/ By Kerry O'Brien / May 8, 2014
A Designer’s High-Style Renovation in Chelsea
We’ve been following this high-style, high-design project in Chelsea for the last year. The owner of this 900 square foot apartment in the iconic London Terrace building is a friend of Sweeten’s founder and CEO, Jean. We watched as the homeowner and contractor worked together to bring new life to a space with gorgeous historical roots and we were so psyched about the work happening here, we did what any friend would do: take the referral of a great contractor! These photos would probably be convincing enough, but as we do with every expert in our network, we checked references and interviewed the contractor to get a feel for his talents, expertise, experience, and professionalism. After finishing the project and going through the Sweeten screening process, we’re delighted to introduce Sweeten Expert Gregorio as a new member of our network of professionals. I’ll have more to share with you this spring about how our screening process works, but first, you have to see these swoon-worthy photos!
Jean’s friend, an architect, had lived in the building for almost a decade before this unit hit the market. Prior to moving in, the new homeowner set out to address two main issues: the apartment had a series of cramped rooms dotted with small closets, and the entryway was unnecessarily divided in two segments. Both of these elements were disruptive to the flow, feel, and function of the space.
The results of addressing these two goals alone were dramatic: by combining and moving a closet from the entry hall into the bedroom for a larger walk-in, and annexing another storage area into the bathroom for a true linen closet, the owner opened up the flow of the rooms and created far more functional storage.
Storage aside, the owner took a meticulous approach to recreating the visual presence of the building’s heritage. Sweeten Expert Gregorio added accentuated molding details throughout each room to exaggerate the space and add a grander feel. The homeowner was able to keep the original wood floors but transformed them with a matte black finish. The resulting contrast with the white and gray color palette makes the space feel bright but also infuses each room with some grit. It looks natural and effortless now, but it took the homeowner more than six tries, and eight coats, to get the stain effect he had in mind!
Gregorio’s team removed the kitchen island, expanded the flooring into the kitchen to unify the living space, installed white lacquer cabinets, white calacatta countertops, and put in a 24″ Bertazzoni range.
The homeowner designed the custom built-in millwork in the living room with a high-gloss lacquer section combined with a walnut storage unit to create a light, bright feel complemented by the warmth of the natural wood. The millwork hovers cleanly over the floor, doubling as a showcase for favorite items and as a hideaway for the tv. To continue the play on materials, the radiators were stripped to expose original metals. The new radiators are an unlikely star of the show: visitors to the apartment typically comment first on the apartment’s views and then on the metallic radiators. A circular lighting fixture from Ochre anchors the living room between original ceiling beams.
Gregorio worked through a full upgrade of the windowed bathroom, removing the tub to replace it with a walk-in glass shower, ripping out old tile and bringing in black travertine slabs, and swapping out old fixtures with modern sink and toilet selections.
In the bedroom, the homeowner designed a second custom built-in that beautifully offsets the neutral palette. Throughout the apartment, in a nod to his architecture and fashion background, the homeowner chose Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray (HC 169), a color favored in Dior stores around the world.
So many thanks to Jean’s friend and Sweeten Expert Gregorio for a peek into this brilliantly designed and expertly built home.
If you have contracting professionals that you would recommend to friends, send them our way!