Home Projects

Before & After: A Renovation Makes the Most of a Small Kitchen

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sweeten)

House-hunting in New York is a notoriously harrowing process. After months of searching, Nikki and Chris thought they had found the perfect apartment in Astoria. It was beautiful, had all the features they wanted, and was within their budget. But after a few weeks, the deal fell through. Incredibly discouraged, Nikki and Chris wondered if they would ever be able to find a place that felt like home. Two days later, they were putting in an offer on another place.

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From the beginning, Nikki and Chris knew that their new apartment was a bit of a fixer-upper. Although the apartment was only four years old, the kitchen showed signs of shoddy workmanship, and its aesthetic was definitely a little 90s-builder-bland. The decision was made to renovate it — on a minimal budget.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Nikki, a passionate cook, was determined to fit her dream kitchen into the available space. The decision was made to move the island out by a few inches, which makes room for some custom cabinet magic on either side of the stove. On one side is a pull-out space drawer, and on the other, a storage rack for utensils.

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Relocating the microwave to the island made room for a full-sized range hood above the stove. And there’s still space in the island for plenty of drawers: four smaller ones for utensils, and two larger ones for pots and pans. Large pull-out drawers on the front of the island hold baking tools.

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Underneath the sink are a pull-out trash bin and pull-out recycling bin, and toe kick drawers all around the kitchen add just a little extra storage. Taking the upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling takes full advantage of the space.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Besides being hyper-efficient, the new kitchen also wins points for style, too, with two-tone cabinets, a subway tile backsplash, brushed brass hardware, and a beautiful gold faucet. The white quartz countertop mimics the look of marble with a fraction of the maintenance. It’s traditional, with a touch of glamour — proof that good kitchens can come in small packages.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Nikki and Chris 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.