A Full Apartment Renovation Smooths a Family’s Traffic Flow


A full apartment renovation in Clinton Hill prioritizes comfort and storage

Kitchen view

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten


  • Homeowners: Dara + Mauricio posted their project on Sweeten
  • Where: Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, New York City
  • Primary renovation: An 1,800-square-foot full apartment renovation to increase function and storage
  • Notable: Giving the kitchen more space and flow by moving the refrigerator out of the space
  • Result: A larger kitchen and better flow throughout
  • Sweeten general contractor
  • Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Dara

Figuring out the best layout for the apartment

Our building was originally constructed in 1930, possibly for officers of the Navy Yard located several blocks north. Like many buildings in NYC, it turned into a co-op in the ’80s. The overall layout of the apartment was great, with a lot of natural light, but the configuration of the space in both bathrooms, as well as the kitchen, was awkward.

Mauricio, an architect, and I wanted to open up the kitchen so that all four of us, including our 5-year-old twins, could move around it comfortably while adding counter space and enlarging the existing island. But solving that problem was really challenging. We must have gone through at least ten different layouts.

We discussed everything from a standard galley kitchen layout, to relocating the gas line and stove, but nothing felt quite right. Then we said, “What if we extend the kitchen by taking a bit of space away from the adjacent dining room?” Ultimately, we realized that by moving the fridge and aligning it with an enlarged island, we could seamlessly expand the kitchen without sacrificing room for our dining table.

The kitchen remodel worked, and now we have a much bigger kitchen with a lot more storage and prep space. We even have huge cabinets underneath our island. Most importantly, our dining room is still perfectly roomy.

Slider

 

Renovation tip to help save time

We planned for minimal construction and maximum impact.  The access point to the washer and dryer was moved from the master bedroom to the third bedroom by easily rotating it in its existing space, rather than relocating it. That way, you don’t need to walk through the master to do a load of laundry. It also allowed us a larger shower.

We opened up the “den” off the living room by removing built-ins along three walls to create a more flexible space as a TV room and an office. We saved money and time tailoring modular closets to our needs rather than building out new closets. Non-layout items we needed to address included fixing the electric panel and installing new hardwood floors since the original wood was as thin as the veneer.

Throughout the process, we kept in mind our 3 R’s mantra: Things needed to be easily repairable, replaceable, or recyclable. Most of our purchases were made from local stores that had minimum to no lead time. We chose not to do anything custom until our kids stopped sharing a bedroom when they get older; we might need to rethink some of the spaces.

Slider

 

Compromising on style

In terms of style, we tried to reach a middle ground between our preferences. I chose a more eclectic style in the second bathroom: gray-and-blue patterned tiles on the floor and shower wall mixed with large white subway tiles. In the master bathroom, Mauricio preferred a more streamlined and minimalist look with grays and whites with a floating white glossy vanity.

We had a lot of opinions and ideas, and we were thankful that our contractor took the time to talk things through.

For the kitchen cabinets, we went with Ikea, that we could upgrade to semi-custom later on. We wanted solid hardwood that was reminiscent in the color of the original floor, but more modern looking. We chose a white oak in wide planks.

A good-working Sweeten reno team

Our Sweeten contractor and his dad made a great team. He was very easy to talk to, and his dad was quite resourceful, with many solutions for various problems we encountered along the way. We had a lot of opinions and ideas, and we were thankful that our contractor took the time to talk things through. We could debate different ideas with him, but he was never pushy or non-communicative.

Avoiding subcontractor issues

One thing we would do differently is to put all of the renovation items (except finishes) under the contractor umbrella. We bought our countertop slabs from a local store, which encouraged us to use their fabricator rather than using our contractor to oversee the subcontractors. At installation, there were problems with sizing and fit. The fabricator blamed the contractor for moving the kitchen cabinets. Meanwhile, the contractor blamed the fabricator for cutting a countertop that didn’t fit. If the fabricator had been a subcontractor of our contractor, and under his supervision, that would have all been avoided.

shower tile
cabinet storage

 

Finally, we’re extremely happy with our home. After the full renovation of our apartment, all four of us can have breakfast at the kitchen island with room to spare. Plus, with all of the closets plus the kitchen storage, we finally have enough space to store everything. It all makes us happy on a daily basis. Now we are gearing up for renovating our rooftop, to create an outdoor space for our family that rivals the interior.

Thank you, Dara + Mauricio, for sharing your full apartment renovation with us!

Shopping Guide

KITCHEN: Cabinets and hardware: Ikea. Countertops: Quartzmaster. Sink: Kohler. Faucet: Grohe. Fridge, dishwasher, and stove: Bosch. Lighting: West Elm. Paint in Decorator White (eggshell finish on walls and semi-gloss doors): Benjamin Moore

MASTER BATHROOM: Medicine cabinets: Wyndham Collection. Toilet and sink: Duravit. Accessories: Delta. Slate floor and wall tiles: Galactic Tiles. Paint in Ultra White: Benjamin Moore.

SECOND BATHROOM: Medicine cabinets: Kohler. Toilet and bathtub: Duravit. Accessories: Delta. Faucet: Kohler. Floor tiles: Vintage and purchased locally. Paint in Ultra White: Benjamin Moore.

LIVING SPACES: Prefinished white oak flooring and base molding: Lumber LiquidatorsShaker-style doors throughout: Brooklyn Windows & Doors. Paint and Plaster in Ultra White: Benjamin Moore.

Plan ahead and read up on how long it takes to renovate a whole apartment.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



Source link

An Empty Nest Renovation That Checks Every Box


Seasoned renovators bring all their expertise for empty nest renovations to their prewar gem

prewar apartment

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

Beth and Bob Judge knew what they wanted: a prewar apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. And the couple—a residential real estate salesperson and a financial industry consultant—were willing to wait (and renovate) to score one that suited their family’s needs, knowing that an empty nest renovation was on the horizon. When they found the approximately 1,450-square-foot co-op in a 1917 Beaux-Arts building complete with 9-10-foot ceilings, they went for it.

For the couple and their son, Rip, a college senior, (their daughter Meghan, a recent college grad, lives nearby) and their corgi puppy Watson, the apartment was perfect. It had room for Beth’s home office and potential for smart, modern upgrades. To bring their empty nest renovation vision to life, they posted their project on Sweeten and chose their contractor. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Guest post by Sweeten homeowner Beth Judge

Moving back to the city

We relocated back to Manhattan several years ago after residing in the Midwest and South for work. It was simply time to return home to our families in the Tri-State area. Bob and I met in NYC while studying for our MBAs, and Bob grew up here. While away, we owned several single-family homes —a few we had renovated—so we weren’t strangers to the process. There was a high likelihood of renovating to make a space our own as we started the buying phase.

NYC renovation portrait

We rented for a few years until we located an apartment that would satisfy our love of prewar architectural details while accommodating modern living. Our home was purchased through an estate sale and we immediately started renovating. It had been updated in the early ‘90s, when the owners created an open floor plan of living room, dining room, and foyer which was a big draw for us. And there are two windows in every room except the bath, so the light was a huge selling point!

Slider

 

Mapping the “musts” for an empty nest renovation

While Bob rents office space, I required a fully functional home office in a dedicated space. Also, a washer/dryer! We lived without them for a few years in Manhattan after having a laundry room in suburban homes, and we didn’t want to do that ever again. Both the kitchen and the bath needed better functionality and major cosmetic updates. Storage was essential throughout the apartment, as well as better lighting.

Our vision for the apartment was classic and period-appropriate but updated for today. We felt it was important to keep within the prewar aesthetic, including subway tiles, wood flooring, wide baseboard and door frame moldings, classic single-panel doors, radiator covers, and shaker-style cabinets.

closet turn home office

More storage and a tip for staying cool

The master bedroom initially had a large double door closet. We flipped it to be used in the second bedroom next door as a home office. We created built-in drawers and cabinets, as well as added new closets to account for the one given to the home office. 

I loved ditching the tub for a large shower stall and completely rearranging the master bath. We went for a custom industrial-style shower screen, mosaic floor tiles, and classic subway tiles with a twist: a crackle pattern. Plus a black metal grate for heat. The design worked!

I sourced what I needed at the onset so we weren’t crunched for time in selecting and getting product delivered in time.

Electrical rewiring was not expected, but it had to be done. Then we replaced all the lighting and added ceiling fans in the bedrooms and kitchen. It’s a trick from the south because you can cut down on A/C bills. And it’s a plus in a prewar building where you can’t regulate the heat in winter.  We went for sleek, custom radiator covers that are great for display on top, too.

In the foyer, we extended the closet out by six inches and added shelving on top. So what was non-functional became completely utilized, with tons of space! We added bookshelves in the living room—we love books and are avid readers.

stainless steel kitchen counter

Enlisting Sweeten during a hurdle

Bob would say the stainless steel countertops surrounding the range are a throwback to a ’50s kitchen we had. Those tops are indestructible! It was the only design element he wished to have a “say” in. Bob is the master of paint colors. I can give him a palette of 10 colors and he can narrow them down so that they flow together from room to room.

While we had renovation knowledge, every experience has its unexpected nuances. We were very relieved to have Sweeten as the backstop when needed. It was great to have someone who could assist in holding the contractors accountable. We had problems with the contractor in a subsequent gas leak after move in. The contractor had punctured a line in the kitchen with a drywall screw. So parts of the kitchen had to be dismantled, the leak fixed, and put back together again. Sweeten stood by us and made sure the job was completed correctly. 

master bathroom
Tub-to-shower conversion


When planning for the unexpected pays off

I wish I had engaged Sweeten to talk through the contract, which might have avoided several issues. Having a second set of eyes is never a bad idea! For example, while I was very specific on the type of cabinetry I wanted, we found the budget in the contract did not align with reality. 

To help alleviate the overage, I hit the sales.  Also, I sourced what I needed at the onset so we weren’t crunched for time in selecting and getting product delivered in time. Additionally, we had allocated extra funds for overages and the unexpected.

Our new home makes us feel joyful. Our daughter commented that the space is aesthetically a culmination of all of our past homes, with a bit of industrial thrown in. It’s truly who we are at this stage of life, a mix of the past and present: kids grown, empty nesters with a puppy in the house!

Thank you, Beth and Bob, for sharing your empty nest renovation with us!

Shopping Guide

KITCHEN: Countertops, subway tile backsplash: Caesarstone. Stainless under-mount sink and pull-down commercial faucet: Kohler. Refrigerator: Miele. Dishwasher: Bosch. Range: XO.  Microwave: GE. Paint in Pale Oak: Benjamin Moore. Washer and dryer: Blomberg. Fanimation custom drum ceiling fan in black and brass: Pottery Barn. Custom pine shelving: Delirious by Design. Shelving hardware: Rejuvenation.

BATHROOM: Merola mosaic floor tile: Home Depot. Crackle subway shower wall tile in Tierra Ceramic Filed: Complete Tile. Watermark shower fixtures, sink faucet, and train rack: Pottery Barn. Shower screen: Custom. Vanity: Custom. Lucite drawer pulls: LuxHoldUps. Toilet: American Standard. Lighting: Shades of Light. Vanity mirror/medicine cabinet and sink: Kohler.  Towel ring, toilet paper holder: Rejuvenation. Wall paint in Calm, custom vanity paint in San Antonio Gray: Benjamin Moore.

HOME OFFICE: Wallpaper in Dog’s Life: Anthropologie. Maple shelving and table top: Custom. Shelving brackets: Rejuvenation. Chair: West Elm. File cabinets: Pottery Barn.

MASTER BEDROOM: Drawer pulls and cabinet knobs: Restoration Hardware. Paint in Knitted Cap: Benjamin Moore.

LIVING AREA: Door hardware: Baldwin.  Bedroom ceiling fans: Hunter. Dining room chandelier, foyer ceiling light: Ballard Designs. Hall crystal flush mount: Shades of Light. Paint for all trim, kitchen cabinets, master builtins and radiator covers in Dove White; bedroom wall paint in Constellation: Benjamin Moore. Radiator covers: Custom. Existing hardwood floor and new hardwoods in kitchen: Custom gray wash.

ADUs or accessory dwelling units can transform into home offices, living space for family or as a rental, or a retreat.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



Source link

A Colonial Home Remodel Featuring Soft Tones


Clever ideas for a Colonial home kitchen remodel and a newly-created bathroom

When Amanda, a former pastry chef, and Cory, a tech executive, saw their 1919 Yonkers Colonial house for the first time, they were charmed. They loved everything, down to the kitchen’s dated salmon formica. But they also knew that after they lived there for a bit, they would be renovating it to suit their family’s needs. With their son, Herschel, and their cat, Horse P. Cat, they moved into the 2,600-square-foot home and brainstormed about how to best remodel the kitchen and add a new downstairs bathroom.

To bring their Colonial home remodel to life, they posted their project on Sweeten and hired this Westchester-based contractor. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

drip dishware collection

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Amanda

A charming (but not functional) Colonial home

We had been dividing our time between a farmhouse in Dutchess County and a walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. When our son was born, neither of these homes was quite suited to us. We decided to find a place in between with a shorter commute for my husband, more social opportunities for me, and easy access to the home.

When we first saw the house, we were charmed by the time-capsule of a kitchen—salmon formica, dark-wood cabinets, and a dishwasher that predated the other elements. That said, we knew we would eventually update the kitchen. Having a lavatory on the ground floor and not having to run upstairs was also on the wishlist.

Yonkers family portrait

The existing kitchen had one radiator, which was buried in the back of a custom cabinet. It was a clever solution at the time, but ate up a lot of cabinet space and wasn’t heat-efficient. We decided to install a radiant floor heating system that we could run off of our existing hot-water heating system. A more formal, fully-functional island would offer storage, outlets, and a bigger counter area.

Slider

We wanted to create a better flow of traffic and light. The main entrance to the kitchen from the dining room was a narrow 28-inch-wide doorway. It made the kitchen feel isolated from the rest of the house. Bringing down the wall would not have respected the house’s character. Instead, the opening was widened and centered between the two rooms to bring more natural light into the north-facing kitchen. 

Balancing the kitchen structures

Some infrastructural elements dictated a lot of the design. One was that the major waste line for the three upstairs bathrooms lays along the kitchen’s exterior wall. It had been boxed out previously, and the existing cabinets had been customized around it. We didn’t want to relocate that line, so we decided to figure out how to incorporate it.

The second element was a sheetrock box-beam of sorts. We didn’t know what was in it, but since it was asymmetrically placed and not detailed like the house’s other box beams, we assumed it was hiding something expensive to move. Our thought was, let’s give this weird beam and column matching mates to create symmetry.

Colonial kitchen remodel

These design decisions hid the two odd-ball elements by making it look like they’d always been there. Bonus: We made that second column a sneaky little cabinet right between the sink/dishwasher and our espresso machine. It’s the perfect spot for drinking glasses and cups. We love it!

I wanted to bring the warmth and softness of natural wood into the kitchen, so I chose a darker wood for the cabinets that echoes our furniture. A built-in pantry was replaced with custom open shelving. The birds-mouth adjustable shelves look like they might have been there when the house was built. It enhances the room’s original feel and provides a display for our brown-drip dishware collection.

Turning closets into a power room

There was no bathroom on the first floor. We combined two closets—approximately 4’ x 4’—and some square footage where we used to hang coats by the back door. The sacrifice was worth it for what would become the most frequented bathroom in the house. A pocket door with frosted glass saved space and allowed light to flow through. We installed Art Deco wallpaper, wainscoting, a picture rail, and paint in neutral tones.

Though manufacturers say that you can install wood flooring over radiant heat systems, it made me leery, and wood is not an efficient conductor of heat. I was certain I wanted tile, but one that wouldn’t appear cold or hard.


Finding the right contractor for our remodel

Sweeten helped us find a group of tried-and-true general contractors to vet. In the past, we’d tried a few recommended by neighbors, but this time that didn’t work. And this project was too big an investment to just pick somebody out of a hat. It was great to be able to talk through everything with a Sweeten professional and get a curated list. I doubt we’d have found our contractor on our own, and I’m so glad we did.

They were much more organized than contractors we’d worked with previously. Our contractor seemed to have experience and know-how beyond his years. When we ran into uncertainties, he was great at suggesting possible solutions. There was a structural issue discovered during demolition that required changes to the design layout. He was quick to help us with potential resolutions, down to providing revised elevations so we could visualize the new design. And he always discussed costs with us before we signed off. They also provided spreadsheets to help me keep track of all the elements I needed to order and have on-site.

The sacrifice was worth it for what would become the most frequented bathroom in the house.

Veteran renovators share advice

The biggest challenge with our renovation was waiting for it to be finished! Time moves slowly when you’re living on the second floor of your home, feeding a family from a makeshift kitchen in your bedroom. This was no fault of our contractors. Our city building department took three months to issue our permits.

If you can, live with your space for a while before renovating. You’ll end up with a much clearer picture of how to make your new space work best for you.

Also, always budget for 10-20% more than your original estimate, especially for kitchens and baths in old houses. This is our fourth renovation experience, and there has always been a major structural or plumbing issue (or both!) that have come up. It’s never pleasant, but if you plan for it, it’s way less painful.

Our new space makes us feel happy! We really love all of the new millwork in the home remodel, it feels so harmonious with the rest of our beautiful old Colonial home.

Thank you, Amanda and Cory, for sharing your Colonial home remodel story with us!

Shopping Guide

KITCHEN: Textile 24″x24″ floor tile in Sand: Cancos Tile. Metro style (slab with full overlay) cabinets in oak with Prairie stain: Vista. Riverwood knobs and Edgecliff pulls in Matte Bronze finish: Schoolhouse Electric. Taj Royale countertop and backsplash in honed: Caesarstone. 32” single-bowl undermount Kraus sink: Signature Hardware. Single-hole pull-down faucet in oil rubbed bronze by Bocard: Signature Hardware. Fridge / Dishwasher / Stove: Bertazzoni. Oswego 9” pendant light in burnished antique: Rejuvenation. Lucia flush mounts in white: Cedar & Moss. Wildwood sconce in white: Cedar & Moss. Wall paint in Pale Oak; trim paint in Cloud White: Benjamin Moore.

POWDER ROOM: Textile Deco floor tile in Dark: Cancos Tile. Deco Paradiso wallpaper by Anaglypta: Wallpaper Direct. Ringo faucet in oil-rubbed bronze: Signature Hardware. Skime wall-mount sink and vanity: Magnus Home Products. Storjorm mirror: IKEA. Toilet: TOTO. Sculptural Glass Pebble small flush-mount: West Elm. Towel hook: Sugar Tools. Wainscoting paint in Quietude; ceiling paint in Pale Oak: Benjamin Moore.

If you’re remodeling an old house, here’s what you need to know from layouts to additions.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



Source link

A Mix of Renovation Materials Shine in Full Reno


Humble renovation materials make for smart upgrades and plenty of storage

As a designer on the architecture and interiors team for Ace Hotel, Matthew Stewart had plenty of professional experience with construction and renovation materials. When he embarked on his first personal renovation project he ran into similar challenges, but with higher personal stakes. The 1,000-square foot condo in a converted 1930s factory building in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn had to be renovated quickly, and on a limited budget. Despite the obstacles, Matthew knew the loft-like space with 14-foot ceilings would be a great place to decompress.

To bring his vision to life he posted his project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, and chose his contractor.

concrete peninsula

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Matthew Stewart

I found a place that needed work and left me with some budget to renovate. It was challenging to work full time and oversee the renovation. I tried to keep things simple. 

The goal for my home was to feel peaceful and light, but I had a pretty tight budget for all that I wanted to accomplish. I focused on fairly humble materials for the renovation that I really liked and how to use them expanding on traditional neutral colors. Work is always visually intensive for me and I wanted a minimal, quiet space to serve as a backdrop for art and objects.

Brooklyn loft with cat

Navigating the reno plan

I’ve seen many projects through construction in my professional career. However, it never personally affected my life before. The biggest challenge was: would I be able to figure out the design of the space, hire a contractor, and complete the work in the short window I had before I would have to move in? I ended up having to move into a construction site. It was a lot to have workers show up every morning and not have a kitchen for many weeks. But you forget the hardships quickly once it’s done and you’re enjoying living there. Thankfully, my partner at the time and I were able to help each other through it. He has great taste and helped me the whole way through.

I’ve always liked appliance garages. It goes back to the fact that my grandparents had one in their very modern kitchen from the ’60s.

Slider

Mixed-materials kitchen

Mixing wood and laminate as finishes for the cabinetry was an important idea when I was planning the renovation. It emphasizes the volumes and makes the scale a little more human. The countertops and peninsula are concrete, which I like because it can take any form. However, it’s also a natural material for renovation that weathers over time. 

Appliance garage

I’ve always liked appliance garages. It goes back to the fact that my grandparents had one in their very modern kitchen from the ’60s. 

Renovating two bathrooms

I was especially excited about the new bathrooms and having a tub to soak in with a smoked glass panel. From the beginning, I knew the partition would not be clear glass. 

In the other bathroom, the general idea was to make a very small space feel as big and open as possible. The renovation materials are pretty simple, but the details and extra showerhead make it feel more special.

renovation materials of laminate panel and Murphy bed

A Murphy bed and storage

In the guest bedroom/office, the millwork is a combination of knotty pine and laminate, with a painted wood frame. The red laminate panel breaks up the finish and calls attention to the sliding door. They are both closets and shoe storage.

I made the open shelving in the hallway myself using laminated pieces of reclaimed wood. In a way, it’s the heart of the apartment. I knew I wanted to find a spot for these shelves and the hall was just the right fit. It turns a slice of space that wasn’t so usable into a place for display.

Plants were always an important component. All of the artwork is from friends and acquaintances or people in my community.

My Sweeten general contractor

My Sweeten general contractor was instrumental in completing the project and helping me do all of the things I wanted to do. At the outset, I got a lot of high bids. He was the one who convinced me it could be done within my budget. 

He helped me find the millworker who did all the cabinetry. I did all the design and drawings for them, and selected all the finishes. A Murphy bed kit was purchased online and my contractor built the frame, the custom panels, and installed it.

I highly recommend working with design professionals. It’s easy to underestimate the amount of work involved. And don’t get too hung up on specific choices, sometimes it’s easier to just pick something nice that you know you like and move on. 

My new home makes me feel happy and relaxed, and it helps me focus. Living in the space has forced me to declutter and live more simply. And it’s been a good exercise to direct interests for future projects.

Thank you, Matthew, for sharing your renovation with us!

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Laminate and douglas fir cabinets: Custom by general contractor. Hardware: Rejuvenation. Concrete countertops: Trueform Concrete. Ceramic backsplash tile: Mosa. Silgranit sink: Blanco. Faucet: Kohler. Pendant lights: Verner Panton

MASTER BATHROOM RESOURCES: Shower fixtures: California Faucets. Sink: Kohler. Vanity: Custom. Toilet: Duravit. Lighting: Rich Brilliant Willing

GUEST BATHROOM RESOURCES: Floor & wall tiles: Mosa ceramic. Shower fixtures: California Faucets. Toilet: Toto. Lighting: Vintage.

Paint throughout in Alabaster: Benjamin Moore.

Sweeten founder and CEO weighs in on what to know before renovating a brownstone.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



Source link

How A Home Addition Plan Allowed a Family of 5 to Grow


When a home addition plan for a new a sunroom, deck, and dormer enhances everyday living

When this family decided they needed more room, they opted to remain in their beloved first house built in 1932 and make it work. Once a 2,500-square-foot Dutch Colonial in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, they carved out an additional 1,000 square feet. While they had done several smaller renovations along the way, this was the largest—and scariest. Adding a dormer to the attic meant that at one point they were without a roof while waiting for support beams to arrive and constantly checking the weather.

To bring their plan for a home addition to life, they posted their project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors offering support through project completion, and chose their contractor.

home addition sunroom

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner

My husband and I used to live in Manhattan in a one-bedroom apartment. Once we decided to have children, we knew we wanted to live closer to our families. So we opted to buy a house in the Bronx and have our parents partake in child-raising. Originally we thought we would have one child, live in the area for a few years, and then move back to Manhattan once school started. 

Bronx renovation

We were most excited about having a bathroom on the first floor and not having to go upstairs.

Our home addition plan: Envisioning more space

However, we soon fell in love with having a house and knew we wanted to have more kids. Our neighborhood is quite ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. It’s a nice mix of feeling like we’re away from the city, but not quite in the suburbs. 

Slider

 

We wanted more living space on the first floor because it’s where we spend most of our time as a family. We also wanted our children, who are 9, 6, and 3, to have larger bedrooms and decided to add a 250-square-foot attic dormer for that purpose. The idea was for the new space to be airy and maximize the view of beautiful trees in our backyard. Our 280-square-foot basement converted to a ping pong room for extra recreational space.

kitchen remodel
Transformation outside the kitchen

In the kitchen, the window that previously looked out on the old deck was converted to a passthrough window that now connects to the new sunroom. The kitchen countertop was extended about two feet to the end of the wall that divides the dining area and kitchen. 

Off of the kitchen, we added a 280-square-foot sunroom that includes a bathroom, pantry room, and living area. We were most excited about having a bathroom on the first floor and not having to go upstairs. The pantry provides tons of food, toy, and sports equipment storage. The new outdoor deck is off of the sunroom and is 250 square feet.

home addition space with deck

The renovation process

Our favorite part of the renovation was working with the architect and our Sweeten general contractor on the layout of the new rooms. The biggest challenge and most anxiety-provoking situation was waiting for support beams to be delivered and installed. For two days we had no roof and obsessed about checking the weather to make sure it didn’t rain! 

Our Sweeten contractor had experience with all aspects of our project, including beautiful glass doors installed in his own home. He was great at giving us ideas and then executing the plan. We also shared the same taste in simple, modern, open design. He was able to deliver exactly what we envisioned. And if you need to file for city permits, our advice is to use an architect who can do that. 

 

It was great to have Sweeten follow up every step of the way. We knew we could turn to Sweeten if we experienced problems with our contractor. Luckily, we didn’t need that assistance. Our contractor’s team was excellent!

Our new home addition space makes us feel less crowded. Now, our children can grow and play without feeling like we’re being swallowed up by all of their toys!

 Thank you for sharing your renovation with us!

OUTDOOR DECK RESOURCES: Yosemite TruOrganics™ 3G deck composite in gray: Calibamboo. Deck railing kit in Premium Somerset: Vista.

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Vintage mirror: Pottery Barn.

PAINT: Walls throughout in #OC117, Simply White; Dining room walls in #C52, Gray Owl: Benjamin Moore.

Maintain the charm of an old house while upgrading the interiors for comfortable living.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



Source link

Unique Features You Should Include in Your Next Remodel


Problem-solving unique features that do double duty as inspiring design

open pantry Sweeten kitchen renovation

Function and fashion are two major factors to consider while planning for a home renovation. While we want our homes to be aesthetically pleasing, we also need them to be more efficient, organized and less cluttered. The solution? Integrating unique features into your home renovation designs can solve organizational challenges while looking beautiful and distinct.

Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, shows how Sweeten homeowners have used unique features in their renovations to inject beauty-and function-into their homes.

Jewelry wall: A major upgrade from boxes and bowls

(Above) Tina + Andrew’s shiny Sunnyside jewelry wall, Deanne + Daria’s closed-door accessory storage.

When Tina and Andrew combined two closets in the master bedroom into a walk-in closet—“a rare thing in New York City!”—they opted to include a jewelry wall that functioned as a unique feature for display and storage. The narrow shelf underneath adds a subtle component that provides space for decorative touches.

Siblings Deanna and Daria share a Grandmillenial-chic aesthetic, so it’s only fitting that even their jewelry wall is hidden behind an old-school mirrored door. Inside, there’s plenty of room for statement necklaces, earrings, and rings, in keeping with the sisters’ more-is-more sensibility.


Toe kick drawers maximize every square inch

toe kick storage(Above) Elie + Matt’s cutting board storage drawers

toe kick storage(Above) Jessica + Jessie’s jewel-toned drawers

Elie and Matt waited before renovating their kitchen to make sure that they could fully maximize the 7×7 space to suit their needs. When they decided to take the leap, they opted for custom cabinets that included toe-kick drawers as unique features to get more storage.

Jessica and Jesse, both major foodies, knew they needed a “beautiful kitchen to cook in.” To that end, they re-engineered the space to incorporate a six-foot island with a lot of cool features, and toe-kick drawers are one of the stars.


Above-sink drying rack = natural space saver

(Above) Giulia’s nostalgic dish rack, Jo’s efficient drying rack

As part of Giulia’s plan for a “functional” kitchen, she knew she wanted a drying rack shelf above the sink, an idea she says she “stole” from Italy, her home country. The rack’s placement not only frees up counter space; it prevents the dreaded “puddles of standing water.”

Jo’s kitchen renovation aimed to create a clean, classic space while incorporating ideas from her travels and innovative materials. A bamboo drying rack above the sink—something Jo had seen in Europe—was sealed to accommodate wet dishes and provides an earthy counterpoint to the white cabinetry.


An open pantry, a cook’s best friend

open pantry, kitchen pantry, walk in pantry, kitchen renovation

(Above) Nazli’s seamless walk-in pantry

For Nazli’s open-plan kitchen, she opted to forgo upper cabinets, a storage challenge she solved with an open pantry. Although a great solution for seeing and accessing ingredients easily, it can also lead to visual clutter. Nazli avoided that pitfall by painting the pantry a dark gray, which “makes the whole space disappear” once the light is turned off.

Check out the reno projects that bring the most value for resale from kitchens and floors to exteriors.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



Source link

A Studio Grows into a Junior One-Bedroom Apartment


Custom sliding doors transform 500 square feet

After living in rentals on Manhattan’s Lower East Side for several years, Claire, a program manager, and her partner Dan knew they wanted to buy in the area. So when they spotted a listing for a 500-square-foot studio in a co-op building they liked, they jumped at the chance. It was what the couple had been hoping for: to gut renovate a fixer-upper and turn an outdated relic into modern and flexible living as a junior one-bedroom. 

To transform the studio apartment into a junior one-bedroom, Claire, a first-time renovator, posted the project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, chose her contractor and got busy creating their home.

flex living

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Claire

Dan and I lived on the Lower East Side for several years in typical rental apartments—tiny, with windows looking into someone else’s kitchen, no living room, and a dated kitchen and bathroom. In NYC real estate terms, this translates into “cozy”! We’re not big fans of moving, so purchasing an apartment together was always on our minds. 

Slider

 

Often, we’d walk past our current apartment building and joke about purchasing a studio there if we could find a relatively cheap unit to gut-renovate. Somehow this apartment showed up in an internet search and met our expectations, and we decided to buy it! We closed in February and lived in our old apartment until the end of June while the renovations were in progress. 

sliding door

The unit had not been touched since the co-op was built in the ‘60s and was ugly, so we knew a complete overhaul was necessary. The main problem we tried to solve was to achieve some separation between the living/kitchen area and the sleeping space. We wanted it to feel less like a studio and more like a junior one-bedroom. 

Because of Department of Building regulations, our architect said we couldn’t install full walls to divide the areas. After a brainstorm with my architect and general contractor, we decided to instead put in custom sliding doors fabricated by a vendor. The doors allow us to keep the overall space open, but we can close them when we have overnight guests or just want some privacy. Though it was challenging to figure out the right door dimensions and making sure the ceiling was even, I think it was a smart investment.

kitchen remodel

In addition, we wanted to remove the wall between the kitchen and the living space, fully renovate the kitchen and bathroom, and have new hardwood floors throughout. Fun—not fun— story: we ordered a new toilet online, and it came broken three times in a row. We were only able to get it in one piece when we picked it up at the store.

It’s a dusty business, so live somewhere else during a gut renovation, if possible

Given the apartment’s small size, I used a limited material palette and color scheme, sort of a mix of Scandinavian, Japanese, and Lower East Side flavors. We went with white kitchen cabinets and tiles, chrome, black hardware, and an oak wood floor. My favorite part of the renovation was picking materials and envisioning how each of them would look in the space. It was hard to find things I liked with our limited budget! I incorporated interesting textures and colors through decoration and furnishings so it wouldn’t feel too clinical.

My contractor was resourceful in accommodating our various needs and provided honest recommendations on what was feasible or not. For example, having a soaking tub in the bathroom was very important for Dan since he loves taking baths! Our bathroom door was tiny, so we weren’t sure how the tub would actually get in. Our contractor figured out how to open up the closet wall next to the bathroom and inserted the tub that way. 

 

I appreciated that the Sweeten team was approachable and knowledgeable about my first-timer renovator questions. The team hopped on a call to discuss potential contractors and provided useful tips on how to select the contractor. They also frequently checked in during the renovation and was available for help as needed.  

When you’re renovating, plan that it will take more time and money than you anticipate—there are always unexpected things that happen as you go through the process. We ended up spending roughly 25% more than the original budget since we added change orders to address issues that came up. Decide what are your renovation “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” and stick with them. It’s a dusty business, so live somewhere else during a gut renovation, if possible, and invest in an air purifier and a professional cleaning afterward. Don’t feel pressured to decorate everything right after you move in. Be patient, live with the apartment for a while with existing items, and figure out what you need. Also, buy vintage furniture if you can! 

Now our new space finally feels like home 🙂 

Thank you, Claire and Dan, for sharing your very first renovation with us!

WATCH VIDEO:

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Sekton cabinet system & Ringhult cabinet fronts: IKEA. Large Edge cabinet pulls in black: Rejuvenation. Caesarstone countertops in Frosty Carrina: IKEA. Backsplash: Wayfair. Delta Trinsic sink/faucet: Wayfair. Refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove: GE. Lighting: Schoolhouse Electric. Paint in Simply White: Benjamin Moore.

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Floor tile: Cle Tile. Merola wall tile: Home Depot. Shower fixtures: Grohe. Sink/vanity, lighting, and vanity mirror: Pottery Barn. Toilet: Toto.

LIVING AREAS RESOURCES: Blue Ridge Red Oak Wood flooring/stain: Home Depot. Custom sliding door: Raydoor

BEDROOM AREA RESOURCES: Paint in Simply White: Benjamin Moore.



Source link

An Odd-shaped Kitchen Leads a Co-op Refresh


Smart upgrades for the kitchen and bathroom solve pesky problems

When Ryan, an editor, and Sophie, a paralegal, envisioned their renovation, they knew they needed to address the problems they inherited from the “quick and dirty reno” completed in 2009, the year Ryan bought the apartment. The advantage of waiting years to renovate? “It was abundantly clear how we utilized the kitchen,” says Ryan, adding “I had 10 years to save up because even a modest renovation like this one isn’t cheap in NYC!” In their 750-square foot, prewar one-bedroom on the Upper West Side, the partners agreed that the odd-shaped kitchen needed rearranging to take advantage of every square inch; and the bathroom required rescuing from a “South Florida Grandma aesthetic.”

To tackle the project, they posted on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, and chose their contractor

kitchen-white-cabinets-bar seating-remodel

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Ryan

Whoever designed the last renovation really did not think things through. In the kitchen, which is an odd trapezoidal space, the priority was maximizing both storage and counter space, and minimizing clutter. For instance, there was a 24-inch soffit between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling that was just empty space. So we knew we’d need cabinets extending to the ceiling.

renovators portrait-new york city

The sink was on a diagonal resulting in a large dead space. And the refrigerator was a huge obstruction at the back of the room and the first thing you see when you enter the foyer. Its positioning made the kitchen seem smaller and it just needed to find a new spot. We weren’t sure if that was possible.

The bathroom was small and dark with very little natural light. The vanity was made of builder-grade particle board that had swollen with moisture, and the medicine cabinet protruded. We were intent on transforming the look and feel of the bathroom—even the toilet was pink! The living room got a refresh with repainted walls, a replastered ceiling, and new sconce lighting.

The contractor’s millworker was about twice the cost of Ikea and Cabinets.com, but still about $5,000 less than the cabinets in the next price tier.

For the kitchen, I paid for a one-hour consult with Clare, a designer at 121 Studio, while still planning everything out. While she was expensive at $450 an hour, the cost was well worth it. The designer suggested moving the refrigerator to the corner and relocating the doorway to accommodate the fit. That might seem obvious in retrospect, but to me, it was a revelation. 

Slider

 

We went with custom cabinets so everything would look integrated. The odd-shaped kitchen space came with difficult angles, pipes, and protrusions. We went to Ikea to experiment with a layout, but couldn’t get their premade boxes to fit in a satisfactory way. I also tried Cabinets.com, which had more options in terms of box sizes, but I worried the boxes wouldn’t be delivered in time.

The contractor’s millworker was about twice the cost of Ikea and Cabinets.com, but still about $5,000 less than the cabinets in the next price tier. He was able to build boxes that accommodated the kitchen’s unusual dimensions.

The kitchen floor tile came from the designer, during our consult. I asked her specifically what I should get since I was stumped by all the options. She recommended black slate tile: durable, attractive, and cheap. Her basic ethos was “make it look expensive without being expensive.” 

The backsplash, on the other hand, was a splurge. We always wanted scallop tiles. Initially, we envisioned a teal color but we realized it was just too loud. So we went with a scalloped tile in muted but varied gray tones. The countertop was another more expensive finish: Empira White featured veining we really liked that complemented the backsplash.

 

Sophie wanted slab cabinets without any pulls, and I agreed. By then, I was really suffering from decision fatigue and didn’t have the wherewithal to evaluate the merits of different cabinet hardware!

Sophie chose the kitchen to be clean and streamlined, whereas I wanted the bathroom to have quirkier touches. I put together a sort of mood board where we considered a bunch of looks like intricate marble mosaics, but marble stains and needs a lot of upkeep. Plus, our contractor recommended we get large-format tile, due to some peculiarities of the wall.

We ultimately chose 36”x36” glazed porcelain tile that looks like marble at about $4/square foot, which was pretty reasonable, especially since we tiled up to the ceiling. It also worked well on the floor given the bathroom’s size constraints.

The vanity was more of a splurge, but I justified it because I hadn’t seen other vanities quite like it. And it fit. A 25-inch vanity would have been too small, and a 30-inch vanity would have been crammed in. The Goldilocks vanity needed to be between 25 to 30 inches, but powder room vanities sit comfortably within that range. I just had to pay twice what I’d initially budgeted. 

remodeled bathroom-white-porcelain tile

The renovation itself mostly went off without a hitch, from getting board approval to designing it to seeing the project through to completion. Our contractor helped a lot with the paperwork. Between the management company and the board, there were A LOT of forms that I needed to put together. Luckily, the contractor had worked in the building before, which is one of the reasons I hired him. 

The contractor was really good at keeping me in the loop and letting me know what was happening and when. Managing and communicating expectations is a big part of a successful partnership. Have a plan before you hire a contractor, know what you want and why you want it, so you’ll have a better idea of where to compromise with your decisions and where not to.

During the renovation, my downstairs neighbor was particularly helpful. She winters in Florida, and let us stay in her apartment, meaning we didn’t have to find a place to crash. I work from home most days, so I could stay in the building and check out the renovation throughout the day to make sure we were adhering to the plan. Also, I didn’t have to find a place to board my cat, Titus.

Besides the clean look, I love how our new kitchen is all integrated. From a functionality standpoint, I’m very pleased with its usability. It easily accommodates two people working at the same time, has tons of storage space and counter space, yet still seems open.

Thank you, Sophie and Ryan, for sharing our journey with us!

WATCH VIDEO:

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Cabinetry: Custom by general contractor. Cabinet hardware: Amerock. Countertops in Empira White: Caesarstone. Backsplash in Ogee Drop: Fireclay Tile. Sink: Kraus. Faucet: Moen. Refrigerator: Bosch. Stove: Bertazzoni. Microwave: Whirlpool. Flooring in Montauk Black Slate: MSI. 

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Paint in Sweet Spring: Benjamin Moore. Light sconces: Restoration Hardware. 

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Wall, floor, and shower tile in Antico Ivory: MSI. Vanity and sink: Restoration Hardware. Faucet, shower fixtures, and medicine cabinet: Kohler. Light fixture: Shades of Light. Toilet: Toto. 

Sweeten founder and CEO weighs in on what to know before renovating a brownstone.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



Source link

Millennial Sisters Buying and Remodeling Their Home


Millennial siblings mix color, pattern, and space planning—with resale in mind

In a stately neighborhood in New York’s Sutton Place, the DeChirico sisters had a goal: to get more space than the one-bedroom they were sharing and a fixer-upper to apply their charming, old-school aesthetic. So when Daria, an executive assistant at a financial recruiting firm, and Deanna, a senior associate in private equity, found a one-bedroom that they could convert into two, in a 1962 building, they jumped at the chance.

To revamp the awkwardly laid out space, the 30-something millennials posted their 700-square-foot project on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, chose their contractor, and rolled up their pretty floral sleeves.

kitchen renovation

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowners Daria and Deanna DeChirico

Prior to our new home, we were living in a smaller apartment in Sutton Place in Manhattan that was renovated and converted from a studio to a one bedroom. After five years there, we needed more space but wanted to stay in the neighborhood and ideally find something that required some work. We liked creating a space that is uniquely our own and feels like a home.

grandmillennial sisters

A lot of people are surprised by two young girls, who have a very traditional style, with Chinoiserie influence and a lot of ginger jars! We love bold patterns and color: the only thing painted white is the kitchen ceiling. Our home is filled with antiques we’ve bought and a number of items from our grandmother’s house. [Read more about this “grandma chic” style.]

The original layout had changed into a space that wasn’t well-utilized. The biggest challenge was bringing back the layout to its original form while making tweaks of our own and highlighting the great view. Our main goals were to create a second bedroom, build a large closet for our endless clothes, and have a dining space large enough to fit a table for entertaining. The decor would pull it all together through striking colors, textures, and the cozy feel.

Slider

 

In the entryway, there was a closet that was a bit of an eyesore. We decided to keep it and make it work in the dining area as a coat/linen closet. We designed the mirrored doors and it became a great way to add extra light and depth to the space.

The size of the master bedroom was cut down to allocate space for a shared 7’x10’ walk-in clothes closet. Storage is super important in a New York apartment so we wanted to make sure we had as much as possible.

kitchen renovation

Spending less on the subway tile also meant we could spend more on the marble basketweave floor tile, which adds a lot of character.

The kitchen stayed simple by choosing white cabinets and a white quartz countertop. We avoided a trendy cabinet style to ensure a classic look for resale but a green, subway tile backsplash, inspired by The Polo Bar, gave a pop of color. All of the fixtures were in a gold finish. The kitchen counter wrapped around into the dining area with extra cabinets and a wine rack added below it. We like the aesthetics of it.

In the bathroom, we went for a standard white subway tile in the shower for resale consideration. It’s inexpensive, easy to maintain, and a classic material that won’t go out of style. Spending less on the subway tile also meant we could spend more on the marble basketweave floor tile, which adds a lot of character.

WATCH VIDEO: The sisters share their reno ideas including how they created their dining room doors.

Initially, we were going to salvage the wood floors. When we realized we couldn’t, we had to quickly choose a new style and decided on a medium finish with narrow planks. Wood is classic, so you really can’t go wrong and we weren’t as concerned with getting it just right.

We managed the project while working full-time jobs. We had an idea of what we wanted but the execution for most of it was in real-time. Fortunately, we work very close to home so we were able to run over at lunchtime and after work to answer questions, make decisions, and check on the overall progress.

Slider

 

Constant communication with our Sweeten contractor was key! Although we communicated exactly what we wanted, it’s only natural that things get lost in translation. To keep everyone on the same page, we had weekly calls or meetings to make sure everything was getting done right and on time. We would also send checklists of completed tasks and any pending items.

Choosing the right contractor is the biggest question when starting a project. Having a referral or reputable source (like Sweeten!) is always a good idea. You don’t always have the luxury of starting from scratch where every detail is of your own choosing, especially in New York, so we really wanted to capitalize on that.

It’s exciting to finally have a dining room to sit and have meals (another NYC luxury). The wallpaper, chandelier, and doors were a must, since day one. We feel so happy to be settled and comfortable but are also really proud of how our ideas translated into exactly what we envisioned.

Thank you, Deanna and Daria, for sharing your new home with us!

House Beautiful weighed in on the Grandmillenial style in this recent article. 

CEILING PAINT THROUGHOUT: North Star: Benjamin Moore.

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Kitchen cabinets: The RTA Store. Cabinet hardware: Sumner Street. Countertops: MSI Quartz. Backsplash in Novecento Subway Verdin: Merola Tile. Quartz sink: Elkay. Faucet: Delta. Refrigerator: LG. Dishwasher, stove: GE. Whittier natural brass two-light flush-mount lighting: 251 First. Paint in North Star: Benjamin Moore. Williamsburg II Braganza wallpaper, WL8601, from Williamsburg by York: GoingDecor.

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Floor tile in Carrara white basketweave with blue dots: Marble Online. Hardware: Sumner Street. Shower fixtures: Delta. Sink and vanity: Ellenbee. Toilet: American Standard. Aged brass three-light lighting: Quorum International. Vanity mirror: Wayfair. Paint in Palladian Blue: Benjamin Moore. 

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Lamp: Overstock. Paint in Old Navy: Benjamin Moore

DINING ROOM RESOURCES: Paint in Palladian Blue: Benjamin Moore.

BEDROOM RESOURCES: Lamps: Home Depot. Paint in Essex Green (dark blue bedroom) and Serenata (light blue bedroom): Benjamin Moore.

WALK-IN CLOSET: Closet system: EasyClosets. Paint in Blush: Sherwin Williams.

WATCH VIDEO:

The perfect layout may be right in front of your eyes. These Sweeten homeowners swapped rooms around for better functionality and flow.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



Source link

A Mom and Daughter Remodel Their Forever Home


By cleverly using limited space, a first-time renovator nails it

When Martha, who works in preschool special education, first saw the Hamilton Heights co-op in upper Manhattan she would eventually buy, she passed because it needed a lot of work. She continued looking, searching for a permanent space to share with her daughter, Sofia, a 4th grader. But after a year and no luck, when her realtor encouraged her to take another look, a lightbulb went off. No longer daunted, Martha embraced the possibilities of the apartment’s pre-war flourishes, including 10-foot ceilings, french doors, and transom windows.

To transform the 700-square-foot apartment, Martha, a first-time renovator, posted the project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform connecting homeowners with vetted general contractors, chose her contractor and got down to business creating their home.

renovated kitchen gray cabinets, stainless steel sink

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Martha

We were living in a great apartment nearby for four years. But after my divorce, I knew I needed to find something to purchase in order to control my housing costs. Since I’m a full-time, working, single parent, the more I can get my costs under control, the better off we’ll be in the long term. I had an amazing real estate agent who looked at places in my price range for a full year.

Living room and bedroom

The apartment I ended up buying was the first home I saw when I started my search! But it needed so much work that I automatically said no and we moved on. After my realtor encouraged me to take another look, I saw it with new eyes. I saw the potential in it, and not just the work that needed to be done.

One of the biggest challenges was that I had a tight timeline—I was paying rent along with a mortgage plus maintenance, and I couldn’t afford that for long. So I had to use only materials that were in stock. It was limiting, but I think we made do! I wanted to open things up and make a home that was cozy and colorful, that would reflect our personalities and be welcoming.

Slider

The first few days during the demo were the best part of the process, because I could finally see what things were really going to look like.

The highest priority with the renovation was to cure the ugliness! The apartment hadn’t been touched since the ’70s. There was fake wood paneling in the hallways, old linoleum plunked down over the amazing original hardwood floors, and layers and layers of paint. The space was tight and there was a lot of wasted space in the kitchen that I wanted to find a way to utilize.

The first few days during the demo were the best part of the process, because I could finally see what things were really going to look like. I was most excited to take down the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It made all the difference in creating an open, warm area. Once we knocked that down, it gave us space for a table and chairs that we wouldn’t have otherwise. 

kitchen renovation-red hardware-stainless steel sink-gray cabinets

In the kitchen, we installed new custom cabinets, plus more cabinets next to the stove. I went for a 30-inch stainless-steel farmer’s sink, quartz countertops, and a new stove. My favorite thing in the whole house is the kitchen backsplash; I love that funky design.

My contractor really wanted me to lay a new floor on top of the old one. But I loved the color variation in the original wood so I insisted it stay. We kept all the original flooring, just refinished and stained.

The biggest challenge was that the apartment has zero closets. I didn’t have the budget to build them so we bought a couple of big wardrobes and a funky metal gym locker for a linen closet and made it work. At least we had more vertical space to work with because after we removed the dropped ceilings, we gained at least two feet!

gray bedroom-wood floors-french doors

I’m a first-time renovator, so I really needed someone who would listen, do good work, deliver on time, and stay within budget and I got all of that. My Sweeten contractor was great and I really had no headaches with my renovation, which is amazing! He was really communicative, and anytime something needed to be changed or wasn’t going to work according to plan, he explained everything to me. Then we worked towards solutions together, which was so helpful. It went as smoothly as one could ask for.

When you’re renovating, remember that there will inevitably be something or some things that don’t go according to your plan. Try to see the big picture and not freak out about the details.

I wanted our forever home to be a place of joy that you can see. Our home makes me feel free.

Thank you, Martha and Sofia, for sharing your new home with us!

WATCH VIDEO:

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Floor tiles, backsplash, lighting, paint: Home Depot. Cabinet hardware: Hobby Lobby. Faucet, fan: Wayfair.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Fan: Wayfair.

BEDROOM RESOURCES: Fan: Wayfair. Paint: Home Depot.

Sweeten founder and CEO weighs in on what to know before renovating a brownstone.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

 



Source link