With smart adjustments, a kitchen makes the most of its small footprint
Project: A rip-and-replace galley kitchen on Manhattan’s Upper East Side
Before: When Deborah bought her 1-bed, 1-bath co-op on the Upper East Side in 2015, she inherited an outdated kitchen that was decades past its prime. The white appliances and cabinets showed their age, and the Formica counters were no better off. A big, boxy refrigerator felt awkward in the compact layout. Eager for a redo, she posted her project to Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted contractors, and planned a renovation.
After: A dramatic yet classic kitchen remodel in black and white renewed the small space. On the floors, a black, white, and gray geometric inset pattern—or what some call a “tile rug”—is surrounded by a glossy black border. The rest was redone in shades of white in contrast to the darker flooring. Her Sweeten contractor widened the doorway and designed a set of French doors to match the existing ones at the entrance to the living room. A transom window above lets in plenty of light into the interior dining area.
Custom light gray cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling are paired with Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo countertops and a white glass tile backsplash. “The high cabinets give me a ton of storage space,” said Deborah. Glass cabinets line only one side because “two utility meters had to be hidden behind solid cabinetry on the other side over the sink area,” she said. Under-cabinet lighting helps to brighten up the workspace.
Given that it would have been very difficult to obtain approval to move plumbing fixtures, Deborah’s Sweeten contractor left the appliance hookups in place but replaced them with appropriately-scaled versions. The new refrigerator is counter-depth and a new 18-inch dishwasher frees up more storage space. The bulky AC unit is now discreetly tucked away behind a modern custom wood panel.
Bonus: When the kitchen entryway was widened, it made the original lights off-centered, so Deborah’s contractor designed a floating box from which the two pendants hang that hides the wiring.
Style finds: Mosaic Geo Cold floor tile insert: Nemo Tile. Noir St. Laurent floor tile border: Nemo Tile. Polar Star cabinet paint: Valspar. Calacatta Nuvo countertops: Caesarstone. Tohmai Cambas glass tile backsplash, 2” x 20”: Complete Tile. Kitchen faucet: Signature Hardware. Liebherr CS1200L refrigerator: AJ Madison. Dishwasher, 18-inch SPE53U55UC: Bosch. Dual Fuel Slide-In Range, 30-inch HDI8045U: Bosch. Pendant lights: Pottery Barn.
After a small kitchen remodel, the original warm wood cabinets in Nancy’s apartment take center stage.
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