A Kitchen Goes Low Maintenance


ProjectRenovate my kitchen in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Before: This tired kitchen was sorely out-of-step for an active family with two young children. Floors, cabinets, backsplashes, countertops, and appliances all begged to be updated. “The structural issues included gaping holes in walls behind the cabinets and outdated electrical,” notes owner Cybele Malone.

After: Job one for Cybele’s Sweeten general contractor was removing the existing penny tile floor, a cleaning nightmare thanks to plentiful grouting. Mud was applied to level the surface, in preparation for durable faux wood ceramic planks that butt together with minimal grout, like real timber flooring (read: low maintenance!).

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Gutting walls around the room gained a sliver of extra space for counters. Slightly deeper new countertops are white quartz, to bounce light around. Adding a dishwasher cost storage space below the counter, so to compensate for the loss, much taller upper cabinets go right to the ceiling, where oversized crown molding is painted to match the Shaker-inspired doors featuring soft-close.

A drafty-in-winter exhaust fan got nixed to make room for a stainless shelf and compact microwave. Muddy brown backsplashes are replaced with bold teal 1940’s-inspired tile laid like bricks, their white grout highlighting a graphic running-bond layout.

Bonus: In a previously overlooked corner, cantilevered shelves offer a hands-off high perch for colorful accessory display. Someday, more shelves will be added below, to increase capacity when the family’s young kids get older.

Style finds: Porcelain floor planks, subway-style wall tiles, Frigidaire range, KitchenAid refrigerator and dishwasher, Waypoint cabinets, synthetic quartz countertops, and a stainless steel sink.


sweeten_cybele_kitchen-before-01porcelain floor tilesshaker style cabinetsteal subway backsplash tilestainless steel applianceswhite open shelves

Have a galley kitchen that needs function and major “pick-me-up”? This renovation did just that.

Here’s a guideline on the difference between pre-fabricated, custom and built-to-order kitchen cabinets—including stock from Ikea.

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“I liked using Sweeten! It gave me a great place to start, since I had no idea how to begin my renovation projects. I will be using them again.”

— Mary C. from Philadelphia, PA

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