Before & After: A Collector's Manhattan Apartment is Transformed into Storage Nirvana


Upper West Side homeowner Christine had a unique problem: her two-bedroom co-op was lovely, but the limited storage options there were no match for her extensive collection of art and books (including a full-size terra cotta warrior!). After living there for seven years, she decided it was time for a change: a renovation that, besides updating the apartment, would provide all of her treasures with a proper place.

Built-in bookcases really transformed the look of her living room: now, instead of multiple freestanding shelves and a media center, Christine has one, beautifully cohesive all unit for everything. New trim and a subtle coat of grey paint complete the update.

Each of Christine's art pieces now has its own spot, and dedicated lighting to ensure that it looks its best.

The dining room got similar treatment, with built-in shelves and new lighting.

The renovation also included built-in bookcases in the bedroom. Nothing's cozier than going to sleep surrounded by books, and reading in bed is now easier than ever. Christine's contractor, Elizabeth, cleverly incorporated nightstands with the shelves.

The apartment's kitchen also got a few upgrades, in the form of new undercabinet LED lighting and new backsplash tile (a handmade hexagonal tile in shades of grey and white). The cabinets got new doors and pulls, and the old, cracked floor was replaced with an attractive patterned cement tile that brings a fresh, vibrant feel to the whole room.

Christine found her contractor, Elizabeth, through Sweeten, an online resource that connects New York-area homeowners with architects, designers, and contractors. You can read more about this project and see more photos on the Sweeten blog.

(Image credits: Sweeten; Sweeten)