A Kitchen Renovation Reignites a Love for Cooking

The cabinet and counter space basically doubled

white kitchen cabinets with copper handles and overhead cabinet with glass doors and marble countertop and gas cooking range with hood after renovationProject: Open up a poorly lit and tight kitchen

Before:  A year and a half into owning and living in their Riverdale, Bronx, home Elizabeth and Martin were ready to renovate their 124-square-foot galley kitchen. Inspired by other remodeled kitchens in their 1955 co-op building, they got an idea for how they could transform the layout to better suit their needs. Elizabeth, a research analyst for a public policy consulting firm, and Martin, a product designer for a video streaming company, posted their project on Sweeten and were matched with a design-build firm where they worked with both a designer and a contractor.

two images of kitchen with half walls and white cabinets and tile flooring and a window above radiators before renovationkitchen with white cabinets and backsplash tiles and top mount stainless steel sink before renovationAfter: The biggest change? Knocking down walls between the kitchen and the entryway area to bring in more natural light. Their contractor also took down a partial wall between the kitchen and dining space to connect them. “We wanted to make the most of our floor space, have an open layout, and have comfortable dimensions for navigating the kitchen. We wouldn’t have felt as confident in our decision making in this area, but having the designer’s expertise and experience to make layout recommendations and to see her sketches (from every angle!) of the design made us comfortable with the plan, “ Elizabeth shared. 

The renovators wanted a clean and classic kitchen with plenty of prep space and minimal clutter. They worked with the designer to come up with practical storage solutions, including a set of glass-front cabinets, microwave cabinet, and built-in paper towel holder. The peninsula breakfast bar seats four to six and offers additional storage, too.

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white kitchen cabinets with dark gray tile flooring and white paint on walls and flush mounted ceiling light after renovation kitchen kitchen

Elizabeth and Martin shopped with their designer to pick out materials, including the lava stone backsplash and quartz countertop. Copper cabinet hardware pops against the white custom cabinets and adds to the mix of metals (matte black for the sink faucet and stainless steel appliances).

kitchen with dark gray tile flooring and white cabinets with copper handles and radiator covered below window after renovationwhite kitchen cabinets with copper handles and gas cooking range with hood and dark gray floor tiles and radiator with cover below window after renovationkitchen peninsula island with marble countertop and black base and black partition wall to the living room and pendant lights and hardwood look floor tiles after renovationThe project’s biggest challenges in this kitchen renovation include understanding what could be accomplished within the renovators’ budget, learning about material quality, and managing building, plus city, approvals. “This was our first renovation, and being the planning type, we really wanted to know what to expect and to be a step ahead,” Elizabeth shared. “Sweeten’s resources helped us know what to expect in terms of cost and timeline. Our contractor helped by providing a detailed scope of work and being communicative and responsive to emails throughout the project.” 

They relied on Sweeten from the get-go for reviewing and leveling quotes. But, most importantly, “knowing Sweeten was available and present to step in if needed, offered us a lot of peace of mind throughout the planning and execution of our renovation,” Elizabeth said.

Their new space reinvigorated Martin’s love for cooking and unlike pre-renovation, the couple actually enjoys spending time together in their kitchen now. 

Bonus: The couple adopted a cat, Norah J., as their renovation wrapped up. 

Style finds: Cabinets: Custom by general contractor. Bardiglio Imperial tile: Nemo Tile. Studio Collection 128 MM cabinet pulls in Polished Copper: Hickory Hardware. Quartz countertops: Viatera. Stardust Apollo backsplash in Moon Rock: Walker Zanger. Sink: Kraus. Faucet: Delta. Stove and refrigerator: Samsung. Dishwasher: Bosch. Trace 4 pendant light: Blu Dot. Gresley French bistro bar stool: Safavieh.

Here’s how much you could spend on materials, labor, and permits for your kitchen renovation.

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

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