Claire and Mike loved everything about their co-op in a converted Brooklyn industrial building, except for the kitchen. In appearance it was rather inoffensive — not nearly as terrible as some of the 'before' kitchens we've seen on this site — but in storage ad counter space it was seriously lacking. Also, with its standard-height cabinets, the kitchen looked awkward and squatty in such a tall space.
To find a contractor to upgrade their kitchen, Claire and Mike turned to Sweeten, a New York-area resource that connects homeowners with architects, designers, and contractors. Unsure of what they wanted the scope of the project to be (full gut remodel? just swap in some pre-fab cabinets?), they met with a number of contractors and discussed all kinds of options. Eventually they settled on the team of Paulina and Albert, and on replacing the cabinets but keeping all the appliances and fixtures in the same place (and keeping all the existing appliances except the refrigerator).
The big, dramatic change in the new kitchen is the new cabinets... although that gorgeous countertop doesn't hurt, either.
Keeping all the appliances and the sink in the same place saved thousands of dollars on the remodel, freeing Claire and Mike up to spend a little more money on the cabinetry. A new island provides much-needed counter space, and the drawers in the island and the newer, taller cabinets significantly expand the kitchen's storage space. It's hard to tell from the photo (it's very subtle!) but the island is on wheels, which enables it to be docked against the wall when not in use.
The countertop, a quartzite that resembles Carrara marble, was a bit of a splurge, but is much lower-maintenance than natural stone. Claire and Mike chose an extra-thick cut to give the countertop a little more presence. A simple subway tile backsplash lets the countertop and cabinets really shine.
Claire and Mike are super happy with their new kitchen. In fact, there's so much storage space that with a baby on the way, they're contemplating stashing some baby stuff in there, too.
To read more about Claire and Mike's renovation and see more photos, check out the project page on Sweeten.