Chris and Amber’s Sweetened Kitchen Renovation – Homeowner Guest Post

Finding an affordable two-bedroom and relocating while pregnant plus a toddler in tow proved beyond daunting for this Brooklyn family. So, when they decided to hold off on moving and get creative with their current space instead, we introduced them to an experienced design pair to re-imagine and re-purpose their kitchen and living space. Read on for Chris and Amber’s take on their total kitchen renovation, and check back next week to see what they did with their bath and brand new kids’ room!

brooklyn kitchen renovation
Guest post by Chris, Ditmas Park homeowner

For six of the seven years that we have owned our one-bedroom co-op apartment in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, our dream was to renovate it. A year ago, we did just that, but the path there was far from a straight line. When we actually looked into what a renovation would mean in terms of time, cost, and effort, with all the headaches that co-ops can entail, we realized that just buying another apartment would be infinitely easier. (Having our two year-old in the bedroom with us definitely added the kind of urgency that any parent can probably relate to). When we started to look for two-bedroom apartments that actually felt like upgrades in terms of space and location, we found virtually nothing.

So it had to be a renovation. But how? We started to tackle the issues one by one. We figured out the financing, looked into sublets, and tenuously read through the pages and pages of legal documents our co-op’s management company required before any work could happen. When it came to finding an architect to work with us, we hit a brick wall. Our job was too small for the architects we had seen featured on our favorite design blogs, but too big to just leave to a contractor to wing it.

That was when we discovered Sweeten and decided to post our renovation project to their site, and they led us to Sweeten Experts Kent and Nick.

We needed to convert our eat-in kitchen into a bedroom for our son and open up the rest of the kitchen into the living room, but we had no idea how. Kent and Nick won us over with their easygoing demeanors and their innovative design for our space, which involved sealing off the existing entry to the galley kitchen and completely opening it up to the living room. It meant one less doorway in our foyer which already felt like a cross between Grand Central and a stroller parking lot, and one big living/eating/cooking space that would feel open and airy, the opposite of the rabbit warren we feared the apartment would become by carving another bedroom out of it. Then we found out that Amber was pregnant again, and things got real, real fast.

SWEETEN_Amber_Apartment-Before-02

half galley kitchen in ditmas park

Kent and Nick brought a team to the table who were very competitively priced for work with a high degree of detail and things suddenly started to fall into place: financing, co-op and management company approval, permits. Kent and Nick served as our construction managers as well as our architects which enabled them to oversee all aspects of construction and deal with most issues long before we ever were aware. They had regular meetings with us to make sure we knew exactly where we were in the process. It meant we could deal with the fun stuff — configuring our cabinets and open shelves, choosing the right quartz countertops and lighting, and spending less time worrying about the day to day construction details and timeline.

We went into this project with the intention of buying ourselves a few more years in the apartment, since ultimately we want to move to a house outside the city. Knowing we would sell in a few years, we bought appliances that have outstanding value but aren’t necessarily top of the top. The NXR range is fantastic for the money, plenty good for the cooking we do at home, and great looking. Our fridge is a Summit since we needed a true counter-depth fridge (just wait until you realize how many manufacturers call their products counter-depth when they are anything but), and our Bosch dishwasher is everything we could want, considering it is the first dishwasher my wife and I have ever had.

kitchen remodel with half open wall

white kitchen cabinets with black accents

affordable stove range

white subway tile backsplash

A year later, we have the kind of bright open space that we dreamed of and a kitchen that makes cooking fun. Our son Finn is growing so fast that soon our days in the apartment may start to feel numbered, but then again we can always call Kent and Nick to see if they can work another miracle.

open kitchen floorplan

living and dining room in brooklyn

simple wood dining table

chris and amber ditmas park

Kitchen selects >> floors: maple wood / cabinets: IKEA / under-cabinet lighting: IKEA / counters: white quartz / sink: Blanco Quatrus / faucet: Grohe / oven range: NXR / dishwasher: Bosch / fridge: Summit / pendant lighting: Restoration Hardware 

Check back next week for the full reveal of this family’s new kids’ room and bathroom!

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

  • Jen

    The results are so amazing!

    The floor plan of your kitchen/living room is remarkably similar to mine, as is the scope of your project. Would love to know the breakdown of what you spent to get an idea of how much a renovation like this costs.

  • Mike

    I think you would have been better off installing a flat panel under the upper cabinets and recessing puck lights into them for a much cleaner look, at the very least have a strip so you don’t see the actual under cabinet strip lighting

  • deda

    What are these counter stools? very nice.

  • Felix

    Lovely renovation, I love all your rugs, can i ask where they are from, the kitchen runner and the blue living room?

  • Pingback: Chris and Amber’s Sweetened Bathroom and Kids’ Room Renovation - Homeowner Guest Post()

  • A OK

    You must have added $50k to the value of this place!!! Those dining nooks are a gold mine!!

  • Amber

    Thanks so much for the nice comments! The stools are from Room and Board, the rugs are from Dwell (under dining table), Madeline Weinrib (by sofa) and Colliers Mansion (runner in kitchen)

  • Marnee Meyer

    Where did you get the globe lights in the kitchen? They are beautiful.

  • Amber

    Light is from restoration hardware

  • Pingback: Before & After: A Brooklyn Apartment Goes From One Bedroom to Two — Sweeten – Sofia Consola()

  • Pingback: Before & After: A Brooklyn Apartment Goes From One Bedroom to Two — Sweeten - Tmarie Linens()

  • Pontifikate

    Great job! Airy and bright. Where, oh where, did you get the sliding door cabinets in the living room photo?

    • amber

      Thank you! Our contractor built the cabinets for us.

  • Stephanie

    Love your reno! So gorgeous. Where did you get the light over your DR table? I checked IKEA and Restoration Hardware and did not see it. Looks so happy & cheerful :-)

  • Steph

    Very nice, I like the subway tile! What is the material between the hood ans the cook top? And how much was it? Thanks