Could This New Service Solve Your Apartment Problems?

Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
Consultant Pallavi Mantha and her husband, Keyur, a software engineer, have lived in their Murray Hill apartment for four years. A trained architect, Mantha knew exactly what she wanted in a renovation and was desperately seeking someone who could execute it beautifully — and on a budget.

"[With a background] in architecture and interior design, I'd never felt the need to hire someone," she explains. That all changed when Mantha and her husband began planning to remodel their 700-square-foot space. After searching for a contractor for four months, Mantha came across Sweeten on Apartment Therapy. She remembers being "pleasantly surprised" by the company's M.O. "We thought someone was watching over us when we came across their site," she remembers.

The couple's two major constraints? Their co-op's time limit on renovation projects — "they only allow one apartment to be under construction at a time," Mantha explains — and the need to move out of their place for the duration of the makeover. "We were couch-surfing at our friends' places and couldn't overstay our welcome," she adds.

Click through to see how the couple made the most of their situation and their budget.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
"The biggest 'must' was to expand the kitchen," said Mantha. "Our apartment is 700 square feet, but most of it was dedicated to the living room and bedroom (not complaining), which meant that the kitchen was tucked away into a corner as an afterthought."
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
The resulting space is a huge step up: Countertops, cabinets, and appliances were all upgraded, along with a new-and-improved layout.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
"We cook and entertain regularly and felt a disconnect between the kitchen and the livable areas. The new design tries to make that connection," says Mantha.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
The old stove used to be tucked away in a tricky spot that made hosting a hassle.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
The new layout of the kitchen better integrates the stovetop and oven while allowing for an easy-to-clean tile backsplash.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
"The other 'must' was to add storage to the bedroom," says Mantha. "Even though the bedroom is a good size, it came with a tiny closet and many little, open shelves that did not suit our needs. "
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
"The new design added an eight-foot-long closet," says Mantha. This allowed for major storage — and much better presentation.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
"While we were at it, we wanted a bathroom that was easier to clean and matched the design aesthetic of the kitchen and the rest of the apartment," says Mantha.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
The redesigned space features oversized subway tile with contrasting, dark grout and a bold, black accent wall.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
The shower and toilet were also desperately stuck in the past and needed some serious TLC.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten.
More subway tile (as well as inset shelving, done in an inspired, contrasting, small-scale black tile with light grout) and an upgraded "commode" round out the space.
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