If you can get past this first photo here – a challenge given the extreme cuteness of this apartment’s canine resident – you’ll hear Lisa, an Upper East Side graphic designer who undertook a renovation after her kitchen appliances broke one. for one. Read on for Lisa’s opinion on finding the right contractor for her project.
Guest post by Lisa, owner of a house on the Upper East Side
Last year, after renting the Village for 20 years, I bought a small studio on the Upper East Side. The apartment is on a high floor, bright and sunny, and with the exception of the kitchen, in perfect condition. Tiny kitchen was dated and dingy with sagging cabinets, cracked tiles, bulky appliances and a huge mysterious stain on the ugly laminate countertop.
As I had no experience planning a remodel, I decided to live with the kitchen and understand exactly what worked and what didn’t. As soon as I unpacked, a problem became evident … the construction cabinets were too shallow to serve dishes and pots and I had to store the pots and pans in the coat closet. The bottom drawers and cabinets were so narrow they were almost useless. The kitchen sink was too low and counter space was limited with only one electrical outlet.
With these issues in mind, I began my research. My dream kitchen had beautiful wood cabinets with sleek appliances and marble countertops, but considering the actual space I had to work with (and my budget), I decided that a minimal, clean style would work best in the small, boxy space. Once I figured out what I was looking for, I started looking for advice from my friends for contractors. The horror stories scared me enough to put off my plans for about a month, until one by one my appliances started dying. The stove led the way, followed in quick succession by the microwave and dishwasher. When the refrigerator started making a screeching noise, I realized I could no longer procrastinate.
Fortunately, I read about Sweeten on Apartment Therapy and it seemed like exactly what I needed. I posted my blueprint and quickly received an email from Sweeten which helped me determine that since I practically knew what I was looking for and wasn’t making drastic structural changes, I could reasonably go with a good contractor and forgo hiring (and pay) a designer.
I got in touch with four contractors Sweeten reported and eventually selected Sweeten Expert Erion. He wasn’t put off by the size of the kitchen, he understood what I was looking for, tasted great and showed an eye for detail. As a beginner, I also really appreciated that he was very clear about costs, estimating how much materials and labor should have cost for each item instead of giving me a flat rate.
I sent Erion photos of the minimalist style kitchens I liked and gave him my list of complaints about the current kitchen. From that moment it took over. He handled everything. He advised me to use semi-custom cabinets to get the depth I wanted and showed me samples for countertops and hardware, first modification options up to two or three initial choices, with more available if needed.
Based on Erion’s samples, I went with glossy white top cabinets and glossy gray bottom cabinets with bar hardware. The countertop is One Quartz in Luminesce by Daltile, a bright white that perfectly matches the cabinets and backsplash and needs almost no maintenance. For the backsplash I chose Marazzi Sistem C Bianco, similar to the subway tile but with an interesting format. To add some visual interest, we used three rows of Daltile Fashion Accents in a nickel blend. The floor is tiled in Marazzi Soho Antracite because, well, just because I love the look of a slate floor.
To make the most of the little space I have, I chose an 18-inch Bosch dishwasher and a 25-inch Fisher & Paykel counter-depth refrigerator. The range and microwave are both Samsung, chosen primarily for their sleek lines and dependable reputation.
The end result is both beautiful and functional, on time and on budget!
Thank you, Lisa, for this tour of your gorgeous new kitchen! We are so happy that this was a great match, the teamwork really shows it.
Kitchen Select >> top: Daltile’s One Quartz in “Luminesce” / backsplash tile: Marazzi Sistem C in “Bianco” / stove and microwave: Samsung / dishwasher: Bosch / fridge: Fisher & Paykel
Sweeten carefully selected contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope and style. Follow the blog for remodeling ideas and inspiration, and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project on Sweeten.