Around the end of last year, Elliot, a Graphic Designer, and Katie, a Benefit Specialist, decided that the time had come to take the scary but sensible plunge and become first-time homeowners of an older 1,800 sq/ft, 2-story townhouse in Williamsburg. The couple fell in love with this house’s lovely bones, plus it had a backyard for their dog, Desmond; but what they did not love was that it had the common NYC problem of disjointed spaces caused by a layout of many smaller rooms, not to mention the interior’s outdated everything.
Though the couple had never done a renovation before, they were excited by the idea of fixing up an older home. So the next task was to find their general contractor, which wouldn’t be easy (they thought) since they didn’t know many other homeowners, and therefore word-of-mouth was out of the question. After hearing about our resources at Sweeten, Katie & Elliot posted their project right away to get matched with members of the Sweeten Network. After comparing their matches, the young homeowners chose to put their project in the trustworthy hands of sustainability design build experts Ecostruct, who worked with the renovation newbies to think through everything from the practicality of materials to overall design concepts, before beginning construction on their 4-month project.
Katie & Elliot’s first order of business was to re-do the kitchen so that they could finally enjoy eating-in, as much as they do dining out at their favorite neighborhood spot. Ecostruct enlarged the space by opening up existing entranceways and creating larger floor-to-ceiling cabinet systems. During demolition, Ecostruct’s team, lead by Jon Eklund, found that the existing plumbing needed to be replaced because it was not up to code (and was actually a ticking time bomb inside their walls). This added some extra time, expenses, and maybe a few gray hairs to the project, but both the homeowners and Jon’s team were confident that it was a problem worth solving right away.
Luckily, Elliot and Katie have similar taste when it comes to interiors. The couple wanted to create a home that had a warm, clean and modern feel with plenty of light. For the kitchen, they choose to use both recessed lighting and Caravaggio Matte Grey Pendant Lights.
Jon helped Elliot and Katie think about the new materials in terms of cost, aesthetics and sustainability – triple bonus! The couple picked Caesarstone in White Farina for their countertops which is known not just for its simplified fabrication and installation process that makes it budget-friendly, but also for its nonporous and scratch resistant qualities which will help it retain a perfect surface without sealants or waxes, keeping harmful toxins out of the home. For the floors, the couple went with Mirage Knotty Walnut floors throughout the living room, open kitchen and dining room. The wood adds nice warmth to the space and its natural irregularities make a nice contrast with the white clean lines of their kitchen.
Whether it was the mix of mid-90’s earth toned floor-to-ceiling tiles, black accented toilet seat, or the fact that the faulty old pipes in the walls were about to bust open, updating this bathroom was a must. I loved how, by continuing with the same color palette and general clean aesthetic of the adjacent kitchen, the bathroom now reads as an integrated part of the home and less of a time warp.
The living room is tied both aesthetically and visually by opening up the island and updating the dry bar so the ever so hospitable Katie or Elliot can do what they do best, serve their lucky guests a cocktail while cooking up a meal in the kitchen.
In the entry foyer, the homeowners had Jon’s team replace the front door and repaint the concrete flooring and wood staircase; they also hung a nice big mirror that looks pretty familiar. I really like the shabby-chic but very gender-neutral vibe of the foyer, which I’m sure is making many great first impressions for the Katie and Elliot’s visiting friends and family.
Many thanks and congrats to Katie and Elliot! And a big thanks to Jon and his team at Ecostruct!
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