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Try and picture your dream kitchen island. What do you see? Do streamlined finishes, savvy storage solutions, and mod overhead light fixtures come to mind? For one Brooklyn-based couple, these were just a few of the features on their checklist when it came to giving their drab kitchen a serious facelift.

When homeowners Ainsley and Simon moved into their two-bedroom Park Slope pad two years ago, they knew their menacing kitchen had to go. Dated cabinets that appeared to touch the ceiling and an intrusive island too large for the space overwhelmed the area; not to mention the fact that the duo felt totally disconnected from the adjacent living spaces.

“It was hard to be in the kitchen and be a part of what was happening in the living room,” says Ainsley. “We wanted it to be more of an open, single space.” Cue Sweeten, a free matchmaking service that connects renovators with construction pros. The couple used Sweeten to find the perfect contractor for their peculiar kitchen predicament.

What was once a disconnected and disproportional cooking space now serves as a bright and airy place to feast. Surrounded by rich architectural details (the building dates back to 1892), the owners wanted to craft a kitchen that would complement the apartment’s original features—like the charming bay window and fireplace nearby—and effortlessly blend into the surrounding shared spaces.

After securing their architect through Sweeten, Ainsley and Simon were ready to get started on their renovation. Their first major undertaking? Hide the fridge. Now tucked away inside a column that was once thought to be structural, two sleek brass handles are the only giveaways of the refrigerator’s whereabouts. “You don’t look at it and think it is a fridge at all,” says Ainsley.

In an effort to give the island a cleaner look, the couple opted for cabinets, as opposed to the

open shelving

that formerly faced out toward the living room. They also lowered the height of the island to create one even surface, making cooking, hostessing, and chatting with visitors—all at once—a lot simpler.

Plus, this dreamy island is now fully equipped with a slew of pull-out drawers and other hidden nooks to keep the homeowners totally organized.

Per usual, a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. In this instance, a light blue-gray did just the trick to brighten up the formerly dreary kitchen. The room’s now-neutral hues help the home’s dark wood details in the background pop.

For the cabinet colors, the homeowners went with Light Blue; for the walls and refrigerator, they chose Purbeck Stone—both from Farrow & Ball.

Hardware: Rejuvenation. Countertops: ABC Stone. Backsplash: Galleria Stone and Tile. Sink and faucet: Kohler. Fridge, dishwasher, microwave, and stove: Thermador. Lighting: Rejuvenation. Wallpaper, “Shale” in Pool: Astek.

Brass hardware adds industrial intrigue to the refined cooking space, as does the single

open shelf

above the sink—an ideal spot to showcase beloved decorative dishes, mugs, and other dining essentials.

During Ainsley and Simon’s kitchen transformation, the duo was able to stay in their apartment. So, they took the time to put their taste buds to the test: “We went to every single restaurant in the neighborhood that we hadn’t been to,” they say.

Sweeten, a free renovation service, handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration, and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.