A Sweeten Reno for the Chef’s Kitchen

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For years, Tracey, Stephen and their three young children were always renters in New York City. But in August of 2016, the family purchased their first home in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush.

The 1940’s attached row house had enough space at 1,930 square feet, however, it also had a kitchen with a drop ceiling, wood paneling, an unsightly ceramic floor and a sink that was falling apart. “We entertain a lot, and the kitchen blocked us from that. The stove was crooked because of the floor, and there was a thick layer of grease on everything that would not come off. The pipes were old as I don’t know what,” says Tracey, a freelance violist who runs the private Dixon String Studio and avid cook with a culinary degree. “I wanted a modern, bright, clean design.” Tracey and Stephen, a high school guidance counselor, posted their project to Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with vetted general contractors, and the renovation was soon underway.

1141 Pure White

While Tracey wanted her chef's kitchen, she didn’t want it to feel sterile. “This is a home, not a restaurant,” she said. “And the kitchen is the center of our home.” The design combines her love for both modern and Japanese aesthetics.

The dishwasher and stove were the two things Tracey was looking forward to the most. “We are a family of five and a dishwasher is crucial,” she said. And the stove? “Beloved. It allows me to create. I needed more power out of my stove. In our last apartment, it took me 100 years just to boil water for pasta.”

Also of importance to Tracey and Stephen? Storage. In addition to the open shelving, they installed pull-out drawers for the recycling, spices and miscellaneous cooking details that come with the chef territory.

As a chef, Tracey expresses her love and nurturing through her food, so having adequate counter space was essential. She chose Caesarstone countertops in Pure White. It’s durable enough to withstand avid meal prep and a breeze to clean – an important quality to any cook!

The couple loved working with their Sweeten contractor and designer. “They were the absolute greatest,” Tracey said. “The level of professionalism was top notch. The kitchen was completely gutted and done in five weeks. They worked hard and were consistent. You never felt like you were just being fit into their day. We felt like priority clients.”


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