|An Upper West Side couple finally have their dream kitchen, and they managed the project themselves.|
Renovating a kitchen in New York City is in no way easy. Countless city kitchens are layout challenged, lack a full-size sink and adequate work area, and provide only enough space for a compact refrigerator. (Where will you store that 20-pound watermelon, let alone your Thanksgiving turkey?) Likewise, a dishwasher in an NYC kitchen is typically a human with a bottle of Dawn in hand –– the under-counter machine is often considered a luxury because every linear inch counts in Manhattan real estate.
This kitchen was somewhat workable, but desperately called for an overhaul. Prior to the remodel, the space had no drawers and no microwave. This heart of the home lacked style, and modern fixtures and finishes.
The couple, and owners of the one-bedroom co-op, took on the ambitious venture themselves, acting as the general contractor and hitting a few renovation bumps along the way. Several items had to be installed a second time including the microwave (it arrived with a defect and had to be replaced), and the granite countertops. They lived without a working kitchen longer than expected. Had they known the timing, they probably would’ve demolished their existing kitchen later in the process.
Take a peek at the before pictures.
|Before the wall came down|
|Demo of the wall|
|The existing kitchen is gone, and the wall has been demoed.|
- Create a space conducive to cooking and entertaining.
- Remove the wall and add a peninsula.
- Gut and remove all existing cabinets, appliances, flooring, and fixtures.
- Repair the damaged window wall and sill.
- Install new cabinets, add drawers and create as much storage as possible.
- Install new appliances, fixtures, and finishes.
- With all of the above, keep resale in mind.
|The new flooring has been installed, and the wall prepped!|
|The boxes are in as well as the appliances. You can see this coming together.|
|And, the peninsula!|
The planning phase was 4 weeks.
Demolition was 1 week, and construction took 16 weeks (the cabinets were custom built.)
Total project cost: $28,700
The new and improved kitchen offers adequate space for two cooks (one prepping, one cooking), as well as seating for two guests at the peninsula, which replaced the wall. The finished space is functional, modernized, and inviting. Opening up that wall changed not only the kitchen but transformed the living space too.
Based on my past renovation experience and having familiarity with NYC construction costs, I would’ve thought the total project tab would be closer to $50,000. Sound crazy?
Bear in mind, logistics add a percentage to what a project would average, say, just across the bridge in New Jersey. Contractors have no driveway in which to park, no easy place to unload. Every item –– every piece of tile, every tool, and every fixture –– had to travel in a small elevator, or up 12 flights of stairs, in this case, every day until the project completed.
And like rents, food, insurances, and other living expenses, building materials cost more in NYC. Not to mention work hours in most co-op buildings are between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. only, with no weekends allowed. Time constraints add to the challenges, driving the price up even more.
Cabinets: Custom by Jay Klein, solid mahogany with a kona stain
Hardware : Liberty stainless steel
Granite: Antique Brown
Floor tile: Carrera Marble
Backsplash: Breeze Stylus Carrera Ice
Microhood/extra oven: GE Convection
Paint color: Benjamin Moore Classic Grey
Lighting: Pro Track six-light swing arm/ Pro Series LED under cabinets
Shades: Solar roller shades in Slate from Smith + Noble
Barstools: Crate & Barrel Lowe, Smoke leather
A few words from the owner/contractor
“We wish we had the budget to hire a contractor to oversee everything. We had to buy and coordinate everything ourselves, which was really stressful because it was our first renovation, and we had no idea what we were doing. It took WAY longer than we anticipated, due to our lack of coordination. In the end, it saved us almost $15,000. We were able to buy the high-end appliances we wanted, and we gained a heck of a lot of experience. But it was trial by fire!”
And now, the Upper West Side couple has moved on to the punch list, tackling the minutiae until they reach perfection.
Have you ever decorated or renovated in New York City? Email TracysNewYorkLife at gmail dot com and be featured!