The Simplest Kitchen Reno Shines
A rip-and-replace project delivers a much-deserved facelift
Project: Update a galley kitchen in Westchester County, NY
Before: Two decades after moving into her 1912 co-op in the town of Eastchester, Nancy felt her galley kitchen was due for a dramatic overhaul. What she craved was a brighter, more contemporary-looking kitchen. True, the galley layout was functional, with plenty of room for generous-sized appliances and two vast expanses of prep space. Yet, it was precisely those long stretches of surfaces that caused the room to feel outdated. The speckled laminate countertop clashed with the original wood cabinets, while the wood floor was an awkward marriage of half oak and half pine—both with time-worn stain finishes. Anxious to get an improvement underway, she posted her project on Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors, and chose her Sweeten contractor.
After: Having used the kitchen for 20 years, Nancy remained satisfied with the original cabinets and the placement of appliances. She began the renovation with the selection of a new countertop and floor that would reflect her vision of a calm, minimalist cook space. She knew she wanted Caesarstone for its durability and easy maintenance, and fell in love with a pale gray that harmonized with the stainless steel appliances that she had installed a few years earlier. Underfoot, “I always wanted a black floor,” she says. Crisp black ceramic floor tile answered her wish. The small hexagonal tile shape adds a subtle pattern while the extensive grout lines help keep the surface nonslip. New black knobs, found on Amazon for the cabinets, visually connect the pale wood with the tile and lend a touch of drama.
For the backsplash, Nancy opted for a white ceramic subway tile, keeping with the original era of the kitchen and its cabinets. A new undermount stainless steel sink and sculptural single-lever faucet with matching soap dispenser tie in with the existing appliances to underscore the sleek, simple look she was after. A coat of paint for the walls and radiator and new toe kicks under the cabinets complete the surface transformation. The result: A kitchen with a fresh outlook that’s still at home in its surroundings.
Bonus: Keeping the cabinets and appliances in place allowed Nancy to invest in the materials—countertop, floor tile—that she had her heart set on. The rip-and-replace renovation also meant minimal disruption, and the contractor finished the job exactly when he said he would.
Patricia’s kitchen turns up the brightness with a fresh coat of paint, taking the cabinets from dark wood to bright white.
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