Before & After: A Cramped 1970s Kitchen Turns Sleek and Minimal

Before & After: A Cramped 1970s Kitchen Turns Sleek and Minimal

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Nancy Mitchell
Dec 26, 2016

When Lee Hoffman, the CEO and founder of photo-sharing app Memoir, bought his co-op in Midtown East last year, he immediately knew that the kitchen had to go. The small, cramped space was cut off by a wall from the rest of the apartment, and to make things worse, the apartment's previous tenant was a smoker, which meant that everything in the kitchen was covered in a thin layer of smoky residue.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

After months of research, Lee was finally ready to embark on the project. Once he realized that the wall between the old kitchen and the living room was non load-bearing, the decision to tear it down and unite the kitchen and living room was a simple one. The new floorplan is much better for entertaining, and it also brightens the living room by letting in light from the kitchen window.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

Bright white cabinets and counters give the new kitchen a clean, spacious feel. Lee looked into custom cabinetry, but ultimately decided that his budget wouldn't sustain the price. Instead he chose cabinets from IKEA's new Sektion line, with high-gloss white doors. Lee also loved the look of white marble but wasn't as excited about the maintenance, so he set out on a hunt for a material with a similar look that would be more durable, ultimately settling on a porcelain slab from Euro West.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

The configuration of the kitchen adds to the impression of spaciousness: the drawers along the left side are only 16 inches deep, to preserve floor space, and adding upper cabinets only along one side further contributes to the open feel. Lee made the unusual (and budget friendly!) decision not to have a backsplash, which along with the white cabinets and counters helps to give the kitchen a simple, minimal feel.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

The new kitchen is a big, and welcome, change for a previously dated apartment. Now the L-shaped combination of kitchen, dining room, and living room is spacious, modern, and filled with light.

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

Re-edited from a post originally published 12.8.15-NT

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