How a 'Luxe Pantry' Transformed This Designer's Cramped NYC Kitchen

Nice from the house
In New York City, space is always very important. When interior designer Amy Courtney came across a 600 square meter apartment that was palatial by Manhattan standards and overlooked the Hudson, she didn't think long before making an offer. The catch? The quirky layout of the house included a tiny, five-foot kitchen with a two-burner stove and no freezer - which means a renovation would be a must.
"Anyone who looked at it saw these [oddities]," Courtney says, "but it also had water views, high ceilings, and was on the 16th floor." The rest of the pre-war apartment is on the Upper West Side near the Lincoln Center and Juilliard and has been designed to take full advantage of its space with a large bedroom and bathroom. He was happy and bright. “Light is so important to us and has helped us to move into the room. It's a great mood changer, ”says the designer.
Courtney's first move-in challenge was to give the kitchen a dramatic aesthetic update. To avoid getting permits and hiring an architect to break through the walls and lay the existing gas and water pipes, she decided to keep the floor plan intact and fix errors in other creative ways. "I practically had to make certain sacrifices, but I felt I could still get the result I wanted," she explains.
Photo credit: Left: Amy Courtney. Right: SEAN LITCHFIELD.
The designer finally created two separate kitchens: the existing kitchen, which was already equipped with gas and water, was converted into what Courtney called the "luxury pantry" and contains the sink, dishwasher and stove. A coat of dark, blue-green color makes the tiny room particularly cozy. She used part of the adjoining living room and built an additional kitchen area with a fridge, oven and marble waterfall counter with seating.
Because she avoided tearing down walls, Courtney was able to "spend more on surfaces like marble, large mirrored backsplash and the hidden refrigerator," she says, lifting the IKEA lacquered cabinet doors with high quality fittings.
The rest of the apartment, which needed some minor changes like fresh color and new lights, came together easily. Courtney was inspired by her love of vintage and her impressive art collection, which includes abstract Peter Kiel paintings and works by Dorothy Robertshaw. (Your favorite source for unique finds is Showplace, an auction house that sells clothing, decor, and of course lots of art on a weekly basis.)
From an ultra-modern Bertoia chair to a lighted vintage mirror to a saffron sofa bought by a friend, every piece has been layered to create a versatile, lively feel. The life-size dog statue in the living room was a must that Courtney had brought into her apartment through Uber. The oversized vase she bought in Greece flew home with her in a carry-on suitcase. The designer says: "Everything in my apartment has a story!"
The kitchen renovation, which was completed in just one month, had a major impact on the small apartment. Worktop: world class granite. Backsplash: Sio Glass. Bar stool: setting. Blue painting: Gerald Liang. Wall lamp: Wayfair.
The designer painted the "luxury pantry" in Benjamin Moore's Kitty Gray. Chandelier: anthropology. Drums: Housing Works Design for one cent. Candle holder: CB2.
living room
Courtney filled her home with unique antiques and vintage pieces. Sofa: Robert Allen. Wire chair: Bertoia. Bust: Vintage by Fleur De Lis in Redding, CT. Carpet: ABC carpet.
"When you take a shower and look up, you feel like you're in a jungle," Courtney says. Background image: Cole and son. Graphics: Alison Causer. Sink: IKEA.
A pink painted ceiling and an artificial screen in terracotta orange draw the eye upwards. Headboard: Wayfair. Lamps: Barbieri e Marianelli for Tronconi Italian Modern. Art: Peter Kiel.
Courtney also uses part of the bedroom as a home office. "All of my furniture has been deliberately chosen so that it doesn't look institutional," she says of Karl Springer's vintage desk (an accomplished find from Regency Auction House) and the fringed ottoman. Chair: Vintage Cerner by Showplace. Art: Peter Kiel.
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