A cooking space transforms with reclaimed wood, kitchen shelving and a cascading worktop
Editor’s Note: This post, originally published in July 2015, shows that smart storage never gets old. Here’s a look at what happens when Manhattanites make bold changes in a small kitchen, like tearing down kitchen walls! This Hell’s Kitchen remodel would have been stylish even if it had stayed in its original size, but breaking down a wall was the first step in making the space virtually unrecognizable. Scroll down for play to play on this ambitious Manhattan kitchen remodel.
Dan and Mike moved into this one-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op in Manhattan’s historic Piano Factory building in 2013. The building, converted from a 19th-century warehouse that once served as a production site for the internal operation of the pianos, is an industrial brick building in Hell’s Kitchen with a beautiful Romanesque entrance and a lovely courtyard. Dan and Mike loved the history and architecture of the building, but found themselves in an apartment built in the grand tradition of many 1980s cooperative conversions: boxy rooms, segmented living spaces, a dated passage in the wall that separated the small kitchen from the living area, and kitchen finishes unchanged by the first owner of the apartment. Worse still, the large kitchen window was hidden in the back of the room, blocking out the light and limiting the impact a windowed kitchen should have.
Dan, a tech scout for a chemical company, and Mike, who works in finance for a construction company, enjoyed the slightly retro layout and vibe of the original kitchen, but envisioned opening the room, making it part of the area. day wider, and come up with creative storage ideas to make space work harder and smarter for them. Armed with an architect’s drawing, Dan and Mike posted their blueprint on Sweeten, a free service that pairs restorers with vetted general contractors to tear down the wall, gut the kitchen and extend the counters and furniture. They were presented to their contractor Sweeten to handle the demolition and complete rebuild.
Although they loved the building’s industrial past, Dan and Mike didn’t want to go too far with a modern industrial aesthetic. They set out to create an updated look balanced with raw, unfinished accents to fill the open-plan room and played with different natural and synthetic wood finishes to maintain a measure of warmth and masculinity between the clean lines.
The demolition of the wall had a huge impact on the space, and Dan and Mike took the newfound breath further by removing the top line of cabinets altogether and replacing the original base laminates with a full set of IKEA cabinets and drawers, which their Sweeten contractor installed with custom doors and hardware from Semihandmade. The new, more functional base lockers gave the pair enough storage capacity to minimize the top – Dan found salvaged Douglas fir pieces and created floating open shelves in a shop in Greenpoint. This move allows the open kitchen to flow more smoothly into the living room and greatly reduce the visual weight all the way to the kitchen window.
In their search for a harder, more durable alternative to concrete countertops that won’t stain easily, Dan and Mike found Dekton, an ultra-compact blend of raw materials that Dan says is virtually impenetrable. Dan couldn’t help but reveal his experience as a tech scout for a chemical company when he explained that the material was also attractive because its raw materials are free of synthetic resins that are often used in construction. Dan and Mike loved the look of a waterfall counter and worked with their contractor Sweeten to create the effect so that the kitchen entrance was marked and visually separated from the countertop extension of the cabinet peninsula.
To contrast with the streaked furniture and porcelain floor tiles finished with a wood grain effect, the couple selected a classic white subway tile and neutral gray grout to line the floor-to-ceiling walls, and added an accent. of gray and black mosaic tiles to match the height of the kitchen window.
Their contractor Sweeten helped complete the transformation by stealing twelve inches of brand new pull-out pantry space from a walk-in closet adjacent to the kitchen and adding an ultra-minimal rack for pots and pans. Dan and Mike have chosen stainless steel appliances and especially love the 30-inch Wolf range with its distinctive red knobs, as well as the unusually tall Summit refrigerator – a great find for narrow kitchens.
“In a way, we bit more than we could chew. Sweeten introduced us to a contractor who was really easy to work with, flexible on our plans and helpful with things that were uncertain or unexpectedly discovered behind walls.,“says Dan.
Many thanks to Dan and Mike for this enlightening tour of their spacious little kitchen that could!
Custom cabinet doors add a unique touch and are a great way to customize pre-made cabinets. Becky and Sarah chose a similar style for their cabinets, creating a striking white-on-wood contrast in the kitchen remodel.
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