“Sweeten connected me with an awesome, smart, and honest contractor, which is all you need to make it happen.”
–Sanaya K., Clinton Hill homeowner
Like a number of her Clinton Hill Co-op neighbors, homeowner Sanaya spent years living with decades-old cabinetry, outdated appliances, and unnecessarily cramped spaces before taking the plunge with a complete Sweeten renovation of her kitchen. “The kitchen was incredibly outdated,” she explained. “The cabinets were falling apart and I’m embarrassed to admit that there were cans of food holding up the shelves in one spot!”
Sanaya and her husband, Chris, had to contend with missing shelves and work around what looked like water damage from a prior leak. In addition, the original layout included a wall between the kitchen and pantry, which closed off both spaces and served no functional purpose. “It was tight,” Sanaya recalled. “Totally unnecessary, and made the space feel like a maze of walls.” Because of the placement of this dividing wall and the location of the refrigerator, counter space was seriously lacking. In her project post on Sweeten, Sanaya did not mince words: “…everything must go.”
After meeting with her Sweeten matches, Sanaya chose to work with Sweeten Expert, Alan, who helped bring together the homeowner’s renovation game plan.
Sanaya took on three unconventional design choices to replace existing finishes: counter tops, the backsplash, and flooring. After plenty of online research, she was originally inspired by wood counters, “I love wood counters!”, she explained. “Alan was very helpful with pros and cons. I swooned over that idea but ultimately decided against them – I didn’t want to worry about the durability of the counters, near the stove and sink in particular.”
Alan helped to connect Sanaya with other homeowners who had considered similar choices and with an expert at Lowe’s in Red Hook who helped her determine the new kitchen layout. She ended up going with gray Caesarstone counters that beautifully offset the new, white shaker-style cabinets. For the backsplash, Sanaya chose a luminous blue-gray penny tile. Though they are more often used in bathrooms, here, the penny tile adds visual detail and pattern to the clean lines of the cabinets. Keeping with her goal of transforming and maximizing every last inch, Sanaya selected cork flooring, made in long planks, instead of the more typical square pieces. The natural accent brings warmth to the space.
Sanaya and Chris (who, while renovating the kitchen, was simultaneously in the process of opening his second restaurant, Cent’Anni in Crown Heights) were equal parts overwhelmed and happily immersed in the selection of these materials, and in the end, both are thrilled with the results. The new floor-to-ceiling cabinetry has dramatically increased the functional space of the kitchen. With the wall between the kitchen and pantry gone, Sanaya can easily access the additional storage and benefits every day from the counter space that was gained in the process.
“There are whole shelves that I haven’t even moved into yet! I feel like I can breathe and cook freely without chopping vegetables on top of my cookbook. I am obsessed with how awesome the deep and long drawers are for pots and pans – it makes accessing them so much easier.” The project’s obvious functional benefits also brought along welcome aesthetic benefits, as Sanaya noted, “I’m so glad that some of the cabinets are glass – we get to look at some of our beautiful things that don’t get used daily, but they’re not in the way. And I am equally glad that most doors are wood – I don’t want to look at my pantry and no one else does either.”
While Sanaya and her husband are still playing with their new storage solutions and reveling in the new space, the completed renovation has left a hankering for more. “Now, I want to do so much more,” Sanaya says, laughing. “I want to rethink our living/dining room and perhaps install built-in shelves there and in the main hallway. And maybe it’s time to repaint our bedroom…the endless project!”
Caesarstone countertops and penny tile by Galactic Tiles in Brooklyn, NY
Lighting fixture by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
Cabinetry by Kraftmaid from Lowe’s
Almada cork flooring
Thank you, Sanaya, for this peek into your fabulously stylish and smart new kitchen!
With four Clinton Hill Co-op kitchen renovations under our belt, Sanaya is the first to create a new, contained kitchen, rather than opening the space to the living and dining rooms. We’d love to hear your take on the layout options — which do you prefer?