This is an Upper West Side Apartment Renovation in NYC on West 70th Street.
My clients purchased this Upper west side apartment and it really needed a lot of work. It was a typical 1960s building in NYC with small bathrooms and an enclosed pass through kitchen. The client wanted to open the kitchen as much as possible, renovated the bathrooms with enlarging one of them, and generally replace all the finishes throughout. Additionally we replaced the PTAC combined heating and air conditioning units.
Upper West Side Apartment Renovation
Opening The Kitchen
One of the first things people always say they want to do when renovating their apartment is that they want to open the kitchen. Nowadays an open kitchen is pretty much standard. Depending on the apartment layout opening the kitchen may be easy or more complicated.
The first step here was to identify any structural elements or risers in the kitchen which in this case we had both. On one outside corner of the kitchen there was a ventilation exhaust duct serving the entire building. On the other corner to the living room there was a concrete column holding up the building. This meant the kitchen would not be able to be fully open without relocating it. The owners opted to leave it were it was and open it as best we could.
Below is a before and after photo of the kitchen.
Semi Open Kitchen Design
Opening a kitchen, even if it is not completely open, transforms an apartment. It makes the space feel larger and gives a visual connection between the spaces. It also makes the kitchen a centerpiece of the apartment living space. In this kitchen we made a pass through opening in the wall with a countertop overhang for counter seating. We have another post on Modern Apartment Design Ideas if you want to see some other ways to modernize your apartment.
Telescopic Downdraft Hood
The kitchen counter has a telescopic downdraft hood. This is a hood the rises up and then retracts behind the cooktop. See video below of the telescopic hood.
The kitchen has wall ovens which tend to be a bit more convenient then a range, of course personal taste plays a major role in this decision. You do not have to bend over to use a wall oven. The cabinets are maple shaker style cabinets and doors.
The bathrooms are modern and minimalist. This first one has white marble walls with a blue mosaic marble floor. The bathroom has towel warmers, and a smart toilet.
The white marble shower has a floor to ceiling shower niche in the corner.
I want to call your attention to the mirror in this bathroom. First thing is the towel warmer is actually mounted on the large mirror. Second the medicine cabinet is built into the larger mirror on the wall. Third there is a mirrored outlet cover plate on the mirror. Details really make a design come together and consistency is critical for a cohesive modern design.
The second bathroom was originally very small. The board reviewing architect objected to our plan to enlarge the bathroom siting a wet over dry rule. The client pushed back and eventually the board approved it and we were able to enlarge the bathroom a little bit to make it more comfortable. If you want to read more about the process we have another blog post on Renovating You Co-Op in NYC.
NYC Apartment Renovations
As an architect, I study design and construction, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. Every project is different and must be assessed on its own unique characteristics. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.
Thank you for reading our blog post on this Upper West Side Apartment Renovation.
I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect you can contact us directly.
This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.