The full house tour for Lights, Camera, Reno, is on our YouTube channel now– watch through the link above!
We’ve just finished work at a project near and dear to our hearts, Lights, Camera, Reno, and we can’t wait to show you this garden-level space. This renovation was for our wonderful friend, New York Times photographer Michelle Agins, who bought this brownstone in the early 90s.
As the NYT’s first black female staff photographer, Michelle has had an incredible career and we wanted to create a bright, open interior where she could work, host, and display her gorgeous photographs.
Michelle’s outdated kitchen was a big driving force behind starting this renovation. The ceilings were low, the space was dark, and the cabinets were actually falling off the walls!
First, we wanted to bring more light into this room, so we demoed the back wall of the kitchen. We then installed two brand new windows to allow more sunlight to come into the kitchen, making the space feel much larger.
Next, we added some beautiful full-sized appliances from Big Chill, including the most gorgeous 36” Classic Gas Stove in Matte Black. We love the gold accents on the knobs and door– this range is a total focal point of the room. Now, Michelle can cook for a crowd!
The rest of the space is all about storage, easy access, and flow. We went with wood grain cabinets for the lower storage and white upper cabinets to keep the room bright and reflect that natural light coming in. Finally, we added floor-to-ceiling cabinets for keeping clutter out of sight.
Now, the kitchen is ready for Michelle’s first big fête!
Another big project to tackle at Lights, Camera, Reno was a complete redesign and relocation of the primary bathroom. The original bathroom had a large, inaccessible cast iron tub–impractical for daily use! Michelle is now in her 70s (although she doesn’t look a day over 30!) and wanted a totally functional walk-in shower.
We knocked down lots of walls and built a new bathroom space from scratch. To nod to Michelle’s photography career, we dubbed this powder room the “Darkroom.” We gave all the details about how we make our vintage doors in this reel!
To give Michelle a spa-like feel, we selected floor tiles with earthy tones and shower tiles in a pale pink. The built-in shower nook gives the shower a custom-look and some extra storage. For even more storage, we picked out a medicine cabinet that doubles as light.
Picture Perfect Decor
It’s such a privilege to work with an artist like Michelle and we absolutely wanted to feature her work throughout the home.
Focusing on the walls, we decided to surprise Michelle with a custom wallpaper featuring some of her most iconic photos. EazyWallz helped us create a gorgeous design of Michelle’s black and white stills. It was easy to apply with this laser level and our favorite wallpaper adhesive.
We were also inspired by gallery spaces and wanted to give Michelle plenty of room to add photos, memories, and artwork of her own. The dining and gathering area is painted in Windchill by Sherwin Williams and has a classic wainscoting.
This room gets some nice light from two original windows, but we wanted to add in some more warm light with the Brendle Chandelier from Rejuvenation. The space is sleek and modern, so to add some vintage flair, we chose this Loloi rug in Merlot. Now, the front room feels organized, open, and still cozy.
That’s a Wrap
It was an absolute pleasure to do this reno for Michelle. We often work on multi-floor projects, so it was a fun creative challenge to transform a single floor. Another big focus on Lights, Camera, Reno was combining sleek, modern designs with budget-friendly, quality pieces. From living room furniture to bathroom fixtures, we ensured that the space was both aesthetically pleasing and budget-conscious.
For our readers who’ve been inspired by Michelle’s transformation and want to incorporate similar design elements into their own spaces, we’ve curated a list on our Amazon Storefront of all our top picks and made them available for you to shop directly!
Here’s to our friend Michelle and a wonderful holiday season full of gatherings in her new space!