeannin  |  Photographer Marco Ricca  |  Designer Judi Schwarz, Associate ASID, IIDA  |  Location Saddle River, NJ
  • Identical lacquered pedestal tables add versatility to a stylish dining area created by Judi Schwarz Interiors. A single table can be used as the perfect setting for an intimate dinner for two. For larger groups the tables can be set individually or pushed together. The soft lines of the upholstered chairs contrast with the sharp lines of the tables while the crystal chandelier underscores the glamour of the space. The abstract oil painting gives the room a bold jolt of color.

  • Tabletop accessories add visual interest to the white dining space. The items range from the designer’s personal belongings to bargains picked up at HomeGoods and drinking glasses and kitchen accessories from Williams-Sonoma. A well-designed tabletop makes guests feel welcome, Schwarz notes.

White lacquered tables, bold art and plenty of accessories form a welcoming dining space.


Judi Schwarz doesn’t like to refer to the space she designed at the 2015 Designer Showhouse of New Jersey as a breakfast room. To her the dining space adjacent to the kitchen is much more than a place for informal family meals. “The kitchen is the center of the home,” she says. “The kitchen is where it all happens. It is the social part of the home. People now use the dining room only for holidays.”

To underscore her point, Schwarz, an associate member of the American Society of Interior Designers, member of the International Interior Design Association and owner of Judi Schwarz Interiors in Livingston, created a sophisticated dining area that functions equally well for an intimate dinner for two or for a small dinner party. At the center of the design are identical white lacquer pedestal tables that can function separately or be pushed together to create a table that can seat six. A modern version of the wing chair and upholstered side chairs provide the seating.

While Schwarz is proud of the furniture she designed, it is the accessories she considers the key components. “It is important to have an inviting table. It says welcome,” she says. To get the effect she wanted, Schwarz scoured local stores, sifting through the offerings until she found the right pieces to suit her vision. An antique Vaseline glass piece from her personal collection inspired the subtle color palette for the tabletops.
Once she accumulated everything, she began layering them on one of the tables. “I did one table then the next,” she explains. Even the apples and cupcakes on the tables were part of the overall design.

Adding Punch
A carefully selected abstract painting by Stewart Waltzer provides a bold jolt of color. Seated nearby is a charming metal sculpture referred to as “the cook.” A small white dog rests at “the cook’s” feet. “The sculpture adds a little whimsy to the room,” Schwarz says.

A crystal chandelier high above the tables adds a dash of glamour to the stark white room. It is a replica of the chandeliers in the Metropolitan Opera House. Schwarz and Amir Ilin of Küche+Cucina, who designed the adjacent kitchen, selected a dark engineered wood floor to anchor their spaces.

Schwarz admits the room might not be practical for real life. “I believe a show house room should go a little bit further,” she says. She would suggest quartz tabletops and vinyl chair covering for everyday use. “I use a vinyl that looks like leather.”

And she would advise her clients to complete the room down to the accessories before moving on to another project. “People make a mistake of saying I’ll do a little in this room and a little in that room and, as a result, never have anything finished.”

Judy Jeannin, a regular contributor to Design NJ, is a Hillsdale-based writer.