House Tour: Sutton Apartment

In 2011, we spent six months taking this 750 sqft apartment in Midtown Manhattan from hoarding nightmare to colorful and clean. We bought it as-is so what we saw when we first walked in was exactly what we got. And it was an eyesore. We replaced everything down to the rotting pipes, and now we love our cozy first home!

Living Room

This was the first thing we saw when we walked into the apartment. I almost turned right around, but after noticing the square footage without all the furniture and boxes, and seeing the enormous windows, we reconsidered.


The windows were all replaced, and the A/C unit was replaced with a through-the-wall unit below the heater. Walls were painted, floor refinished, and that’s about it! Amazing how easy it sounds in hindsight.


All of our furniture is either a hand-me-down, a major discount store find, or something we pulled out of the trash (with the exception of the rug) so our “furnished” room isn’t very impressive, but it’ll get there someday. Maybe.


The back half of the room became my little office. This pic is missing some of the wall art and christmas lights, but close enough.



Directly to the right when you move in, the floorplan originally accounted for a small 3-seat table or entryway area, and a coat closet– both of which we re-appropriated to make the kitchen a normal size. The coat closet became a pantry and the wall came down to extend the kitchen into the entryway. There is still enough room for a shoe rack and table, which is all you really need in an apartment this size anyway.




The transformation here was amazing. We kept all the appliances where they were but obviously updated them, as well as added Ikea cabinets, granite counters, and a handmade ceramic tile backsplash. It’s rare to find a kitchen in NYC that is enjoyable to use, but this one cooks like a dream!




Dressing Room

This is the weird little room that connects the living room, bedroom, and bathroom. There is a large closet on the forth side for linens, which we now use for coats too since we removed the coat closet in the living room.



It’s so tough to get photos in here. The black color really pops and makes the relatively bland apartment feel more high end. On the side with the closet, we changed the doors to mirrored bifolds to improve the lighting situation and make the space more usable.




I don’t even want to talk about the creepy crawly things that were in here during our first walk-through. All I will say is NOPE. So much water damage, so much icky grout and rotting particleboard. So much ick.


None of these photos do the dinginess justice. I guess that’s why they kept it so low-light.


And the after! The walk-in shower was a risky idea but it’s my favorite part of the apartment.





No, I don’t know why there were at least three mattresses in here. No, I don’t want to know.



Another fresh coat of paint, new windows and A/C, and some cozy carpet. The closets both got Elfa components to make them more usable.



That’s all folks! If you want any more info about any of the rooms (colors, sources, etc), click the link on the name of the room to see the “close up” of that part of the renovation. Our total budget (which we stuck to tooth and nail) was ~100k, which is not a lot for gutting and rebuilding an apartment in Manhattan (lots of permits, access/delivery fees, and inflated labor rates). But we survived! And I know we’ll do better next time…

What do you think?

❤ v


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