Before & After: A Small, Cramped Apartment Kitchen Opens Up — Sweeten

Upon closing on their first home, Maria and Eric found themselves in a situation that will probably seem quite familiar to anyone who’s ever looked at real estate in New York: they were the proud owners of a really great apartment with a not-so-great kitchen. The 850-square-foot two-bedroom in Queens was nice and roomy, but the kitchen was small, cramped, and dark, with discolored floor tiles and old, warped cabinets that required a little effort to shut completely. A renovation was definitely in order.

The first step in the renovation was to tear down one of the kitchen walls, allowing the kitchen to expand into a neighboring space. The resulting galley-style kitchen has room for plenty of storage space and counter space. It’s open to the rest of the apartment on one end, but still reads as its own room.

To keep this narrow space from feeling quite so tight, the decision was made to only have upper cabinets on one side of the kitchen. The bright white cabinetry and walls bounce light around, contributing to the spacious feel.

The walnut cabinets (which are only on one side of the kitchen) add a little warmth to the space. (The cabinets are IKEA; the walnut doors were custom made.) Above the walnut cabinets, the Caesarstone countertop wraps up to form a small shelf, handy for storing little things that are used every day. At the end of the run, the walnut cabinets wrap around the wall, connecting the kitchen to the living room and forming a little buffet space that can be used for parties.

The wall with the white cabinets, opposite the walnut ones, is a hyper-efficient block of kitchen storage, including a pantry cabinet next to the refrigerator. This makes Maria and Eric’s new kitchen practical as well as stylish — the perfect centerpiece to a beautiful new home.

Maria and Eric 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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