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…)
“The project needed a high level of skill and creative thinking to accomplish what looks quite simple. We created a truly wonderful interior environment with high-end finishes that the client completely loves.”
-Bob Reid, tS member & owner of ReidBuild
This week we’re on Madison Ave. with new tS member ReidBuild, for a close up look at their high-end, Brazilian-inspired condo renovation. Despite this apartment’s beautiful Central Park views, the space had its share of challenges to address in the renovation — in general, the apartment lacked any charm or style, and, after being originally built in the 80′s, no updates had been made to it since. When it came to constructing the new design, the old framing system did not allow for the new electrical and plumbing lines, so the ReidBuild team took all the walls out and built them back new. After 14 months of construction, the 3-bed, 3-bath apartment embraced its sophisticated new style. (more…)
“This project represents a true collaboration between the various trades and participants, which allowed this interior renovation project to achieve Enso. Enso is the Japanese word meaning ‘circle’, the absolute in strength, elegance and void.”
–Lilian Weinreich, tS member
This week we’re in the Upper West Side with new tS member and architect Lilian H. Weinreich to check out her recently completed gut renovation project. The 1,800 sqft duplex apartment was purchased by retirees Paul and Ellen, for its mesmerizing panoramic views of Central Park and close proximity to the Lincoln Center, as an urban sanctuary for their frequent visits to NYC. Some of the challenges of the project included the apartment’s low, 8-foot ceilings and the poorly constructed prior interior alterations that left only 30% of the interior non-structural walls and ceiling components usable. Lilian worked closely with the homeowners in creating their beautiful new home; the main goals of the project became integrating the interior with the exterior, as well as addressing sustainability and energy conservation. (more…)
Last week we met Lisa Law, the Brooklyn Heights homeowner who recently finished her budget-friendly kitchen renovation with tS member NYC Pros. Now that you’ve heard the backstory, as documented by Lisa herself, this week Lisa reveals the outcome of her fully-updated kitchen, along with a very helpful rundown of her anticipated budget & the actual cost of the project.
I love my new kitchen! Although I had picked every element of the new kitchen, I was concerned that the finished whole was not going to be equivalent to the sum of all the parts; would it work cohesively in the end? There were a few stressful times, and I did have to make some quick decisions that could have gone awry, but ultimately, I set out to achieve some major objectives and I believe I more than met them all. I have more cabinet space, more countertop space, larger appliances, it feels much more modern and homey, and it was done in a fairly budget- and time-conscious way. In fact, my kitchen now makes the rest of my apartment now look pretty shabby! (more…)
Today, we’re sharing a special look at this recently Sweetened kitchen. Brooklyn Heights homeowner, Lisa worked with tS member NYC Pros on her budget-friendly renovation; we stopped in to see the progress & take photos along the way, but the rest of this story is told by Lisa herself. This week we’ll look at the processes behind planning & renovating, and next week we’ll look at the project budget and final results of Lisa’s fully-updated, eat-in kitchen.
When I first moved into my apartment a year ago, I knew I wanted to renovate the kitchen. I wouldn’t say the place is a fixer upper, but the kitchen was dated – the appliances were all too small, the backsplash was an awful, murky green tile, and the cabinets were too high and just did not provide enough efficient storage. There was also a big hole in the wall right underneath the sink that I totally missed prior to moving in. With the costs of buying my first home, renovating wasn’t something I could take on immediately.
This summer, however, my fiancé is moving in. So, after a year of living with a less than optimal kitchen, I did a bit of financial planning and I decided to bite the bullet and take the leap to do a renovation-on-a-budget. (more…)
What do you do when your renovation plans seem to be creating one problem, while solving another? This week, we have a great example of how an architect in our network was able to help a couple of new homeowners choose the best, personalized solution for their space. tS member Andrew Mikhael Architect recently completed this renovation in Hell’s Kitchen, where the biggest challenge came in weighing the options of privacy & daylight penetration. The homeowners, a young professional couple, called Andrew last summer, just after closing on their 972 sqft, 1-bedroom flat. The plan for their new space was to add a second bedroom which would be used as a guest room, and soon, a nursery. The new bedroom would be built into the living room which created one primary dilemma — in order to block out the new space, they’d be enclosing nearly half of the windows that let light into the home’s open living, dining & kitchen spaces. The solution they found working with Andrew meant that the couple wouldn’t have to compromise either privacy or sunlight penetration in building the new bedroom. (more…)