Before & After: A Tiny Manhattan Kitchen Expands & Lightens Up — Sweeten

When Frans and Dalal purchased their studio apartment in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood, they knew it would need a little work. The studio, while spacious and bright, had a few downsides, one of them being the tiny, cramped kitchen. Tucked into a little alcove and separated from the unit’s main living space, the kitchen was drab and dark. With a little help from their design team, the couple set about expanding their kitchen, replacing fixtures and adding function that would make it a warm, inviting space.

Before, the kitchen was a mere six by eight feet — a room that was barely a room — that opened onto a hallway leading to the main living room. (In the photo above, the door leading to the kitchen is on the left.) The biggest change made during the renovation was tearing down the wall between the kitchen and hallway, and re-purposing a closet on the opposite side of the hallway as part of the kitchen.

This makes the hallway both a circulation space and part of the kitchen, and helps to open the newly enlarged kitchen to the rest of the apartment. Although it’s still a bit on the small side, there’s room in the new kitchen for a petite breakfast bar, and for a wine fridge.

Custom gray Shaker-style cabinets replaced the old brown ones. They’re paired with white upper cabinets with glass doors, topped by a white marble countertop. Opting for open shelving, instead of cabinets, over the sink gives the kitchen a more spacious feel. To the left of the stove, a few small shelves provide storage for spices. The walnut of the shelves is set off beautifully by the new glass tile backsplash.

The microwave, which gets used infrequently, is tucked under the breakfast bar, and an ingenious little corner cabinet ensures that every bit of cabinet space gets used.

On the opposite side of the kitchen, a spot that was once occupied by a single closet is now used for a few separate functions. In the middle is the fridge, concealed by cabinet panels to neatly blend in with the wall. To the right of the refrigerator is a small closet which functions as a mud room, a catch-all for coats, hats, and all those little things that tend to clutter up an apartment. To the left is a wine fridge, with a little bar space up top — a little touch that makes this expanded kitchen both fun and functional.

Frans and Dalal 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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