A Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation “Flips” for the Better


Living space and rental come together in this Brooklyn brownstone renovation

brownstone renovation, Brooklyn

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

  • Homeowners: Bellamy, an executive at The GAP, and Zak, a senior environmental scientist, posted their project on Sweeten
  • Where: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
  • Primary renovation: Three stories of a 2,400-square-foot Brooklyn brownstone
  • Notable: Swapping the positions of their renovated garden rental and owners’ duplex
  • Result: Better functionality for the two-family building
  • 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 post by Sweeten homeowner Bellamy

Finding their circa 1900 Brooklyn brownstone home

After a grueling year-long search, countless open houses, and one house lost in a bidding war, we found our home. Remarkably, it had everything we wanted: it was a two-family home in the heart of “brownstone” Brooklyn, with original hardwood floors. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built circa 1900. Many we viewed did not stand the test of time, but this home had been in the same family for years and did not show the usual wear-and-tear of a 100-year-old home. We were lucky, but it did need a major facelift.

Slider

 

I was thankful to stumble upon Sweeten early in my renovation research for our brownstone in Brooklyn. While I had owned a home before, this was our first time doing a serious renovation that would require more than our DIY skills could handle.

The layout of the house and our budget did not afford us a ton of options, so the renovation was straightforward. We focused on structural changes to change the flow and use of the house. Thankfully, when we moved in, we were able to live in the garden floor apartment while we renovated the upper two floors where we would eventually live.

Salvaging and repurposing

We removed the original entry doors as you come into the entry foyer, but left the structural wall intact. This allowed the area to feel more open as you continue into the living area; it also gave back more livable space to work with. However, I loved the original details of the doors and wanted to find another use for them. Luckily, they just fit the ceiling clearance on the second floor and they found new life as the guest room headboard.

In the living room and through to the kitchen, we tore down two walls and exposed a long expanse of brick wall. The former owner had repointed the brick in the front room with black mortar, which was a real eyesore. When we exposed the whole length of the house, we were left with two walls that didn’t match. Limited by our budget, we repointed the half that was previously covered and experimented with painting techniques to blend the two together.

Slider

 

An overhaul for the kitchen

I wanted the kitchen to be the focus of the home. There were three main obstacles: adding a door for backyard access, the ceiling height, and a non-negotiable double oven. I initially wanted to enlarge the back window above the sink to make it a focal point and let in more natural light. Not far along into the process, I had to abandon that idea since we were concerned with what the enlarged opening would do to the structural integrity of the home, given its age. It was also a huge expense so we chose to use those dollars elsewhere.

In the end, we actually made the window above the sink slightly smaller to allow for a proper backsplash. We replaced the second window with a door and added a small landing and stairs for easy backyard access.

The next question was how to vent the hood with 11-foot-high ceilings and open shelving left nowhere to hide. Ultimately, the ducting was kept exposed and vented directly through the wall outside. I love the industrial element it adds to the newly renovated space.

Lastly, where to fit the double oven? At first, I was concerned I would be giving up valuable pantry space, but the layout worked out perfectly and there was room for everything we wanted, even the custom built-in beverage taps. We are home-brewing enthusiasts and wanted a unique feature in our kitchen to showcase that.

WATCH: How Bellamy and Zak find their Sweeten contractor

Splurging and saving

The first-floor bath was an easy update. The layout was already functional, so we kept it as-is with a direct replacement—aka rip-and-replace—of all the fixtures. We were able to salvage the original door and reuse the existing tub. We later put our DIY skills to the test and added fun wallpaper and wainscoting.

My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

The top floor previously served as a separate apartment complete with its own kitchen. We wanted to have a master bedroom, master closet, master bathroom, guest bedroom, and laundry room. The tricky part was figuring out where to put everything. The pre-existing kitchen allowed us to easily add laundry without a huge expense. Once that was decided, everything else fell into place.

The master bedroom closet is a dream spot that had been a small room that our contractor converted. My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

Throughout the house, we did some major upgrades that elevate the whole space: we put up fresh drywall throughout the second floor, refinished the original floors in a dark walnut color, and replaced all the windows in the house.

Slider

 

Managing the renovation budget and process

While I would not necessarily recommend living in a renovation (so much dust), it did allow us to check on the progress and be more involved in day-to-day decisions such as outlet locations and doorknob height. We optimistically thought the renovation would take three months, but we did add on some significant projects that stretched the timeline. Overall, the project took about five months to complete the top two floors with some minor updates in the garden apartment.

The budget was our major obstacle, but our Sweeten contractor was great at working with us to determine where we could splurge and where we could save. Once our contractor realized we were quite handy, we were able to figure out what we could do ourselves versus what we should leave to the professionals. For example, we chose to take on all the painting, which was a huge undertaking. I’m talking all ceilings, all walls, all trim, and multiple coats! I don’t think we understood what a huge task it was—and that in certain spaces, the contractor was unable to move forward until we completed painting. I’m glad we did it, but it was a grueling several months and I’m pretty sure I gave myself carpal tunnel.

Switching the brownstone layout

The biggest change in terms of the function of the home was separating the garden floor apartment from the upper two floors. In dividing the two, we were able to gain a coat closet in the apartment and additional storage space for us before the basement level. The ground floor is now available as its own standalone rental unit, while we live on the two floors above. Now that the house is done, I am so thankful we splurged on what we wanted—replacing the windows, skim-coating, and repointing the brick; those are some of my favorite things in the house.

Thanks to Bellamy and Zak for sharing your beautiful and unique Brooklyn brownstone renovation story with us! Here’s how they renovated their new garden rental space on a budget.

SHOPPING GUIDE

FOYER RESOURCES: Merola floor tile: Home Depot.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Vega brushed brass blush-mount lamp: CB2.

GROUND FLOOR BATH RESOURCES: Merola hex black floor tile: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile: Home Depot. Devine Color Speckled Dot peel-and-stick wallpaper: Target. Delta Foundations shower fixtures: Home Depot. ENSEN faucet: IKEA. Black towel bar hardware: CB2. The Copper Factory doorknob: Overstock.com. Godmorgon/Odensvik vanity and sink: IKEA. Framed fog-free wall mirror: Home Depot. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com.

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Merola floor tile, FRC8TWED: Home Depot. Kitchen cabinets: Custom. Omnia cabinet knobs, 9153/18.3: Build.com. Drawer pulls: Custom. Quartz countertops, 1141: Caesarstone. Jeffrey Court Fresh White backsplash tile, 96012: Home Depot. Olde London apron-front farmhouse fireclay sink, OL33SG: Home Depot. Kenmore refrigerator, 70423: Sears. Bosch dishwasher, SHVM78W53N: Sears. Whirlpool self-cleaning double electric wall oven, WOD51EC0AS: Lowe’s. Kenmore slide-in gas cooktop, 34913: Sears.

MASTER BATH RESOURCES: Carrara marble hex mosaic floor tile, C33XH: MarbleOnline.com. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile, 96012: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Retro Octagon White Dot shower floor tile, 96025: Home Depot. Towel bar and toilet paper holder: CB2. Delta Porter shower fixtures, 142984C-BN-A: Home Depot. Godmorgon/Odensvik sink and vanity, 291.852.39: IKEA. Vanity cabinet fronts: Semihandmade. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com. Home Decorators Collection framed fog-free wall mirror, 81160: Home Depot.

PAINT RESOURCES: Trim paint in Totally Black, HDC-MD-04: Behr. Wall paint in Pure White, PPU18-06: Behr.

See the downstairs rental results from Bellamy and Zek’s Brooklyn brownstone renovation story!

Remodel the brownstone of your dreams with help from our guide on purchasing and renovating a townhouse.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

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



Source link

A Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation “Flips” for the Better


Living space and rental come together in this Brooklyn brownstone renovation

brownstone renovation, Brooklyn

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

  • Homeowners: Bellamy, an executive at The GAP, and Zak, a senior environmental scientist, posted their project on Sweeten
  • Where: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
  • Primary renovation: Three stories of a 2,400-square-foot Brooklyn brownstone
  • Notable: Swapping the positions of their renovated garden rental and owners’ duplex
  • Result: Better functionality for the two-family building
  • 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 post by Sweeten homeowner Bellamy

Finding their circa 1900 Brooklyn brownstone home

After a grueling year-long search, countless open houses, and one house lost in a bidding war, we found our home. Remarkably, it had everything we wanted: it was a two-family home in the heart of “brownstone” Brooklyn, with original hardwood floors. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built circa 1900. Many we viewed did not stand the test of time, but this home had been in the same family for years and did not show the usual wear-and-tear of a 100-year-old home. We were lucky, but it did need a major facelift.

Slider

 

I was thankful to stumble upon Sweeten early in my renovation research for our brownstone in Brooklyn. While I had owned a home before, this was our first time doing a serious renovation that would require more than our DIY skills could handle.

The layout of the house and our budget did not afford us a ton of options, so the renovation was straightforward. We focused on structural changes to change the flow and use of the house. Thankfully, when we moved in, we were able to live in the garden floor apartment while we renovated the upper two floors where we would eventually live.

Salvaging and repurposing

We removed the original entry doors as you come into the entry foyer, but left the structural wall intact. This allowed the area to feel more open as you continue into the living area; it also gave back more livable space to work with. However, I loved the original details of the doors and wanted to find another use for them. Luckily, they just fit the ceiling clearance on the second floor and they found new life as the guest room headboard.

In the living room and through to the kitchen, we tore down two walls and exposed a long expanse of brick wall. The former owner had repointed the brick in the front room with black mortar, which was a real eyesore. When we exposed the whole length of the house, we were left with two walls that didn’t match. Limited by our budget, we repointed the half that was previously covered and experimented with painting techniques to blend the two together.

Slider

 

An overhaul for the kitchen

I wanted the kitchen to be the focus of the home. There were three main obstacles: adding a door for backyard access, the ceiling height, and a non-negotiable double oven. I initially wanted to enlarge the back window above the sink to make it a focal point and let in more natural light. Not far along into the process, I had to abandon that idea since we were concerned with what the enlarged opening would do to the structural integrity of the home, given its age. It was also a huge expense so we chose to use those dollars elsewhere.

In the end, we actually made the window above the sink slightly smaller to allow for a proper backsplash. We replaced the second window with a door and added a small landing and stairs for easy backyard access.

The next question was how to vent the hood with 11-foot-high ceilings and open shelving left nowhere to hide. Ultimately, the ducting was kept exposed and vented directly through the wall outside. I love the industrial element it adds to the newly renovated space.

Lastly, where to fit the double oven? At first, I was concerned I would be giving up valuable pantry space, but the layout worked out perfectly and there was room for everything we wanted, even the custom built-in beverage taps. We are home-brewing enthusiasts and wanted a unique feature in our kitchen to showcase that.

WATCH: How Bellamy and Zak find their Sweeten contractor

Splurging and saving

The first-floor bath was an easy update. The layout was already functional, so we kept it as-is with a direct replacement—aka rip-and-replace—of all the fixtures. We were able to salvage the original door and reuse the existing tub. We later put our DIY skills to the test and added fun wallpaper and wainscoting.

My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

The top floor previously served as a separate apartment complete with its own kitchen. We wanted to have a master bedroom, master closet, master bathroom, guest bedroom, and laundry room. The tricky part was figuring out where to put everything. The pre-existing kitchen allowed us to easily add laundry without a huge expense. Once that was decided, everything else fell into place.

The master bedroom closet is a dream spot that had been a small room that our contractor converted. My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

Throughout the house, we did some major upgrades that elevate the whole space: we put up fresh drywall throughout the second floor, refinished the original floors in a dark walnut color, and replaced all the windows in the house.

Slider

 

Managing the renovation budget and process

While I would not necessarily recommend living in a renovation (so much dust), it did allow us to check on the progress and be more involved in day-to-day decisions such as outlet locations and doorknob height. We optimistically thought the renovation would take three months, but we did add on some significant projects that stretched the timeline. Overall, the project took about five months to complete the top two floors with some minor updates in the garden apartment.

The budget was our major obstacle, but our Sweeten contractor was great at working with us to determine where we could splurge and where we could save. Once our contractor realized we were quite handy, we were able to figure out what we could do ourselves versus what we should leave to the professionals. For example, we chose to take on all the painting, which was a huge undertaking. I’m talking all ceilings, all walls, all trim, and multiple coats! I don’t think we understood what a huge task it was—and that in certain spaces, the contractor was unable to move forward until we completed painting. I’m glad we did it, but it was a grueling several months and I’m pretty sure I gave myself carpal tunnel.

Switching the brownstone layout

The biggest change in terms of the function of the home was separating the garden floor apartment from the upper two floors. In dividing the two, we were able to gain a coat closet in the apartment and additional storage space for us before the basement level. The ground floor is now available as its own standalone rental unit, while we live on the two floors above. Now that the house is done, I am so thankful we splurged on what we wanted—replacing the windows, skim-coating, and repointing the brick; those are some of my favorite things in the house.

Thanks to Bellamy and Zak for sharing your beautiful and unique Brooklyn brownstone renovation story with us! Here’s how they renovated their new garden rental space on a budget.

SHOPPING GUIDE

FOYER RESOURCES: Merola floor tile: Home Depot.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Vega brushed brass blush-mount lamp: CB2.

GROUND FLOOR BATH RESOURCES: Merola hex black floor tile: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile: Home Depot. Devine Color Speckled Dot peel-and-stick wallpaper: Target. Delta Foundations shower fixtures: Home Depot. ENSEN faucet: IKEA. Black towel bar hardware: CB2. The Copper Factory doorknob: Overstock.com. Godmorgon/Odensvik vanity and sink: IKEA. Framed fog-free wall mirror: Home Depot. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com.

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Merola floor tile, FRC8TWED: Home Depot. Kitchen cabinets: Custom. Omnia cabinet knobs, 9153/18.3: Build.com. Drawer pulls: Custom. Quartz countertops, 1141: Caesarstone. Jeffrey Court Fresh White backsplash tile, 96012: Home Depot. Olde London apron-front farmhouse fireclay sink, OL33SG: Home Depot. Kenmore refrigerator, 70423: Sears. Bosch dishwasher, SHVM78W53N: Sears. Whirlpool self-cleaning double electric wall oven, WOD51EC0AS: Lowe’s. Kenmore slide-in gas cooktop, 34913: Sears.

MASTER BATH RESOURCES: Carrara marble hex mosaic floor tile, C33XH: MarbleOnline.com. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile, 96012: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Retro Octagon White Dot shower floor tile, 96025: Home Depot. Towel bar and toilet paper holder: CB2. Delta Porter shower fixtures, 142984C-BN-A: Home Depot. Godmorgon/Odensvik sink and vanity, 291.852.39: IKEA. Vanity cabinet fronts: Semihandmade. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com. Home Decorators Collection framed fog-free wall mirror, 81160: Home Depot.

PAINT RESOURCES: Trim paint in Totally Black, HDC-MD-04: Behr. Wall paint in Pure White, PPU18-06: Behr.

See the downstairs rental results from Bellamy and Zek’s Brooklyn brownstone renovation story!

Remodel the brownstone of your dreams with help from our guide on purchasing and renovating a townhouse.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

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



Source link

A Manhattan Duplex Remodel To Expand & Welcome a Child


Expecting parents take on a Manhattan duplex remodel to expand their space and fortify for the future

Greenwich Village home renovation


  • Homeowners: Rachel + Marco posted their Manhattan duplex remodel on Sweeten
  • Where: Greenwich Village in Manhattan, NYC
  • Primary renovation: Swapping rooms between two floors of a duplex co-op
  • Notable: A kitchen expands with hidden appliances and built-ins
  • Result: The kitchen and living room come together to create a great room
  • 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 post by Sweeten homeowner Rachel

A Manhattan duplex remodel (instead of moving)

This is our first home, which we bought about six years ago just after we got married. When we were planning to expand our family, we knew we had to renovate or move. There was enough square footage, but we needed more distinct rooms or spaces. The apartment is a duplex co-op in Greenwich Village which was built in 1910. We love Greenwich Village so much and I really wanted to have the experience of raising a baby here. So, we renovated!

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Living here for so long before the renovation was really helpful since it gave us plenty of time to think about the best possible use of the space. We had a two-bedroom, two-bath, but wanted another bedroom for a baby. The old layout didn’t really work for entertaining, either—the kitchen and dining room were upstairs while the living room was downstairs. Marco and I also wanted our own personal spaces within our home for his hobbies and for my closet/office. Overall, we hoped to create a comfortable family home that met everyone’s needs.

I always thought of our apartment as a hidden gem—a colorful, fun place where you could see a little girl growing up, sophisticated yet flexible enough to allow for events like playdates and parties. The general contractors we found through Sweeten were really amazing. On top of being creative problem solvers, they were incredibly nice guys!

The top floor would be a combined kitchen/dining/living area, so the kitchen needed to be functional but also beautiful enough for a dinner party. We hid most of the appliances behind paneled cabinets; an “appliance garage” and snack storage were organized inside hallway cabinets outfitted with marble countertops. When we have family-style dinners, we set up the self-serve dishes and bar in those spaces. So, yes, you’re in a kitchen, but it’s also an elegant dining room.

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Customizing the almost-black kitchen

I cook a lot and was so excited for the stove. I wanted one of those fancy French stoves that come in custom colors, but they are so expensive! Instead, I found one from a U.S. manufacturer for maybe one-third the price. (They also do custom colors.) The cabinet color was chosen to match the stove, so this appliance is “hidden,” too. We wanted something different from the typical all-white kitchen that would also complement the light wood floors. This almost-black shade is just a little more interesting than plain black. It took lots of trips to the paint store for swatches!

We put a lot of thought into maximizing space and brainstorming with our Sweeten contractors. We really pushed them to be creative. I just kept saying, “We need to hide the trash and we need a spice cabinet. Where can we do it?” I wouldn’t let up! The answer was wrapping the cabinets around the pillar and also where the lower cabinets end, which created a finished look. There were other details: I don’t think you can go wrong with big molding. I chose the largest size I could find for the ceilings, doors, and floors! It makes a big difference for not a huge cost.

I don’t think you can go wrong with big molding. I chose the largest size I could find for the ceilings, doors, and floors! It makes a big difference for not a huge cost.

There were a few challenges, like the flooring. It took a couple of tries to get it just right, including completely refinishing the downstairs floors more than once.

Then there was the fireplace, which was very old and didn’t work. Our contractors figured out it was a faux fireplace that took up space for no reason, so it was removed.

Matching new and old brick

We also needed to make our brand-new brick match with the brick from 1910. Our contractors came up with a solution that was even better than what we had imagined. We repaired some portions, which was very expensive, and painted the wall solid white, stripping that paint off layer by layer to create the current washed effect. That helped to blend the new and (very) old brick.

The bathroom needed updating, too. It was really old with a weirdly-shaped, very deep, mini tub. We installed a beautiful regular-sized tub and shower tile I had seen in another project our contractors had done, which I loved. I pushed hard to put in a double-wide mirror, even though there were a lot of issues with making a recessed cabinet fit the space. I’m glad I persevered because it makes the room so much bigger.

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A bedroom transforms into personal hobby spaces

Marco and I have always believed in having our own spaces. We divided what used to be a huge bedroom into two separate spaces to create his office and my closet. Marco needed his own space where he could work on his hobbies without driving me crazy! He likes to do things that create dust and noise and play his music really loud. He works hard during the week, so he should have a place to do that! The office is actually soundproofed so he won’t wake the baby.

Greenwich Village home renovation

Throughout the process, Sweeten was great; they continually checked in with us. I knew I could go to them if there was ever an issue with our contractor. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you need to pick finishes in person whenever possible. It’s really hard to imagine what crown molding, counters, or other elements look like on a computer screen.

Thank you, Rachel and Marco, for sharing your Manhattan duplex remodel with us!

Shopping Guide

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Kitchen cabinets: Showplace Cabinetry. Black of Night cabinet paint color: Benjamin Moore. Cabinet hardware: Lewis Dolin. Sink and faucet: Newport Brass. Refrigerator: Sub-Zero. Stove: Big Chill. Dining table: ModShop. Dining stools: CB2.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Crown molding: ArchitecturalDepot.com. Sofas: Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams. Rug: AllModern. Bookshelves: CB2.

BATHROOM RESOURCES: Hardware, shower fixtures, and toilet: Kohler. Sink and vanity: Restoration Hardware. White Wisp paint color: Benjamin Moore.

MASTER BEDROOM RESOURCES: River Blue paint color: Benjamin Moore. Arc Floor Lamp: Sit Down New York. Console: West Elm. Stool: Wayfair.

NURSERY RESOURCES: Sun Kissed Peach paint color: Benjamin Moore. Wall art: Johanna Goodman. Crib and upholstered chair: Babyletto.

OFFICE RESOURCES: Baby Seal Black paint color: Benjamin Moore. Closet system: California Closets.

WALK-IN CLOSET RESOURCES: Closet system: The Container Store.

When you’re ready to build your dream home, having a licensed general contractor is key. Read more on why.

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.



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11 Takes on a Work From Home Space


open kitchen and dining space with desk(Above) Erin and Chris’ home office

We may call them laptops, but we all know that a desk and it’s organizational layout is the crucial formula for any work from home space. Whether you have a whole room or a section of a single wall to use, you can still create the functional working space that you need.

See how the homeowners below turned to Sweeten, a free service that connects renovating homeowners with vetted general contractors, for help transforming closets, spare bedrooms, corners of living rooms and kitchens—and even a stairway landing—into efficient places to get work done.

Kitchens do double duty with office nooks

For many families, the kitchen is the heart of the home, where they spend most of their time. Kitchen desks provide space away from the cooking mayhem, especially for anyone without a designated room for an office. These Sweeten renovators added this feature into their homes and created a perch for recipe-reading or working from home.

white kitchen with desk

A separate office wasn’t in the cards for Laura and Randy, but they found a solution: a kitchen desk niche. It’s right off the main kitchen area and matches the rest of the white cabinetry. Bold, patterned wallpaper gives the desk a sense of separation from the rest of the kitchen, too.

blue kitchen with work from home space

With climbing prices in her Fort Greene co-op building, Mollie faced a problem. She could cash out (but deal with the huge hassle of moving) or stay where she was. The neighborhood was ideal, but the look of her outdated studio apartment was not. She decided to remain and turned to a Sweeten contractor to help fix-up her 500-square-foot home. Her contractor came up with a plan to update her kitchen and found space within it for a desk nook, which Mollie made her own by adding interesting patterns and bold blue hues.

kitchen nook for work from home space

Barbra and Sean waited almost 10 years before renovating their 1,100-square-foot home in Kensington, Brooklyn. After living there for so long, they knew exactly what they wanted and what they needed to make their space work better for their family. Their kitchen had an existing spot for a desk so it seemed natural to carve out a similar area in their fully remodeled kitchen as well. The renovators found a desk that fit right into the opening, and used leftover wallpaper from their foyer to give it a finished look.

Turn spare bedrooms into your home office

If you have a spare bedroom, you can turn it—or just a part of it–into a beautiful workspace like the homeowners below. Bedrooms usually have good lighting, with natural sunlight from windows as well as overhead lights. Closet space can also be used for extra work materials or storage.

spare bedroom converted to work from home space

When Jenifer Herrmann, a media executive, and her partner, Mitzie Wong, a designer, painter and co-founder of creative design firm Roar + Rabbit, found a two-bed, two-bath apartment for sale at a price that left them with a renovation budget, they snapped up the 1,050-square-foot condominium. In addition to kitchen and bathroom renovations, creating a home office space for Mitzie was a priority for their remodel. They turned the second bedroom into a home office—a perfect space since Mitzie really wanted to separate work from life with an office that could contain her art materials, books, and growing plant collection. 

second bedroom turned into work from home space

Having a work from home space was essential for first-time renovators Maria and Eric. They planned to include a home office in their 850-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment in Woodside, Queens. They worked with their Sweeten contractor to convert the second bedroom into a small office and designed it to keep with the Scandinavian-chic aesthetic featured in the other rooms in their home. 

multipurpose living room with home office

Lavanya, the executive producer for Artifex Productions, a New York City-based production company, and her partner, Regis, did an exhaustive search for just the right apartment to meet their needs. They wanted a railroad-style layout with distinct spaces that could serve different purposes for home and business activities. They found it in a 700-square-foot, two-bedroom condo in South Park Slope, Brooklyn. The long-skinny layout (a style that was introduced in New York City in the mid-19th century) was a perfect layout and could be configured into a private office for Lavanya to work in without feeling like the rest of their home life was overlapping with her space.

Work from home space—in unexpected places

There’s a saying: “There’s nothing that can’t be done.” That is just what these Sweeten renovators believed when trying to incorporate a home office into their small living spaces. With out-of-the-box thinking, they envisioned spaces that would make working from home more comfortable. We love seeing how they squeezed their desks into creative places!

home office nook in corner of room

This beautiful corner apartment in Hudson Heights, Manhattan was a perfect spot for Marisa and Cody’s growing family. They turned to Sweeten to help renovate the space, with the goal of joining the kitchen and living area. They wanted the apartment to “feel open, light, and modern, but warm and homey at the same time.” They were able to fit into the design a desk nook in the corner of one room, utilizing the ceiling height by installing storage cabinets above the desktop. 

SLIDESHOW:

What do you do with that little bit of extra room on your stairway landing? If you are creative like Dianna, an advertising agency director, and Todd, a college professor, you create a small office. The couple lives in a 440-square-foot studio alcove apartment, so space efficiency was critical. The office space is made possible by using a corner table that fits perfectly on the landing and floating shelves for storage and aesthetic interest.

SLIDESHOW:

For the DeChirico sisters, Deanna and Daria, staying in New York City’s Sutton Place neighborhood was a must. So when they found a one-bedroom that they could convert into two, in a 1962 building, they jumped at the chance. They worked with a contractor from Sweeten’s network to revamp the awkwardly laid out space into a charming home. They reduced the size of the master bedroom to make way for a shared 7’ x 10’ walk-in clothes closet. It also fits a home office decked out with a simple white desk, blue-fabric chair, and a desk lamp.

Multipurpose rooms combine work and play

Sometimes you just can’t justify allocating a whole room to an office. Instead, you have to rethink the traditional concept of a home office and utilize what you have. One way to do this: turning parts of other rooms into your work area. Here, a look at two Sweeten renovators who worked with that they had to make efficient, convenient work areas.

a multipurpose room provides work from home space

Since homeowner Toby had working knowledge of design and architecture, he was was very involved in his Manhattan co-op renovation. He partnered with a Sweeten contractor to redo his galley kitchen and the apartment’s single bathroom. The living/dining area was already open and spacious, so it was simply refreshed. He split the room into a dining area, office space, and sitting lounge (not pictured). A truly multi-purpose room!

basement work from home space in QueensGordon and Tracy looked to Sweeten to help them find a general contractor who they could trust to turn their townhouse in the Sunnyside Historic Garden District into a more family-friendly space. They knew they needed to use all three floors so, with the help of their contractor, they transformed the basement into a dual living and utility/storage space, complete with an office area. The floating desk and shelves enlarge the room, leaving space for an entertainment area, cat sanctuary, laundry room, and second bathroom.

Inspired by these renovations? Start planning your own. Here are useful tools to help you plan and budget.

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.



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How 9 Closet Organization Ideas Make a Calm Home


From organizing shoes to arranging the kids’ toys, here are ways to stay tidy

Closet organization for clothes is an accomplishment that gets any day off to a great start. Smaller closets can be combined to make one large one or another look at a floor plan may reveal extra square footage that becomes built-in storage. In entryways, kids’ rooms, or master bedrooms, clutter can be tamed and customized to the way you live.

Check out these homeowners who came to Sweeten, a renovation platform which connected them to vetted general contractors, and plotted out their visions for organization. (One couple even took advantage of a structural column.) Get ready, you might get bit by the “tidy” bug too.

bedroom closetWith a handful of design courses under his belt, Toby put his passion for design to good use during his home renovation. He had given away the square footage of his bedroom closet to his bathroom located in the next room. To make up for this, he designed and built a new full-length closet for clothes and shoes with sliding doors. The built-in also hid a dresser and tv.

Kensington, renovation, closetStorage was a big factor in Barbra and Sean’s apartment renovation. Closets went into one of the kids’ rooms, the entryway, and the master bedroom (pictured above), where their contractor suggested combining two smaller units into a single large one with a custom organization system. “There’s a lot more functional space now,” Barbra said. “I even have some half-way empty dresser drawers. I wish I had done all the closets. Someday!”

Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, renovation, nursery closetThis Brooklyn homeowner chose a neutral palette for her son’s room; the better choice as a backdrop for all of his colorful toys. Even toy closets can offer a visual respite and functional organization. “Building out the closets was essential to allowing us to settle in properly, and I’m glad we didn’t wait to do this (which was the original plan),” said the homeowner.

closet renovation ideas, custom closets, storage solutions, organization

The standard closet build doesn’t give a lot of thought to shoe storage, so if you’re really into footwear, you’ll be faced with the problem of where to store them all. With 87 pairs of shoes in need of storage, Matthew had a custom closet designed with pull-out drawers sporting a pop of orange. The drawers were each sized to his size 9 shoes and hidden behind a sleek panel door.

shoe closetAfter Zoe and Arvid broke through the wall between the two apartments they were combining, an immovable column was discovered. Making the best of the situation, the couple built a hidden shoe closet that blended in with the structural element. Their contractor added baseboards, painted it a design-forward hue, and fitted it out with push-open door hinges.

closet organizationWith two active little boys in an 800-square-foot junior one-bedroom co-op, Courtney and Jim’s main goal was to create more storage in their sons’ room. To keep their toys, sports items, and musical instruments from spilling into the common living areas, a thoughtful organizational system was designed in the existing closet. Their contractor, however, was able to find space for a second closet in their room without sacrificing floor space.

closet renovation ideas, custom closets, storage solutions, organization

A layout change that resulted in opening the kitchen to the living room gave Marissa and Cody the opportunity to demolish the three narrow closets in the main living area and build two larger ones. By taking down the walls between the closets, the couple was able to increase their storage by making use of what was previously dead space between the walls.

closet renovation ideas, custom closets, storage solutions, organization

Michael and Chenta decided to overhaul the existing closet in their bedroom. They had a large closet built with simple, oak doors and added a floating wall in front of it. The wall separated their closet from the rest of the bedroom, giving it the feeling of a walk-in closet while still allowing the space between the wall and the closet to be used as a walkway.

home renovation, closet renovation, built-in closets, organization

It’s hard to believe Maggie and Adam’s bedroom closets aren’t custom. For a made-to-order look, they had their contractor frame IKEA modules and installed LED lighting with motion sensors so the lights would turn on when the doors opened. The brass hardware gave a final refined touch, plus ties in with the hardware elsewhere in the home.

Looking to add more storage to your home? In the kitchen, a pantry will keep things under control, while a vanity in the bath is great for corraling toiletries and other necessities.

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



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