Home Projects

Before & After: Smart Changes for a Very Awkward Kitchen

published Feb 1, 2018
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(Image credit: Sweeten)

The kitchen in Meredith and Jason’s Chelsea apartment, while much larger than your typical NYC apartment kitchen, still had its share of issues. Style-wise, it was stuck in the late ’90s, with heavy mahogany cabinets that sucked the light from the room. A wall of cabinets partially blocked the light from the room’s one window, while a slightly raised floor made for a tripping hazard. And despite its fairly generous size, the kitchen still wasn’t quite big enough for the existing island, which meant lots of squeezing and shimmying. A change was definitely in order.

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(Image credit: Sweeten)

Meredith and Jason wanted to brighten and modernize the space, and iron out some of its unusual kinks (like the uneven floor and awkwardly placed island) while preserving storage and creating a functional kitchen. They loved the idea of the island, but not the idea of squeezing themselves around it, so in the updated kitchen, the island became an oversized peninsula, with lots of workspace and seating on one side.

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On the opposite side of the peninsula, drawers provide storage, and the microwave hides under the counter, which makes room above the stove for Jason’s dream vent hood. The amount of upper cabinets has been cut back, which helps to brighten and visually enlarge the space.

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The new, custom upper cabinets include a bit of open shelving, which provides a spot to display attractive kitchenwares while keeping the rest of them out of sight. The white cabinets and white Ceasarstone countertop help to brighten up the space: the gray of the undercabinet drawers and the open shelving provides a bit of contrast.

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The renovation eliminated the raised floor in the old kitchen (and the associated tripping hazard). The flooring in the living room was continued into the kitchen, which makes the space feel bigger and more cohesive. Previously, the ceiling in the kitchen was dropped by about seven inches, but the renovation also eliminated the dropdown, making the kitchen brighter and more spacious and further uniting it with the rest of the apartment. (It also means there’s a little more space in the cabinets, which go all the way to the ceiling.)

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The brass faucet and pulls are a nice finishing touch, an excellent way to pull together a space that manages to be simultaneously beautiful, bright, and functional.

Meredith and Jason found their 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.