Jennifer Wagner Schmidt began her career in hi-tech PR, but quickly realized she wasn’t fulfilling her creative passion. She took a leap of faith and went to design school, and shortly thereafter began moonlighting at the Washington Design Center. Today, the DC designer (and mother of two) has her own firm, JWS Interiors, and to say it’s thriving would be an understatement. She’s got a stunning portfolio and an aesthetic we love. In addition to designing chic, timeless, and luxurious spaces – she also has a knack for beautiful events. Just in time for February 14th, Jennifer hosted a sexy sushi night for 2. It’s glamorous and unexpected, and the perfect solution if you want to avoid crowded restaurants! This is one Valentine’s Day tradition we fully support:

You’re so talented with interiors! When did you discover your knack for entertaining? 
Thank you! I got the design bug when I was young. My mom loved to decorate and entertain, so I was introduced from an early age. But, it really wasn’t until I purchased my first home that design came full circle. I was thrilled to have my own space to decorate. It then prompted me to quit my job in PR shortly thereafter; and I went back to school to take a design class and ultimately start my design company. I entertain several times a month—usually a Saturday night dinner and I absolutely love it! The thought of planning a meal, getting flowers, setting the table and spending time with those I love, is bliss!

Where did you gather inspiration for the dinner?
I wanted to do something unique, fun and sexy—then it hit me that my beautiful white cowhide rug could be the “table.” I wanted to make it a sexy dinner for 2—but on the floor! I moved my dining room table, got velvet floor cushions, and thought this would be a glamorous way to spend an evening—whether for a holiday or not. When I found the cool wood trays, I knew I wanted to do a sushi theme and it just took off from there. 

It turned out beautifully. What is your favorite feature of the dinner?
I like the idea of doing an event differently and being on the floor makes it fun.  The textures from the rug to the faux-fur blanket to the velvet floor cushions not only makes it pretty but realistic because it’s actually comfortable. And what girl doesn’t like flowers and candles? 

What would you suggest for our readers who would like to recreate something similar at home this weekend?
This dinner can be recreated by anyone. I used stores almost everyone has around—Target, West Elm, World Market for the dinner. And if you don’t have these stores nearby, other stores carry similar products. All you need are trays, pillows, flowers, a few candles, and of course good food! Ambiance is everything—candles and flowers are key!

So, speaking of ambiance… any songs we should add to the party playlist?
I like to mix it up with all genres of music and for this Valentine-themed dinner! Top 5:  Sugar (Maroon 5), The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra), Lover of Mine (Beach House), Only Girl (Rihanna), and Stay With Me (Sam Smith).

Finally, what are your Top 5 Tips for entertaining—whether it be a romantic date night or a large party? 
-Plan ahead.
-Pick A Theme.
-Make Food Ahead. (Ina Garten’s new book Make Ahead Food is a must!)
-Make It Fun
-Flowers Are a Must!

All essential! Thank you so much for sharing, Jennifer! We can’t wait to see what you do next. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Trays: Nate Berkus for Target
Gold Lanterns: West Elm
Gray Velvet Floor Cushions: World Market
Stationery: Paper Provision