My NYC Kitchen Tour and Transformation – Bef...

My NYC Kitchen Tour and Transformation – Before & After…


I’m FINALLY able to share the first finished room of my apartment – The Kitchen! You’ll know from my Apartment BEFORE’ video that the kitchen was the room that needed quite a lot of work. When we moved in, the kitchen cabinets were brown (with no door handles), the countertop was a faded granite style and storage/ countertop space was pretty scarce. With the help of my Mom and Kaelin, this was the room we started to focus on first as we knew we needed to be able to use it asap. Being honest, I’m just not that into cooking. In fact, I am TERRIBLE at cooking. If I could have spaghetti for dinner every day I would. So when viewing apartments a few months ago, the kitchen was never really a priority. Once it had all the basics and a bit of potential, I was sold! And I KNEW this one had potential. Here in New York, for some reason, the kitchen always seems to be the room which landlords/owners don’t really care about. It’s ALWAYS small and ALWAYS needs work. After quite a lot of convincing (i.e. begging) I persuaded my Landlord to allow me to do some DIY projects in this space. A few of you have been asking if you’re usually allowed to change things up in New York apartments and to be honest, I don’t really think it’s the norm. I just got lucky with my Landlord and after running everything by him, he allowed me to make the changes. (He was very impressed with the new marble counters!)

So here is a look at the BEFORE and keep scrolling down to see the end result…





As you can see, it’s a very small and basic kitchen, but it’s crazy how New York makes you appreciate even a small space like this. My last kitchen was literally about quarter the size of this one (no joke) so it’s such a huge improvement. I know it’s not the fanciest Kitchen Tour you’ll ever see but I really am so proud of how we fixed up the space and turned it into a white, marble & rose gold little nook. It’s all about working with what you have and making the most of it.

The main changes we made were painting the plain (drab) brown cabinets a gloss white & adding rose gold door knobs, covering the countertops with a marble contact paper, adding an extra coat of white to the walls and getting a few additional furniture/storage pieces for the space. I’ve mentioned it before on my Instagram @retroflame but I honestly don’t know what I would have done without my Mom being here to help. She is literally the queen of getting sh*t done and she played such a huge part in making this kitchen a million times better. My very patient friend, Niamh, helped with the countertops and my poor poor Dad spent about 5 hours assembling the kitchen island. Team works MAKES THE DREAM WORK, haha! (They all hate me at this stage).

Yesterday we shot loads more photos of all the little details throughout the kitchen and I’m so excited to share. I’ve included links to EVERYTHING at the end of the post and also the link to my Youtube Video where I show you everything ‘in person’. It’s great to have the photos, but showing you through video is definitely more real. Be sure to check it out HERE and let me know what you think!





Seeing as storage & counter-space was minimal to say the least, I knew I would need something else. I’ve always wanted a little kitchen island like this white & granite one from Joss & Main and it just couldn’t have been more ideal! It fits perfectly and is such a great use of space! We use it for all our food prep and to store all our plates, pots, nutribullet, etc. I love having as much as I can out of sight and tidied away!




Who knew what a difference a couple of shelves could make to a room? Biggest lesson I’ve learned during this whole redecoration! I’m obsessed with these simple white shelves and have filled them with loads of my favourite things (Links at end of post).










If you follow me on Snapchat (retroflame1) you will be well aware my now and coffee is my true love, haha! Waking up and having my coffee is my absolute favourite part of the day and so I wanted to create a seperate little coffee area. I searched and searched online for the perfect coffee cart and finally found this STUNNING rose gold one from Joss & Main. Of course, it could also be used as a bar cart but I love it for my coffee!




And finally, some of my best work yet….my DIY chalk-tag containers. Haha! I’m way too happy about these guys. I promised myself that in this new apartment, my food organisation/storage would be a lot more adult-like and so I came up with this idea! I got plain (pretty inexpensive) containers in The Container Store and added on some chalk tags that I found on Amazon. SO happy with this!




pq8a3233-copyPhotos by Tara 

With everything I do, I’m all about the details. Whether it’s fashion or homeware or events or whatever, I really do believe that it’s the details that catch the attention. I may drive myself crazy in the process of getting everything ‘perfect’ but it’s always worth it in the end. I still have a few more little bits & pieces to add in (a kettle might come in handy, haha) but I wanted to show you how far we’ve come already. I honestly am so happy with how it turned out and I hope it might give a few of you some inspiration too if you’re moving, building or maybe just need a change. As I mentioned, it’s all about working with what you have and being a little thrifty when it comes to DIY.

Links to everything:

Joss & Main Kitchen Island
Joss & Main Coffee Cart
Amazon Marble Paper
Amazon Nespresso Machine
Amazon Nutri-bullet
Amazon Colander
Amazon Sponge Holder
CB2 Small rose gold potted plant
Zazzle Marble plates
Zazzle Marble mugs
Zazzle ‘The Future is golden’ mug
Zazzle ‘Girl Boss’ Mug
Sertodo Copper Coasters
Sertodo Copper Centrepiece
Sertodo Copper Platter
Overstock Pots & Pans
CB2 Plant on shelf
Arran Street East Little pink pots
CB2 – Marble paper towel holder
The container store Food Containers 
Amazon – Chalk Tags
Etsy – ‘Good vibes only’ print
Amazon – Marble mortar & pestle
Primark – Rose Gold Candles
Bed bath & beyond – Plate Drainer
Etsy – ‘New York City Girl’ print
Home Depot – White Shelves
Tiger On-the-go coffee cups
Tiger Straws
Society Six Clock
Homegoods Rose gold & glass jug
Homegoods Coffee pod jar


And to see me chat about everything in more detail and show you everything in person, here is my Kitchen Tour Video:

Really hope you like it and thanks for reading/watching. Let me know on Snapchat (retroflame1) what you think!

Erika x


  1. Tillie Adelson

    3 November

    That’s so cool your landlord let you change the apartment — I am moving into a new place this month and I doubt I can make any major changes like that. I think the reason the kitchen’s in NYC aren’t usually a big is deal is because no one really cooks here! There are so many options for great food and you can get it any time of day, it’s sort of like “why bother?”
    Love the decor — can’t wait to see more!


  2. K

    4 November

    What a transformation! I hope you are super proud that all your hard work has paid off. I love reading your posts and seeing more of everything on snapchat! Can’t wait for more vlogs on the rest of your apartment 😊

  3. Barbara

    7 January

    Looks amazing!! You worked wonders!!
    I have a question for you about the marble contact paper? Was it hard to apply and does it look good up close? I’d love to try it out in our kitchen but we have a lot more counter space so it might not do the job. Looks stunning in your kitchen!! You’ve some eye I tell ya x

  4. […] a lovely week so far! I’m back with the next of my NYC Apartment room tours (kitchen tour HERE incase you missed it) and next up is the bathroom. Probably not the most exciting room tour […]

  5. Shona

    24 May

    Where did you get the rose gold kitchen cabinet knobs?

  6. […] so I stuck to a mostly white theme with a slight pop of colour here and there (very similar to my Kitchen, Bathroom & Living room). The average NYC bedroom is usually on the small side so I hope this […]

  7. AJ

    19 June

    I love your apartment! I’m moving into a house that we are renting and I definitely want to do many of the things you did! Where did you get the grey rug in the kitchen? We have ugly floors that we cannot change and I want to lay down a grey rug that is long enough to fit the kitchen. Thanks girl!

    • Retro Flame

      20 June

      Hi there,

      Thank you! I’m pretty sure I got it in Home Depot :)


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