The final cost of renovating the bedroom was just $63.

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in Renovator's NotesHomeowners are honest about the details of their renovations: how long it really took, how much it really cost, what went horribly wrong, and, luckily, what went wonderfully well and made it all worth it in the end.

Built: Late 1800s

Top priority: Remove a kitchenette from the top floor of a Brooklyn brownstone and add a much-needed master bedroom.

For the first two years that Aubrey Ament and Will Glazer lived in their brownstone in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, it was a work in progress. The couple, who run the design firm GLAM Studio, began renovating the garden level soon after moving in, hoping to list it as a short-term rental on Airbnb to bring in extra income to help pay off the mortgage. Upstairs, they used the parlor as a living room, with the goal of eventually building their dream kitchen. Until that could happen, the couple and their then-newborn son, Theo, holed up on the third floor, where they outfitted a kitchenette, dining area, and shared bedroom that they purchased from IKEA for $5,000. The setup made entertaining an intimate affair, to say the least. “I was making Christmas dinner and my sister-in-law was sitting on the bed with pork roasting in the oven, about 8 feet away,” Ament recalls.

Then, things changed quickly. Ament found that Airbnb was making it harder to list her property in New York City, and her two elderly, arthritic dogs were struggling to get up and down stairs. So she pivoted, quitting Airbnb last summer and instead renting out her space to brands for photo shoots. It's been a huge hit: “I had five shoots booked in August, and I made three times what I would have made on Airbnb,” she says.

Ultimately, this gave the couple the financial confidence to do something they never thought they'd be able to do: take the entire brownstone and make it their own, which meant starting to create a full-fledged cooking space on the living floor and transforming the tiny kitchen into a proper, and most importantly, private, master bedroom.


Here's a look at some of the costs (and gains!) that these designers made when transforming an old kitchen/dining room into a bedroom, including some new furniture and decor purchases.

Total: $3,563

Sell ​​your kitchen on Facebook Marketplace: -$3,500

Final cost: $63

List your old kitchen on Facebook Marketplace

Aubrey Nau: Increased filming production allowed us to expand our space across all three floors, eliminate the kitchenette on the top floor, and add a much-needed master bedroom (previously, we were crammed into a small space with our young son, Theo).

The kitchen was designed to be temporary but ended up being so adorable. The cabinets are IKEA Sektion with matte white fronts and integrated handles in Voxtorp. The butcher block counters were purchased on Facebook Marketplace and cut to fit. The sink and faucet are from Home Depot, and the oven is a discontinued 24″ Smeg gas range that we found on eBay.

They thought maybe they could cover the costs of replacing this room by selling the entire kitchen on Facebook Marketplace.

Brownstone Bedroom

Will Glaser: Some people wanted a relatively new kitchen and relatively new appliances for half the price. A good rule of thumb is to offer it for 65-70% of its value, especially if it's 2-3 years old. I got inquiries right away, but they were all lower bids or only wanted some of it. It took me about a month to find a buyer who was actually interested. I was very happy when I finally sold it for $3,500.

IKEA kitchens are an easy “on/off” system. There's a main support rail attached to the wall, and the cabinets hook onto that, and they have legs to support them. But in reality, you unscrew the cabinets, take the doors off, take the countertops off, and it comes off in no time. A plumber had to come and remove the appliances, and then the buyer came in a van and carted everything away.

A month later they called us and said, “We've got some dishes for you.” We'd accidentally left some dishes in the dishwasher. It was a time of chaos so we didn't even realize they were gone. They were super accommodating and delivered them to us in a reusable shopping bag.

Give backsplash tiles to a friend

the current: I invited my friends Sarah and Teddy over for pizza and wine and we were showing them around while we were deconstructing our kitchen and I said, “Hey, do you want these Block Shop x Fireclay tiles?”, and they replied, “Actually, we do!”

Glaser: They were finishing up a basement renovation and wanted a kitchenette.

Orange bedding

Glaser: I considered peeling the tiles off the wall, but I was afraid they would break, so I used a sawdust to cut them out instead. and We knew we were going to have to replace the drywall anyway, so instead of replacing the drywall itself, we made four large panels of tile to stick onto the drywall.

the current: Teddy came over a week later, took them and ended up cutting drywall in their house to fit our tiled drywall.

Restoring a neighbor's historic mantelpiece

Glaser: We were intrigued by the house next door because it had been abandoned for 25 years and looked just like ours, it had almost certainly never been renovated and we suspected it might have a lot of original hardware.

A developer bought it and was demolishing the whole building, but they told us we could look around and take anything we wanted. We saw this beautiful marble mantel on the living room floor. The next day we went in with chisels and full protective gear and carried each one of them out to the backyard. And we left them there for a few months until we could install them.

A mantel like that would cost several thousand dollars new, so even if it cost $1,000 to repair and install each mantel (one is in my son's room), it would still take two people a day and a half of work to fit and glue the pieces together so that there are minimal defects.

Interestingly, our neighbors didn't have hearth stones, and the guy who installed the mantel in ours had connections and was able to source them for $500 a piece.

Keep the shelves open (for now)

Chairs near the open shelves

Glaser: We've definitely had some discussions about the most efficient way to provide storage space in the bedroom — eventually, we'd love to build something — but we thought open shelving would look nice and we don't have the budget left to do much more than that.

Creating a haven for young children

Pink bedding

The couple's shared bedroom before it became Theo's room. Courtesy of GLAM Studio

the current: My old bedroom was shared with my son and I was tired of sneaking in at night and not being able to turn on the lights or make any noise because I didn't want to wake him up.

“The children's room Really We asked ourselves, “Do we need a mantelpiece?” But we're always thinking about side projects, and that's really important in New York – having multiple spaces where you can shoot.

Children's room

We took inspiration from other brownstone kids' rooms and put the toddler bed to the right of the mantel, hung a mobile above it, some art, and covered it with a super bouncy cotton full-size area rug that's perfect for a playroom. This room can be used in so many ways. You could put a queen-size bed in it, or you could turn the little alcove on the other side of the room into an exercise area or a separate sleeping area for another kid. We're always looking for flexibility.

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