You know that sort of childish feeling of being so excited about a future event that it actually seems to slow down time, and the only way around it is to put it out of your mind until the moment finally arrives? Whether the timeline is 2-weeks, or 20-months, renovation projects epitomize this trial of patience — and in following so many of them at Sweeten, we always have so much to anxiously await!
For me, Milktrout’s gut renovation in Gowanus has been the ultimate test. We’ve had this project on our radar since construction began last fall, and I made my last visit to the site while it was under construction back in January, at which point, things were really taking shape… and I already, seriously, could not wait. The project finished up on time this past spring, which meant between moving in, getting settled, and the natural slack brought on by summering, this fall would be it! At long last, after a very patient run (–I’m just kidding, I’ve been totally impatient), Milktrout firm owner Kent Johnson along with homeowners JD & Meaghan recently invited us back to check out the finished space, and I couldn’t be happier to say that this home fully exceeded my expectations. (more…)
Here at Sweeten, we understand that pairing the correct architect and client is more than circumstantial, and that the best working relationships are based largely on shared visions and philosophies. This Chelsea gut renovation project brought together Sweeten member firm Future Project, co-owned by Pedro Pachano and Ampara Vollert, who specialize in exploring theories of space and sensory discovery in their architecture, with an art collector client who wanted more than just a space to showcase her individual art pieces. The art-loving homeowner was looking for something that would act as a flexible framework for her entire collection and lifestyle.
The apartment’s original layout was made up of a number of smaller rooms that varied in floor height, which did not allow for two key aspects that the homeowner specified for her remodeled home: to be able to entertain large numbers of people, and to have significant wall space for her collected works. (more…)
Nate & Michelle had just about finished settling into their Greenpoint condo last spring, when it came time for the new homeowners to tackle their unfinished roof deck with its killer skyline views. The couple, both creative professionals in advertising, posted on Sweeten to find someone who could help convert the derelict roof into an extension of their home — an outdoor room with comfortable seating and plants to soften up the space. We introduced them to a few matches, and before long, they awarded their project to Sweeten member Hutson Landscape, owned by Corey Hutson, whose expertise in landscape design & construction was a perfect fit. When we stopped by to see how the project turned out, Nate, Michelle, and their bouncy labradoodle, “Kid,” were setting up to host some friends on their renovated roof. (more…)
Home School is a series of design stories and giveaways we run in partnership with Brooklyn Based, the best source for events, food and cultural news in and around Brooklyn. For the latest installment of Home School, we share some ideas about thoughtful design for kids’ rooms. Read on and enter at the bottom for a chance to win a Growing Up with Design prize package worth over $2,100. Details below!
Great design isn’t just for grownups — in fact, kids are notorious for wanting whatever it is that the grownups have, so it’s only natural that they’d envy our well-considered spaces! Here are a few local examples and ideas for designing a fantastic room for a baby, toddler, or big kid.
CREATE UNIQUE STORAGE
This family’s TriBeCa loft (above) underwent a full gut renovation once their daughter was born. Their architect, Olga Bakic, was clever to integrate built-in bookshelves and display niches into the little girl’s room. These details seem almost mature for such a little one, but they’ll be useful for storage and display at any age. When renovating with young ones in mind, it’s always wise to think ahead, sometimes way ahead! If built-ins are out of the question for now, HEARTWORK’s bookcases are a great alternative—they’re perfect for all ages and, since they’re built to last, they make a good investment for the kiddos. (more…)
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…)
Many of you know of theSweeten.com as the amazing renovation-matching, content-friendly website that you frequent for several reasons. Perhaps you posted a project to the site, or know of someone who has. Maybe you have read about theSweeten in NY Magazine, or are one of our qualified members. Regardless of what has brought you here, I have a great post in store for you that will provide insight into the inner workings at theSweeten office, through my eyes, the Intern!
My name is Joshua Lee, and I have been enthusiastically spending my summer break helping theSweeten team, while also learning from these prestigious professionals along the way. For the other ¾ of the year, I study Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois. I was born and raised in New Jersey and it has been a great experience to work at theSweeten office, not only because of the amazing staff, but because it is close to home. Now that you know a little bit about me, lets dive into theSweeten office! (more…)
“Creating efficiently beautiful spaces is what we do and we believe this apartment is as efficient as it gets. We design spaces that function with little room for excess fluff…everything has a purpose.”
-Anishka Clarke tS member & co-owner of Ishka Designs
The owner of this bright, 750sqft 1-bed in Park Slope works for one of the top 3 consulting firms in the US which means she works long hours and weekends, and travels a ridiculous amount for work — then, when she gets a break, she’s back out the door, traveling for leisure. Though she spends so much of her time away from home, she still finds time to “live” in each room and entertain regularly. When she first purchased her apartment a couple years ago, however, its vibe wasn’t right for her lifestyle, and she contacted tS member Ishka Designs, co-owned by Anishka Clarke & Niya Bascom, to help make it her own. The Ishka team transformed the dark, cramped apartment into a relaxing oasis where this homeowner can unwind after her usual busy day or weeklong work trip, and likewise, its sophisticated, urban character makes it a perfect place to entertain high-level clients & colleagues. (more…)
This week we’re off to a beach bungalow in the Hamptons to get our last taste of summer and catch up with tS member firm Uli & Associates (formally Fractal Construction). Firm owner and lead architect, Ulises “Uli” Liceaga walked us through the recent renovation of his own summer home, this little 800 square foot, 2 bedroom bungalow, which he retrofitted for his family of 7 — yep, Uli and his wife Christina have 5 kids, all under the age of 8! The family enjoys a particularly active lifestyle; they especially love biking, horseback riding, kitesurfing and wakeboarding, and they spend a lot of time in the Hamptons during the summers. So, a few years ago they purchased their own house at Amagansett’s Lazy Point, a kitesurfing and windsurfing mecca. While the location was perfect, the house itself was far from it, and Uli immediately got to work designing his family’s new beach bungalow. (more…)
In New York City it’s tough to find an apartment with enough space, and near impossible to find one with extra. So, when the apartment next door went up for sale in the O’Neill Building, these Ladies’ Mile homeowners had a great opportunity to combine the apartments, and double the size of their Manhattan pied-à-terre.
This week we’re excited to introduce one of theSweeten’s newest members, Virtus Design, owned by interior designer Frederick Wildfoerster. Virtus specializes in apartment combinations and townhouse renovations, and they have a special interest in classical and traditional interiors, which made them a natural fit for these homeowners’ combination in the historic O’Neill Building (c. 1887).
The Virtus Design team collaborated with architect and tS member Peter Lombardi on this combination; their objective was to design the combined apartments to look, feel and function as one unit. The biggest issue in combining apartments is often the structural limits of the building’s original design, and for this reason, many of these renovations end up with an awkward layout. Since the O’Neill Building was originally a department store with an open floor plan, it made reconfiguring the units much easier. (more…)
Last month, we shared the first-hand renovation story of Lisa Law, a Brooklyn Heights homeowner who used theSweeten to update her crumbling kitchen, and today, we’re excited to share our 2nd homeowner guest post — coincidentally, this story also comes from a Brooklyn homeowner named Lisa who used theSweeten to renovate her kitchen! Lisa B., who works in the architecture & interiors industry, and her husband Brian, a media studies professor & author, had lived in their Kensington apartment for 8 years before taking the leap to renovate their kitchen. The couple posted to theSweeten to find a contractor and were matched with tS member firm Nick Knacks Creative Interiors. Today we have before & afters of the transformed kitchen, along with Lisa’s insightful narrative on the new design and the process of making it happen.
Before renovating, our kitchen had its original, 1960s pine cabinets that were custom built for the space, but had many layers of bad paint jobs and several of the doors didn’t close. We thought about trying to save them, but they were so solidly built that there was no way to cut them down to fit our new design plan. Plus, stripping all that paint off would have been a nightmare. The vinyl flooring was peeling, the wall oven didn’t work, the cooktop was barely functional and it was almost impossible to see what you were cooking since it was stuck in a corner under a metal hood. The countertops were horrible, fake woodgrain formica. When we first moved in, they were even worse — there was contact paper on them, which we were able to pull up, but we were disappointed with what we uncovered!
We needed a gut renovation! Everything had to go, down to the studs, which meant new drywall, ceilings, cabinets, fixtures, appliances, flooring, backsplash and lighting.
I read about theSweeten a while ago in NYMag and kept it in the back of my mind because I knew we were going to renovate our kitchen. Although I worked in the interior design field, most of the contractors I knew were doing high-end renovations in Manhattan. I posted before pictures of my kitchen on the site and theSweeten introduced me via email to three contractors, all of whom I met with and who gave me estimates. They all seemed good, but as someone who knows about renovation, I appreciated that Nick Dillon from Nick Knacks Creative Interiors took extra time to really look at the kitchen, open up the cabinets, anticipate potential problems, and talk in depth about the process. (more…)