Tired of staring at your old faucet? Installing a new one is easy! (No, really.)
If you’ve been washing your hands a lot lately, you might have started paying extra attention to your faucet. Does it drip? Is the chrome flaking off? Is it dated?
Plumbing projects can be intimidating, because no one wants to accidentally flood their entire home. But installing a new kitchen faucet truly is a DIY that anyone can handle.
As long as you work slowly and follow the directions, you can add a beautiful faucet to your kitchen with zero emergency calls to the plumber.
New kitchen faucet (and the installation manual)
Teflon tape (optional)
Before purchasing a new faucet, take note of your current setup. Look under the sink to see how many holes yours has (usually between one and four).
This determines the type of faucet that will work with your sink. A single-hole faucet can be installed in a three- or four-hole sink by adding a deck plate, but not vice versa.
Remove everything from under your sink. This DIY takes place in tight quarters, so you want to make it as roomy as possible. Also, be sure to keep a towel nearby for any water drips.
Turn off the water supply lines to the kitchen faucet. There will be a cold water and hot water valve underneath your kitchen sink.
Turn each of these water valves clockwise until you can’t turn them anymore. Then turn on your faucet and make sure water doesn’t come out.
Keep the faucet in the “on” position to relieve any water pressure.
Now that the water is safely off, you can unhook the hot and cold water supply lines. You will need a wrench for this step. Simply loosen them (counterclockwise) until they unhook.
A little water may drip out, which is totally normal. Just keep your bucket and rags handy.
Unscrew your old kitchen faucet from underneath the sink.
Every faucet is different, so yours may look a bit different than this one. Ours had a gold ring that we just had to loosen with our hands. Others might be connected with a nut. If that’s the case, you’ll have to use your wrench again.
Pull your old faucet through the top of the kitchen sink and out.
Clean up any gross residue that was hiding underneath your old kitchen faucet with your towel. This is the time to get it nice and clean, so put some muscle into it!
Grab the manual for your new faucet, because you’re going to need it! Since every faucet is different, they all come with their own set of directions. But we’ll walk you through the general steps.
Feed your new kitchen faucet into the hole at the top of your sink. You may want to enlist a buddy to help keep the top secure as you venture underneath the sink.
Secure your faucet from underneath the sink. Ours required tightening a few screws.
Attach your cold and hot lines to their valves, and make sure they are nice and snug with your wrench.
You may want to wrap your threaded pipes with some Teflon tape to make sure your seal is tight and your connections remain leak-free!
Turn your water supply valves on … slowly! Then check the faucet to make sure both your hot and cold water are working.
That’s it. Seriously easy, right?!
You can elevate the look of your kitchen in under an hour, and it will only cost you the price of a new faucet.
“Reuse is not a design trend; it’s an attitude, a mindset, and a behavioral approach that isn’t just relevant today— it’s vital,” says Maria Speake. Back in the early 1990s in Glasgow, she and fellow architecture student Adam Hills watched historic buildings being demolished. “The madness of this process wasn’t just about unnecessary waste, it disregarded the common sense that used to underpin construction: valuing materials and craft.”
In response, the couple founded Retrouvius, their now 26-year-old London-based salvage company, that all this time has been leading by example. “In the simplest terms, we rescue materials, furniture, lighting and fixtures, and continue their life,” they write. “Increasingly, we understand our mission as something more fundamental: to enable and inspire reuse, not just as a design preference but as a way of life.”
Adam oversees the reclamation side of the business, and Maria runs the in-house design studio, applying rescued components to inventive remodels (House & Garden UK named her designer of the year in 2019). A recent project that caught our eye is this Georgian townhouse in Notting Hill. It belongs to a successful costume designer with a love of patinated surfaces, old wood, and peace and quiet. Maria and team transformed her quarters into “a country home in the city.”
Photography by Tom Fallon courtesy of Retrouvius.
“It was originally from Somerset,” says Maria of the mantel. “When we first got it—from a wonderful architectural salvage dealer called Marcus Olliff—I tried to put it in a house in Somerset, but our clients thought it was too raw, which is, of course, what we love about it.”
The interior window, she notes, is framed in copper and probably dates to the 1910s: “copper lights are a little more refined and urban than lead lights.”
Above: The zelliges tiles are from the Mosaic Factory : “they’re cut in a way that gives them a subtle geometric pattern.” To see more of Maria’s designs, go to Retrouvius; the company shop and showroom is in Kensal Green, London.
Some more projects that make artful use of vintage and found materials:
Storage and lighting add to the home, sweet home quotient
“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten
Project: Refreshing an ineffective Harlem kitchen a family has outgrown
Before: When Andréa and her husband purchased an early 1900s four-story brownstone in Harlem, the plan was to rent the top two apartments and live in the 2-bedroom, 2 ½ bath duplex. For a long time, the place felt “soooo big.” That is, until the couple started their family. Now, with an 11-year-old son, a 9-year-old daughter, cat, Romeo, and her husband’s ever-growing record collection, Andréa said, “It started feeling claustrophobic.”
The first space in their Harlem home she wanted to tackle: the kitchen. “It’s where I spend a lot of time,” says Andréa. “It was so cluttered and dim. I didn’t enjoy cooking at all. I remember balancing pans on top of each other while making dinner.”
Storage was clearly an issue. “First of all, the shelves in our cabinets weren’t adjustable—so we couldn’t even store cereal boxes or olive oil or anything taller than about eight inches. So we just had a ton of stuff on the counters or on top of the fridge.”
Appliances ate into counter space as well. “We had this massive microwave that took up an entire baking station, so we lost workspace there, too.” And then there was the lighting. “We had this one dim light that didn’t even light up the area by the sink. We always felt like we were working in the dark. And our dishwasher was dying.”
The two had an unpleasant experience with a master bath reno 12 years ago (Andréa says the contractor took their money and disappeared). This time, they posted their Harlem kitchen renovation project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that connects homeowners with vetted contractors, and they were immediately impressed.
“I felt like the Sweeten contractor we chose offered the best price for the job,” she said. “His team is very efficient and punctual. It’s great to have someone show up when they say they will and finish on time!”
Although the same 450-square-footprint was retained, their Harlem kitchen was expanded a few feet by knocking down a wall and opening up space for a bar/counter and pantry.
Besides improving storage and lighting, Andréa knew the look and style she wanted from their kitchen renovation. “I’m from California, and I miss it all the time—the weather, the sky, the ocean. So I picked colors that reminded me of my hometown of Morro Bay and also the Bay area, where I went to college,” she said. “I liked the idea of gray cabinets. My mom recently did her kitchen in all white, and after two years, it was already showing use. It seemed impractical with two kids.”
The gray stock cabinets reminded her of fog around the ocean (“a win-win”). And the paint, kind of a peach color, was like sunsets—“a soothing combination.” Even the grout color between white subway tiles has a little peach in it. She felt a quartz countertop was a nice balance.
Andréa loves tea, and she has some beautiful blue Fortnum and Mason (a brand based in London) tins, which also reinforced the blue accents. “It’s kind of Jamaica-meets-Miami-meets-Cali-meets-London,” she says.
Andréa says that their contractor’s wife, Suzy, also helped make sure everything went smoothly. “Suzy was a godsend,” says Andrea. “We had a pretty firm budget and I felt like she worked very hard to stay in it without pushing for more expensive stuff or using cheap things. It was a very nice middle ground.”
And the result? A huge success. “I love the whole feel of (the new space),” says Andréa. “The colors are really inviting, and the cabinets make it feel bigger, even though it’s basically the same square footage. Of course, the kitchen is so beautiful, now we want to update everything in the house!”
Bonus: “I love my undercabinet lighting,” she says. “It wasn’t originally in the plans. It was an addition during the reno that has made a huge difference. Also—my hidden recycling bins!”
Thank you, Andréa and your family, for sharing your new kitchen with us!
KITCHEN RESOURCES: Nickel Kitchen cabinets: Fabuwood. Sink/Faucet: Ruvati. Dishwasher: Bosch. Lighting: West Elm. Paint: Benjamin Moore.
Check out Sweeten’s 2020 Kitchen Renovation Costs in NYC guide and start exploring for your future kitchen renovation.
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.
There’s a slim category of kitchens that embodies everything we think a kitchen workspace should be—equal parts functional and beautiful—and it’s the photographer’s studio kitchen. These spaces must be practical and usable, with efficient storage and clever shape-shifting solutions. But, as backdrops for photographs of lush entertaining spreads and heaping bowls of food, they must also be clean-lined and aspirational. (Just take a look at this one in Berkeley we featured a few months back.) The photo studio kitchen is flooded with natural light, flexible, and, often, with a photographer’s eye behind the design, especially artful.
This is particularly the case with photographer Victoria Pearson‘s studio, an outbuilding beside her house in California’s Ojai Valley that doubles as guest quarters (and which we first spotted over on Rip & Tan). When Pearson first moved into the main house, she rented out the small building—then strictly a guest house—to the existing tenants for a while, then renovated it top to bottom, transforming it into photo studio by day and guest space when needed, focusing especially on re-making the kitchen into a workable and beautiful backdrop for Pearson’s photography. (In addition to magazines like Travel + Leisure and Martha Stewart publications, you may have spotted her work in the cookbook Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-KissedRecipes.)
“It is a perfect studio,” says Pearson of the space, and it happens to be an airy, thoughtful living space, too. Join us for a look.
Photography by Victoria Pearson.
To make the small building more efficient, Pearson downsized from three bathrooms to one large one and took out the loft. Then she set in on transforming the space from pure guesthouse to a working photo studio, replacing all of the glass with non-tinted glass (“it’s usually a green tint,” she says), adding barn doors for easy access to the garden, replacing the Spanish-style tile floors with cement, and painting the interior in, as she says, “plain white white.”
The priority, though, was re-doing the existing kitchen to optimize it for shooting. Pearson opted for an open plan that can be made even more open or moved around during shoots; everything is lightweight or on wheels. The kitchen is a high-low mix: a Viking stove and Miele dishwasher mixed with a quirky rattan lamp and Frosta stacking stools (a Remodelista favorite), both from Ikea. “I collect the good pieces,” she says of Ikea; “anything woven, wicker, or rattan”.
Pearson opted for rattan and natural-fiber details throughout the studio, from baskets to the daybed in the living area—for looks, but also for portability. “Everything in the studio needs to be easily moveable,” she says. “I sometimes clear the space for a photo shoot, or have it furnished for family and friends visiting.”
Pearson’s fine art photography, which she shoots in addition to commercial work, hangs on the walls. “I love the idea of Tabula Rasa: blank slate. I want images that you can interpret for yourself,” she says.
Follow Pearson’s work on Instagram at @victoriapearsonphotographer and @tabularasapicture.
In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her tips for refreshing a kitchen with a light palette and open shelves.
Question: I’d like to spray my lower cabinets white and swap out my uppers for open shelving. How do I make this look good? — K.S., Calgary
Answer: Having your cabinets painted a new color is an excellent way to update your kitchen! Opt for a bright white that will reflect light around the space. Replacing your upper cabinets with open shelving will definitely make your kitchen look airier, too. For a modern vibe, consider having your vent hood boxed in with drywall and painted to match your walls. Extending the box right to the ceiling will draw the eye up and create visual interest.
Similar to the Inspiration kitchen designed by Whitney Williams (above), install two floating wood shelves on either side of the vent hood. The top shelf should align with the bottom of the hood, with the second shelf 12 to 18 inches lower. Then, continue the shelving on the window wall, stopping just shy of the window frame. The key to styling your shelves is to choose items that are both good-looking and functional.
(Source: Speckle Serving Bowl 14″ (set of 2), $140, shophouseandhome.com)
(Source: Galiano Pitcher in Beige, $28, vdevmaison.com)
For color, try leaning a piece of art on a shelf.
(Source: Art by Kate Schutz, price available upon request, kateschutz.com)
Next, swap out your backsplash for an off-white quartz or marble slab with veining. For a more affordable option, opt for ceramic or marble tiles. Install the slab or tile just below the height of the lowest shelf and then, behind the range, up to the vent hood.
(Source: Chantilly Quartz Slab, price available upon request, hanstone.ca)
Consider adding two white and brass sconces on either side of the hood as decorative lighting. Additionally, you could have puck lights installed on the underside of the shelves to illuminate your work surfaces.
(Source: Small Cypress Sconce in Brushed Satin Brass and Satin White, $408, rejuvenation.com)
Finally, to bring in some warmth, replace your cabinet pulls with brass versions and add wooden counter stools at the peninsula.
(Source: Kent Collection Contemporary Cabinet Pull in Satin Brass by Richelieu, $11.50 each, homedepot.ca)
(Source: Kelley Counter Stool by Nuevo, $510, thebay.com)
These simple changes will give you the look of a bright, new kitchen without having to start from scratch!
Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post <span class="title_highlight">Ask A Designer:</span> How To Modernize A Kitchen That Is Stuck In The Past appeared first on House & Home.
When you design and produce kitchens for a living, you get to use your own quarters as a testing ground. Kine Ask Stenersen and Kristoffer Eng are the couple behind Ask og Eng, the Oslo, Norway-based workshop known for its artful Ikea hacks: they specialize in making bamboo fronts for Ikea kitchen cabinets.
The duo have also begun to create their own fully custom kitchens. After living with one of their very first Ikea upgrades, they recently decided to replace it with a bespoke design that showcases their newest bamboo finish. See Ikea Elevated for a look at their initial line, and join us for a tour of their kitchen.
Photography by Kine Ask Stenersen, courtesy of Ask og Eng.
Drammen is a 40-minute commute to the Ask og Eng workshop and showroom in Oslo. Kine and Kristoffer both grew up in Drammen—he’s an architect and she studied environmental geography (and brings a green mindset to their collaborations). Five years ago, they moved here from Oslo to be close to family, and say that it’s thanks to Kristoffer’s engineer fatherm and his know-how and many tools (plus relatives ready to help with childcare), that they were able to get their company off the ground.
Their former kitchen, which they had “sawn, sanded, and oiled” in their garage, got disassembled and most of the parts have found new homes in other projects; many of the furnishings and appliances stayed put.
Some of the advantages of working in bamboo, the couple say, are that it’s a fast-growing grass that’s lightweight and strong. They get their raw material from certified plantations “to be sure it’s not only sustainable but produced responsibly.”
Of the overhead storage, Kine says, “The room is very sunny but we have a lot of dark periods here. To keep the space feeling open and bright, we decided against wall-hung cabinets and instead used our A7 Cross Shelf.”
Here are some other standout kitchens that designers created for themselves:
Meet the unsung hero of the fixtures world: the wall-mounted faucet. Of all the decisions you need to make during a remodel, the location of the sink faucet may be an afterthought. But where the tap attaches matters—and can even save cleaning time, particularly in the kitchen, where wall-mounted taps are less common than in the bath. To get some professional input on the pros and cons of wall-mounted faucets, we talked with designer Malachi Connolly, who recently completed Julie’s renovation in Brooklyn Heights. (She opted for a wall-mounted kitchen faucet there and loves how it leaves a blank, clean space behind the sink.) Here’s what to know.
What is a wall-mounted faucet?
Unlike a deck-mounted tap (which is installed on the countertop behind the sink), a wall-mounted tap attaches onto the wall behind the sink, and extends over the sink. Wall-mounted faucets are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and finishes (and are well-suited to the DIY Faucets Made from Plumbing Parts trend too).
Why would I prefer a wall-mounted faucet over a deck-mounted one?
“Many people choose a wall-mounted fixture because of its clean appearance; it’s a style that’s both modern and utilitarian-looking,” says Connolly, adding, “You often see them in restaurant kitchens.”
To Connolly, a wall-mounted faucet becomes part of the backsplash as a design element. “When you put something on a wall, it’s more like a relief or a sculpture,” he says. “And the tiles around it—the color, the shape, the grout lines—are part of the composition.”
What are the advantages of a wall-mounted faucet?
The main plus: This type of tap makes it easier to keep the area in back of your sink clean. Dirt and calcium deposits tend to accumulate there, so the area is much easier to keep spick-and-span without hardware in the way.
And, as Connolly points out, if you’re a fan of the double-jointed (or articulated) faucet, which scissors back and forth to easily fill big pots with water, installing the fixture on the wall provides more range of motion.
What are the disadvantages?
A wall-mounted faucet is harder to install and costs around 30 percent more than the deck-mounted type. And since fewer styles are available, it’s not as easily replaced.
Another disadvantage: If you like to have a separate spray nozzle, you may need to install one on the deck. “Some wall-mount styles do have a sprayer,” says Connolly, “but having the hose dangling at the backsplash isn’t ideal.”
Is a special type of faucet needed?
Just make sure the fixture you buy is suited for wall-mounting. It’ll come with all the hardware needed to install it.
How high up should you position it?
“That depends on the shape of the tap,” says Connolly. “Figure on about eight to ten inches of clearance, measuring from the deck to the faucet head.”
How far out should it reach?
Connolly recommends that the faucet should extend out at least seven inches from the back of the sink, so you can wash your hands without banging them against the sink. So, if your countertop is 24 inches deep, that would put the spout about 11 inches from the wall.
Do you need to install a wall-mounted faucet on a special surface?
Since the fixture is supported by the plumbing pipes, rather than the wall, regular backer board for tiling (that is, a stable waterproof board) should suffice, says Connolly. And it doesn’t matter what type of backsplash you have. While it’s usually tile, you can also install the tap on a wall with waterproof paint or even on stone slab.
What else should you consider when installing a wall-mounted faucet?
With all these measurements, it’s best to have a professional install a wall-mounted tap. It starts with the plumber installing the pipes, which must be in positioned so the tap will be centered over the spot where the sink will be. “Once you install the plumbing, you can’t move it,” says Connolly. “Well, maybe by half an inch, but not enough to make a difference if it’s really out of whack.” For the next step, the cabinetmaker measures where the plumbing rough is installed so they know exactly where the sink cabinet needs to go.
And if your backsplash is tile, there’s another detail that should be attended to: For the best appearance, you’ll want the grout lines perfectly aligned with your wall-mounted tap so everything’s centered.
Are there situations where installing a wall-mounted tap isn’t possible?
It’s almost always possible to install a wall-mounted tap (unless you have a window directly behind the sink), but some conditions require extra work. Let’s say you want to install the faucet on an exterior-facing wall—which, in a cold-weather area, could lead to frozen pipes. “In those cases you’ll need to fur out the wall,” says Connolly; that is, build the wall out a few extra inches. “That gives you enough room to encase the pipes with two to three inches of high-density spray foam insulation.”
A stone slab backsplash also creates difficulties: You’ll need to have holes drilled for the faucet, and they must be precisely centered. “But if you’re able to afford a stone backsplash, you can afford a good contractor to coordinate all that work,” Connolly says.
Can I replace a deck-mounted fixture with a wall-mounted one?
Not without making other changes. If your existing tap is mounted on the sink, the sink will have one or more holes to accommodate that. So if you’re swapping out your tap, you’ll also have to replace your old sink with a new one that doesn’t have holes. If your faucet is installed on the counter itself, you’ll have to replace your countertop.
Looking for more tips on kitchen faucets? Start with our Remodeling 101: Kitchen Sinks and Faucets guide, where you’ll find help with faucet and sink selection, installation and maintenance. For more expert opinions on faucets, see our posts:
N.B.: Featured image from the Bear Creek Bovidae Bath in Austin, Texas, an entrant in our 2017 Considered Design Awards.
Finally, get more ideas on how to evaluate and choose your bathroom sink and faucet in our Remodeling 101 Guide: Bathroom Sinks & Faucets.
When we last checked in on Anna Pipkorn Skermer and Jane Kilpatrick of Pipkorn Kilpatrick, the Melbourne-based interior designers had just tackled their first big commission: an extraordinarily refined houseboat: see Lake Luxe, Scandi-Style. Today, we’re spotlighting another nature-centric project of theirs: Kilpatrick’s own indoor-outdoor kitchen in a charmingly tiny Edwardian brick row house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.
To remake the quarters for Kilpatrick and her husband, the duo created a new “flow-through floor plan from front door to backyard,” ending in a clean-lined kitchen that’s fully open to the backyard. The front of the house was largely preserved. What had to be fully reconfigured was an existing north-facing addition out back: a clutch of small spaces ending in an awkward bath/laundry that was the sunniest room in the house. The laundry duo is now tucked out of sight, and a brick terrace and plantings have taken center stage off the large open kitchen. The remodel was completed 10 years ago and recently photographed to prepare the house for sale—Kilpatrick and her husband now have three young sons and need bigger quarters. We think this one looks hard to equal.
Photography courtesy of Pipkorn Kilpatrick.
The house dates to the 1890s and brick salvaged from the remodel was reused to pave the new terrace. The plantings include an herbs garden in an old wooden crate.
The small sink, Kilpatrick says, is scaled to the room: “it’s big enough to wash big pots and deep enough to hide dishes when doing a quick clean.”
Craving outdoor access? Here are three more remodels that connect kitchen to garden:
A successful kitchen renovation isn’t measured by the number of walls knocked down or the size of a kitchen island. Instead, it’s the thoughtful details and design elements culled over time from Pinterest and the hours of research on materials coming to life that brings the joy for a lifestyle that finally fits you and your family.
Here we look at 11 kitchens renovated by homeowners who came to Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects. Some were major transformations removing walls, creating built-ins, and adding new windows, while others proved that smart improvements in space efficiency, updated materials, and renewed layouts gave them the overall refreshes they wanted.
From outdated to classic gray
After living on Long Island for many years, Rosalind and Lawrence were ready to downsize and return to their beloved former hometown of Brooklyn. They purchased a 100-year-old home in Cypress Hills and slowly started renovating the outdated spaces. After refreshes of two bathrooms, a staircase, and a walk-in closet were complete, they decided to turn their attention to the kitchen.
The main problem besides the yellow walls, dated wooden cabinets, and orange-tiled backsplash, was the lack of storage. Rosalind was forced to store her larger appliances like the slow cooker and mixer in the living room. So, with the help of a Sweeten contractor, the couple reimagined their layout and added a kitchen island that doubles as storage as well as a convenient gathering spot. Rosalind chose gray tones throughout and accented them with interesting geometric shapes.
Same layout, more storage
Shoko and Rob really liked their 900-square-foot apartment in Harlem, New York. The only thing that gnawed at them was the “orange-y cabinetry, shiny black appliances, and brown countertop.” So they decided to take the plunge and redo the small kitchen.
They did their research and found information from designer Keren Richter on how to make the most of their cook space and turned to Sweeten to execute their vision. In addition to overhauling the look of the kitchen, they wanted to improve the flow and functionality with more storage as their top goal. Their original kitchen didn’t take advantage of the ceiling height so they extended the new upper cabinetry to get as close as possible to the ceiling. In all, they were able to create a minimalist style yet warm space to cook in and entertain.
Dark and dated to contemporary chic
How do you make a house feel more like a loft apartment? First, you open up the layout so that you have an unobstructed sightline across the first floor. For Romuald and his family, this meant tearing down a wall between the kitchen and the main living space. To regain the storage space lost by removing the cabinets on that wall, they decided to do what many do: build an island.
They also added other design touches to fit into their cooking-centric lives. Their Sweeten contractor suggested they install an “appliance garage” to make their countertop less cluttered. Being avid cooks, Romuald and his wife have a lot of small appliances, including a toaster, coffee maker, and mixer, that would be nicely concealed—but yet easily accessible—by this storage solution. They also put in a pot-filler above the stove and a microwave drawer in the island.
The warm gray cabinets complement the white quartz countertop and the classic subway tile of the backsplash. For ease of cleaning and added durability, Romuald installed a porcelain floor that mimics the look of real wood.
Veteran renovators Jennifer and Joe always knew their New Jersey apartment wouldn’t be complete without a kitchen remodel. They, like many homeowners, wanted an open-concept layout in order to see the amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, and George Washington Bridge that their apartment affords.
They asked their Sweeten contractor to knock down a wall to get better sightlines to the wall of windows in their living room. Unfortunately, the entire wall could not be removed as it was load-bearing. So their contractor took down as much of the wall as possible and utilized the rest of the space to house the refrigerator.
Jennifer and Joe based the design entirely around the marble waterfall island, which features a deep black base with white veins throughout the countertop. The color palette of the entire kitchen plays off the two tones, with glossy black drawers and all-white upper and lower cabinetry as well as a white quartz countertop. Not one detail was spared, from the under-cabinet lighting to the textured backsplash.
Midcentury Scandi meets Italian modern
“I wanted midcentury Scandi meets 70s Italian modern,” says Brooklyn Sweeten homeowner Melissa of her design preference for her kitchen. The co-op building itself had a midcentury vibe so she wanted to continue it inside.
First things first, her Sweeten contractor removed walls that were blocking off the kitchen from the living area. Once that was complete, natural sunlight bathed the entire apartment. She carefully selected a mix of different materials (matte concrete floor and counters) as well as warmer accents in her textile and paint choices. A built-in shelf intersects over a new peninsula for additional seating. She didn’t move the plumbing (which is an added cost) or change the location of the appliances.
From the ’80s to modern industrial
For their one-bedroom co-op in a 19th-century converted warehouse, homeowners Dan and Mike wanted to bring their 1980s kitchen into a new era. While they desired a nod to the industrial roots of the building, they did want the aesthetic to be balanced.
They hired a Sweeten contractor to help redefine the space. To create an open floor plan, a wall was removed as well as the upper cabinets, which were replaced with beautiful open shelves of salvaged Douglas Fir. The base cabinets were updated from laminate to a full set of IKEA cabinets and drawers, customized by Semihandmade. A modern waterfall countertop on the peninsula was used to visually separate the kitchen entry. They also utilized different natural and synthetic wood finishes to maintain a measure of warmth and masculinity.
A dark kitchen sees the (natural) light
Even after tackling other updates to their colonial-style home, Nydia and Jonathan knew that renovating their Brooklyn kitchen was a top priority. The old version had mismatched appliances, dated cabinets, and not enough counter space. The dark space hardly felt welcoming (or functional) for their family of five.
They turned to Sweeten to help with the construction process, hiring a trusted contractor from its carefully vetted network. The project involved rethinking the layout to opening up the stairway to the basement, which is accessed via the kitchen. The renovation helped key kitchen elements find new locations: the refrigerator moved out of the main cooking area, the dishwasher now sits directly across from the sink, and the walls surrounding the basement stairs were taken down. By replacing existing cabinets with ceiling-height ones and adding a peninsula, the space was really transformed.
From functional to fabulous
A mutual love of cooking (and of cooking together) ultimately led Marissa and Jeremy to renovate their small kitchen in their Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, co-op. The space was so cramped that it brought about a special house rule: Only one person allowed in the kitchen at a time when cooking in order to keep the peace.
Twenty-four inches of usable counter space was quintupled through the renovation, while other unique elements were added to suit the couple’s preferences and lifestyle. For example, they went non-traditional for the backsplash, using an antique mirror. They also installed a ventless washer/dryer combo unit and removed the space-invading gas dryer vent. “While a gas dryer dries clothes much faster than a ventless dryer, I wanted the extra counter space more than I wanted clothes dried in 20 minutes,” Marissa said. They capped off the gas vent and went long with the back counter. “I am excited about so many parts of our kitchen that I don’t know if I can pick a favorite!” she said.
A modern vision brought to life through an extension
For Laura and Tim, they decided they needed to do something about their kitchen that was “falling apart”—it had water damage from a leaky shower upstairs, the door to the patio was drafty, the cabinets were dark and “grungy,” and it generally just needed some fixing up.
The couple consulted their friend and designer Suzy Leon of Suzy Leon Design, Ltd. and came up with a plan to gut the existing kitchen but also enclose their back patio. The additional interior square footage would connect and provide a better flow between the kitchen, dining room, and outdoor space. The new enclosure would feature skylights to brighten the space.
They kept the galley layout but chose a light color palette in the “minty” green shaker cabinets to offset the dark plank wood floors. White quartz countertops were utilized to help make the flow look more open and airy.
Reaching new heights—with less ceiling
With an 18-inch tiny dishwasher, an oven that wasn’t big enough to fit a cookie tray, and a kitchen sitting underneath a loft, a renovation was long overdue for this mom who cooked five nights a week.
One major challenge homeowners Emily and Trey faced was the inability to move the building’s intercom system that was smack in the middle of the kitchen. They hired a Sweeten contractor who came up with a good solution: create an L-shaped peninsula to accommodate the immovable pole—and give them more space and storage at the same time.
In addition to the new peninsula, they were also able to get rid of the loft above, which increased the ceiling height drastically. The result was a well-thought-out new kitchen perfect for the family of four’s busy lifestyle.
First time’s a charm
Jennifer and Jonn couldn’t believe their luck when they found their 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom duplex in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It was the perfect location for their family of two kids and a dog. The story goes that the co-op was the result of combining three one-bedroom apartments to create a huge two-level residence with sole access to a sprawling rear garden. Voila! The perfect home…but with one catch: It needed to be renovated.
The couple had their work cut out for them with this space that hadn’t been updated since the ’70s. They hired a contractor through Sweeten who was able to transform their white laminate kitchen into a light-filled galley kitchen with an eat-in banquette. They used shaker cabinets and five-panel doors while incorporating metals like brass lights and stainless steel appliances for a modern look.
Kitchens are arguably one of the most pivotal spaces in our homes. From giving us a gathering point to break bread together to providing space to tackle assignments and hobbies; every kitchen should deliver the kind of peace of mind (and organizational flow) that homeowners need.
Inspired to renovate your kitchen? Check out Sweeten’s cost guides here.
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.
A look inside a maker’s studio almost always reveals far more than the artist’s craft; often, the space surrounding a workbench has been creatively adapted. Jochen Holz’s studio in Stratford, East London, is a case in point. Here, the German-born glassmaker—whose wonky, textured pieces and sculptural neon installations can be found at The New Craftsmen and Momosan Shop (you might also recognize them from our Trend Alert on two-tone glassware)—installed Ikea base cabinets and adapted them beyond recognition to create a kitchen unlike any we’ve seen. Join us for an exclusive look inside.
Photography by Kim Lightbody.
Holz specializes in lamp working, which is a technique that transforms prefabricated borosilicate glass tubes into one-off pieces by melting the glass over a torch. The glass tubes are hardwearing and heat-resistant, which makes his unique pieces suitable for everyday use.
The work surface was made from leftover pieces of Marmoleum, glued onto a birch plywood board edged with a solid maple timber strip. (For more on Marmoleum, see Remodeling 101: Affordable and Environmentally Friendly Linoleum.)
Holz shares the studio with his partner, Attua Aparicio of Silo Studio. The couple made these hooks together, setting colored Jesmonite acrylic into glass.
Prototypes and finished pieces are displayed in the studio beneath a thriving collection of indoor plants. The items made of clear glass have been given texture and shape through pressing the molten glass against various surfaces, such as burnt wood or perforated metal. “I wanted to get away from the idea that glass is this pristine material, to give it a bit more history and edge,” explains Holz.
The colored glass collection is made using an Italian technique known as incalmo. Much like a ceramist, he builds each piece by heating and fusing together colored pieces of glass. The end product is intentionally playful. “I don’t normally do figurative work,” explains Holz, “but I had fun making these Trumps. I found the quiff worked really well.”
For more studio inspiration, see 1,000 Square Feet on a Budget: An Artist’s Loft in North London. And for more maker’s kitchens, see:
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 27, 2018.
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