Sweeten hand-picks the best experts for your renovation project

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This week, we’re thrilled to be back on a renovation site under construction where we met up with new tS members, interior design firm, Mendelson Group. The team at Mendelson is a small, closely-knit group of young designers and project managers, lead by firm Principal, Gideon Mendelson. The team’s portfolio is so rich with interiors that are highly personalized and utterly distinct, we could hardly wait to get behind the scenes to learn more about their process! We caught up with the designers during a check-in meeting with their Upper West Side clients. Qian & Mike, a pair of young professionals, hired Mendelson Group after purchasing their 2000 sqft, 3-bedroom condo, looking to renovate the new home for themselves and their expected newborn. (more…)

Posted by: Categories: Construction, On Site 0

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Our 6th Home School series giveaway with Brooklyn Based is up and running (yay!), which makes now the perfect time to introduce prize-sponsors and tS network members Ezra & Rachel Picard of Bear Mountain Woodworking. The husband-wife team joined us earlier this Spring, and we’re looking forward to seeing Ezra knock out some great projects with us! The craftsman loves pushing his creative limits with custom projects, from furniture to cabinetry, to cottages in the woods. When the larger jobs are done, Ezra & Rachel have even found a way to turn the wood scraps into artisanal serving boards, platters & bowls, which are available for purchase at BMWW’s Etsy store — but if you’re interested, you can also try your luck at Home School #6, and enter to win a BMWW serving board, along with $50 to spend on yummy artisan snacks from  With Love, From Brooklyn(more…)

Posted by: Categories: Construction, Contests 0

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“We are ultimately focused on the tangible components and how they contribute to the experience of a project, which allows conceptual designs to be realized within actual parameters of budget and resources.”

–Bryan Young, Principal at Young Projects

This week, we’re pleased to introduce one of theSweeten’s newest members, DUMBO-based architecture studio, Young Projects. Firm principal Bryan Young (photographed above) launched his practice in 2010, and in just 3 years, the small team has rallied some big achievements, including last month’s award of the 2013 Architectural League Prize. In practice, the team pursues unique considerations of materiality, assembly, & craft through a method of experimentation that embraces all levels of technology; the resulting architecture, while stylistically modern, elicits qualities of warmth & tactility. We were interested in learning more about Young Projects’ work, so we met up with Bryan on the site of a project that is currently under construction in Williamsburg, the Photographer’s Townhouse.

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The Photographer’s Townhouse project is a gut renovation & new addition to an existing, 2,300 sqft masonry townhouse. The century-old building had deteriorated to a state of disrepair before it was purchased by a local photographer. After a thoughtful collaboration between the Young Projects team and the homeowner, the first phase of construction began earlier this year. On site, Bryan walked us through some of the highlights of the project design and development. One of the most prominent features of the new design is the exterior; by their use of materials, the designers have created a strong juxaposition between the old, restored brick facade, and the new addition — an elevated mass behind a screen of perforated, corrugated zinc. You can see the exterior in the above rendering. (more…)

Posted by: Categories: Construction, On Site 0
Thursday, May 23, 2013

theSweeten’s New Photo Project

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So many exciting developments have been bubbling up behind the scenes at theSweeten! Among them is a new photo series we’ve been working on with the help of our friend, photographer Jeffrey Kilmer. Rather than the usual ‘before & after,’ we’re taking our site visits up a notch, and including professional shots of the during stages as well. Soon, you’ll start to see the results of this new series of renovation photos: before, during & after. Until then, here’s a preview of some of those beautiful, uncensored ‘durning’ shots.

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Famurat Builders was selected from the matches for this Fort Greene couple’s renovation. The project is due to wrap up shortly, and we can’t wait to see the space built out and refinished!

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Posted by: Categories: Construction, On Site 0
Thursday, March 21, 2013

Scope of Work Case Study

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Renovation projects always involve a lot more work than meets the eye — and this fact is easy to forget since we typically look at renovations through the simplified lens of ‘before & after.’ This week we’re revisiting a kitchen project we matched on theSweeten and featured a couple months ago, to give an idea of just how much work was involved in the 5 weeks between start & finish. Read on for a complete list of what the team at Famurat Builders did to take this kitchen from its generic ‘before’ to a one-of-a-kind ‘after.’ (more…)

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To follow last week’s look at an undone developer’s kitchen, today we’ve got a full house in Brooklyn that also started out as a generic developer flip. This 1100 sqft, wood-frame house in Gowanus was purchased last summer by JD & Meaghan, a young professional couple who bought the home with intentions to give it a custom renovation. Meaghan, who was also the project designer, commissioned her old colleague Kent Johnson, head of tS contracting firm Milktrout, to lead the project’s construction (that’s Kent pictured above). The Millktrout team began their work here last August and have been enthusiastic to share their progress as this project nears completion next month.

Here's a small taste of what the home looked like when JD & Meaghan purchased.

Here’s a small taste of what the main level looked like when JD & Meaghan purchased; the construction & finishes were cheap and banal. Kent told us that every aspect of the construction was done so poorly that the home hosted a variety of major problems. The pvc plumbing, for example, wasn’t even glued at the joints!

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Posted by: Categories: Construction, On Site, Site Visit 4

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Last year, Brooklyn resident Jane posted to theSweeten hoping to find the right contractor to remodel her condo’s cookie cutter kitchen. Not only was she bored with the kitchen’s aesthetic, she was also frustrated by its lack of functional storage. Most importantly she told us, “the stove is not vented and sets off the smoke alarms” –yikes! While we’re all used to making certain sacrifices in New York City, there comes a limit. So, Jane was eager to meet her tS matches & give her home the kitchen it deserves. After meeting with a few members of theSweeten network, Jane chose to work with Kris Famurat of Famurat Builders for her renovation. (more…)

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“With theSweeten you get cut and dry options. It takes the uncertainty out of chasing down leads.”

–Billy F., Fort Greene resident

Today we’re excited to bring you our first site visit of 2013! Billy & Sally’s renovation started last May when the couple posted to theSweeten looking for a contractor to help convert their newly purchased, but outdated flat in Fort Greene into an open and fully-updated home. The couple had purchased the apartment a month earlier with immediate intentions to renovate, and interestingly, they wanted to do the work themselves. Being practical, however, they opted to hire a contractor to carry out the initial structural, electrical & repair work, and would save the kitchen renovation and new hardwood floor installation for themselves. After reviewing and meeting their matches from theSweeten network, Billy & Sally chose to work with Jon Eklund of ecostruct llc on these initial project components.

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Above is what the space was like when Billy & Sally purchased their apartment. The layout was anything but open with a partition breaking up the living and dining spaces, and a small galley kitchen that was practically fortressed by walls in the center of the home.

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This week we’re back in the West Village for a second look at the construction phase of a new Italian eatery, Sotto 13. After posting to theSweeten, the managers at Sotto 13 chose to work with tS member Maneli Wilson Interiors to transform the previously uninviting and out-of-place restaurant interior into a warm, inviting, and neighborhood-appropriate place for casual drinking & dining. The designer, Maneli, has created a beautiful new image for the restaurant which draws on her passion for  Italian design & culture, as well as the residential context of the West Village. Here is a close-up look at the construction, materials & finishes as the new interior comes to life.

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When we arrived for this return visit, a lot of progress had been made in the upper dinning area; the custom-designed banquettes were almost completely built, new wide-plank flooring was installed, and the walls had been given a distressed paint treatment.

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This week we have a first look at a renovation project by theSweeten member Alan Michael Carpentry. The team at AMC began construction on this 1000 sqft, first floor gut renovation in August, and now, about 4 months later, the project is nearing completion. The Ditmas Park Brownstone home has been in this client’s family for many generations, but this renovation will be its first update in 40 years. The homeowners’ dream was for a more open floor plan and modern finishes; they wanted a space that would be practical for everyday living as well as occasional entertaining.

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Here’s Alan Bowes, owner of Alan Michael Carpentry, on site during the demo.

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Posted by: Categories: Construction, On Site, Site Visit 1