Every summer we run a series of design stories and giveaways called Home School in partnership with our friends at Brooklyn Based. For our latest giveaway in the series, we’ve rounded up some of Brooklyn’s most inspired Ikea kitchens. Read below for details on this month’s sweet giveaway – a serving board from BMWW and a gift certificate for artisan treats from With Love, From Brooklyn. Enter the contest at the bottom of the post.
Everyone dreams of a fully custom kitchen, but for many of us, the price point of a one-off renovation may be out of reach. One of the most common ways to circumvent this hurdle is by opting for prefab or off-the-shelf cabinetry, which can save tens of thousands of dollars as compared to the bespoke alternative. Ikea cabinets are super popular for their affordability and flexibility to install them yourself, but we’ve learned that this money-saving solution doesn’t have to be the death knell of a unique, custom kitchen design. Take some inspiration from these Brooklynites who have used Ikea cabinetry in creative ways to make standout kitchens that didn’t drain their bank accounts.
1: Customize construction details for Ikea “built-ins”
The open kitchen in this Ditmas Park home features Ikea’s simple, shaker-style Ramsjo cabinet. Construction details like the shadow reveal where the cabinets meet the ceiling, and a built-in cabinet above the refrigerator, give the space a unique character that leaves behind any immediate thoughts of prefab. The adjacent dining space features a built-in buffet, a la Ikea. The Ramsjo cabinets tie this space back to the kitchen, but the clever use of glass panels creates a more formal mood. (more…)
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could give your home a whole new character, imbue it with the essence of a place you love, near or far? That’s just what Kyle & Sophia had in mind for their home in Lincoln Square. After living for a while in California, the busy young professionals were inspired to bring some of that West Coast sensibility to their current home in NYC — a 685 sqft, 1-bedroom apartment overlooking the Lincoln Center. The homeowners were lucky to meet fellow California ex-pat, Sarah Zames of tS firm General Assembly, who worked with them to re-imagine the cramped and outdated space. After nailing down new designs for the kitchen, master bath & powder room, Sarah suggested using theSweeten to find the right contractor for the job. After meeting their matches, the designer & homeowners chose to work with tS member Jon Eklund, owner of Ecostruct. The renovated home is light, airy, & nature-inspired; it’s a perfect place to relax and enjoy the view!
Spring is in the air — a time for the fresh and the new! So, with Spring in mind, we have a fresh renovation from one of theSweeten’s newest members. Essential Design + Build is a full-concept, design-to-execution firm based in Manhattan. Last year, Essential finished up a full restoration & renovation of this 3,960 sqft single-family home in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens. The home was originally built in the 1920′s and hadn’t been updated since 1970 before its new owners brought in the team at Essential. The firm’s president, Rich Hiler, and architectural designer, Alison Lang, gave us the full details of their Summer St. home renovation; here are some of our favorite highlights of the finished project.
Renovation projects always involve a lot more work than meets the eye — and this fact is easy to forget since we typically look at renovations through the simplified lens of ‘before & after.’ This week we’re revisiting a kitchen project we matched on theSweeten and featured a couple months ago, to give an idea of just how much work was involved in the 5 weeks between start & finish. Read on for a complete list of what the team at Famurat Builders did to take this kitchen from its generic ‘before’ to a one-of-a-kind ‘after.’ (more…)
For those who love to cook and entertain, an outdated kitchen can pose some annoying setbacks. Brooklyn couple Erin & Mark made do for 2 years in their Park Slope 1-bed before deciding to give their kitchen’s laminate surfaces and retro appliances a full upgrade. After having worked with tS member Nick Dillon of Nick Knacks Creative Interiors on a previous bathroom update, they knew he’d be perfect to tackle their kitchen project too. Erin, a film distributor, and Mark, an editor/journalist (who just launched a cool soccer magazine), couldn’t be happier with the result! So, we stopped in to check out the couple’s new, more functional kitchen.
Last year, Brooklyn resident Jane posted to theSweeten hoping to find the right contractor to remodel her condo’s cookie cutter kitchen. Not only was she bored with the kitchen’s aesthetic, she was also frustrated by its lack of functional storage. Most importantly she told us, “the stove is not vented and sets off the smoke alarms” –yikes! While we’re all used to making certain sacrifices in New York City, there comes a limit. So, Jane was eager to meet her tS matches & give her home the kitchen it deserves. After meeting with a few members of theSweeten network, Jane chose to work with Kris Famurat of Famurat Builders for her renovation. (more…)
Last week we introduced you to a Brooklyn-based couple who have just completed the renovation of their 775 sqft Fort Greene flat: Billy, a freelance web developer (currently at Paddle8), and Sally, a painter and museum educator at MoMA, ICP and the American Museum of Folk Art. Billy & Sally’s project got started on theSweeten with preliminary construction work by tS member ecostruct llc, and subsequently finished up with a full kitchen update and flooring replacement carried out by Billy & Sally themselves (–some of which is also documented here on Billy’s renovation blog). The couple, along with their kitty, Lil’ Miss, recently invited us back to show off the gorgeous results. Their new space is cozy & bright, and, after being put to the test over the holidays, is also a perfect venue for cooking & entertaining!
MoMA‘s new kitchen design exhibit “Counter Space” puts dozens of everyday kitchen accessories and furnishings on display. Some are entirely familiar (a soy sauce bottle, Tupperware tumblers, a brown paper bag), and seeing them sitting inside vitrines makes one appreciate how lovely they are. Other, more unusual objects (a cork-covered serving bowl, a glass-handled frying pan, a jet-pack vacuum cleaner) make one realize how Darwinian product design is, and how only the most cost-effective and useful things survive.
The highlight of the exhibit, installed at the center of the gallery, is a Frankfurt Kitchen from 1926-27, one of the thousands of units mass-produced and installed in public housing projects in Germany after World War I. It’s layout is designed to minimize the distances moved between the sink, stove, countertop and table when preparing meals. It’s a sweet little room with built-in cutting and ironing boards, and compartments for grains, spices, cooked foods, and garbage.
But the real power of the exhibit is the way it stirs up memories. One can walk through and identify items from her grandmother’s kitchen, her childhood home, and her first apartment. And one can recall with regret all the lovely dishes and appliances of her own that she’s broken, lost, given away, or sold. Although our kitchen things are designed for efficiency and ease, we love them dearly.
After my remodel was complete my mother gave me a set of white dishes as a kitchen-warming gift. It’s a simple style called, evocatively, “Italian Countryside.” It’s heavier than traditional china, which is good because I bang things around a bit. And it can look traditional or modern, “Italian Countryside” or “English Manor House,” depending on how you dress up the table.
Of course I shattered one of the coffee cups even before I had the whole set unpacked, and bought replacement cups with the same bright glaze but a different style. I like the notion of a mismatched set, and the idea that as I break other dishes, which is inevitable, I can replace them with different pieces. Then, as a very old lady, I’ll have a gorgeous set of entirely mismatched pieces.
I’m always on the lookout for plates and bowls to add. ABC sells old-fashioned, hand-thrown white ceramic pieces with a glaze that lets the texture of the raw clay show through.
The store also sells a set designed by Jan Burtz that’s so light the pieces feel as if they’re made of vapor.
Bennington Potters makes hand-thrown pottery that’s handsome and much less precious. The pieces have a nice irregularity to them, and a hippieish, mottled glaze.
I’d love to mix in some super-modern pieces. This set by Thomas at Rosenthal has a rigorous sense of geometry.
These modern plates and bowls from CB2 are less fussy, and awfully pretty.
And I’d like to break it up with a few accent pieces that have graphics and maybe even a splash of color. Fornasetti make plates stamped with their signature engraving-style portraits. These are pretty fabulous.
And how awesome would it be to serve after-dinner coffee from this pot:
The most beautiful white ceramic pieces I know are by Ted Muehling. They vary in size and style but all have a breathtaking fineness in their finish and proportions. These cups have such simple, resonant profiles.
Many of Meuhling’s pieces are based on natural objects like shells, coral, butterflies and eggs. They feel both contemporary and ancient, scientific and surreal. Look at this bird’s wing dish and this tree branch candle holder. In the hands of any another designer they would turn to kitsch. But Muehling creates elegant centerpieces that would be the focal point of any all-white collection.
One of the delights of internet searches is that they often lead you to things you didn’t even know you cared about. While researching gas ranges the other day I stumbled across this image of a “compact kitchen,” a single, 30″-wide appliance that contains a range, refrigerator and sink. As an architect I pine for everything to be extraordinarily beautiful and elegant, but there’s something about the stubborn practicality of these pieces that’s incredibly appealing. Compact kitchens like this one by Avanti have won me over.
These appliances are commonly installed in offices, RV’s, dorm and hotel rooms, and basements. But they’d work beautifully in New York City apartment too, when there’s not quite enough space for a conventional kitchen. You could just tuck one of these units into the corner of the dining room, at the end of the hall, or in a coat closet.
They’ve been around for quite a while. General Air Conditioning made a compact kitchen in the 1950′s that was featured in Apartment Therapy:
In 1964 Boffi manufactured a “Mini Kitchen” designed by Joe Colombo, and they’ve since developed an updated model. The original model doesn’t look like an appliance at all. Encased in stained wood panels, with concealed burners and secret pull-out drawers, it has the geometric purity of cubist sculpture.
The most basic units are modest in appearance and don’t cost any more than an ordinary gas range would. But there are also larger, more expensive units that are actually quite handsome. Compact Concepts makes a full-height round, rotating unit that comes equipped with a dishwasher and storage cabinets, and that’s available in different high-fashion finishes. It would look lovely in a raw, open, loft-like space.
Dutch designer Sietze Kalwijk had the opposite approach, stripping typical kitchen fixtures and appliances of all their displays, controls, and shells. This compact kitchen provides only the bare essentials: a burner, a sink, a work surface, and hose connections for gas and water.
Maybe one reason these compact kitchens are so appealing is that they make cooking seem simpler and more fun. While a skilled cook could prepare a gorgeous meal with one, for the rest of us they’re just wonderful playthings.