My Sweeten Story: A 1930s Green Kitchen Brightens Up in the Bronx
A light-filled kitchen and laundry room revive a historic Tudor-style home
“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten
- Homeowners: Hannah, a special education teacher, and Henry, a finance professional, posted their project on Sweeten
- Where: Fieldstone neighborhood in the Bronx, New York
- Primary renovation: More storage and better layout for the kitchen and laundry room in their 1,313-square-foot house
- Sweeten general contractor
- Homeowner quote: “There are a million contractors to choose from in the New York area, so we felt very overwhelmed.”
- Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering valuable advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.
Written in partnership with Sweeten homeowner Hannah
More square footage in a house
In September of 2020, we bought our home at the height of the Covid pandemic. While it wasn’t the best time to invest in a home for most people, it was the ideal time for us. We were expecting our daughter, Franny, and needed more space than our one-bedroom Manhattan apartment could provide. It took us nine months to find the right house for us—a 1930s Tudor-style home—but once we saw it, we would update the kitchen and laundry into the present while keeping the original charm.
We loved the sunny windows in our home’s kitchen, but the layout wasn’t practical. The refrigerator blocked a corner closet, wasting storage space we desperately needed. We needed to maximize storage and efficiency with additions like upper cabinets. We wanted to keep the large windows and would design around them for a light, airy space.
A green kitchen finds its charm on a budget
Since the home’s overall style is traditional, some original features would stay, like a gorgeous, built-in hutch.
With buying a new house and a baby on the way, we were very cost-conscious but still wanted to achieve this look. To save money, we kept some existing elements, like the floors and the light fixture.
We were very excited about the green cabinets! The color turned out just as we had imagined it. We kept the upper cabinets white to avoid closing the space in visually. We chose gold pulls and knobs that look beautiful against the soft green. White added a touch of shine, including the granite countertops. The refrigerator was relocated to reclaim the storage, adding shelving and space for appliances like the microwave.
Our contractor worked with us to maximize the storage every step of the way. Thoughtful touches like a pull-out spice rack and a small shelf above the backsplash gave us attractive storage options and added character to the space.
Modern flair in the laundry room
We went modern in the laundry room with oversized, hexagonal floor tile and light wood cabinets with matte black pulls. A floating vanity was wall-mounted to visually enlarge the floor space. The laundry room functioned better by relocating the toilet and sink and switching to a stacked washer/dryer combination. Our contractor suggested a larger, shallow sink ideal for baby baths, which we love.
Renovating through the pandemic
Our Sweeten contractor helped us think through the design and get the most use out of the space. They were very responsive to our needs throughout. I was pregnant during the renovation, and we requested that they leave our sink and stove in until the last moment so that we could continue to cook and maintain some of our routines.
Attempting a renovation during the Covid-19 pandemic was challenging. We faced delivery delays, and the work took a little longer because the crew adhered to strict safety protocols which we were grateful for. They were professional and courteous throughout the process of renovating during an incredibly stressful time.
When a house becomes a home
This was our first time renovating a house. We had an idea of what we wanted, but we didn’t know where to start or how much a project like ours would cost. There are a million contractors to choose from in the New York area, so we felt very overwhelmed. Sweeten narrowed it down for us and made it so much easier to get the project started. We trusted the contractors that Sweeten recommended and that if anything were to go wrong, we could count on Sweeten to help sort it out.
The renovation completely changed the feel and function of our house. It is much more than our house; it feels like ‘home’ now. The kitchen turned out exactly how we pictured it.
I love that our new kitchen compliments our backyard. The huge windows allow us to enjoy our garden all the time and make it such a peaceful, happy space.
Thank you, Hannah and Henry, for sharing your light-filled kitchen!
KITCHEN RESOURCES: Cabinets with custom fronts: Ikea. Peale Green cabinet paint: Benjamin Moore. Pantry cabinets: Ikea. Satin brass cabinet hardware: Sumner Street Hardware. Granite countertops: Altium Cabinets. Cabinets: Ikea. Natural stain white oak Baltic plywood cabinet doors: Custom by contractor. GE refrigerator: Appliances Connection. Bosch dishwasher: Appliances Connection. LG stove: Appliances Connection. Winflo 30-inch hood range: Wislyn. White Dove wall paint: Sherwin Williams.