Buying an Apartment for the Perfect Cookspace

A Brooklyn couple chooses a specific layout to design their dream custom kitchen

custom kitchen

Project: Giving new life to an estate-condition kitchen and living room in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

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Before: Natalie and Cartier had already lived in New York City as renters for several years when they made the decision to make the Big Apple their long-term home. This meant a move from the Upper West Side to Brooklyn, which they preferred for its pace and culture. Rentals were considered but ultimately rejected because of their notoriously small kitchens; the couple loves to cook and needed enough space to work together comfortably. An updated unit in the Clinton Hill Co-ops caught their eye—but unfortunately, they were outbid. Then, having fallen in love with the CHCs (as have many other Sweeten renovators before them!), they realized they could buy one of the units that needed work and have the money to spend on a custom renovation. They made their choice based on the layouts that had space for their ideal custom kitchen. In the unit they selected, everything had to go—the dingy wallpaper and paint, bad tile, and a kitchen that hadn’t been touched in decades. The only thing that would remain were the floors, which would be sanded and refinished. They decided on this Sweeten contractor for the job after posting their project.

After: Natalie and Cartier achieved the “modern industrial, open-concept feel” they were looking for by demolishing the walls between the old pantry, living room, dining room, and kitchen. “We wanted a lighter feeling in the apartment, given that the ceiling is not particularly high,” Natalie explained. With less obstruction, the custom kitchen was brightened by the windows in the dining nook and spacious enough for the pair to host dinner parties. They also added plenty of cabinets for storing all of their kitchen equipment. The sink and dishwasher moved to the wall perpendicular to the stove, allowing their Sweeten contractor to increase counter space and improve the custom kitchen’s overall flow. The addition of a built-in spice drawer and cabinets with pull-out drawers meant that there was a designated spot for their kitchen goods—from small appliances to pots and pans. With many moving parts, Natalie and Cartier relied on Christina, their Sweeten Planner, to help stay on top of their renovation in real time throughout their home’s transformation. They even received a comprehensive digital record documenting their three-month renovation at completion.

Bonus: Cartier was keen on having a “smart” home, so the living room air conditioning and many lights are connected via Wi-Fi and controlled by the Echo.

Style finds: Cemento Cassero Anthracite floor tiles: Arizona Tile. Semi-custom kitchen cabinets: Interiors Palace. Satin Nickel cabinet hardware: Glide Rite. Honed “Pebble” countertops: Caesarstone. Crystile glass subway tile backsplash: Glass Tile Oasis. Zaneen brushed nickel lighting: Lumens. Denton multi-light dining nook pendant: Hinkley Lighting.

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