Two Boroughs, Two Kitchens, and Two New Looks

by Kelley Rowland

“Rip-and-replace” kitchens save on cost and time, but maximize on style

kitchenProject: Maintain the flow and layout but increase storage in a kitchen

Before: After four years in their apartment in the Clinton Hill Co-ops Rita and Mark decided to renovate their kitchen (and bathroom). They weren’t sold on the kitchen’s footprint (due to the limited countertop and cabinet space) and debated whether or not to reimagine how everything was laid out. The couple also needed additional electric outlets—a common ask in older buildings. They posted their project to Sweeten and received matches that best aligned with their scope of work and budget. Rita and Mark chose a general contractor and got started on the renovation.

kitchen before renovationAfter: Ultimately the renovators decided to stick with the existing layout and focus on other high-impact details, like cabinetry, countertops, and a backsplash.

Rita and Mark wanted mid-range cabinets, and finding the right style and price-point, at first, proved challenging. “There are many high-end cabinet makers and many low-end ones,” Rita said. They ended up going with Cliq Studios, who they worked with via email and on the phone. The dark wood cabinets they selected are classic and provide contrast to the bright white countertops and tile backsplash.

kitchenkitchenOn the other end of the kitchen closest to the living room, the renovators decided to add a peninsula for additional storage and seating. “Since I love to cook, it also adds a space where friends and family can sit and chat with me while I cook. It’s also our food-serving island when we entertain,” Rita shared. This gave them new workspace, without the hassle or expense of overhauling the layout.

Their contractor took the initiative throughout the project to tackle any budding issues head-on. Since the homeowners weren’t living in the apartment during the remodel either, his team coordinated all the deliveries to ensure they’d stay on track with timing. Not to mention, their contractor and team had a lot of experience working with co-ops which made this renovation move all the more smoothly.


Project: Update old appliances, cabinetry, and fixtures

Before: Sheryl lived in her Woodside, Queens co-op for over 15 years. She plans to stay in the apartment (originally built in 1935 as part of the New Deal initiative) for years to come and wanted to make her kitchen suited for the long haul. “I made the decision to renovate because I want to age-in-place in this home and felt now would be the best time to do it,” she shared. Since she was on board with the layout, Sheryl’s goal was to refresh everything else and add a dishwasher, which would be a first for her. After posting the project (which also included her bathroom) to Sweeten, she was matched with three Sweeten general contractors. They all provided estimates, visited her home, and then she chose the contractor that felt like the best fit.

kitchen before renovationAfter: The new kitchen came together seamlessly. Sheryl opted for a neutral palette with light gray cabinets and all stainless steel appliances. She added a slight pop of color and pattern in the backsplash with a row of light blue floral accent tiles. The stainless apron-front sink is deep and wide, perfect for watering plants or soaking dishes—though the new dishwasher can also take care of that.

kitchen Her contractor was there to choose materials and give direction. “He was invaluable helping me source materials,” Sheryl said. They ended up finding almost everything for the kitchen at one local supplier, which made it convenient for her. The process also helped offset the stress of living in the apartment during the renovation with her cat Lexie.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the work. It was exact, professional and beautifully done,” Sheryl said.

find general contractors

How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen in New York City? Find out.

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.

Explore other stories