Before & After: A 40-Year-Old Kitchen Gets a Dramatic Update

Finding the perfect apartment in New York, for a reasonable price, is no easy task. When soon-to-be parents Fabio and Melina decided to upgrade from their one-bedroom rental, finding an acceptable two-bedroom place within their budget turned out to be quite a challenge. Finally they found a place that fit the bill: two bedrooms, great location, and at a price they could afford. The apartment, which hadn’t been updated in 40 years, was less than perfect. But this couple saw potential.

The upgrades to the apartment included a complete overhaul of the kitchen, where the appliances and cabinets had definitely seen better days. For the new space, Fabio and Melina wanted a kitchen that felt fresh and updated but not too trendy — a space that they could enjoy for a long time.

As part of the renovation, one of the walls separating the kitchen from the rest of the apartment was removed. The kitchen retains its original galley shape, and is still a distinct space, but it’s now much more open to the rest of the apartment. Fabio and Melina were concerned that, if they chose a strong color for the renovation, they would eventually tire of it, so instead they went with a neutral color palette. But the new kitchen is anything but boring — the dark cabinets give the space a strong character, while the backsplash (a marble mosaic tile) adds a touch of texture. And then there’s that floor — probably the first thing you notice when you walk into the kitchen, and definitely an element that sets this space apart.

On the opposite side of the space there’s plenty of storage, including a pantry cabinet with roll-out drawers. The countertop to the left of the pantry is dedicated to a semi-professional espresso setup for Fabio, who is passionate about his coffee.

This kitchen has a lot of neat details, but one I particularly like is the built-in wine rack at the end of a run of upper cabinets. The inclusion of a single glass-doored cabinet is nice, too — a great way to show off a few treasured items while still leaving plenty of space to hide less aesthetic kitchenware. Like the rest of the kitchen, it’s an elegant balance between beauty and practicality.

Fabio and Melina 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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