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When her friend of 20 years, who she met growing up Turkey, tapped her to remodel the kitchen in her family’s newly purchased apartment in Astoria, Queens, interior designer Rozit Arditi felt confident. “We know each other so well,” she says. “As I was designing the house, I really felt that, if I liked something, they would like it too.” 

This wasn’t the first time the New York City-based designer had worked with the couple; she had previously decorated their old apartment, also in Astoria. But when they bought two apartments with the intention of combining them to create the perfect home for their family, Arditi knew she had a fun challenge ahead. The kitchen, for one, needed to undergo a dramatic transformation.

That started by taking down a wall and combining a bedroom with one unit’s kitchen to make a much larger space that could easily accommodate visiting friends and family members for dinner parties and holidays. This decision not only made the room significantly larger, but brighter. The combined rooms had three windows, which Arditi oriented the layout of the kitchen around. “We really wanted to utilize the daylight,” says the designer.

What made the most sensenwas an arrangement with plenty of room to prepare food and to host people. “We knew we needed an island, and we needed additional seating besides what we had in the dining room,” Arditi says. A custom-made banquette by Stitchroom—made using a panel that was originally ordered to stand next to the fridge that happened to arrive damaged—fit the bill perfectly.

While a geometric white backsplash from Tilebar and a white countertop from Caeserstone make the space feel bright, the overall vivid palette of the kitchen infuses it with plenty of energy. “They’re a very colorful couple,” Arditi says. “They wanted the house to really reflect them.” On the walls, Clare’s Headspace, a soft blue-green, and on the ceilings, Clare’s Lemonade, a sprightly yellow, make an unexpected, playful pairing. Semihandmade’s Supermatte Shaker cabinet fronts in Night Sky, a classic navy, pull the two hues together as a not-quite neutral that makes an impact without overwhelming the space.

 

 

Design by Arditi Design; Photography by Claire Esparros

Eccentric pops of color continue in the kitchen’s decor in a durable Moroccan-inspired rug from Ruggable, a multi-hued pendant lamp from West Elm, and a patterned seat cushion for the banquette from Designer Custom Source. A Breville espresso machine and Wayfair chairs also play up the red knobs on the Subzero stove. No detail is too small in this space to go unnoticed.

Renovations of the kitchen began in January 2020, but pandemic-related delays made the space ready for move-in by July 2020. However, the wait was well worth it. Arditi says that Semihandmade’s fronts made the renovation look fully custom at a fraction of the cost, and the durability of the room’s furnishings, like the Ruggable rug and the leather-backed banquette, make the space friendly for the couple’s son and the many other little ones that now frequent the room.

“They’ve been in their home for two years, and they’re very happy with how everything’s held up,” Arditi says. “There’s always a lot of people around, and what we wanted was to create a space where everyone could be together.”

 

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Renovation

We don’t believe that renovations should be daunting. The key is to arm yourself with the right knowledge, people, and products to achieve your goals. It also helps to ask the right questions: How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen? How do I find the right general contractor in my area? Where do I even start if I’ve never remodeled before? This is where we come in. Through hard-to-believe before and afters, first-person renovation accounts, and step-by-step DIY projects, we demystify every aspect of remodeling and give you a ton of full-house, bathroom, and kitchen renovation ideas. Semihandmade was built on a strong make-it-yourself spirit and we’re carrying that legacy beyond DIY kitchen cabinets (though we’ll certainly touch on those too) by bringing you a ton of weekend projects for novices (have you ever tried making your own planter?) and experts (try your hand at a full-wall media center). What do people really mean when they say a house has “good bones”? Before and after projects show first-hand what’s possible in a transformative remodel. How do you make the most of a narrow galley? Should you swap your upper cabinets for floating shelves? What would it look like if you opened up your small kitchen? Renovation ideas abound in our spotlighted projects. A lot goes into a kitchen renovation, but it’s usually hard to tell from a beautiful “after” shot. Our monthly series “Island Hopping” is about getting a behind-the-scenes account of what the process is like through honest conversations—you know, the kind that typically take place around a kitchen island. We’ll chat with designers, homeowners, and architects about their projects, hoping to peel back the curtain on picture-perfect spaces.