Storage and lighting contribute to the sweet quotient of the house
Project:: Refresh an ineffective Harlem kitchen that a family has grown out of
In front:: When Andréa and her husband bought a four-story brownstone in Harlem at the beginning of the 20th century, it was planned to rent the top two apartments and live in the maisonette with 2 bedrooms and 2 ½ bathrooms. For a long time the place felt “soooo big”. That is, until the couple started their family. With an 11-year-old son, a 9-year-old daughter, a cat, Romeo and her husband’s ever-growing record collection, Andréa said: “It started to feel claustrophobic.”
The first room in her house in Harlem that she wanted to tackle: the kitchen. “I spend a lot of time here,” says Andréa. “It was so confusing and dark. I didn’t like to cook at all. I remember balancing pans on top of each other at dinner. “
Storage was clearly a problem. “First, the shelves in our cabinets weren’t adjustable – so we couldn’t even store cereal boxes or olive oil or anything larger than 20 cm. So we just had a lot of stuff on the counter or in the fridge.”
Devices also ate in the counter. “We had this massive microwave that took up an entire baking station, so we lost work space there too.” And then there was the lighting. “We had this dim light that didn’t even illuminate the area next to the sink. We always felt like we were working in the dark. And our dishwasher died.”
The two had an unpleasant experience with a Master Bad Reno 12 years ago (Andréa says the contractor took their money and disappeared). This time they posted her Harlem kitchen renovation project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform that connects homeowners with verified contractors, and they were immediately impressed.
“I felt that the Sweeten contractor we selected offered the best price for the job,” she said. “His team is very efficient and on time. It’s great to have someone who says they do it and get it done on time! “
Although the same area of 450 square meters has been retained, the kitchen in Harlem has been extended by a few meters by tearing down a wall and creating space for a bar / counter and a pantry.
Andréa not only improved storage and lighting, but also knew the look and style she wanted from her kitchen renovation. “I’m from California and I miss it all the time – the weather, the sky, the ocean. So I chose colors that remind me of my hometown Morro Bay and also of the Bay Area where I studied”, she said, “I liked the idea of gray cabinets. My mother recently kept her kitchen all white, and after two years she was already using it. It seemed impractical for two children.”
The gray storage cabinets reminded her of fog around the ocean (“a win-win situation”). And the color, a kind of peach color, was like sunsets – “a soothing combination”. Even the grout paint between white subway tiles contains some peach. She found that a quartz countertop was a nice balance.
Andréa loves tea and she has some nice blue cans from Fortnum and Mason (a London-based brand) that also reinforce the blue accents. “It’s a kind of Jamaica-meets-Miami-meets-Cali-meets-London,” she says.
Andréa says that her contractor’s wife, Suzy, also helped make everything go smoothly. “Suzy was a stroke of luck,” says Andrea. “We had a pretty tight budget and I felt like she worked very hard to stay in it without pushing for more expensive things or using cheap things. It was a very nice middle ground. “
And the result? A big success. “I love the whole feeling of (the new room),” says Andréa. “The colors are really inviting and the cupboards make it feel bigger, even though it’s basically the same area. Of course the kitchen is so nice, now we want to update everything in the house!”
bonus:: “I love my underbody lighting,” she says. “It wasn’t originally in the plans. It was an addition during the Reno that made a big difference. Also – my hidden wastebasket!”
Thank you, Andréa and your family, for sharing your new kitchen with us!
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