Before & After: Megha’s Midtown Kitchen and Bath Renovation — Sweetened!

by Kerry O'Brien

This week, we took a swing through Manhattan’s West Side to check in on a big shake-up of a Midtown West apartment. Megha Desai, who runs a marketing company, came to Sweeten after nine years of living in her two-bed, two-and-a-half bath condo. Megha loved the place but was ready for a refresh – and after talking to friends in the industry who shared similar ideas for taking down walls and unifying the living area, this little refresh plan ultimately grew to include major demolition and construction. If this were a quiz that made you match the before photo to the after photo, we would probably fail – this is truly an eye-opening dining, kitchen, and bath renovation!

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We sent Sweeten Expert Alastor to Megha’s place to execute on architect plans that called for big changes throughout the kitchen and living areas. The condo’s original layout was all sliced up – the kitchen was walled off from the entry and living room with a less-than-helpful passthrough cut-out. The master bathroom was falling apart – finishes that once looked new were peeling and rickety, and the separate shower and bath set-up was under-utilized. Megha loved the apartment and was ready for changes that would open things up.

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Alastor’s team broke down all the walls between the foyer and the living room. This move had the dual effect of creating a huge, open plan living room and also making the kitchen the social center of the new space. Megha did a ton of research on cabinetry options and ultimately went for a hybrid of custom cabinet bases with IKEA Sektion white lacquered doors and pulls. Megha told us that the new Sektion cabinet line is like “night and day” in comparison to the line it replaced – the surfaces feel indestructible and the drawer and cabinet inserts bring amazing variety in storage space. Megha went with a gray Caesarstone countertop, molded and poured into polished slabs and installed with waterfall edges that house each section of the new kitchen cabinets. The gas pipe in the kitchen – a feature that no amount of new technology could address – bisects the new island, but Alastor joined two separate counter slabs seamlessly, leaving a smooth gray surface that wows against the white and pine finishes elsewhere in the room. Megha decided to go big in one tiny place – she splurged on marble backsplash tiles from Complete Tile in Manhattan’s Flatiron district – the natural veining of the marble with the geometric herringbone pattern is just gorgeous. Megha admitted that she was caught by surprise at how expensive a few square feet of tile could be, but she is obsessed with this beautiful detail.

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Megha highlighted three favorite aspects of the new kitchen: Alastor installed a recessed outlet on the surface of the island that pops up when in use and vanishes when nothing is plugged into it. The plan also called for a sink disposal fixture with a hidden button, integrated in the countertop and virtually invisible. In most NYC apartments, the sink disposal is hidden because, well, there just is no sink disposal at all, so we’re extra impressed with any apartment that has this luxury AND manages to hide it to boot! The renovation also included custom bench storage that wraps seamlessly from the kitchen cabinets, around the dining area, and into new, custom radiator covers – a great way to extend seating and storage in the expanded living room.

Alastor’s team replaced the unit’s flooring with a white-stained wood that Megha found at Lumber Liquidators – a beautiful find at a moderate price. Megha’s appliance picks include a Jennair down draft stove, a stainless steel GE fridge, and a GE microwave (installed with custom cabinet panels). The sink and faucet are both Grohe, and the transparent glass pendants are from & Tradition. Overlooking all of this gleaming gorgeousness are three shelf niches: when Megha asked Alastor for some inventive storage and display space, he designed and crafted this set-up himself.

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In the bathroom, Megha went straight for a look that is part spa and part five star hotel, clearly! Textured gray porcelain tiles line the floor and the shower floor is pebbled. Alastor lined the shower with white glass tiles from Home Depot and a green-gray grout that tones down the gloss. Megha spent hours searching for the perfect sink vanity and was astonished to find that nothing on the market felt right. Instead of spending time and money on a vision that just didn’t exist, Megha went custom with a piece that combines white lacquered drawers with a cabinet, all topped with a Caesarstone counter and Grohe fixtures. Megha chose a full-wall custom mirror lined with Broadway lights, a real turnaround for a bathroom that had spent its previous decade bathed in dim, yellow lighting. The good news here is that Megha’s new bathroom is most definitely spa-like; the bad news is that she is enjoying it a little too much and takes more time than ever to get ready in there…

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Kitchen Selects >> cabinets: IKEA Sektion / countertop: gray Caesarstone / backsplash tile: herringbone marble Complete Tile / wood flooring: white stain Lumber Liquidators / stove: down draft Jennair / fridge: stainless steel GE / microwave: GE / sink and faucet: Grohe / glass pendant lighting fixtures: Art & Tradition

 Bathroom Selects >> glass tiles: white Home Depot / vanity countertop: Caesarstone / faucet: Grohe

Sweeten handpicks the best design and construction experts for major renovations. Follow the blog for fun stories from real homeowners about creating spaces they love and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project.

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