A White and Wood Kitchen Has Understated Elegance in Queens

A stylish homeowner achieved a modern palette for a dual-toned kitchen galley in white and wood

White and dark wood galley kitchen

  • Homeowner: Anita posted her remodeling project on Sweeten
  • Where: Jackson Heights, New York
  • Primary renovation: Turn an outdated one-wall layout into a functional white and wood kitchen in a galley plan
  • Sweeten general contractor in Queens
  • Homeowner’s quote: “[My contractor] also respected my budget but knew when to push me toward better quality items or when simpler materials would suffice.”
  • Sweeten’s role: We match home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and secure deposits—at no cost to the homeowner.

Written in partnership with homeowner Anita. “After” photos by Miao Jiaxin.

From Manhattan to a tighter-knit neighborhood

A series of events, including a new job, took Anita from Manhattan’s Chelsea to a co-op in Jackson Heights. “I wanted to live somewhere where I felt part of a community and that my connections could really make a difference. I also left the private sector for the nonprofit world,” she shared. 

Portrait of the Sweeten homeowner

Her new 850-square-foot apartment in a 1950s building was the right fit for her reimagined life—minus the kitchen. “I knew I’d gut renovate the kitchen the second I saw it,” Anita said. She’d been living simply (with just a bed and kitchen table) in the apartment for three months when she embarked on her first renovation. The project was posted to Sweeten and was matched with a selection of vetted general contractors in Queens.

The kitchen before renovations

Galley kitchen with small dining area

A white and wood kitchen for gathering

Anita’s mission for the bland and dated space? To create a warm and modern room with plenty of storage and room to host friends. There were no outlets along the entire counter wall either, so updating the electrical panel was essential.

Two-tone white and wood kitchen cabinets

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kitchen with white walls and natural wood cabinets and floating shelf and stainless steel appliances and floor tiling after renovation

Anita used Ikea’s kitchen planning tool, working with an Ikea designer to measure the kitchen and select all of the materials she needed to order. Pairing a simple contrast of colors, this combination offered an interesting spin on traditional design for added visual appeal. The dual finishes even carried over into the drawer-within-drawer system for a coordinated look.

Her years spent living in Germany (where she says everyone renovates kitchens, even in rentals) inspired the appliance choices, as did prior work experience. “I had also worked in refrigeration for vaccines in developing countries and know way too much about refrigerators,” Anita said.

Picking out kitchen floor tile proved to be a more difficult decision. Her contractor recommended a supplier in Queens where, after several trips, she found a cement-look tile made in Italy.

The right contractor is in sync with their client

As a first-time renovator, Anita worried most about timing, budget, and working with a professional she could trust. Her Sweeten contractor delivered on all three, offering a reasonable estimate based on kitchen remodeling costs, a clear timeline from the get-go, and following through during the project. 

“My contractor sent me to reputable places priced within my budget that had items in stock. So, I didn’t have to rely on catalog pictures or internet images. He also respected my budget but knew when to push me toward better quality items or when simpler materials would suffice,” she said. “One of his best traits was being really good at reading people. He knew when my freaking out was legitimate and when I was falling into a trap of keeping up with the next big trend.” 

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The contractor’s team was also respectful of the building, taking the right precautions and cleaning up every day. Anita said her building super still compliments them on their professionalism.

Now, she has a brand new kitchen, where she can throw “kitchen parties,” sip wine, and just enjoy the space.

Thank you, Anita, for sharing your remodel with us!

When you’re ready to get started on your home remodel, work with Sweeten to renovate with the best contractors.

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

Renovation Materials


  • Rawtech porcelain floor tiles in Dust and Gabriella Casa Vogue white backsplash tiles: Sourced by contractor
  • Voxtorp high gloss white and wood kitchen cabinets with walnut-effect: Ikea
  • Countertops: Caesarstone
  • Undermount stainless steel sink: Kraus
  • Essa kitchen faucet: Delta
  • Liebherr refrigerator: Liebherr
  • Bertazzoni stove: Bertazzoni

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