Ursula's new condo in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood came with a builder-basic kitchen that seemed trapped in the '90s, and a dark color scheme in the living room that, while stylish, made the space feel heavy and dark. Her goals for the renovation were two-fold: to modernize the kitchen, and brighten the entire space to emphasize its natural lighting and generous proportions.
So out went the dark, heavy wood cabinets, replaced by streamlined modern ones in a glossy white. The island cabinet is grey, for a touch of contrast. The white marble countertop ties everything together and further brightens up the space. The flooring is the same, but refinished in a lighter color.
The entire row of cabinets above the stove was eliminated, which makes for a much more open look. It also makes room for an elegant range hood and a whole wall of hexagonal tiles that Ursula, a math teacher, particularly loves. The new kitchen still has a microwave — it's a smaller unit that's hiding in one of the upper cabinets. The space to the left of the stove was too small for a traditional cabinet, so Ursula's contractor took a drawer and turned it on its side. It functions as a pull-out spice rack.
The kitchen wasn't the only part of the apartment that got dramatic changes — the living room got a new coat of paint, which dramatically brightens the space and helps to emphasize its architectural features. To the left of the fireplace there's a new built-in bench with storage underneath. It's a very practical touch, and also a lovely place to perch by the window on a sunny day.