Before & After: A Brooklyn Kitchen Shines After a Much-Needed Renovation
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Before & After: A Brooklyn Kitchen Shines After a Much-Needed Renovation

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
A dark and outdated kitchen in a 100-year-old Brooklyn townhouse is transformed into a bright and contemporary space with plenty of storage.

When Amory Wooden and her husband Marc McGehan purchased a brownstone in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, they had twin two-year-olds and a newborn baby in tow. Wooden, a busy working mother who does marketing for StreetEasy, is well-versed in the ups and downs of NYC Real Estate—and was fully aware from the get-go that her new 100-year-old home was in desperate need of updates.

The first task on her project list was renovating the townhouse’s small, 600-square-foot kitchen—but the thought of living with three small children and no kitchen during a renovation was daunting, to say the least. Wooden knew exactly what she wanted for the family's kitchen, and despite the fact that she is not a design professional, she obsessively researched every aspect of the project and then hired an architect to draw up the plans and act as an expeditor for DOB/permit submission. After sitting on the approved permits for a year, she finally bit the bullet and made it all happen.  

Before:

The outdated kitchen served a purpose but was lacking adequate storage, function, and charm. 

The outdated kitchen served a purpose but was lacking adequate storage, function, and charm. 

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This photo shows the underutilized kitchen at the start of the renovation. In order to keep the project within budget, Wooden worked directly with a contractor on-site, every day. She even calculated and ordered the materials herself.

This photo shows the underutilized kitchen at the start of the renovation. In order to keep the project within budget, Wooden worked directly with a contractor on-site, every day. She even calculated and ordered the materials herself.

After:

Instead&nbsp;of adding counter space on both sides of the kitchen, Wooden opted for floor-to-ceiling cabinets, which provide ample storage space and help keep the kitchen tidy. A center island provides additional storage, prep space, and a breakfast bar. At the back, a classic black panel window and patio door lead to the family's outdoor space while bringing much-needed natural light into the formerly dark kitchen.<br>&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-size: 13px;">Photo by Gieves Anderson</span>

Instead of adding counter space on both sides of the kitchen, Wooden opted for floor-to-ceiling cabinets, which provide ample storage space and help keep the kitchen tidy. A center island provides additional storage, prep space, and a breakfast bar. At the back, a classic black panel window and patio door lead to the family's outdoor space while bringing much-needed natural light into the formerly dark kitchen.
 Photo by Gieves Anderson

Trying to stay within budget, Wooden took a high-low approach—pairing affordable options with higher-end pieces to round out the space. She chose cabinet boxes from Ikea, added Shaker fronts from Scherr’s, and customized them by painting the fronts a rich shade of deep blue with Farrow + Ball’s Railings. She also added a personal touch to the cabinetry with minimalist contemporary brass hardware from Schoolhouse. 

A linear modern light fixture by AlexAllen Studio hangs above the center island. Black Windsor counter stools from Target complete the center island’s breakfast bar. The shiny brass faucet and shelf brackets are both from Rejuvenation. The beautiful glazed Moroccan zellige tiles are from Cle, and the countertops are Ceasarstone.&nbsp;&nbsp;

A linear modern light fixture by AlexAllen Studio hangs above the center island. Black Windsor counter stools from Target complete the center island’s breakfast bar. The shiny brass faucet and shelf brackets are both from Rejuvenation. The beautiful glazed Moroccan zellige tiles are from Cle, and the countertops are Ceasarstone.  

In the spirit of reuse, she employed hardwood floors left over from her husband’s office renovation, and put what she saved on flooring into a backsplash made from beautiful glazed Moroccan Zellige tiles. Wooden also chose to sacrifice counter space on one side of the kitchen and opt for floor-to-ceiling cabinets instead—giving the family more than enough storage space. "I like a clean and tidy house, but we have A LOT of things," she explains. "The best part of the new kitchen is that now we have hidden storage space for everything."

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets add ample storage space and also help hide any mess.

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets add ample storage space and also help hide any mess.

Now, the family spends nearly all their time in the kitchen. Their new eight-foot-long island is constantly surrounded by family, friends, and neighbors. "I always wanted to have a home that is a gathering place," says Wooden. "Being able to have friends and neighbors stop by for a glass of wine or a meal, in a city where spaces can be small, is a real treat. We are thrilled that now we have a welcoming home for everyone to enjoy." 

Wooden carved out a cozy sitting area by the back window. The walls are painted with Farrow + Ball's Great White. The chime on the wall is from The Tienda at Hotel San Cristobal in Baja California. The backsplash features glazed Moroccan zellige tiles from Cle.<br><span style="color: rgb(204, 204, 204); font-size: 13px;">Photo by Gieves Anderson</span>

Wooden carved out a cozy sitting area by the back window. The walls are painted with Farrow + Ball's Great White. The chime on the wall is from The Tienda at Hotel San Cristobal in Baja California. The backsplash features glazed Moroccan zellige tiles from Cle.
Photo by Gieves Anderson

Related Reading: 36 Stunning "Before and After" Modern Home Renovations 

Project Credits:

Interior Design: Amory Wooden / @amorywooden

Builder/General Contractor: Heng Yip Construction

Lighting Design: AlexAllen Studio / @alexallenstudio