Reno Notebook / By Jennifer Malise / October 31, 2017
Scary “Befores” Turn Pretty “Afters”
Spine-chilling spaces make way for impressive results
In the renovation world, nothing is more satisfying than witnessing the transformation of a dark “before” into a bright happily-ever-after.” Here are four that inspire us to see the possibilities…
An Upper West Side kitchen
The harsh fluorescent lighting, stained laminate cabinets and countertops, and a dangling exhaust hose that was sloppily sealed with tape in this 1980’s kitchen made it a terrifying blast from the past. With worn appliances and old finishes that were well past their prime, nothing could be saved. A gut renovation stripped the kitchen down to its bones and ushered in the light with glossy white and walnut cabinets, a beveled white backsplash, and stainless steel appliances.
A powder room in Kensington, Brooklyn
For some, an all-pink bathroom is truly the stuff of nightmares. This homeowner’s Brooklyn townhouse had not one, but two, Pepto-Bismol-hued baths. Since the plan was to add a master bath in addition to the existing upstairs bath, the homeowners decided to turn the one downstairs into a powder room and relocate the square footage occupied by the tub to the kitchen pantry on the other side of the wall. The pink finishes were stripped from the space and replaced with toile wallpaper, gleaming white fixtures, and cement floor tile in navy-and-gray plaid.
A West Village apartment
Black paint, wood paneling, taped windows, and scuffed parquet floors were more effective than a “keep out” sign in scaring away buyers from this decrepit West Village apartment. Until this homeowner came along. Call it bravery or madness, they saw the home’s potential and went to work planning a complete overhaul. A gut renovation scrapped the broken-down fixtures and finishes throughout the apartment and made way for a brighter future. White, shaker-style cabinets gave the kitchen a much-needed makeover, while the bath benefitted from clean lines and modern touches.
A “She Shed” in Queens
Nothing says creepy like an abandoned, half-collapsed garage in an overgrown lot. But this homeowner saw the garage in their backyard as an opportunity to create their very own space, a private retreat from the rigors of daily life. The crumbling building was demolished to make way for a new one. The vision for the new structure was a space that would be calming, but not boring (no white walls!). The interior was transformed into three separate living areas—a light-filled living room, kitchenette, and bathroom (plus storage loft)—and was personalized with plenty of colorful artwork.
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