Before & After: A NYC Galley Kitchen Opens Up
Heather’s Upper West Side apartment had a problem common to a lot of New York apartments, big and small — an outdated floorplan with small, chopped-up rooms. In particular, the galley kitchen was cut off from the rest of the apartment, not a great fit for the way people live now. Inspired by an upstairs neighbor who had created an open kitchen in their almost identical apartment, Heather decided to take the plunge and renovate — and create the kitchen of her dreams in the process.
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To do this, she turned to Valeria and Eduard, a husband and wife team — she’s the designer, he’s the contractor. Working with them, she was able to make her dream kitchen a reality, all while living in the apartment — a truly impressive feat.
Originally Heather had thought that she’d go with IKEA cabinets for her new kitchen (a very popular choice for home remodels featured on our site!), but from talking with Valeria, she realized that custom cabinets would add a lot more storage and functionality to her kitchen, without adding all that much to the total cost. Heather was able to keep the cost of custom cabinetry low by keeping the designs and materials simple.
Probably the biggest change made during the renovation was removing most of the wall between the kitchen and dining room, which makes both spaces much more functional and allows light from the kitchen window to reach the (formerly windowless) dining room, brightening up the space.
Heather chose to go with the two-tone look that we’re seeing in a lot of modern kitchens: for the upper cabinets, she chose Benjamin Moore’s White Heron, and for the lower cabinets, Gull Wing Gray. She loved the look of marble but was a bit worried about the maintenance associated with natural stone, so she chose a quartz countertop from LG that resembles marble, but is much more durable and stain-resistant.
The new layout makes entertaining much easier — now Heather can invite her guests to sit at the bar and chat with them while she prepares meals or snacks. And removing just that one wall has made the whole apartment feel brighter and more open.
Heather found her design team through Sweeten, a New York-area resource that connects homeowners with architects, designers, and contractors. You can read more about this project (and see more pictures!) on the Sweeten blog.