An Overpowering Kitchen Learns to Lighten Up

Colossal cabinets and an island are dialed back for a seamless flow

kitchen renovation, Brooklyn

Project: Renovate a kitchen to blend into shared space

Before: When Ainsley and Simon moved into their two-bed, two-bath co-op in Park Slope two years ago, they already knew a kitchen renovation was on the horizon. The dark, almost menacing cabinets that touched the high ceilings made the wrong type of statement. The kitchen island also seemed disproportionately large for the space, doing a half job of making the kitchen and living room seem like two spaces. “It was hard to be in the kitchen and be a part of what was happening in the living room,” said Ainsley. “We wanted it to be more of an open, single space.” Their building, circa 1892, also had some beautiful details, like the wooden trim around the windows, but dark wood features in the existing kitchen drowned everything out.

You don’t look at it and think it is a fridge at all.

After: The couple posted their project and used Sweeten, a free service that connects renovators with construction professionals, to hire a general contractor. After securing an architect, the couple was able to hand a set of drawings to their Sweeten contractor which made for a smooth transition process. Straight off the bat, their architect came up with the idea to hide the fridge inside a column that was originally thought to be structural, thus immovable. “You don’t look at it and think it is a fridge at all,” said Ainsley. All you see is a handle and a wall. Open shelving on the living room side of the kitchen island was swapped out for cabinets to create a cleaner look. The height of the island was also dialed down to lessen the divide with the living room. The couple went with a light blue-gray to brighten up the kitchen and now the wood details “pop” as they frame the outdoor views. “Lots of grays and lots of blues,” said Ainsley. ”We went back and forth for awhile.” The renovation process went smoothly. Almost, anyway. A delayed material delivery caused a setback, but their Sweeten contractor worked hard to get back on schedule.

Bonus: While the renovation was in progress, Simon and Ainsley stayed in the apartment. They took the opportunity to have a local culinary adventure most nights. “We went to every single restaurant in the neighborhood that we hadn’t been to,” she said.

Style finds: Cabinet paint in Light Blue: Farrow & Ball. Hardware: Rejuvenation. Countertops: ABC Stone. Backsplash: Galleria Stone and Tile. Sink and Faucet: Kohler. Fridge, dishwasher, microwave, and stove: Thermador. Paint on walls and refrigerator in Purbeck Stone: Farrow & Ball. Lighting: Rejuvenation. Wallpaper, “Shale” in Pool: Astek.

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Increasing the number of cabinets in your kitchen is one way to boost storage, but what about adding a pantry? From pull-out drawers to a room of its own, this kitchen feature will keep you organized.

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

  • Caitlin Whelan

    Source for those super cool pendants?

    • Tisha Leung

      We agree they’re super cool. They are the HALEIGH WIRE DOME pendants from Rejuvenation.

  • katie

    What brand is the fridge?

    • Tisha Leung

      Hi, The refrigerator is from Thermador.

      Thank you for your inquiry.
      Tisha