Expanding a window and knocking down a wall brings in more light
Project: Improve the layout and maximize storage
Before: Anila and Ian’s kitchen in Flatbush, Brooklyn, still had elements of its 1920s charm, like the high, tin ceilings. The rest of the cook space had clearly seen updates since then, the latest being standard orange/brown cabinets and linoleum flooring. The couple, an NYU administrator and musician, lived in the home for a year and a half before deciding it was time to renovate. “Our kitchen and had inadequate storage, but there were also areas of wasted space, including a giant gap between the fridge and the cabinets. There was only one 6-inch wide drawer and limited counter space so it constantly felt cluttered and the corner cabinet, where we stored our pots and pans, was like a giant cave that you almost had to climb into to reach anything,” Anila shared. They posted their project to Sweeten and were matched with a general contractor.
After: With a mission to create an open, functional kitchen they got to work with their Sweeten general contractor. First things first: knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and moving the refrigerator hook-up to another wall to leave more space for a bigger window. These changes let in more natural light—exactly what the renovators wanted.
Their contractor recommended a cabinetry company known for its flexibility on cabinet sizes and styles. “It was great to get suggestions from the contractor as there were already so many other things we needed to research and purchase on our own,” Anila said.
They chose white Shaker cabinets with drawers as the bases, a detail the couple really loves. To incorporate color, the renovators selected a blue-green handmade tile backsplash that pops against the white cabinets and new wood flooring. When their contractor pulled up the linoleum, he found only subflooring in the kitchen and damaged parquet in the dining area. The couple had uncovered the original flooring in other rooms throughout the home, so they opted to keep that look, repairing the floor and adding planks where necessary (mostly in the kitchen).
The biggest challenge of the project was living in a construction zone and without a kitchen or dining room for almost three months. Anila and Ian made a makeshift kitchen in their living room and used the basement sink to wash dishes. “We also used our backyard a lot since it was summer. We actually did really well on the cooking front considering we had no stove. Ian made eggs on the grill most days and we made some delicious meals both on the grill and in the toaster oven,” she shared.
The first-time renovators emphasized the importance of planning ahead. There are so many decisions to make, so the less you have to make simultaneously or on a whim, the better.
“We love our new kitchen so much! We’ve been cooking a ton and it feels great to entertain in our new space,” Anila said.
Bonus: Anila and Ian chose gray soapstone countertops for their durability and style, as well as brass knobs and pulls to see how they’ll patina over time.
Style finds: White Rockford cabinets: Cliq Studios. Brass knobs and pulls: Rejuvenation. Soapstone countertops: European Granite & Marble. Zellige tiles in Tea Ceremony: Cle. Sink and Faucet: Kraus. Refrigerator and stove: GE. Dishwasher: Bosch. Lighting: Hinkley.
Here’s how much it costs to renovate a kitchen in New York City.
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