Before & After: A Modern Kitchen Update with Vintage Charm — Sweeten


When they decided to start a family, interior designer Meredith and her husband realized that their one-bedroom duplex (with the bedroom accessed by a dizzying spiral staircase) was just not going to cut it anymore. After being outbid on four different houses, they finally found their perfect place: a charming Tudor townhouse in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood, with an apricot tree in the front yard and even — an amenity almost unheard of in New York — a garage.

The house, while it had plenty of character, was a definite fixer-upper. Built in 1941, the home had only had one owner, and was in need of a little updating. When the home inspector saw the cloth-wrapped aluminum electrical wiring, he begged the couple to replace it “so I can sleep at night. Really. Please. PLEASE.” Also in need of a facelift was the kitchen, with its aging cabinetry and cramped footprint. Meredith wanted a kitchen that would work for a modern home, but one that preserved all the vintage charm of the original.

The biggest change to the kitchen was one of layout: tearing down the wall between the kitchen and the adjoining breakfast room allows the kitchen to expand into the neighboring space, creating plenty of room for extra counter space, and also an island (a piece that Meredith salvaged from a neighbor’s trash!) which transforms the kitchen into an eat-in space.

A window at the back of the room overlooks the backyard, and fills the kitchen with light. Directly beneath is a vintage enamel sink, paired with a modern restaurant-style sprayer faucet. To the left of the sink is a walk-in pantry. Painting the pantry’s doorway and walls an aqua blue helps to define the space, and add a little color to the kitchen.

The centerpiece of the kitchen is the beautiful vintage Caloric stove, equally as at home now as it was in the original 1940s kitchen. Meredith paired it with a salvaged Sub-Zero fridge from Build It Green in Gowanus, whose glossy charcoal front panel was the inspiration for the kitchen’s dark, glossy lower cabinets. A handmade subway tile backsplash adds just a hint of texture, the perfect finishing touch to a kitchen that beautifully marries old and new.

Meredith and her husband found their contractor on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with local general contractors. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.

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