Before & After: A Tiny, Crumbling New York Kitchen Goes Classic

Before & After: A Tiny, Crumbling New York Kitchen Goes Classic

98cac5b8824ffa9dfec076061c9bc13f5981f2d1?auto=compress&w=240&h=240&fit=crop
Nancy Mitchell
Sep 18, 2017
Emily's kitchen before, and then during, the renovation.
(Image credit: Sweeten)

When Emily went looking for an apartment in New York, she wanted a place with vintage charm, like the beautifully detailed old buildings she had seen while living and studying in Normandy. Instead, she found the next best thing, a fixer-upper apartment in a 1940s building, whose tiny kitchen and bathroom were badly in need of updating (and a little classic character).

The kitchen, only six feet wide, suffered years of neglect during the time the apartment served as a rental. In addition to peeling vinyl floors and crumbling cabinets covered thickly in years of paint, the cramped room had almost no counter space and only a single narrow window.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Unfortunately, expanding the footprint of the kitchen wasn't an option, so Emily came up with another solution, choosing instead to create an opening in the wall between the kitchen and the unit's living room, opening up the space and allowing light to filter in from the living room windows. On the pass-through side of the kitchen, the cabinets and counter are only nine inches deep, but the countertop was extended through the opening to form a breakfast bar (and allow for a little extra work space, too).

(Image credit: Sweeten)

What the new kitchen lacks in space, it makes up in style. The charcoal grey cabinets help to anchor the space, while the Carrara marble countertop and the beveled subway tile backsplash add a classic touch. (The thin strip of marble pencil tile at the top of the backsplash is also a nice detail.) The patterned cement floor tile makes for a beautiful and unique finish.

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

To avoid crowding the small space, the decision was made to forego upper cabinets. Instead, there's a single marble shelf for items that need to be within easy reach. Replacing the old fridge with a counter-height fridge (hidden behind a cabinet panel) contributes to the spacious feel. The oven, a 24-inch Bertazzoni, adds a touch of luxury without overwhelming the space. Emily's new kitchen has all the timeless character she craved — and, thanks to smart planning, it feels a lot bigger, too.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Emily found her contractor on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with local general contractors. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.

Created with Sketch.