Before & After: Open Shelving Haters Will Love This Kitchen Renovation

After living in their downtown Brooklyn condo for almost five years, Emily and Trey were ready for a kitchen overhaul. The lack of countertop space made cooking for a family of four difficult, and a loft above made the kitchen cramped and dark, as well as encouraging them to keep things they didn’t really need. “We put stuff up there that we hardly touched the entire time we have lived here,” Emily admits.

But perhaps the biggest offender was the open shelving, which, especially with all the stuff needed for two kids, always looked cluttered and haphazard. Seen from the living room, the open kitchen was a bit of an eyesore. A change was in order to make the space both better-looking and more functional.

The new kitchen feels tall, bright, and clean: hardly recognizable as the same space. Removing the loft revealed soaring ceilings in the kitchen, which completely transform the proportions of the space. Although it’s a relatively small 8 by 10 feet, the new kitchen feels very generous.

The layout of the cabinets was also changed. Instead of two rows of cabinetry arranged perpendicular to the living room, so one could see the whole kitchen, the kitchen is now a ‘U’ shape that opens to a hallway. There’s a lot more counter space to work with, and the peninsula that separates the kitchen from the adjacent space presents a clean front to the living area. It’s also a great spot for Emily and Trey’s two boys to hang out while dinner is being prepared.

The old open shelving has been replaced by two rows of neat white cabinetry. There’s a lot more storage — and a lot more places to tuck away all those sippy cups and plastic bowls. (All that extra space in the cabinets means the countertop is less crowded, too.) All the cabinets are IKEA boxes with Semihandmade doors, with the walnut doors on the lower cabinets setting up a lovely contrast. The countertop, a honed Carrara marble, ties everything together.

Emily and Trey 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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