Laura and Matthew’s Kitchen and Bathroom Renovation – Sweeten in Clinton Hill!

When Laura uploaded seventeen “before” photos to her Sweeten project post, a few things were very clear: if you could look past the black-paint-encrusted kitchen cabinets and cracked purple bath tiles, these Aussie expats had the makings of a spacious apartment with oversize windows in one of Brooklyn’s loveliest little neighborhoods. But the home’s tight nooks made it hard to even get a clear “before” photo of any one room. The layout was segmented with lots of little walls and doors, the parquet flooring had long ago given way, and the bathroom was filled with miniaturized fixtures. With sights set on a summer wedding and juggling all of the budget demands that come with new homeownership, we introduced Laura and Matthew to Sweeten Expert Santiago for a kitchen, bathroom, ceiling and flooring renovation in their Clinton Hill co-op!


“This was definitely a dream on a budget and Sweeten Expert Santiago and his incredible team really made that happen! The Sweeten process and people were amazing and we really can’t thank them enough for all of their help. We are gearing up for 70 Australians to come to our wedding – SO SO excited to show them what we have created!”

– Laura, Brooklyn homeowner

The plans were ambitious but clear: demolish the kitchen wall to unite the kitchen, dining, and living rooms, re-build cabinetry and replace all finishes, gut the bathroom, clear out popcorn ceilings, and redo the floors. The demolition would leave a support column in place and center entertaining and seating around a new island, all in an entirely upgraded space.


Tired parquet flooring came up and warm wood planks went down in their place. The original kitchen cabinets appeared to have been painted many times over — when Laura and Matthew adopted them they were thick with black paint. The couple had put in long hours at Ikea to design new cabinets, and Santiago’s team did the heavy lifting to install double lines of cabinetry in dove gray with brushed brass pulls. A large island now separates the kitchen from the living room, while offering bar seating, plenty of table space for entertaining, and hidden storage underneath. Mismatched counters were replaced with striking butcher block, and the sink was swapped for a deep stainless version with a tall, elegant faucet. Laura and Matthew chose an ivory honeycomb backsplash with gray grout and upgraded appliances to sleek stainless steel.

Ohhh look! There’s that iconic Clinton Hill Co-op kitchen window…!

clinton hill co-op kitchen

clinton hill kitchen remodel

clinton hill co-op kitchen renovation

custom gray cabinets

honeycomb backsplash

large wood kitchen island

The bathroom had also presumably seen kinder days. The floor consisted of gray tiles accented with smaller black and white pieces arranged in an art deco pattern, providing plenty of creative inspiration to work with while maintaining a familiar color theme throughout the home.

Santiago’s team removed the bathroom door and re-created the entry with a sliding track door – a huge space-saving move. Laura and Matthew chose stark all-white subway wall tiles lined with contrasting gray grout to replace the former lavender ones–many of them broken. The tub stayed with a glaze refresh and gained a large rain showerhead and new fixtures. The big surprise in the bathroom came in the form of a brightly lacquered red vanity, adding a serious punch of color and modernity. A double-sided mirrored medicine cabinet brings extra storage, and strip lighting was upgraded to a streamlined bulb set. The newly expanded vanity carves out just enough room for a simple two-piece white porcelain toilet.

sliding pocket door

modern white bathroom remodel

white subway tiles

white subway tiles

Santiago’s work in the bedroom was more cosmetic but equally transformative. The building’s corner beams and beautiful windows are the focal point now that the popcorn ceilings and parquet floors are gone!

bedroom wardrobe

Kitchen selects >> floors: Home Decorators  / cabinets: IKEA Sektion / hardware: Liberty Hardware / counters: IKEA Karlby / sink: IKEA Bredskar / faucet: IKEA Bredskar / backsplash: Amazon / microwave: IKEA / oven range: Samsung / dishwasher: Bosch  / lighting: Etsy Custom LongMade Co

Bathroom selects >> sliding door: Bellezza / tiles: U.S. Ceramic Tile / vanity: IKEA Godmorgon / sink: IKEA / mirror: Virtu Confidant / toilet: KOHLER

Sweeten handpicks the best, screened 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.

  • Nancy F Lambert


  • paul

    This is very nice. Love the floors and the kitchen redo in particular. I don’t see how the sliding door on the bathroom gives you more space, though, except when entering the bathroom (and you lose the ability to hang anything on the back of the door.)
    I’m curious to know where the nice swing-out lamp on the column near the dining island came from?

  • Laura

    Hi Paul! The Door was swinging into the bathroom which made it super hard to maneuver in and out. When we moved in the door also didn’t close properly as it had swollen too big for the frame (!!) Now with the sliding door we can both be getting ready in the mirror and have the door open so we don’t overheat!! Seems a small change but it made a huge difference.
    The Lamps are AMAZING and they came from LongMadeCo. A Husband & wife team They custom made the sconces for us to work in with the arm lamp. Definitely check them out!

  • RubyRuby

    I would never have paired a red vanity with that floor but it totally works! Great look and very unexpected touch.

  • Madeline

    How cool that you were able to leave the bathroom floor. It looks super awesome with that red pop. Bet a lot of people would have just torn it up in favor of something brand new.

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  • SP

    Hi! This is beautiful. We just moved into the Clinton Hill Coops and are finding some inspiration in this post. I’m curious about your kitchen island – was that also using Ikea butcherblock countertops? I’ve noticed that they only come in one width, did your contractor join two planks? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!