Kitchen Makeovers

The spacious 1950s kitchen at Chestnut Manor, the $6 million Upper Brookville Mount Vernon-style colonial built in 1914 that was the site of the Mansion and Millionaires designers’ showhouse this fall, was “really ghastly” before interior designers Anne Tarasoff and Gail Tarasoff-Sutton of Port Washington gave it a makeover.

“A renew without a redo,” Anne Tarasoff said. “Truthfully it should have been gutted.”?Instead they took a deep breath and, as many in this economic climate are wont to do, spent $5,000 to $7,000 to transform the heart of the home with new decorative elements: Hardy Venetian plaster on the walls, new blue and white ceramic tiles behind the stove, a handpainted backsplash that feels like tumbled marble and a handpainted stove hood to match. Instead of new cabinets, they overhauled the old ones with an antique white lacquer finish, highlighted in blue. Who knew??Painting over a red stripe running through the white Corian countertops on the center island did wonders. A new arched front on a large cabinet turned it into a cozy doghouse. The original checkered black and white ceramic tile floor still fit, but the kitchen was rejuvenated. “The kitchen looked nothing like it did before,” Ms. Tarasoff said. “It is brought up to speed, certainly a kitchen that if you couldn’t afford to rip it out and do over, you could live with it.”

According to a “Cost vs. Value” survey by Remodeling magazine, 68 percent of the cost of a “minor” kitchen remodel, $22,235 on average in the metropolitan area, can be recouped when the home is sold. But for far less, designer tricks like changing cabinet knobs or handles, giving appliances a brushed-on look with a liquid stainless steel finish or repainting cabinets a creamy off-white can give a kitchen a facelift. Susan Serra, a certified kitchen designer from Huntington, author of the blog and founder of the Bornholm Kitchen cabinetry line (, said that homeowners clearly want “value for the long term.” Classic stains and finishes on maple and cherry woods create a “timeless look.” Stainless steel appliances “add a bit of the glam factor to the kitchen” and are utilitarian. “Kitchens today have changed since the financial crisis,” Ms. Serra said, becoming more of a hub than ever. “We want to be close to friends and family under the nurturing atmosphere of a social kitchen, cooking wonderful meals and sharing them.” Open floor plans and connected spaces, comfortable chairs, loveseats, sconces, artwork and media blend seamlessly into the kitchen. “Our lives are busier and we are cooking at home on a far more frequent basis than a few years past,” she added.


Ken Kelly, owner of Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly in Williston Park, said clients are “requesting large islands with seating, dual island or tiered islands with plenty of room for meal preparation, storage and socializing while cooking.” ?

For those who want to go whole hog, remodels including full gut rewiring and re-plumbing, new flooring, new drywall, tiled backsplash, new cabinets, countertops and appliances run $30,000 to $80,000 said Vita Burdi, a certified kitchen and bath specialist and an owner of DJ’s Home Improvements in Franklin Square. Makeovers that involve “tweaking good bones of an existing kitchen,” including new backsplash tile, countertops, hardware, flooring and a new paint color can run $15,000 to $25,000. Emerging trends include “really deep drawers for housing pots and lids with full extension drawer slides,” Ms. Burdi said. Coffered, tray or barrel ceilings or different color paint add pizzazz. Mr. Kelly noted calls for Sub Zero’s refrigerator drawers, steam ovens and steam countertop units.?A more modern look is transitioning into vogue, he added, with simpler, clean lines with less carved and ornate moldings. Mixing cabinet finishes, such as an ebony island with a white kitchen is fashionable, along with contrasting countertops—wood for a center island and granite or lower maintenance quartz on perimeter countertops, for instance. For backsplashes, rectangular “subway” tiles or glass “Chiclet” tiles reflect personal taste. In one farm style kitchen, Ms. Burdi used “glass that looked like old milk jar bottoms combined with slate to mimic the old brick.”

“Painted finishes, vintage finishes, Island end panels fully assembled to lower the cost of custom installation—we are having so much fun, working within our clients’ budgets, although they are tighter then ever,” Ms. Burdi said.