Each week, we aim to translate insight from NYC homeowners and contractors into information you can use to make better decisions about improving your home. This week: a look at a few of our favorite backsplash choices from Sweeten projects to show how simple elements can make a kitchen distinctive and beautiful.
This week’s Before and After brings a little Christmas-in-July cheer for a family of three in Brooklyn’s Columbia Waterfront District. Robyn, Alejandro, and their daughter Bianca stopped by a cavernous, dark two-bedroom condo on Christmas Eve, hoping the new year might bring a new home for their family. What they found was an apartment in total disrepair – more than a little TLC would be required to update the space, but the square footage and bustling location seemed promising. Robyn and Alejandro prepared for everything short of moving walls and came to Sweeten with a long list of updates needed in every room. The photos on their project post, all taken while the place was still on the market, make it hard to imagine what a renovation could do, but Robyn saw potential for a more open, chef’s industrial kitchen. To make it all happen in time for summer, we matched Robyn’s vision with Sweeten Experts Paulina and Albert – a veteran design and custom cabinetry duo and the team behind Claire and Mike’s beautiful Park Slope kitchen, which Robyn threw in as inspiration in her planning.
Here on the Sweeten blog, we’ve got your fix of classic before and afters, design ideas, and budget basics for major renovation projects. This week, we’re highlighting the kitchens our 330,000 @SWEETEN_HOME Instagram followers love most. These photos show endless possibilities to create a functional and stunning kitchen space (anyone up for industrial modern, sleek black and white, or traditional wood?).
We’re back with Ellen and Ben, first time buyers in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood and the duo behind one of our most favorite Sweetened black and white baths. Thankfully, Ellen had two shots at creating the perfect bathroom oasis in her family’s two bed, two bath co-op — if she’d stopped with the master bath, we would have missed out on a whole new way to take a 1960s bathroom from particle board cabinetry and bland beige tile to all modern and all white gleam. Ellen and Ben hired Sweeten Expert Alan to tackle their second bathroom renovation, modernize its features, and add a little custom storage that goes a long way.
Ellen and Ben, first time buyers in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood, came to Sweeten with their renovation sights set on the kitchen of their 1963 co-op. They bought the two bed, two bath apartment in 2014 and were all geared up to re-do the kitchen when a week away on vacation gave them pause. They thought about how the kitchen was central to the apartment’s flow, how it would be a big project to take on, and how much pressure they felt to get everything right in such a hard-working room. Maybe they needed a little more time to live in the new place and decide what they really wanted? Maybe the bathrooms would be a more manageable starting point?
“Sweeten Expert Alan has been amazing – he has a daughter who is the same age as ours, and he just got it. The quality of the work is phenomenal, and he was very patient and helpful with our decisions.”
– Ellen, Kensington homeowner
Barrin in Carroll Gardens spent 18 years in his three bed / two bath condo before deciding that quick fixes and appliance swaps in the kitchen were no longer cutting it. The kitchen had one giant plus: great space anchored by a gorgeous original cedar beam. The minuses? Formica counters and peeling particle board cabinetry struggling mightily to make it to a third decade. After a microwave grease fire during his first years in the condo, a few appliance replacements here and there, and some cosmetic work on the floors, Barrin was ready for the apartment’s first real kitchen renovation. He posted his project on Sweeten and we brought Sweeten Expert Evros in to revive this kitchen and bring back its simpler industrial roots.
Pallavi, a sustainability consultant, and Keyur, a software engineer, came to Sweeten after a few failed attempts at finding contractors through online directories. We introduced the husband and wife team to Sweeten Expert Pedro to work on their Murray Hill apartment renovation. Initially, they planned to leave the bathroom in its original state, but as the project progressed, they decided to go for a complete bathroom remodel to parallel the space-efficient, clean-lined haven they were creating elsewhere in their home. (more…)
When a creative Clinton Hill couple came to Sweeten to find the right general contractor to renovate their aging co-op, we sent Sweeten Expert Kris their way to create a new bath, alongside a new kitchen and hallway. Their original project post called for a partial bathroom renovation, but for a couple who both work in graphic design and art, the temptation to work with a blank slate led to a top-to-bottom upgrade. (more…)
In most renovations, a lengthy list of materials, fixtures, finishes, and features separates the before from the after. This is not one of those renovations. With little more than fresh paint, new floors, and just a few weeks to go before a move-in deadline, Claudia and Alejandro came to Sweeten to create a modern and bright three-bedroom condo in Boerum Hill – a clean slate for this Brooklyn family and their toddler, Luciano. Their secret sauce? Claudia brought her filmmaker‘s eye to every detail, looking for ways to capture natural light and find just the right shades of white for each room. Luciano’s room is first up, but we’ll get back to this stately neighborhood when Luciano’s parents are ready to reveal their living room after move-in!
Sweeten did a really great job of helping us take this on when we needed a little hand-holding. Gennadiy and his team were really efficient and got the work done in less than a month.
- Claudia, Boerum Hill homeowner
This family of three found their new home after living in a smaller place in the same neighborhood. They loved the location and the oversized windows, but knew the place needed some work before move-in. The apartment had not been updated since the 1980s and had an odd mix of original woodwork (big plus) and yellow walls (big minus). Fresh paint was an obvious and easy move, but Claudia also saw the opportunity to unify and lighten the rooms with new flooring and posted a project on Sweeten looking for a contractor who could handle relatively cosmetic changes on an aggressive, one month timeline. We matched the family with Sweeten Expert Gennadiy as Claudia put together her astonishingly short and sweet list of material picks (more…)
There is so much eye candy in this week’s guest post, it would be easy to miss the custom craftsmanship and design details that took this Williamsburg kitchen from contemporary cookie-cutter to industrial haven. Thankfully, we have all of the story in all of its glory from the homeowner, a multidisciplinary artist and teacher. Read on for Corey’s take and for some good old-fashioned real estate envy.
Guest post by Corey, Williamsburg homeowner
Burned out by a decade of renting in the city, we entered the buyer’s market with little knowledge of how volatile it would be. After a search that saw us move too slowly on a modest but well-located unit, and then get completely outbid on a dream apartment, we stumbled upon a two-bed, two-bath condo in Williamsburg. Not wanting to miss out again, we put in a bid and were surprised to get the place. That could very well have been the end of the story, but what fun would that be?
We’d be the first to admit that the unit we purchased was totally serviceable. Only a few years old, it was a corner apartment with decent square footage and great city/bridge views in an increasingly popular zip code. The unit had been rented to a prolific painter who’d kept the walls white and the creativity high. It was a serviceable blank canvas; what it wasn’t was the dream apartment we’d lost out on months earlier. Regardless of how excited we were to be new owners, we just couldn’t shake the “if only…” feeling for that spot and started thinking about ways to incorporate elements from the coveted (but now somebody else’s) space into our new home (more…)