Before & After: Prospect Lefferts Kitchen


JANE ROSENBAUM, a Boerum Hill-based interior designer, sent me these before-and-after shots of a kitchen she masterminded in a Prospect Lefferts Gardens limestone. She described the ‘before,’ below, as “icky ’70s.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

1 - prereno 15

1 - prereno 19

The ‘after’ is clean and timeless, the kind of kitchen that will look fresh for many years, with an attractive arch-shaped pass-through into the coffered dining room and a slew of storage. I’ll let Jane, whose business is called Jane Interiors NYC, tell you what she did and how she did it:

“My overriding desire for this kitchen was that it look fresh and young, like my clients, as well as like it belonged in the house.

There is a direct view of the kitchen from the front door, so one goal was to expand the view to the backyard. I just love when you come in a front door and can see out to the back. I also wanted to let more light into the kitchen and the dining room. Raising the height of the door and window, below, and making the door wider and the window taller accomplished this. In the pre-renovation kitchen, the refrigerator was blocking the window. Moving the refrigerator to the opposite end of the kitchen made all this possible.


My clients wanted a kitchen that would allow the cook to visit with guests, without their having to be in the kitchen. Cutting the arch into the dining room, below, which mirrors the shape of the arch at the other end of the kitchen, also made both rooms brighter.


They also wanted white kitchen cabinets and a look that was harmonious with the period of the house. At the time this house was built [around the turn of the 20th century], kitchens had separate freestanding pieces, like Hoosier cabinets, china cabinets, and wall-hung sinks. I wanted this kitchen to look more like  furniture than appliances and cabinets. I used as little hardware as possible, designed custom wood cabinets in a tall, narrow shape, and used integrated appliances and stove hood. I also used a half-inch as opposed to the standard 3/4-inch countertop. I believe this is very important to keeping the room streamlined and makes it work with the dimensions of the detail on the front of the cabinets.


I chose an Italian cooktop, above, oven, and dishwasher because they were more delicate in appearance and did not have the bulky handles of American appliances. I also wanted the view from the dining room to be of beautiful, period-like case goods as opposed to kitchen cabinets. My clients are tall, so the countertops are a few inches higher than standard.

The front parlor, which opens to the entry hall, dining room, and living room with fireplace, has a light blue and brown color scheme, and the original tile in the bathroom is white with a blue border. I used these colors for inspiration in the kitchen and dining room. The large-scale subway tile and glass tile detail are white and blue. The cabinets and woodwork are white with gray/blue undertones, noticeable only in paint made with natural pigments. The walls in both rooms are two shades of pale blue, and the dining room ceiling coffers and insides of the built-in china cabinets are yellow.

The kitchen floor tile is gray-brown. Large plank-shaped tiles, rather than square ones, make the flooring look dressier and less kitchen-like. The plank shape also allowed me to run the tile horizontally, as opposed to vertically, to give the illusion of more width in the kitchen.


I used every square inch of the limited space by taking the cabinets to ceiling height, moving the sink to the other side of the room in a row of cabinets, and building cabinets over the arch, above. Drawers that pull out from the kick plate beneath the cabinets hold baking sheets and a step stool.”

To see more pictures of Jane’s work, go here, or call her at 347/495-7580 for a consult.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in BROOKLYN, BROWNSTONE DECORATING, INTERIOR DESIGN, OLD-HOUSE MAKEOVERS, RENOVATION and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Before & After: Prospect Lefferts Kitchen

  1. Tara Dillard says:

    How did women raise children, cook, & cater to a husband (back-in-the-day) in houses like this?

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  2. Terry says:

    Very very nice. Y’all talk about “Prospect Lefferts Gardens limestone.” What is that, in layman’s terms? A style in a place?

  3. cara says:

    Tara: Back in the day, the kitchens were larger and on the garden level, not the parlor level. Plus, they had servants. Terry: A material and a place. Row houses made of limestone (as opposed to brick or brownstone) in the cumbersomely-named Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

  4. coppermaven says:

    Be interesting to see the budget on this; moving plumbing, custom made cabinets, structural changes.

  5. cara says:

    Could be upwards of 30 grand. I’ll try to find out.

  6. coppermaven says:

    I’d say somewhere between $65,000 to $80,000.

  7. cara says:

    I underestimated grotesquely. The price of the kitchen, according to the designer, was “close to 70K.” That’s because it has “top of the line everything.” Don’t know what I was thinking. The cabinetry alone could have been 30K.

  8. jane says:

    Cabinets were around 20k. I can see doing something similar in a less expensive price range. It may not look as refined, but the feeling would be similar.

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