Before and After: Lee’s Midtown East Kitchen and Bathroom Renovation – Sweetened!


Here we have one of those before and after that is a little hard to believe at first glance. Lee Hoffman, CEO and founder of the Memoir photo-sharing app, bought a 1 or more bedroom, 1 bathroom co-op in Midtown East last year. The original kitchen and bathroom were a little bleak; the kitchen was hidden behind a walled entrance, more of a corridor than a room. This may have been useful initially given its 1978 vintage, but it’s not ideal in an apartment that depended on the kitchen window for more light in the living room. And we can only assume this bathroom has seen better days, right? Lee did months and months of researching ways to upgrade the space and came to Sweeten to find a contractor who could pay serious attention to this unloved little kitchen and bathroom. We sent Sweeten Expert Evros to handle things, figuring out some cute new cabinets and tiles – the usual jobs. We certainly haven’t seen this completely new look coming!

“Sweeten made the process extremely easy to get bids and ultimately find a great contractor. I’m really happy to have found you guys. ”

– Lee Hoffman, homeowner in Manhattan

While there is more than enough to see in these “before” photos, Lee was faced with an important and invisible force: the previous tenant of the co-op had been a smoker and the original stock finishes were covered with smoky residue. The kitchen was virtually isolated from the living room and its large window was partially blocked by a cabinet and a refrigerator that had been wedged into the galley. Lee knew he could swap new cabinets and appliances, but when he learned that the dividing wall was not load-bearing, he began to imagine taking the wall apart to let light into the living room from two directions. He’s put together a long list of big and small upgrades (demolishing walls all the way to soft-close cabinets) and took the same approach to bring a light, modern charm to the dilapidated bathroom.

Lee approached the kitchen with all the determination of a tech entrepreneur. He spent a month talking to every New York cabinetmaker before accepting that even the lowest price for a high-end custom set was way beyond what he was willing to put in for the entire project. The next level also seemed expensive, and the slightly cheaper options at large retailers didn’t seem like an obvious dunk. After reading the positive reviews on IKEA furniture and realizing that a completely new IKEA line was about to hit the market, he found himself thrilled with the look of the white and glossy lacquered Sektion option. The cost benefit of going with IKEA was immediately apparent: for well under $ 10,000, Lee got a full set of kitchen cabinets and was really happy with the quality. The downside? Proper delivery took weeks of follow-up and reshipments to get all the pieces in place. A great deal overall, but definitely not without a headache and hand holding. But details, details… look what happened when the wall fell and the lockers entered!

Lee’s research paid off in other parts of the kitchen. He loved the look of white marble and spent six months researching a quartz countertop with a similar feel, eventually landing on a Euro West porcelain stoneware slab with an almost identical but indestructible effect. Lee compared the slab side-by-side with Mark and Benneton’s marble in Brooklyn and never looked back. To keep his budget focused, Lee decided to skip a typical tiled backsplash. With the room just open and with an upper row of lockers on one side only, it proved to be a smart choice. Lee thought carefully about the placement of the cabinet: drawers only along the left (16 ″ deep to maximize open space) and a thin row of upper cabinets centered on the right. The team installed the Liebherr counter-depth refrigerator against the back wall and lined up all the other appliances – a Samsung stove with elegant visual controls, a Blomberg stainless steel dishwasher and a Blanco Quatrus sink on the opposite side – leaving plenty of room in all. directions for food preparation and hosting.

Lee was completely unsentimental about the bathroom. Everything had to go and in its place, lots of clean, bright whites and crisp glass. Lee found happiness in a contactless San Souci Kohler toilet, “designed for people with OCD” (yes … we know and love some of those people), and also chose a Kohler built-in medicine cabinet above. the Fresca washbasin. The bathroom hardware is all Hansgrohe – we love that shower suite complete with all its bells and whistles. Lee’s heavy research led to another great catch: He found a special frameless shower glass from Mirage Shower Doors that takes away the slight green aura that many shower doors end with and lets the white Glassos tiles do their own thing. duty.

A big thank you to Lee and the Sweeten team for a wonderful repeat and all this internal research!

Kitchen Select Select >> top: Euro West porcelain stoneware / sink: Blanco Quatrus / hob: Samsung / dishwasher: Blomberg steel / refrigerator: Leibherr / cabinets: white, IKEA Sektion glossy lacquer

Select the bathroom >> WC: Kohler / wash basin: Fresh / shower glass: Mirage Shower Doors / hardware: Hansgrohe

Sweeten carefully selected contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope and style. Follow the blog for kitchen and bathroom remodeling ideas and inspiration, and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project on Sweeten.



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