Before & After: A Carriage House Kitchen in Brooklyn

Designer Kathleen Perkins Carriage House Kitchen beforeKathleen Perkins is a designer who lives in a Carriage House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It was originally built as the stables for the Hollenbeck Mansion in 1849, but by the time she bought it, it had become a “grubby student crash pad.” She took the kitchen back to the original beams and brick, and here’s how it looks now:

Designer Kathleen Perkins Carriage House Kitchen after

There were a lot of structural issues that had to be addressed during the reno. She salvaged as much of the original building materials as possible. Here’s a photo taken during the demo stage:

carriage house kitchen demolition phase

“A space dictates what it wants to be,” Perkins says. She’s done design work for celebs like Harrison Ford and Whoopi Goldberg, and Kevin Stacey stayed in the carriage house for four months while working in New York last year.

Kathleen Perkins carriage house kitchen Brooklyn (7)

She told The Kitchn in an interview, “I love my 6-burner Wolf stove. I wish it were a man, ’cause I would date it.” Ha.

Kathleen Perkins carriage house kitchen Brooklyn (6)

She thinks the house has great energy because of the horses that once lived here.

Kathleen Perkins carriage house kitchen Brooklyn (9)

The counters are 2-inch thick French limestone. The cabinets are IKEA.

Kathleen Perkins carriage house kitchen Brooklyn (2)

Kathleen Perkins carriage house kitchen Brooklyn (10)

Thanks to Kathleen for sharing her kitchen renovation with us! For more information about her work, check her website. You can see more photos of the kitchen and the rest of her house at Business Insider and The Kitchn, where I found some of these.

Kathleen Perkins carriage house kitchen Brooklyn (1)

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  1. says

    The words “Brooklyn” + “carriage house” piqued my interest — I’ve got this idea that Brooklyn’s pretty much the epicenter of all things cool. (Road trip!) I’m really loving the black cabs + considering them for our next kitchen. The marble backsplash is a modern take of the traditional subways — I liked it. TY for sharing.

  2. Laura says

    Very nice, very sophisticated. I’m a traditionalist, but that’s modern in a good way.

  3. Alie B says

    OMG! I am in love with this little place. She has totally taken it from frat house to fab house. I love that she has blended traditional, modern and rustic so seamlessly. Absolutely gorgeous!

    • lilkunta says

      grubby students? i think its great they were STUDENTS as that means they were in school trying to learn. get their eduaction so they may be productive and contributing members of society.

      its the hipsters who are lazy

      • says

        She’s just referring to the description of the house as being the students’ grubby crash pad. No one is suggesting that students are lazy in general or not contributing members of society.

      • Alie B says

        Actually hipsters are often educated as well, and are misjudged based on their non-mainstream tastes in fashion, music, culture and politics. To cover them all with a blanket statement, as you have done, is short-sighted in my opinion.
        Furthermore, I don’t think Sarah meant anything malicious in her comment about students. The comment was lighthearted in tone and was concluded with a happy face!

      • Dean says

        LOL. With all due respect, college students by and large are sloppy and messy. Doesn’t mean they aren’t bright, capable young people, but let’s get real: We’re talking about 18-22/23/24/25 year olds. Granted, there are always exceptions. But, when I think about my college days and the way I live now, it’s a joke.

  4. lilkunta says

    hi low in that she has 2in thick french limestone counter with ikea cabinets.
    why does counter thickness matter ? i have seen many tout their counter thickness.
    lastly, how do ppl cook on 6 burner stoves? the pot /pan handles would impede other pots/pans! and you cant have the handle turned towards the front as a child could pull it and spill whatever is in there and burn themself.

    • Margaret says

      Thicker countertop costs more? They splurge on the stuff that people can see — thick countertops, Wolf appliances — and cut corners on less obvious things — Ikea cabinets. Personally, I would have to spend more on sturdier cabinetry because Ikea won’t stand up to much use, but the place looks nice.

      • says

        Hey! I’m seeing IKEA kitchen cabs all over the place — decorating mags, Sarah Richardson + the last 2 kitchens of ours! We’re definitely using IKEA in our current re-do. I think they’re pretty sturdy. They’ve made some improvements, incl. the highly-coveted slow-close, non-slam drawers. Does anybody else out there love the IKEA cabs?
        K A Y

        • says

          I was impressed with their display kitchens, for the price. I like the slow close features. 😉

    • david says

      I had to thicken my counters plus shim them up for height. My house is inhabited by 6 ft. tall males. Standard counter heights are based on women sizes in the 1950’s. People are taller now and a lot of men cook.

  5. says

    Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s the same place!!!! From dated to sexy! 😉 How many of us need this kind of transformation, huh? LOL

    Have a great day, Julia!


    Luciane at

  6. says

    I lived in Brooklyn my entire life before recently moving west, I saw many wonderful transformations of old and run down buildings/properties such as this. It’s fabulous that people realize the value of living in Brooklyn! It has wonderful neighborhoods, an arts vibe that is very attractive, plus the world’s best pizza! :0)

    • says

      Pat — Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) + her husband, Jeffrey, recently spent a day exploring Brooklyn. They visited a wood fire pizza restaurant + dined there. Raves ensued.
      K A Y

  7. Nita says

    I love this. I spent most of last year in Brooklyn and I loved it and miss it very much. I could easily live here.

  8. says

    What a dramatic and beautiful transformation! I love the walls of the carriage house. It gives the entire space great character. I also like how there is a mix of low and high design, like the Ikea cabinets. It shows you don’t need to spend a fortune! And I really love the dark red wine rack near the kitchen island. This house feels lived in and chic all rolled into one.

  9. Emma says

    Triple wow! We have dreams of putting a carriage house apt. on top of our 4-car garage (believe it or not, it’s over 100 years old…)

    I’ll be saving this pics!

  10. nanne says

    such a great redo! the designer has created a very inviting modern space while at the same time retaining, or maybe re-finding, the feeling of an old carriage house. i love the thicker, limestone countertops and think they were a very smart choice (although, limestone requires a little more care & maintainance than other counter materials). the thickness adds a subtle sense of substance & little more “luxe” look to the kitchen. besides, there was not that much counterspace to cover. like that she paired economical ikea with splurge limestone.

    very, very well done & thoughtful reno.

  11. martha says

    Love this! Very liveable and modern, but still interesting. I had to laugh at her comment about ” the energy the house has because of the horses that once lived there” glad it has the energy and not the smell!

  12. Dean says

    Definitely a jaw-dropper. Love everything about this reno. I’m curious as to how much she paid for this property (and the reno as well.) This is a very expensive area of New York/Brooklyn.

  13. grapevine93 says

    Love, love , love it! I do wonder about the weight of the limestone on those cabinets? If reinforced, or weight not a problem, I think it brilliant in both looks and budget. I have not always found the welcoming sense of intimacy in kitchens with so much stainless but this one begs a glass of wine and a delicious chat! Had she a place for a pantry I would have thought it perfect!!!

  14. Esther George says

    Hi Julia I’m in love! This is so stylish and what I like about it most I don’t think it will ever look old and tired. After this I’m going to need another cup of coffee a bit stronger I think. Regards Esther from Sydney.

  15. Jennah says

    WOWZERS! I find this transformation stunning. A beautiful mix of high end and budget-friendly finishes as well as repurposed pieces. Thanks for sharing, Julia.

  16. Angela says

    There’s something about a kitchen with no upper cabinets that gets me every time. Love this. Warm, nice mix of materials… I could cook here every day. My only hesitation would be the limestone countertops, which are impractical. But I guess Kevin Spacey probably wasn’t doing much cooking for himself here!

  17. says

    I live in a place where “all my uncle’s favorite polo ponies are buried”!

    IT has the best every! I completely relate to what she says about the horses! I felt it when I first stepped onto the property where we built our house!

    Brilliant….and what a great job she has done!


  18. Maddie May says

    I am totally in awe of this reno. Stunning. This is a kitchen that I would absolutely love to call my own. Well done. I will be looking at this kitchen many more times. What a treasure.

  19. The Country Girl says

    Fantastic reimagining of a great space! My husband and I lived in a carriage house behind a great mansion when we were first married, and there is something wonderful about those places. Love this one!

  20. says

    That really is an amazing and dramatic transformation. I love the stove and backsplash too.

  21. says

    I , also live where horses used to live! There is no question that there is wonderful energy there!

    I feel it every night…..and , when I think of it, during the day!
    What a lovely makeover…….and I can even feel how wonderful it is through the computer!


    Lovely, lovely, transformation!!