A 250-Square-Foot Kitchen Finds Its Bliss

A Westchester kitchen opens up for function and party flow

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Project: Remodel a kitchen in a 100-year-old Tudor in Rochelle Heights, a historic district in New Rochelle, NY

Before: Nilda and Brian’s grand “forever home,” a 4,400-square-foot Tudor Colonial built in 1912, had a nightmare kitchen that hadn’t been updated for 60 years and was literally falling apart—it was “cold, sawdust  was everywhere, the floor was three inches off-level from one side to the other, and you could peek through the floor into the basement,” they described. Despite the kitchen’s issues, the couple’s first concern after buying the house in 2015 had to be a new roof. Thankfully, the rest of the house was in fantastic condition; original hardwood floors, beams, molding, and leaded glass windows.

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With two small boys, Nilda and Brian needed a kitchen with more open sight lines and better access to the multi-level backyard other than through their drafty side door. They also wanted to maintain some separation and formality in the kitchen from the other living spaces, in keeping with the age of the home, while still feeling connected. Nilda was looking for a “glamorous but functional space and something with a great indoor/outdoor flow for the big parties we throw.”

After: The 250-square-foot kitchen renovation would be a complete gut job: new cabinets, flooring, and lighting; they also planned to open up the back wall to install a patio door. Ready to get started, Nilda and Brian posted their project on Sweeten and chose this general contractor.

The first thing their contractor did was remove a wall of cabinets obscuring the kitchen as you enter. An adjacent “showcase wall” features a stand-out backsplash tile and a beautiful range that matches the cabinet color.

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The couple wanted clean lines and hidden appliances, opting to hide the dishwasher with a paneled front. “No one is awed by a stainless steel front, but they do love beautiful cabinetry and hardware,” Nilda said. For storage, they chose shallower cabinets but a wider pantry unit, because as she pointed out, “you won’t lose anything in the back and can save the money by not adding the mechanical pullouts you would need for deep pantries.”

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Before discovering Sweeten, Nilda was concerned about finding a “reputable, reliable, and reasonable contractor in Westchester.” Their Manhattan contractor had never done residential kitchens, and she felt the all-in-one kitchen and bathroom design showrooms in Westchester were “astronomical [in price] and designing for a more formal Westchester client. We weren’t a fit,” she said. Their Sweeten contractor understood exactly what they wanted from their first meeting. “We just clicked!” she said.

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In the eat-in nook, Nilda had a design vision of something different, even edgy and spotted a York wallpaper at the Architectural Digest Design Show that was perfect. A bench upholstered in a geometric faux leather coordinates with the wallpaper.

The couple’s new kitchen makes them feel happy…every time they pass by or go in to cook or prepare a cocktail, “it’s blissful,” Nilda said. The reno even sparked a renaming of their WiFi to “rockinkitchen”!

Bonus: Planning ahead is the couple’s best advice: “Get your financials in order, take and retake all your measurements, and, if you have the space to store things, purchase your cabinets and/or appliances before demo even begins. Also, set up a temporary kitchen—this is especially important if you have kids. Our renovation took 52 days from start to finish, even with a few electrical surprises that needed to be remediated.”

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Style finds: Cabinets: Cliq Studios. Paint in Pure White and Classic French Gray with 50%, Fruitwood stain: Sherwin Williams. Tableau hardware: Atlas Homewares. Countertops in Rhino: Quartz Master. Simone handmade marble and brass mosaic backsplash tile: New Ravenna. Silver Haze wet bar glass tile: Artemis. Hammered bar sink: Sinkology. Litze smart touch faucet: Brizo. Bar faucet: Peerless. Marble tulip table: World Market. Savoy House lighting: Bellacor. Butler’s pantry lighting: AllModern. Flooring: CoreTec. Patio doors: Andersen. Brass brackets: House of Antique Hardware. Range: Verona. Dishwasher: Bosch. Refrigerator: Fisher & Paykel. Silgranit sink: Blanco. Risky Business wallpaper: York Wallcoverings. Chairs and bench: Joss & Main.

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This ’70s-era kitchen in Westchester was refreshed with Shaker-style simplicity.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

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.