A Renovation Fit for Grandmillenial-chic Sisters

by Ariana Speyer

Millennial siblings mix color, pattern, and space planning—with resale in mind

In a stately neighborhood in New York’s Sutton Place, the DeChirico sisters had a goal: to get more space than the one-bedroom they were sharing and a fixer-upper to apply their charming, old-school aesthetic. So when Daria, an executive assistant at a financial recruiting firm, and Deanna, a senior associate in private equity, found a one-bedroom that they could convert into two, in a 1962 building, they jumped at the chance.

To revamp the awkwardly laid out space, the 30-something millennials posted their 700-square-foot project on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, chose their contractor, and rolled up their pretty floral sleeves.

kitchen renovation

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowners Daria and Deanna DeChirico

Prior to our new home, we were living in a smaller apartment in Sutton Place in Manhattan that was renovated and converted from a studio to a one bedroom. After five years there, we needed more space but wanted to stay in the neighborhood and ideally find something that required some work. We liked creating a space that is uniquely our own and feels like a home.

grandmillennial sisters

A lot of people are surprised by two young girls, who have a very traditional style, with Chinoiserie influence and a lot of ginger jars! We love bold patterns and color: the only thing painted white is the kitchen ceiling. Our home is filled with antiques we’ve bought and a number of items from our grandmother’s house. [Read more about this “grandma chic” style.]

The original layout had changed into a space that wasn’t well-utilized. The biggest challenge was bringing back the layout to its original form while making tweaks of our own and highlighting the great view. Our main goals were to create a second bedroom, build a large closet for our endless clothes, and have a dining space large enough to fit a table for entertaining. The decor would pull it all together through striking colors, textures, and the cozy feel.

living room renovation
"Before" floor plan
"After" floor plan
entryway during
coat closet
kitchen renovation
green tile
blue living room
closet and bedroom during
bedroom addition
blue bedroom
blue bedroom
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In the entryway, there was a closet that was a bit of an eyesore. We decided to keep it and make it work in the dining area as a coat/linen closet. We designed the mirrored doors and it became a great way to add extra light and depth to the space.

The size of the master bedroom was cut down to allocate space for a shared 7’x10’ walk-in clothes closet. Storage is super important in a New York apartment so we wanted to make sure we had as much as possible.

kitchen renovation

Spending less on the subway tile also meant we could spend more on the marble basketweave floor tile, which adds a lot of character.

The kitchen stayed simple by choosing white cabinets and a white quartz countertop. We avoided a trendy cabinet style to ensure a classic look for resale but a green, subway tile backsplash, inspired by The Polo Bar, gave a pop of color. All of the fixtures were in a gold finish. The kitchen counter wrapped around into the dining area with extra cabinets and a wine rack added below it. We like the aesthetics of it.

In the bathroom, we went for a standard white subway tile in the shower for resale consideration. It’s inexpensive, easy to maintain, and a classic material that won’t go out of style. Spending less on the subway tile also meant we could spend more on the marble basketweave floor tile, which adds a lot of character.

WATCH VIDEO: The sisters share their reno ideas including how they created their dining room doors.

Initially, we were going to salvage the wood floors. When we realized we couldn’t, we had to quickly choose a new style and decided on a medium finish with narrow planks. Wood is classic, so you really can’t go wrong and we weren’t as concerned with getting it just right.

We managed the project while working full-time jobs. We had an idea of what we wanted but the execution for most of it was in real-time. Fortunately, we work very close to home so we were able to run over at lunchtime and after work to answer questions, make decisions, and check on the overall progress.

colorful decorating ideas
Kitchen before
kitchen renovation
Bathroom during
bathroom renovation
walk-in shower
closet before
walk-in closet
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Constant communication with our Sweeten contractor was key! Although we communicated exactly what we wanted, it’s only natural that things get lost in translation. To keep everyone on the same page, we had weekly calls or meetings to make sure everything was getting done right and on time. We would also send checklists of completed tasks and any pending items.

Choosing the right contractor is the biggest question when starting a project. Having a referral or reputable source (like Sweeten!) is always a good idea. You don’t always have the luxury of starting from scratch where every detail is of your own choosing, especially in New York, so we really wanted to capitalize on that.

It’s exciting to finally have a dining room to sit and have meals (another NYC luxury). The wallpaper, chandelier, and doors were a must, since day one. We feel so happy to be settled and comfortable but are also really proud of how our ideas translated into exactly what we envisioned.

Thank you, Deanna and Daria, for sharing your new home with us!

House Beautiful weighed in on the Grandmillenial style in this recent article. 

CEILING PAINT THROUGHOUT: North Star: Benjamin Moore.

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Kitchen cabinets: The RTA Store. Cabinet hardware: Sumner Street. Countertops: MSI Quartz. Backsplash in Novecento Subway Verdin: Merola Tile. Quartz sink: Elkay. Faucet: Delta. Refrigerator: LG. Dishwasher, stove: GE. Whittier natural brass two-light flush-mount lighting: 251 First. Paint in North Star: Benjamin Moore. Williamsburg II Braganza wallpaper, WL8601, from Williamsburg by York: GoingDecor.

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Floor tile in Carrara white basketweave with blue dots: Marble Online. Hardware: Sumner Street. Shower fixtures: Delta. Sink and vanity: Ellenbee. Toilet: American Standard. Aged brass three-light lighting: Quorum International. Vanity mirror: Wayfair. Paint in Palladian Blue: Benjamin Moore. 

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Lamp: Overstock. Paint in Old Navy: Benjamin Moore

DINING ROOM RESOURCES: Paint in Palladian Blue: Benjamin Moore.

BEDROOM RESOURCES: Lamps: Home Depot. Paint in Essex Green (dark blue bedroom) and Serenata (light blue bedroom): Benjamin Moore.

WALK-IN CLOSET: Closet system: EasyClosets. Paint in Blush: Sherwin Williams.


The perfect layout may be right in front of your eyes. These Sweeten homeowners swapped rooms around for better functionality and flow.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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