Project: Transform a dark, awkward and inaccessible kitchen into the heart of the home
Before: Gina and Andrew, who met while working on the Broadway production of Billy Elliot, purchased a pre-war two-bedroom apartment in Sunnyside, Queens, the year they married. The kitchen did not inspire them to cook at all, with its drab stock cabinets and awkward layout, completely sectioned off from the living area. After 2.5 years of ownership, they decided they were ready to tackle the renovation and posted their project to Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors.
After: What was a dim and cramped space is now an oasis. Andrew says, “I never used to cook and after our renovation, I’m cooking up a storm!” The homeowners worked with their Sweeten general contractor to bring the color from their co-op courtyard into the home. They wanted to extend the natural green and chose a beautiful agave for the lower cabinets, while going with white for uppers to better reflect the light.
Warm brass hardware pops against the cooler tones of the cabinetry and white sink. A new stacked washer and dryer replaced the refrigerator, which relocated to a space closer to the kitchen window. Opposite the new fridge, a floor-to-ceiling pantry with pull-out drawers provides plenty of space for dry goods storage.
As first-time renovators, Gina and Andrew learned a lot during the experience. They report that their biggest challenge was living at home during the renovation, with their dog, Brewster. However, Andrew also found it useful to be on-site during the renovation since he was able to check in regularly with the contractor and was able to follow along on the progress. While the removal of a load-bearing wall required architectural drawings to be submitted for approval, it was well worth it to have a kitchen more connected to the living and dining spaces. They also gained a breakfast bar by opening up a pass-through.
Bonus: Fifty feet of unusable hallway space was repurposed into a dining area thanks to borrowing square footage from an adjacent second bedroom. Pocket doors were installed so that the interior space could remain “open and light could flow into the dining room.” They doubled their entertaining space by doing this!
Style finds: Floor in engineered ½ x5 select maple: Bellawood. Sektion cabinet bases and Vaskad dishwasher, #50422663: Ikea. Supermatte shaker doors in agave (bottom) and white (upper): Semihandmade. CKP Brand Origins collection cabinet hardware in amber gold, #3489A4480AG: Knob Deals. Countertops in Striking, #QM3205L: Spectrum Quartz. Backsplash in Carrara marble 3×6 tile: Floor and Decor. Moen Align series one-handle faucet in brushed gold, #S72308BG: Amazon. Oven, #NX58H9500WS/AA and refrigerator, #RF18HFENBSR/US: Samsung. Eastmoreland pendant light: Rejuvenation. Sede barstool in walnut and Thunder Gray fabric: Article. Affinity washer and dryer: Frigidaire.
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