Home Projects

Before & After: A Functional Fix for a Dying Kitchen

updated May 3, 2019
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When Lisa moved into her Upper East Side one-bedroom, she loved everything about it but the kitchen. Besides not being very pretty, Lisa’s kitchen had a lot of problems. The upper cabinets were too shallow for dishes, and the lower cabinets were too narrow for pretty much anything, meaning Lisa had to store her pots and pans in the coat closet. The whole kitchen had only one outlet, and there was a large and suspicious stain on the laminate countertop. But still Lisa, who was new to the remodeling process, dragged her feet about updating the kitchen, until her appliances began to die one by one. The stove burners were the first to go, followed by the microwave and dishwasher. Says Lisa: “When the refrigerator started making a grinding noise, I knew I couldn’t procrastinate any longer.”

(Image credit: Sweeten)

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(Image credit: Sweeten)

Lisa decided on a minimal style for her new kitchen, to avoid overwhelming the small space. The shiny grey and white cabinets are a beautiful (and welcome) change from the sagging old laminate ones, and a bright white quartz countertop gives the look of marble, with none of the maintenance.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

The new backsplash tile is similar to subway tile but with a slightly longer profile, for a unique look. She also added in three rows of smaller accent tiles to give the kitchen a little extra character. The slate floor works perfectly with the white-and-grey color scheme, and helps to visually ground the space.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Perhaps the best part is that all of Lisa’s appliances now actually work (sans suspicious noises). The counter-depth refrigerator saves space in the small kitchen, and the stainless steel dishwasher, oven and microwave contribute perfectly to the kitchen’s sleek, modern new look.

Lisa found her contractor, Erion, through Sweeten, an online resource that connects homeowners in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia with designers, architects, and contractors. You can see more photos, find sources, and read more about the project on the Sweeten blog.