Before & After: This Co-op Renovation is a Book Lover's Dream

Before & After: This Co-op Renovation is a Book Lover's Dream

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Nancy Mitchell
Feb 5, 2017
(Image credit: Sweeten)

For almost ten years, John lived in his Hell's Kitchen co-op while it slowly crumbled around him. The apartment, built in 1923, was definitely showing signs of its age: plaster was falling off the walls, moldings were caked with years of paint, and the kitchen cabinets, which had been replaced sometime in the 90s, were starting to fall apart. Faced with all this, and with the prospect of his partner, Katherine, moving in with him soon, John decided it was time for some big changes.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

The top priority was the kitchen, which, aside from not being in the best shape, had a rather awkward u-shaped layout that made the kitchen and the living room difficult to use. Meanwhile, in the living room, precious square footage was taken up by a closet that John barely used, as it was blocked by a sofa.

Reconfiguring the kitchen from a U to an L, and adding an island workspace, significantly opened up the space, and allowed for better flow between the two rooms. The refrigerator, which previously formed the short end of the U, blocked the kitchen from the rest of the living room. It was moved to align with the other cabinets, and new cabinets surrounding the fridge now provide extra storage space.

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

The custom-built Shaker-style cabinets are paired with an engineered stone countertop in white, and a marble backsplash that gives the kitchen a bit of subtle movement. The blue-green soapstone worktop on the island contrasts beautifully with the white of the rest of the kitchen. The traditional-style faucet is a nice match for this nearly 100-year-old apartment.

The closet that was formerly concealed behind the sofa was converted into a clever little work nook with a built-in desk. Walls of bookshelves line the nook, and the desk transitions neatly into storage cabinets that line two walls of the living room (with even more bookshelves above). The new living room and kitchen is packed with storage, but still somehow seems much larger. We'll count that as a win.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

John found his contractor on Sweeten, a free online resource that connects homeowners with local design and construction experts for renovations. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.

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