Sophia's 400-square-foot apartment on New York's Upper West Side was the perfect size for one person. After her husband Leon moved in, the apartment seemed a bit cozy, but they made it work. Then came baby. Three people (and all that baby stuff) in 400 square feet was just too much, so they started looking for a place to buy. They looked, and looked, and looked, but none of the two-bedrooms in their price range were even remotely livable.
The couple felt fairly sure that they didn't want to do a huge renovation — but that was before they found a three-bedroom apartment, priced just right, and with a low maintenance fee. It was much bigger than they had hoped for and needed a lot more work than they had anticipated, but with the low price, they figured a few repairs would fit into the budget. So the overhaul began.
The first order of business was the kitchen. In the apartment's original floor plan, the kitchen separated the dining and living areas, and blocked the flow of light through the apartment. Sophia and Leon's team tore out the walls, and all the old cabinetry, and rebuilt a light, modern kitchen in its place.
All the cabinets were custom-built by Sophia and Leon's contractors, Paulina and Albert, who also persuaded them to go with a lower-maintenance quartz countertop, instead of the wooden ones they had originally wanted. The microwave and refrigerator are new, but the stove was saved from the original kitchen.
Just a little bit of open shelving means the couple has room to display a few treasured objects, but also plenty of space to hide away things that might be a little unsightly. On one end of the open shelving is a bookshelf that opens up to the living room. Tearing down the walls that separated the living room from the kitchen and dining room means that light can flow through the whole apartment, making it feel much bigger and brighter.
Sophia and Leon found their contractors, Paulina and Albert, on Sweeten, an online resource that connects homeowners with local design and construction experts for home renovations. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.