Tom & Alysha: Brooklyn, NY

Rusty - September 10, 2007

42 Votes | Average: 4.5 out of 542 Votes | Average: 4.5 out of 542 Votes | Average: 4.5 out of 542 Votes | Average: 4.5 out of 542 Votes | Average: 4.5 out of 5 (42 votes, average: 4.5 out of 5)
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NAME: Tom & Alysha
LOCATION: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
SIZE/TYPE: 550 sq. ft. 1-bedroom, 1910 co-op

The renovating of this apartment is the least interesting/entertaining part of the story of this apartment of ours. The getting in was the heartbreaker. But to sum up, I was way too pregnant, we had been homeless (living out of our suitcases on various friend’s couches) for the previous 10 months and this place was a dump. Years-worth of grime from chain smoking that was evidently never, ever cleaned. I understand that the dirt floors in Guatemala are kept cleaner than this place.


Mr. Right (names have not been changed) had his stuff EVERYWHERE. No wonder he never cleaned because it would be such a pain to pick up all the junk!

After cleaning up the brick wall we put Ikea cabinets on the wall for storage (something this place has very little of). You can also see here that we sanded and restained the floor, though not as dark as we had anticipated. But when you’re about to pop and you need a place to live you learn to live with a not-as-dark-floor-as-you-were-hoping.

It’s difficult to even distinguish what is in the picture, but it’s the living room from a different angle.

We covered up the non-functioning fireplace and use it as the screen for our projector television. We also like how it breaks up the brick.


Mr. Right used this nook as “junk storage”

We use it for our desk and computer.

This had a nice slanted partition wall and accordian door with a smoke-stained plexi window above it. Very nice.

You can see here where we took out the wall and accordian door and we made it a standard wall with a standard door. I know, so boring.


You can see the kitchen had a dropped ceiling and above the bathroom there is that funky storage space which resulted in a dropped ceiling in there too.

We opened up the ceiling in the kitchen and added recessed lights. Above the bathroom we closed up that hole and raised the ceiling to normal height. We also did the Ikea cabinets and stainless steel countertop that wrapped around the wall to act as a bar.


Everything in this picture was quickly disposed of.

We love our AEG stovetop, undersink dishwasher and undercounter refrigerator. Plus, in that closet beyond the refrigerator is a washer and dryer. We love it.

Another great accordian door. All of it was gross, gross, gross.

All new modern fixtures, penny tile and robin egg blue paint. It feels nice.



  1. Are you kidding me?!? Filth. Who can live like that? You were brave. Oh, and I just read the story of your journey to this apartment. All I have to say is I am so sorry and I hope you are stronger because of it.

    Comment by kathy — September 29, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

  2. Again, you New Yorkers have mastered the art of creative storage space. Who would have thought to add kitchen cabinets in the living room. But it works well and looks fantastic!

    Comment by mTanner — September 30, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  3. Perhaps I\’m looking for a theme here, but amid the similarities in everyone\’s kitchen cabinets (all Ikea) I\’ve noticed the differences in countertops (soapstone, white Corian, tan solid surface, stainless steel). I am interested in the upkeep of these surfaces. How do you like your stainless counters months later? And, assuming they were custom, how painful/painless was the production time and cost?

    Comment by anon — October 1, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  4. What a difference you have made to the space! That takes talent and hard work and….vision!

    Comment by SaraC — October 1, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

  5. Wow. I really like your storage ideas, and the apartment has gone from chaos to sleek. Nice work. I love the kitchen and bath especially.

    Comment by another sara — October 2, 2007 @ 9:27 am

  6. we are in a 650sf 2/1, so i completely relate to your size issues and i ADORE how creative you were! we’ve become quite creative, but could take notes from you! a dishwasher would greatly improve our quality of life, but there’s so little space in the kitchen that we wouldn’t dare. i wish we’d thought of under the sink!

    i also am interested in the kitchen counters. how are they holding up? oh, and the bathroom is perfect!

    Comment by makakona — October 2, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

  7. i think “kitchen” cabinets in the living room is the best idea for space saving. a cabinet is a cabinet and what’s best is they’re wall mounted which saves valuable floor space.

    Comment by Suni — October 4, 2007 @ 8:34 am

  8. I think this is my favorite of the five apartments on this site. The changes made were clever and really tied in to the existing brick walls, etc. I love the idea of the screen for the projection TV. I just can’t figure out where they sit or lounge to watch it…

    The kitchen and bathroom really look great. I’d hire these two to redo my house.

    Comment by catherine — October 10, 2007 @ 6:19 am

  9. You guys did a gorgeous job! What bravery to take on Mr. Right and his accumulated treasures. The colors and small details you chose are especially lovely.

    @ catherine–the couch opposite the red chairs faces the white bit of wall behind the bench. I had to go back and figure it out too. :-)

    Comment by Sara — October 10, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  10. Wow…just…wow.
    I don’t think I would have made it through the buying process after looking at that place the first time!

    Great job- it looks wonderful!

    Comment by Jen Mathis — October 10, 2007 @ 7:59 pm

  11. The comment that said this took vision hit the nail on the head. I especially love your new bathroom. It’s gorgeous. The kitchen is also great. I find it very interesting that you went for an under-the-counter refrigerator!

    Comment by Amy — October 11, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  12. You are either very brave or utterly insane to undertake this while pregnant!
    You created a beautiful home.
    I love the way you used the brick wall for cabinets.

    Comment by Dew — October 12, 2007 @ 6:40 am

  13. This is a great project! I love simple, yet clever storage solutions.

    Could I ask where exactly is the projection tv? We also have a small place, with a projection tv mounted on the ceiling, but I can’t figure out how to disguise it and all the associated wiring. I’d love to hear how you solved this problem…

    Comment by Michelle Linden — October 12, 2007 @ 11:22 am

  14. Sleek job - way to go!

    Comment by dj — November 8, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

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    Comment by Shigeki — September 26, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

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