A relocated entry and new window transform a rowhouse cook space
Project: Renovate a builder-grade kitchen in Philadelphia
Before: The birth of the couple’s first child came two weeks after purchasing a two-story rowhouse in Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood. The baby’s arrival meant that plans to renovate the builder-grade kitchen would have to be put on hold. Fast forward two years later, with another baby on the way, this growing family decided to squeeze in the much-needed renovation before the due date. The kitchen was in dire need of a change: remodeled in 2004, it had generic faux wood cabinets, inefficient appliances, limited storage, and a lack of natural light.
After: As a couple who loves to cook and dine in their eat-in kitchen, the homeowners wanted to make it brighter and more efficient. They posted their project on Sweeten were matched with this general contractor. “[The kitchen] gets a LOT of use as the main backdrop for our lives,” the homeowner explained. The biggest change on the list of must-haves was the relocation of the exterior door to another wall in order to make room for a seating nook. To boost the flow of sunlight, a new window was planned for the spot where the old door originally stood. Inspired by the homeowner’s experience working in museums, the new kitchen, with flat-front all-white cabinets, unobtrusive hardware, and few distractions on the countertops, would feel similar to the clean backdrop of an empty gallery space; bright and full of potential.
The white quartz countertops and backsplash create a clean backdrop while the emerald green floor tile adds plenty of character. Most of the improvements in the kitchen—a trash can tucked behind a cabinet door and drawers beneath the sink—felt like the missing pieces of the puzzle. New appliances, including a smaller refrigerator taking up less space and a range hood that vents outside instead of recirculating air inside, are all energy-efficient.
Bonus: The first-time renovators discovered you may not know what you’ll find behind the walls in your home. In the process of moving the entrance, their Sweeten contractor opened up the walls and uncovered missing overhead support beams, structurally unsound vertical supports, mysterious gaps of empty space, and interior-grade drywall behind the exterior siding instead of plywood. He patiently and quickly worked to solve the serious problems.
Fixing the issues behind the walls extended the timeline from 2-3 months to 6 months. The baby was born in the middle of it all, but now that work is done, the family has peace of mind knowing their home is structurally sound. “We love our new kitchen,” the homeowner tells us, “We realize that while it might be too monochrome for some, it’s exactly what we wanted.”
Marc and Steve renovated their small and outdated Brooklyn kitchen, brightening and opening up the room.
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