Designer: Judi Schwarz Interiors
Location: Bridgehampton, NY
Photography: Ben Winkler
“If you really look at some of my work, you will see that it’s all very different,” said Judi Schwarz, owner of Judi Schwarz Interiors in Livingston, NJ, when I’d first asked about her design aesthetic. “I take the client very much into account during the project. Yes I think my aesthetic comes through, but ultimately the client lives in the home—not me.”
And that was Schwarz’s mentality when she was called upon to renovate this getaway home in Bridgehampton, NY for a New Jersey couple whom she’d previously designed a Manhattan apartment and two Short Hills homes for. During the project’s planning phase, Schwarz knew that every detail of this floorplan had to be tailored to fit her client’s personal level of comfort, especially considering that the property was purchased as a vacation home.
To help emulate that sense of ease associated with taking a week in the Hamptons, Schwarz’s next step was to team up with Capri Upholstery Shop in Staten Island in creating a variance of custom furniture shortly after initial meetings with her client. Knowing her client’s kids and their guests would be visiting during summers, Schwarz designed one-arm style chaise sofas in the family room, making the room ideal for everyone to pile in or for the couple to lounge during quieter evenings.
Shades of brown and white dominate the space, but standout pieces like an area rug from Tibetano in Englewood and accent tables from Global Views in NYC help to bring balance to both tones. And after restoring the floor-to-ceiling windows to their former glory, the space catches stunning natural light spanning the entire room up to the second floor balcony. Schwarz also used artistic accents such as the room’s mirror, a piece made of fragmented glass and metal, one of many rare finds for this home. Typically with artwork Schwarz suggests a few options for her clients, but after finding this piece, there was no doubt it was a fit for the room.
Guiding her clients every step of the way, Schwarz chose a flat look for the home’s kitchen which is highlighted by marble countertops. Unlike granite or quartz, “there are very few marbles that one can use in the kitchen that will take some abuse,” Schwarz said. “And they should be sealed every six months, so that liquids like wine don’t seep into the stone.” After all, it wouldn’t be a true vacation home without a little vino spillage. In addition to the countertops, Schwarz and her client also chose a backsplash tile that appears woven (but is not). This offsets the kitchen’s flat, marble look, while adding some interesting depth around the prep areas.
Newly stained hardwood stretches throughout the home, and it’s most prevalent in the kitchen. But what makes many of the rooms Schwarz designs standout are the lighting fixtures she chooses for her clients. Shimmering pendant lights over the island are a radiant sight, these also relate to the sphere-like chandelier over the kitchen table, a piece comprised of crystals and bright metal. These fixtures, and all of the lighting throughout the home, were hand-selected at West Essex Lighting Studio in West Caldwell.
Using a similar concept with the furniture in the living room, Schwarz designed a banquet for the couple’s kitchen. The banquet in particular was built to the size of the space and table. Ideal for the owner who has a pool just outside the kitchen, it enables them and their guests to come in from the yard and gather. “Everybody gathers in the kitchen no matter what house you have, that is especially true for a large family,” Schwarz added. When designing a space that serves as both a quiet retreat and an area for entertaining friends and family, comfort is of the utmost importance. And with a variance of customizations, it truly is “all about the details.”