Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sanaya’s Sweetened Clinton Hill Kitchen


clinton hill kitchen renovation

“Sweeten connected me with an awesome, smart, and honest contractor, which is all you need to make it happen.”

–Sanaya K., Clinton Hill homeowner

Like a number of her Clinton Hill Co-op neighbors, homeowner Sanaya spent years living with decades-old cabinetry, outdated appliances, and unnecessarily cramped spaces before taking the plunge with a complete Sweeten renovation of her kitchen. “The kitchen was incredibly outdated,” she explained. “The cabinets were falling apart and I’m embarrassed to admit that there were cans of food holding up the shelves in one spot!”

Sanaya and her husband, Chris, had to contend with missing shelves and work around what looked like water damage from a prior leak. In addition, the original layout included a wall between the kitchen and pantry, which closed off both spaces and served no functional purpose. “It was tight,” Sanaya recalled. “Totally unnecessary, and made the space feel like a maze of walls.” Because of the placement of this dividing wall and the location of the refrigerator, counter space was seriously lacking. In her project post on Sweeten, Sanaya did not mince words: “…everything must go.”

After meeting with her Sweeten matches, Sanaya chose to work with Sweeten Expert, Alan, who helped bring together the homeowner’s renovation game plan.

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

Sanaya took on three unconventional design choices to replace existing finishes: counter tops, the backsplash, and flooring. After plenty of online research, she was originally inspired by wood counters, “I love wood counters!”, she explained. “Alan was very helpful with pros and cons. I swooned over that idea but ultimately decided against them – I didn’t want to worry about the durability of the counters, near the stove and sink in particular.”

Alan helped to connect Sanaya with other homeowners who had considered similar choices and with an expert at Lowe’s in Red Hook who helped her determine the new kitchen layout. She ended up going with gray Caesarstone counters that beautifully offset the new, white shaker-style cabinets. For the backsplash, Sanaya chose a luminous blue-gray penny tile. Though they are more often used in bathrooms, here, the penny tile adds visual detail and pattern to the clean lines of the cabinets. Keeping with her goal of transforming and maximizing every last inch, Sanaya selected cork flooring, made in long planks, instead of the more typical square pieces. The natural accent brings warmth to the space.

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

Sanaya and Chris (who, while renovating the kitchen, was simultaneously in the process of opening his second restaurant, Cent’Anni in Crown Heights) were equal parts overwhelmed and happily immersed in the selection of these materials, and in the end, both are thrilled with the results. The new floor-to-ceiling cabinetry has dramatically increased the functional space of the kitchen. With the wall between the kitchen and pantry gone, Sanaya can easily access the additional storage and benefits every day from the counter space that was gained in the process.

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

“There are whole shelves that I haven’t even moved into yet! I feel like I can breathe and cook freely without chopping vegetables on top of my cookbook. I am obsessed with how awesome the deep and long drawers are for pots and pans – it makes accessing them so much easier.” The project’s obvious functional benefits also brought along welcome aesthetic benefits, as Sanaya noted, “I’m so glad that some of the cabinets are glass – we get to look at some of our beautiful things that don’t get used daily, but they’re not in the way. And I am equally glad that most doors are wood – I don’t want to look at my pantry and no one else does either.”

clinton hill kitchen renovation

clinton hill kitchen renovation

While Sanaya and her husband are still playing with their new storage solutions and reveling in the new space, the completed renovation has left a hankering for more. “Now, I want to do so much more,” Sanaya says, laughing. “I want to rethink our living/dining room and perhaps install built-in shelves there and in the main hallway. And maybe it’s time to repaint our bedroom…the endless project!”

Source list:

Caesarstone countertops and penny tile by Galactic Tiles in Brooklyn, NY

Lighting fixture by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

Cabinetry by Kraftmaid from Lowe’s

Almada cork flooring

Thank you, Sanaya, for this peek into your fabulously stylish and smart new kitchen!

With four Clinton Hill Co-op kitchen renovations under our belt, Sanaya is the first to create a new, contained kitchen, rather than opening the space to the living and dining rooms. We’d love to hear your take on the layout options — which do you prefer?

  • Candice

    Wow, I like the renovation a lot!
    I even really like the appliances you chose (I think if it was me I would want a different oven/range tho).
    What kind of dishwasher and refrigerator did you use?

    Congrats on an excellent makeover!

  • Angela

    Looks awesome. The pantry around the fridge is a really great idea. We’re one of the other CHAOC renovations (green backsplash). It’s so fun to see what other people are doing with the space. Enjoy!

  • Jennie

    Beautiful renovation! Loved the glass cabinets mixed in — so many great ideas here!

  • sanaya

    Thanks for the kind feedback!

    The dishwasher is Whirlpool and the fridge is Fisher & Paykel. This fridge, although a bit more expensive, was the only counter-depth option that would fit in the space and leave ample room for the pantry.

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  • Jessica

    It looks beautiful! Can you tell me who did the tile work on your backsplash? I’ve been trying to find someone in Brooklyn to do my backsplash without much luck. Thanks!

  • Kerry @ Sweeten

    Hi Jessica – if you’re looking for a contractor, you can post information about your project at and get matched to hand-picked experts who are available and interested in your project. If you especially liked Sanaya’s kitchen, you can note that and link to other inspiring photos so that we can get a sense of how you want your space to look. Hope that helps!

    – Kerry @ Sweeten

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