A creative Brooklyn couple came to Sweeten with an enviable problem: they had a gorgeous townhouse on their hands, big on charm and original details, but a little low on the storage and conveniences that a modern, entrepreneurial family needs. Kavi Ahuja Moltz and David Seth Moltz, the fabulous duo behind the small batch perfume and cologne company D. S. & Durga, loved the rich wood trim that framed each window and the inlaid wood floors that ground each room, but earlier renovations in the kitchen and bathrooms had replaced many original materials with a hodge-podge of finishes. Seeking the skills of a designer and contractor, they posted their project to Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with contractors, and we found their Sweeten contractor to re-think space and feel in the kitchen and two bathrooms.
This Clinton Hill home presented an open kitchen plan with a large center island that had been updated with telltale features in the last decade: subway tile and a mix of wood finishes had been fit into an archway in the kitchen and pre-war moldings with gothic-inspired edges framed the oversized windows and a fridge nook. Storage was limited to two strips of base cabinetry and the butcher block counters added a third wood finish to the original floors and architectural details. Updates in the bathroom were similarly out of sync with the home’s original design, and a mix of modern tile, faux wood finishes, and slim storage left this family without a lot of storage options.
The contractor set out to preserve the most striking original floor and molding details and also push elements of the home toward a highly inventive and contemporary aesthetic.
(credit for before photos: Douglas Elliman Real Estate)
Without destroying any of those gorgeous hardwood floors, he addressed the most pressing of the to-dos first. The base cabinets were completely removed and replaced with a full wall of semi-gloss, flat front, white cabinetry from HenryBuilt with hidden hardware, framing the striking new Wolf stove. While they did lose the original wall pocket trimmed in molding that housed the fridge, the new HenryBuilt cabinets are far better suited for pantry purposes, and the new fridge was re-located to the right of the stove, camouflaged seamlessly with paneling. White stone composite counters replaced the butcher’s block, and a larger island replaced the former, keeping a similar silhouette with a mahogany base and ample knee space for diners. The stainless undermount sink was also enlarged, with a dramatic multi-functional chrome faucet, a standard workhorse behind the scenes in most restaurants.
The backsplash is where the real drama resides. White subway tiles were replaced with a kaleidoscope of black, gray, and white triangular tiles creating quite the abstract pop of modernity to the new kitchen that’s now a contemporary haven trimmed in pre-war luxe.
In each of the two bathrooms, the crew took a related design approach to tie in inspiration across eras, addressing the finishes without changing the footprint entirely.
In one full bath, tile again takes center stage with cement Dandelion tile in Lawn/Milk on the floors. These hex tiles with watercolor edges and abstract white lines depicting sunbursts replaced the previous, more subdued flooring. Simple white hex tile grounds the walk-in shower, and classic white subway tile stacked in a herringbone pattern extends up and around the walls. Frameless glass shower doors, a glossy lacquered double vanity with deep drawer storage, and a heated towel rack perfect this stylish high-low mix of materials. And because no detail was overlooked by this stylish couple, they opted for polished brass light fixtures to offset the muted tones and white on white textures.
In the kids’ bath, a parallel mix of white and gray shapes work equally simply to create a clean and bright space. White hex floor tile and contrasting gray grout is echoed with industrial white subway wall tile and more contrasting grout. Their Sweeten contractor made room for a new tub and double vanity, and added extra towel bar storage.
We’re so glad to have played a small role in helping this Brooklyn family create a home that works so beautifully, and we’ll for sure be following along as their business grows!
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