Modern Vintage
Designer: Judi Schwarz Interiors
Location: Park Avenue, NYC
by Victoria Keenan
Photos by Ben Winkler

As in all of Judi Schwarz’s work, the client’s happiness comes first. In this case, Schwarz, owner of Judi Schwarz Interiors in Livingston, NJ, transformed this Park Avenue apartment from nails and studs into the beautiful home it is today. Having worked with the homeowners on previous projects, including their Hamptons vacation home (featured in VUE’s 2017 Art Issue), the design was close to her heart. Schwarz jokingly admitted that she’d felt as though she lived with her clients for the few years she had worked on their various homes. But as she learned in this project, there are sometimes a few different paths to get on the road to happiness.

Schwarz and the homeowners worked together 25 years ago on their family home in Short Hills, NJ, so it was to her delight when she was called upon by them again. “[The client’s] last daughter was going to college and said they were moving to the city, where her husband’s business was,” Schwarz explained. The homeowners were downsizing and bought an apartment on the West Side that was gutted to the studs. Once completed, the apartment came together beautifully, but the homeowners realized it was just too small. “They made a mistake with the size, and the kids always come back,” Schwarz said. “It didn’t work, and it sold in one day. I took every single thing that she had and I added to it [to the new space] because this was much bigger.”

Modern VintageStarting another gut renovation on Park Ave, Schwarz took decor from the West Side apartment that worked, and then worked with all the extra space she now had. While designing their Hamptons vacation home, everything was new, but in this home, she used a lot of things from the clients’ other homes. Schwarz typically shows three different schemes when she has all the plans done, and her clients choose what they like, and this project was no different. “I like the input of my clients. If they want something that’s not going to work, I’ll tell them, but I want the client to be happy. It’s not my home, it’s theirs. The client was the inspiration; I wanted to make her happy.”
Modern VintageThe clients’ aesthetic was very much present throughout the whole space, with coppers and golds paired with light creams and dark browns throughout the apartment, giving it a vintage appeal. Much of the apartment is focused around the artwork and sculptures that the clients love, as well as the custom rugs, made in the colors they wanted. Though many of the art pieces are antiques, the decor also features glass and crystal pieces in almost every room, bringing some modern vibes to the vintage feel.

In the formal living room, dark wood floors are lightened by a tan and brown custom rug, as well as light walls, furniture, decor, and giant windows that brighten up the space. The large, dark mirror on the wall makes the space feel even larger, and the dog sculptures in the corner give a playful vibe. Schwarz explained that the dogs were an antique that she made sure to take from their Short Hills home. The statue of a deco woman that sits on the dining room table is also vintage and was brought over, working well with the color scheme of the space.

Modern VintageIn the kitchen, the colors carry on, with deep brown appliances, window treatments, and a dark center island against light walls. The chairs that sit around the island are a dark brown, scale-like pattern, and the crystal chandeliers that hang above cast a warm, homey glow throughout the kitchen. In the dining room, the dark wood floors continue, and a wooden table sits in the center of the room, with another crystal drop light fixture hanging above. The space is tied together with the large, tan chairs sitting around the table.

Though there were a few bumps in the road, this Park Ave stunner shines, and not just because of the copper and golden hues throughout. Boasting a sophisticated look and feel, Schwarz transformed the apartment into more than just a luxury space, but a place for the homeowners to relax after a long day of work, and for their children to come back to and enjoy for many years to come.