The Kitchen Walls Came Down! My Apartment Remodel

I met my husband at the apartment in the city on Friday. I drove in, unloaded my stuff, my son loaded his stuff in the car and drove the car home to Long Island, to return sometime on Sunday, at which time we returned to the Island (yesterday evening, car in front of the building, he again unloaded tons of laundry, still undone.)

So, my husband walks in the apartment door at 2:45 pm on Friday, I had just arrived a little earlier, and we both look at each other and know that noisy work in the building has to be done by 3 pm, Monday to Friday, no weekends. He has 15 minutes to cut through the kitchen walls with his sawzall, or whatever it's called. Twenty minutes later (so shoot me!) the wall is cut in half, via horrible noise! Yay!

Just enough time to get cleaned up and go off to see Martha Stewart, in person, at the NY Times Talks series, her biggest fan (HE is.) The walls remained in place until the next day, Saturday, at which time he removed the sheetrock, twisted out the studs and cleaned up the mess. That's all relatively quiet work.

Me? I was out on a girls' day with my she owed me for my birthday from July! MOMA, lunch, walk through the park, it was lovely. Trust me, my husband prefers to be alone so he doesn't have to tell me what to do. I'm fine with that!

Upon my return, around 3 pm on Saturday, I opened the door to the apartment, and WOW, what a reaction I had! It looks open! So in need of emergency surgery!

What I felt right away was that this kitchen (obviously) needs to "talk" to the living area in an important way. I want to make the place really flow. In an apartment this size, this kitchen is actually big!  I think that's a good thing. I think, to be able to:

a. have great counter space
b. be able to be at the main counter space and communicate with someone beyond
c. stand at the sink and look toward and out the window
d. watch the tv when desired
e. have nearly full size appliances
is a really, really, great thing in an otherwise tiny New York City apartment!

I won't go into ALL the ideas I have, that's for later...but, I wanted to share this progress with you. A few things I WILL tell you:

a. the tv cabinet goes...a flat screen will take its place
b. the cluttered looking green dining chairs will go...maybe an Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chair?
c. the black sofabed will its place will be a loveseat with legs and arms back a bit, for a lighter look, but we definitely want two sofas in the space, and that's the best place, I think, for them to go.  Putting them opposite one another makes the floor space very narrow, too narrow IMO.

I'm also up for suggestions!  Please take a look at the flikr slideshow for more details.

Here's the before, that's a mirrored wall (came with the apt.) behind the black loveseat:



This is the after:


NYC Kitchen Design - My Apartment

My husband and I are vacationing in the city this week. We've been here since Thursday, and we're coming back home on Tuesday. We are loving being here! Our apartment is on the upper west side, such a beautiful area, a real neighborhood feeling to it. Lots of history, charm, great restaurants, and, truth be told, a world class movie theatre!

I LOVE movies, but don't go as oftenas I'd like. So far, we've seen two...The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and I Am Legend (in IMAX...amazing-not the movie (I am Legend), the screen...also $32 for two!) Do you know Rotten Tomatoes? I don't see a movie without it! For the rest of our visit, we just had brunch with our daughter/son-in-law today, I made a random purchase of tickets, yesterday, for a Broadway play ("Is He Dead?") on New Year's Eve at 2 pm on 45th Street, and we'll be milling amongst congregating Times Square revelers (only after the play lets out) and maybe another movie on Tuesday. Mostly, we're enjoying the city!


Being relaxed, and being in the apartment, helps me think about the kitchen renovation we're planning. I have a very different idea for storage, which I have not yet found a solution for. Something I have not seen done anywhere before, either. Perhaps my solution will be a first!

I do believe this design idea could catch on! It's something I first thought of a couple of months back, and, you heard it here first (just remember, NYC kitchens are tiny!) Mine is about 7' × 7' total! Yet, for me, aesthetics must be on an equal level with function, not an after thought.

The image below is of one wall in the kitchen. The opposite wall will be opened up to the living area. 

See the refrigerator on the left? Imagine a line on the right side of the refrigerator continuing from the right edge, up to the ceiling. There, that's the way I should have drawn it, as that entire section is 24" in depth. Disregard those arrows in the image that point toward the refrigerator.

For the section to the right of the refrigerator, I want to visually elongate that area in terms of width. Disregard the note on the image that says that area will be 20" deep. It will be 13" deep. I'll install a slide out vent above the cooktop, and all you will see is a 1" bar x about 30" wide. The front door is to the right of the wall next to the oven.

metal%202.jpgThere will be a facade all across this section, 13" off the wall. The facade may be changeable. it could be a distressed piece of metal. It could be a faux treatment on a removable board. It could be rustic barn siding, constrasting with sleek cabinetry. It could be a quiet color or shade, perhaps with a small beam situated at the bottom of the facade to serve as a shelf for artwork or objects.


I want to design or find something that can gently be lowered, perhaps a wire shelving accessory of some sort, to lower close to the countertop, have a shelf or two, for storage, and then be designed to be pushed gently up again into position within the front facade, invisible, yet functional. Any ideas? Let me know...I'm thinking too...much more to come!


Kitchen Remodeling Ideas - See the Space

So, we've done more talking about our kitchen remodel in our NYC apartment. We don't necessarily make fast decisions, or if we do make a fast decision, which seems right, that's great, but we still like to let some time pass to revisit those decisions to make sure we were not just being impulsive. We decide, then ponder, confirm the decision, then act. That's our style!

Take a look at the pictures, so you can see the context of what we're going to do and why. Since those pictures were taken a few months back, some artwork changes have taken place, i.e., that huge black/white print is gone, among other changes, and the coffee table replaced. Eventually, we will get a flat screen tv and remove the large (but beautiful) bamboo cabinet.

The first image tells the story!

See that black loveseat? The way we have the furniture arranged, we are able to have two sofas in this small space quite easily. We NEED two sofas, so that we can each have one! We are unable to sit at a sofa without stretching out (mostly!) Invite me to your home and you'll see what I mean...

That one lifestyle detail drives the entire kitchen plan. 

 We need the new sofa to remain in the same position as the black one is now. That means that, by default, the wall will come down only to a height of approximately 42", about 6" above the countertop. This way, two goals are met:

  1. Open up the apartment
  2. Maintain two sofas

Take a look toward the front door. The only wall that will remain in the foyer area is that little piece of wall, which extends from the front door to the doorway of the kitchen. Everything else will go down to 42" in height or thereabouts.

There will essentially be an "L" shape at 42" high, an entry to the kitchen that goes to the ceiling, and the 26" section of wall at the front door. And, the wide, shallow pantry with shelves? Right now, it has hooks for coats, but I'll put shelving in there for needed kitchen storage. It's about 12" deep, making opening up the kitchen a non issue for storage purposes.

Here is what it looks like now, so you can get the flow of the space. Questions, thoughts, comments, let me have them!

Redesigning My New York City Apartment Kitchen

I'm about to start planning the kitchen in my NYC apartment. Join me, and fasten your seat belts!

Here's The Background

We (my husband, Steve, and I) own a one bedroom apartment (about 550-570 sf), which we bought 2 1/2 years ago on the upper west side of New York.  We're a 1/2 block from Central Park, the park location being the reason we bought the apartment, and enjoy the city tremendously. As we are just getting out of college paying years, home equity played a part in buying us this dream (my dream from when I was a very young girl.)

Our son recently attended college in the city and lives in the apartment now. He will be moving out in December (clean before you leave, please!) to start his next phase of life. Our life plan is to split our time between Long Island and the city, with more time in the city as time goes by, starting in December.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is 7x7.  While our existing kitchen is in good enough shape, we want to remove half of the wall which separates the living area from the kitchen, exposing one, large room. This is what is driving the project. It will be a snowball effect, and all materials will have to be replaced. Much more about the kitchen to come...

Here's The Conundrum 

Given the (small) square footage of the apartment, compared to how we're used to living in our fairly spacious suburban house on Long Island, I can see us wanting a larger apartment down the road. Could we afford a larger apartment? Not now. Down the road? Maybe, maybe NOT (the biggest reason for taking down the wall.) If we downsized our house on Long Island? Yes. Could we learn to live in 570 sf for extended periods of time? I would hope so, but I'm not entirely convinced. That's my honest answer. I can't know the answer to that right now.

The question of a larger apartment in our future is a significant one. This apartment will not be a pied a terre. We will spend lots of time there. I don't see it making sense to have a big house and a small apartment, if we end up spending equal time at each. Yet, if you were with us at breakfast on Sunday in the backyard, as we talked about this, in a private setting, surrounded by gorgeous, thick, woods and our large rose/perennial garden (which we enjoy working on together from spring to frost) you'd make an argument to keep the house and work around the small apartment. "If" is a pretty powerful word!

Look, these are all intrinsically "good" scenarios in the big picture, which ever way we go. We are very fortunate to have two homes in the first place. This conundrum is worthy of serious thought for us, but not worry. I am sure the answers will eventually reveal themselves to us!

The Paradox

Ah, that last sentence is said, oh, so casually, but it brings to mind one of the first questions I ask my long will you stay in the home (in our case, the apartment?) The answer is useful (if not necessary) in providing direction for spending and design decisions, going forward.

We don't know the answer to how long we will keep the apartment. That said, ultimately, we must decide if we design/spend for us or design/spend for the real estate market. In fact, we cannot move forward until we decide.

Updates will happen randomly. Sometimes days together, sometimes weeks apart. Seek out the category to keep up to date! Pictures are coming too!

Stay tuned!