When Laura uploaded seventeen “before” photos to her Sweeten project post, a few things were very clear: if you could look past the black-paint-encrusted kitchen cabinets and cracked purple bath tiles, these Aussie expats had the makings of a spacious apartment with oversized windows in one of Brooklyn’s loveliest little neighborhoods. But the home’s tight nooks made it hard to even get a clear “before” photo of any one room. The layout was segmented with lots of little walls and doors, the parquet flooring had long ago given way, and the bathroom was filled with miniaturized fixtures. With sights set on a summer wedding and juggling all of the budget demands that come with new homeownership, we introduced Laura and Matthew to this Sweeten general contractor for a kitchen, bathroom, ceiling, and flooring renovation in their Clinton Hill co-op!
“This was definitely a dream on a budget and our contractor and his incredible team really made that happen! The Sweeten process and people were amazing and we really can’t thank them enough for all of their help. We are gearing up for 70 Australians to come to our wedding – SO SO excited to show them what we have created!”
– Laura, Brooklyn homeowner
The plans were ambitious but clear: demolish the kitchen wall to unite the kitchen, dining, and living rooms, re-build cabinetry and replace all finishes, gut the bathroom, clear out popcorn ceilings, and redo the floors. The demolition would leave a support column in place and center entertaining and seating around a new island, all in an entirely upgraded space.
Tired parquet flooring came up and warm wood planks went down in their place. The original kitchen cabinets appeared to have been painted many times over—when Laura and Matthew adopted them they were thick with black paint. The couple had put in long hours at Ikea to design new cabinets, and their contractor’s team did the heavy lifting to install double lines of cabinetry in dove gray with brushed brass pulls. A large island now separates the kitchen from the living room, while offering bar seating, plenty of table space for entertaining, and hidden storage underneath. Mismatched counters were replaced with striking butcher block, and the sink was swapped for a deep stainless version with a tall, elegant faucet. Laura and Matthew chose an ivory honeycomb backsplash with gray grout and upgraded appliances to sleek stainless steel.
Ohhh, look! There’s that iconic Clinton Hill Co-op kitchen window…!
The bathroom had also presumably seen kinder days. The floor consisted of gray tiles accented with smaller black and white pieces arranged in an art deco pattern, providing plenty of creative inspiration to work with while maintaining a familiar color theme throughout the home.
The contractor’s team removed the bathroom door and re-created the entry with a sliding track door—a huge space-saving move. Laura and Matthew chose stark all-white subway wall tiles lined with contrasting gray grout to replace the former lavender ones–many of them broken. The tub stayed with a glaze refresh and gained a large rain showerhead and new fixtures. The big surprise in the bathroom came in the form of a brightly lacquered red vanity, adding a serious punch of color and modernity. A double-sided mirrored medicine cabinet brings extra storage, and strip lighting was upgraded to a streamlined bulb set. The newly expanded vanity carves out just enough room for a simple two-piece white porcelain toilet.
The contractor’s work in the bedroom was more cosmetic but equally transformative. The building’s corner beams and beautiful windows are the focal point now that the popcorn ceilings and parquet floors are gone!
Kitchen selects >> floors: Home Decorators / cabinets: IKEA Sektion / hardware: Liberty Hardware / counters: IKEA Karlby / sink: IKEA Bredskar / faucet: IKEA Bredskar / backsplash: Amazon / microwave: IKEA / oven range: Samsung / dishwasher: Bosch / lighting: Etsy Custom LongMade Co
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