This week’s Before and After brings a little Christmas-in-July cheer for a family of three in Brooklyn’s Columbia Waterfront District. Robyn, Alejandro, and their daughter Bianca stopped by a cavernous, dark two-bedroom condo on Christmas Eve, hoping the new year might bring a new home for their family. What they found was an apartment in total disrepair – more than a little TLC would be required to update the space, but the square footage and bustling location seemed promising. Robyn and Alejandro prepared for everything short of moving walls and came to Sweeten with a long list of updates needed in every room. The photos on their project post, all taken while the place was still on the market, make it hard to imagine what a renovation could do, but Robyn saw potential for a more open, chef’s industrial kitchen. To make it all happen in time for summer, we matched Robyn’s vision with Sweeten Experts Paulina and Albert – a veteran design and custom cabinetry duo and the team behind Claire and Mike’s beautiful Park Slope kitchen, which Robyn threw in as inspiration in her planning.
The original kitchen felt almost like a kitchenette: the most functional fixtures and appliances were jammed up against the back wall with just a foot or so of counter space to spare on one side, and the kitchen was hemmed in by an old fridge and a partial wall. Even in a space twice its size, the conditions of the cabinets, flooring, and countertops were total deal breakers. Clearly, all of it had to go. Robyn brought a strong guiding sense of function to the project and decided early on that the new kitchen would be oriented around a few major appliances: a Viking range and a farmhouse sink topped the list of dream pieces. Robyn and Alejandro hit their stride with Paulina as they thought through ways to bring in more light and make the most of the kitchen’s layout, and they drew up plans to focus workspace around the range, split food prep and clean up tasks on opposite sides, and replace peeling laminate counters and cabinets with quality finishes that reflected the family’s focus on cooking and eating together.
Paulina and Albert’s team got down to business, ripping out everything in sight and removing the kitchen’s entry wall dividers. From top to bottom, here is Robyn’s rundown of the fixtures and finishes that now fill this family’s beautiful kitchen!
Floors – Robyn opted to forego tiling and extend the living room’s re-surfaced and re-stained oak floors into the kitchen. Paulina and Albert were able to match a new section of wood seamlessly using a light stain with a hint of gray to neutralize the space and complement the cool color palette that Robyn was assembling.
Cabinets – Paulina helped Robyn stay away from a white kitchen with painted gray, Shaker-style cabinets. Paulina’s design added paneling along the outer edges to elegantly frame the room, and Albert created slim toe-kick drawers for an additional layer of storage. Paulina stowed a generous row of outlets along the cabinets’ underside with a strip of LED lighting.
Countertop – The couple selected a granite stone cut with gray undertones and luminous purple specks that brings the durability of granite with a look that more closely approximates marble veining.
Backsplash – Robyn found a stainless steel tile that nods to the neighborhood’s industrial shipping past and present. Paulina extended the tiles beyond the point of a traditional backsplash, lining the kitchen’s central wall and framing the kid-friendly (and spouse-friendly!) chalkboard wall.
The kitchen’s starring features, that sparkling Viking range and Kohler apron front sink, take center stage on each side of the kitchen, with ample work and storage space flanking both. The family added a Fisher & Paykel fridge and a narrow width Bosch dishwasher – two high-impact but trim footprint pieces used every day.
Robyn and Alejandro’s kitchen was just the start of this condo’s full renovation. We’ll check back with this sweet family for a full tour of the rest of their home before the summer is up!
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