The new layout is perfect for the homeowner’s “kitchen parties”
Before: A series of events, including a new job and a shift in the political climate, took Anita from Manhattan’s Chelsea to a co-op in Jackson Heights, Queens. “After the election in 2016, I wanted to live somewhere where I felt part of a community and that my vote could really make a difference. I also left the private sector for the nonprofit world,” she shared.
Her new 850-square-foot apartment in a 1950s building was the right fit for her reimagined life—minus the kitchen. “I knew I’d gut renovate the kitchen the second I saw it,” Anita said. She’d been living simply (with just a bed and kitchen table) in the apartment for three months when she embarked on her first renovation, posting the project to Sweeten and being matched with a general contractor.
After: Anita’s mission for the bland and dated kitchen? Creating a warm and modern space with plenty of storage and room to host friends. There were no outlets along the entire counter wall either, so updating the electrical panel was essential.
The renovator used Ikea’s kitchen planning tool, working with an Ikea designer to measure the kitchen and select all of the materials she needed to order. Her years spent living in Germany (where she says everyone renovates kitchens, even in rentals) inspired the appliance choices, as did prior work experience. “I had also worked in refrigeration for vaccines in developing countries and know way too much about refrigerators,” Anita said.
Picking out kitchen floor tile proved to be a more difficult decision. Her contractor recommended a supplier in Queens where, after several trips, she found a cement-look tile made in Italy.
As a first-time renovator, Anita worried most about timing, budget, and working with a contractor she could trust. Her Sweeten contractor delivered on all three, offering reasonable estimate costs, a clear timeline from the get-go, and following through during the project.
“He guided me to reputable and reasonably-priced places that had items in stock and didn’t have to rely on catalog pictures or internet images. He also respected my budget but knew when to push me toward better quality items or when simpler materials would suffice. He is also really good at reading people and knew when my freaking out was legitimate, and when I was falling into a trap of keeping up with the next big trend,” she said.
The contractor’s team was also respectful of the building, taking the right precautions and cleaning up every day. Anita said her super still compliments them on their professionalism.
Now, she has a brand new kitchen, where she can throw “kitchen parties,” sip wine, and just enjoy the space.
Style finds: Rawtech porcelain floor tiles in Dust and Gabriella Casa Vogue white backsplash tiles: Sourced by general contractor. Voxtorp high gloss kitchen cabinets in white and walnut-effect and Utrusta push-door openers: Ikea. Countertops: Caesarstone. Undermount stainless steel sink: Kraus. Essa single-handle pull-down spray kitchen faucet with MagnaTite docking in chrome: Delta. Liebherr refrigerator: P.C. Richard and Son. Dishwasher: Bosch. Stove: Bertazzoni
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Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.