before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Queens Townhouse Kitchen Gets a Chic Update

by Maxwell Tielman


There is a type of kitchen cabinetry that, if you’ve ever rented or owned an apartment, you are likely to be familiar with. I’m not sure where it’s from —I can’t recall seeing its generic beveled edges and mid-tone wood staining in any store I’ve ever visited—but if I had to guess, I would say that it was handpicked directly from Hell. Over the course of my life as an apartment-renter in New York City, this dreadful apartment cabinetry has haunted me from one dwelling to the next, thwarting any attempts to otherwise spruce up the space with its abject ugliness. This is why I have a special place in my heart for the brave, handier-than-myself souls who choose to valiantly vanquish these vile cabinets from their living spaces. This kitchen/living room space, from the Queens Townhouse of Bespoke Only’s Melissa Lee, does this and more. Faced with a living space that had all the fixings of a poorly realized 1990s renovation (wall-to-wall carpeting, disastrously subdivided rooms, and the aforementioned CABINETS OF DOOM), Melissa wasted no time in completely gutting the entire apartment. “We removed the walls that used to divide the the old kitchen, the adjacent living room and a small bedroom,” Melissa says. “The result was an airy and expansive layout that completely transformed the flow as well as the overall feel in this home.” With beautiful Russian oak flooring, stunning modern furniture, and new cabinets from IKEA (holla!), the space has gone from dull and drab to completely beautiful. Check out the rest of the photos plus Melissa’s design notes and sources after the jump! —Max

After photos courtesy of Miho Aikawa Photography

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“One thing to note is despite its high-end appeal, the kitchen was in fact done with a friendly budget—Ikea cabinets and appliances were installed for their clean and classic style and the reasonable price tag. A waterfall island imparts a design that is equally minimalistic and exquisite. White quartz with grey speckles was chosen for the countertop for the marble-like look yet with easy maintenance in mind. We peeled off the plaster wall that used to cover the old chimney and exposed the bricks underneath. The brick wall was painted white in order to compliment the other clean & simple design elements in this kitchen.”

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Kitchen Sources & Budget Breakdown

  • Cabinets and appliances: $7500 – IKEA
  • Quartz countertop: $2550 – sourced in a local store
  • Double pendant on top of the island: $229 – Restoration Hardware
  • Refrigerator: $2000 – Samsung
  • Backsplash: $200 *subway tile is great for its price and the classic look. The grey grout provided definition in a sea of white. – sourced in a local store
  • Runner: $90 – Dash & Albert
  • Labor & plumbing: $5000 *as part of the entire construction work

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