When a family of three found the right home for them in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, it was “right” in the figurative, not yet in the literal sense. With little architectural charm, it had been renovated by a developer who used inexpensive materials to give the house a cosmetic and incohesive update. When the homeowners purchased the home, their realtor gave them the contact of James Veal and Christine Stucker of the design firm Stewart-Schafer, who had just completed a gut renovation of her home and were the ideal team to give them the transformation they were looking for.

“Prior to our renovation, the home was dark and chopped up,” the designers said. “The layout was cramped and not functional which made the entire space feel closed off. It had inexpensive mahogany-colored flooring and cabinetry – it was one of those very quick and cheap renovations that lacked any imagination.” The team at Stewart-Schafer decided to take out the powder room on the main floor and open up the whole space, including taking out the whole back exterior wall and replace it with floor to ceiling windows to let the outdoors in.

This kitchen and living area is a testament to what quality mill-work can do to a space. Without any architectural interest, the designers had to think of a way to create it: “The beams are custom and made to work with the new millwork and flooring,” they said. “We wanted to do a modern take on the wood beams that you’d typically find in older homes.” Besides the custom cabinetry, the design firm also had custom storage built-in under the staircase, giving the family an enormous coat closet the slides out horizontally.

But the space wouldn’t have been complete without the right finishes. The designers at Stewart-Schafer decided on hand-made tiles from Clé for the backsplash, concrete-looking countertops from Ceasarstone, faucets from Brizo, and appliances from Fisher & Paykel. “The space is much more functional now, and the homeowners can use the expansive kitchen for hosting and entertaining,” they said. “They love the symmetry of the room and how it connects to the rest of the space. The entire design is integrated, cohesive and feels luxurious.”