A Kitchen Shows Off Its Dazzling Side

Once relegated to a single wall, a true working kitchen comes to life

Photos: Kyle Knodell

Project: Update and enlarge a small kitchen in downtown Brooklyn

Before: Looking for more square footage in downtown Brooklyn led this couple to a 3-bedroom, 2-bath 1,230-square-foot loft in a 1920s Art Deco building. The kitchen was an unusual shape, with all of the appliances huddled together along one wall, not so suitable for avid entertainers.

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After: To expand the space, the couple wanted an L-shaped layout with a six-foot-long island and floor-to-ceiling cabinets for storage. They posted their project on Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors, and chose their Sweeten contractor. Condo approvals were a lengthy process due to the building’s landmark status and paper-thin walls, but once they were complete, the renovation itself took two months. Their contractor encouraged them to keep cooking as a focus, meaning no TV in the kitchen and leaving the “binge-fests for the den.” The couple eagerly agreed on a modern look mixing closed cabinets and open shelves while pairing white and gray shaker-style cabinets with custom black walnut slabs. One of the black walnut slabs acts as a desktop in a built-in—a workspace ideal for the husband, who is usually up before dawn checking email.

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You could agonize over the exact CMYK breakdown in your grout, or you could choose one that’s a reasonable shade of gray, order it online, and get on with it.

A white subway tile backsplash with dark gray grout and white quartz counters serve as a simple backdrop, while brass hardware adds a modern touch. To splurge on Caesarstone countertops, known for their durability, the couple passed on a farmhouse sink, which the husband had been dreaming about, for a more affordable stainless steel one. Durability was a priority for the couple. “This kitchen was built to be used,” said the homeowner. With its greatly increased prep space and extended bar seating, we couldn’t agree more!

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Bonus: After hosting their first dinner party in the space, she received a thank-you from a friend who said, “I could spend all my days in that kitchen.” The hostess’ response: “And that’s exactly our plan.”

Style finds: Cabinets: Fabuwood. Brass cabinet hardware: Semihandmade. Subway tile: Home Depot. Statuario Maximus countertop: Caesarstone. Custom black walnut slabs (open shelves, island countertop, desktop): 3 Dot Design. Light pendants: AllModern.com. Refrigerator: LG. Dishwasher: Bosch. Profile microwave: GE. Profile range: GE. Faucet: Delta. Chair (at desk) and Slope counter stools: West Elm.

Love the floor-to-ceiling cabinets with a built-in workspace? Take a look at our cost guide on custom built-ins and create your own.

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.

  • Candy Bigwood

    this is a truly smart and completely reimagined kitchen that solves so many issues us NYers deal with “maximizing space” and it’s done beautifully!

  • Total transformation!

  • Manchester Oaks

    Indeed, the kitchen remodeling contractor has done a fantastic job! The renovated kitchen is looking more spacious and beautiful. I believe the use of closed cabinets and open shelves along with the light pendants are here the real eye-catchers.

  • Anita Ki

    Great renovation! Where is the desk chair from? What make are the pendant lights?

    • Tisha Leung

      Hi Anita, We agree this kitchen is an amazing transformation too. You’ll find the resources for the lights and desk chair in our resources at the end of the blog post. The chair is from West Elm and the lights are from All Modern. Thanks, Tisha