Reimagining the Open Concept Kitchen

A galley kitchen becomes a part of the living space

living room behind kitchen and white walls and built-in storage in the living area and kitchen with gray floor tiles after renovationProject: Create a family-friendly, contemporary kitchen

Before: After a few years of renting in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Natalia and Daniel were ready to buy a place of their own. They found a two-bedroom co-op with a great location (across the street from Fort Greene Park!), knowing a renovation would be necessary to make the 1950s space feel like home. The to-be remodelers (who were also expecting their first child!) wanted to take advantage of the large windows and natural light, and better connect the dark and tight galley kitchen to the rest of the living space. The TV producer and creative director posted their project to Sweeten and were matched with a general contractor.

daniel posing for photo with his wife on chair next to a window and infront of built-in book shelves after renovationkitchen with oak cabinets and granite countertop and tile flooring and stainless steel appliances before renovationAfter: The Sweeten contractor got to work to modernize and lighten the space. Important, though not visible changes, like updating the electrical wiring, became a high priority. “It’s actually a huge peace-of-mind knowing that the air-conditioning won’t short-circuit the dishwasher,” Daniel shared. From there, they skim-coated the walls and ceilings across the apartment to smooth out years of bad paint jobs and patchwork. The floors were also spruced up, sanded down, and refinished to look brand new.

sweeten is in los angeles blog post image

Renovate to live, Sweeten to thrive!

Sweeten brings homeowners an exceptional renovation experience by personally matching trusted general contractors to your project, while offering expert guidance and support—at no cost to you.

Start your renovation

The renovators decided to extend the counter space into the dining area as a serving surface. It also helps join the rooms. Since the galley-style cooking space was tight, the couple chose a slim refrigerator and narrow base cabinets on one side to improve flow.

white kitchen white kitchen cabinets with butcher block countertop and floating shelves and gray tiles on floor and flush mounted ceiling light after renovation kitchenwhite kitchen cabinets with butcher block countertop and floating shelves next to breakfast area after renovationThe overall timeline was one of the most critical parts of the project. Not only was the couple paying rent and a mortgage simultaneously, but they also had a baby on the way! Their contractor and his team worked hard to meet their chosen deadline and helped the first-time renovators navigate the process from start to finish. “He also was able to fill in the gaps on the small things you don’t think about as a first-time renovator, like the right ways to get the wood and tile floors to meet in the kitchen. He often provided those materials himself, or ordered them for us,” Daniel shared.

white kitchen cabinets with butcher block countertop and pull out drawers and hardwood flooring after renovation stainless steel gas cooking range with hood and white kitchen cabinets and partition wall to the living room and hardwood floors after renovationThey were relieved to have Sweeten by their side, too. “Sweeten was helpful when we had questions about billing standards and really put us at ease. But honestly, the biggest help is just at the beginning—finding a reliable contractor with good reviews. It sounds simple, but it isn’t,” Daniel said.

Now they’re enjoying their renovated home with their little one in tow.

Bonus: Daniel and Natalia’s renovation advice: “It’s easier than you think! Just do as much planning as you can, be firm in your choices, and stick to them when you can, and just take it step by step. Oh, and find a good contractor to collaborate with!”

Style finds: Tile floor and backsplash: Tile Depot. Voxtorp cabinets. oak countertops: Ikea. Custom Corian countertop and Ellington LED lighting: Home Depot. Floating shelves: Custom Floating Shelves.

An experienced renovator worked with a Sweeten general contractor to open up her galley kitchen.

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.

You may also like

Renovate with Sweeten!


We’ll match you with vetted general contractors and offer support until your project is done — at no cost to you!

Start your renovation

Customer review 5.0


“Sweeten made the process of gathering bids easy and painless, and I was able to find a great contractor. I'll use it again.”

— Holly M. from Queens, NY

Read more reviews —>
Start your renovation

Subscribe to our
renovation newsletter