A Yellow Moroccan Tile Backsplash Basks in a Brooklyn Kitchen
An entertainment-focused kitchen preps with bright lights, bigger storage, and more dining space
Photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten
Before: Improve placement and impersonal lighting
The kitchen in Dawn and David’s loft apartment was not ideally configured. After living in the home for a dozen years, the pair decided to finally redo the kitchen. The cabinets had seen a lot of wear and tear, and appliances and drawers were not in the best positions.
The couple also wanted to fix a prior renovation mistake: a contractor had convinced them to go with recessed lighting in the kitchen and living room areas. Dawn found the choice too commercial and wanted to find statement pendants with a bit more character. The couple also wanted to add personal touches, like a Moroccan-style tile backsplash. After posting their project to Sweeten and interviewing several contractors, they chose this Sweeten design-build firm.
After: Make the kitchen’s storage function smarter
The goal was to borrow square footage from the kitchen to give more breathing room to the dining and living room areas. They’d create more kitchen counter space and cabinet storage but within a smaller footprint. An efficient layout would be key. She said, “We wanted to get the most out of each nook and cranny while not ending up with a lot of nooks and crannies!”
Given their penchant for entertaining, large serving pieces and other odd-shaped items needed specific spots. To accomplish this, Dawn “spent a lot of time measuring the things that’d go into storage and were plotted out correctly in the kitchen. I was careful not to over-allocate space.”
The peninsula becomes multifunctional
An expanded peninsula with drawers on either side—facing the kitchen as well as the entryway—was a key part of executing this vision. Dawn wanted “tons of room for prepping and cooking a meal as well as serving space for hors d’oeuvres when we entertain. People like to congregate in the kitchen when they arrive. I wanted to have a space that didn’t interfere with the process of making dinner. With a much bigger peninsula, we confine the prep/cooking work to one half of the surface while making room for an attractive presentation on the other.”
Planning out placement
They created dedicated space for serving trays and her largest pots. A good deal of thought went into the best placement of appliances and cabinets; the utensil drawer faces the dishwasher, while the speed oven is hidden in the peninsula keeping the countertops clear.
Dawn also worked with her Sweeten contractor to add a full-length pantry that had both interior drawers and shelves. A spice rack mounted at eye level sits inside of the door.
For the finishes, Dawn, the founder and CEO of Arcadia Home, an artisan-made home accessories brand, had a vision: “grainy flat-paneled cabinets, beautiful organic pulls, extraordinary color in the backsplash, killer lighting, and a fairly clean white but interesting countertop.” The centerpiece of the entire kitchen was the yellow Moroccan tile, inspired by a yellow Moroccan rug in the couple’s living room—a purchase from their first trip together during their dating days. “It makes us happy every day,” she said.
Bonus: The lighting redesign also transformed the look of the space. Now, the peninsula sports two handmade pierced nickel-plated brass shades from Egypt. The light from the pierced holes creates a unique pattern when illuminated.
Rift-cut oak painted kitchen cabinets: Custom designed by Sweeten contractor. Cabinet paint color in Blackberry and White Dove: Benjamin Moore. Schaub and Company Martello #174-N cabinet pulls in natural: Build.com. Pinecone cabinet knobs: Knobs4Less.com. Montclair #AQ501 quartz countertops: Alleanza Quartz. Batha #1-18 yellow Moroccan tile backsplash: Mosaic House. Zenza Bella Filisky peninsula pendants: Zenza Home. Transparent ceiling light: Sonneman Lighting.
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