King Street

A 400-square-foot 2-story cottage hidden behind a Greenwich Village rowhouse starts out with a pullman kitchen and a bland white palette and ends up with a open-plan chef’s kitchen and a vibrant and colorful interior design.

hidden backhouse in greenwich village

This charming 1915 cottage is hidden in the garden behind a historic Greenwich Village rowhouse from the 1820s

This is my current home, and it’s a rental. I designed and built the kitchen myself, putting most of it together in less than a week with the approval of (and some financial contribution from) the owners. It features IKEA cabinetry, high-end appliances (including a powerful induction cooktop), and a custom-designed shelving plan that pairs butcherblock wood with iron gas pipes for an traditional-meets-industrial look.

king street cottage pullman kitchen

Before: The original Pullman kitchen featured a half fridge under stainless steel counters, a tiny sink, two small electric burners, and a microwave in the closet.

king street galley kitchen renovated with shelving and appliances

After: The new galley kitchen boasts an induction cooktop, a 30-inch convection oven, a dishwasher, a full-size fridge, and enough storage to fit a full chef’s collection of cookware and serving dishes.

king street living room before redesign and paint colors

The rest of the downstairs room was lacking in design, making poor use of space and color.


Before: Empty of furniture, the tiny scale of the room comes into focus. The question became how to maximize utility and comfort in so little space.

king street cottage living room with bright orange paint color

After: Despite the fact that the new kitchen stole 5 feet of the room, the amount of living space remains the same after the new design. Seating, entertainment, and work space are all accommodated, and a colorful paint palette brings out the room’s beautiful architectural features.

king street cottage kitchen with open shelves

After: I designed these open shelves to be built from iron gas pipes and IKEA butcher block counters sliced to half their depth (12.5″). Lining up the holes to run through several shelves was a lesson in precision but the payoff was a unique and dramatic shelving design.

king street cottage open plan kitchen living room

After: A full view of the kitchen and living room shows just how tight the space truly is.

king street cottage bedroom before

Before: The previous tenant’s bedroom was crammed with furniture, including a closet unit on the left, which left her no room for anything larger than a full-sized bed.

king street cottage bedroom after

After: By moving the closet unit to the foot of the bed, I opened the room up to fit a queen sized bed and more furniture. The periwinkle wall color is a calming tone suitable for a bedroom, but dark-wood furniture grounds the design while colorful paintings and pillows add spark.

king street cottage bedroom with move to walk around

After: The closet unit on the right fits nicely facing the foot of the room, and still leaves enough space to walk fully around the bed on either side.