3 Kitchen Renovations Transform with Minimum Fuss

Keeping gas and plumbing in place? A contractor may be all you need

Ever imagine what’d it be like to take your kitchen down to the studs and start over again? We’re not talking about knocking down walls or changing the placement of the sink or range—or anything that would mean moving plumbing or rerouting electricity. What we’re talking about is a clean swap. Out with the old—cabinets, countertop, backsplash, appliances—and in with the new. Perhaps you’re just looking for a simple upgrade for your kitchen (and by simple, we mean minimal changes to the structure, plumbing, or electrical). Or you’re dealing with budget or structural limitations that require an architect. Whatever your reasons for this kind of kitchen renovation, which typically takes between 1-2 months to complete, a general contractor may be all you need for a total refresh.

kitchen renovation
A kitchen in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

A dark, crowded kitchen in Greenpoint was in desperate need of some lightening and brightening. The original kitchen had wood cabinets with a dark finish and a matching black backsplash and countertop that consistently showed dirt. In order to give this kitchen the facelift it needed, all of the kitchen cabinets were removed and replaced with white, flat-front cabinets to provide a more modern look. Some of the upper cabinets were removed to make way for open shelving to give the space an overall lighter feeling. The old countertop got swapped for stone in a medium gray shade and the backsplash was replaced with veined marble tile. While the homeowner kept the original appliances, new cabinets, shelving, counters, and backsplash gave the kitchen the boost it needed for a bright new beginning.

kitchen renovation
Cybele’s kitchen in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Everything in Cybele’s kitchen—old cabinets, coffee-colored backsplash, dark counters, and mismatched appliances—was ripped out, making the space an empty box ready for a fresh start. The old penny tile on the floor was removed, the subfloor was leveled, and then new flooring—faux wood porcelain tile—was installed. Walls were gutted to gain extra space for new counters and the old dark countertop was replaced with white quartz. New cabinets were installed, including taller upper cabinets with crown molding, and some of the lower cabinets were removed to make room for a dishwasher. Old backsplash tile was replaced with glossy teal subway tile and crisp white grout. The kitchen renovation thoroughly refreshed the space without any changes to the original floor plan, and new appliances included a compact microwave with a matching stainless steel shelf.


kitchen renovation
Lisa’s kitchen on the Upper East Side

Lisa’s kitchen was tiny, just 54 square feet, its cabinets were too shallow to hold her servingware or pots and pans, and the drawers were too narrow. Nothing was as it should be, so the kitchen was gutted right down to the studs and subfloor. Semi-custom cabinets with a high-gloss finish and greater depth were installed, instantly improving the form and function of the space. The stained, laminate countertop was replaced with a bright, white quartz. White subway tile took the place of the old, cracked backsplash, and a pinstripe of gray tile was added for a bit of flair. The existing appliances, which were beginning to short out and die, were substituted with a new dishwasher, counter-depth refrigerator, range, and microwave. The new look is clean and minimal—exactly what Lisa had in mind when she set out to upgrade her kitchen.

Looking for a kitchen remodel that’s more than just a facelift? Check out these dramatic kitchen renovations that underwent extensive design planning and changes to their floor plans with the help of architects.

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.

  • If you’re keeping the layout the same, cabinet refacing is a good option. It’s typically less expensive than paying for brand new cabinets and takes less time to install.