SoHo Office Renovation


“Nick worked directly with me in a brief design phase to make sure what we proposed would actually work. His ability to design AND build was key.”–Glenn M., Zeebox Team MemberOne of the things we love most about doing commercial projects is that we get to know new local businesses — like Sotto 13 and Fanbridge — through their workplace renovations. This week we got to connect with another new company and check out the results of their recent office renovation project. Glenn Masterson (pictured above) lead the team at Zeebox, a London-based company with a free app for TV-lovers, to theSweeten to find the right contractor for a project at their new SoHo office. Zeebox was happy to be connected with tS member firm Nick Knacks Creative Interiors who helped them build the more productive space they had in mind.

Before: The office opened to a 10′ x 13′ reception area with a large closet along one wall. The space was functional, but — with a greater need for desk space than storage — not the most efficient solution for the Zeebox team.

Zeebox’s plan was to tear out the closet, reclaiming its depth, and to wrap a built-in desktop around the 3-wall perimeter of the space — this would add approximately 40 linear ft of desk space. They would also need to update the lighting and add electrical outlets for a fully-functional workspace.

After building this beautiful, custom floating desk last fall, we knew Nick Dillon of NKCI would be perfect for Zeebox’s project. Nick and his team worked closely with Glenn to achieve exactly what the company was looking for. We especially like how the space of the former closet has been turned into a soffited alcove with recessed lighting.

The ‘floating’ desk surface is made of birch plywood and MDF, and supported by a series of 16 custom-fabricated, invisible metal brackets. The desktop also features grommeted openings for the electrical cords and is painted in Benjamin Moore hue white satin with a cabinet coat finish.

A knee-wall was built to support the other end of the desktop, but it also functions as a soft barrier, separating the office entry from the new workspace.

Nick created a shadow detail along the edge of the knee wall and added a red oak cap to match the red oak flooring.

We’re glad to know that Zeebox will be more productive with their added workspace — many thanks to Glenn & the Zeebox team for sharing, and to Nick & Dawn Dillon and the team at Nick Knacks Creative Interiors!


Before & After: A Classic Renovation for a Park Slope Kitchen


If you've ever lived in an apartment, this 'before' picture might look a little familiar. In fact, I'm pretty sure my very first rental had the exact same wood-trimmed cabinets and white laminate countertop. But when Brooklyn residents Mark and Erin bought their own place, they decided it was time for an update — one that would make their outdated kitchen more beautiful and more useful. Mark and Erin had worked with Nick Dillon of Brooklyn firm Nick Knacks Creative Interiors on a previous bathroom remodel, so they knew he was the perfect partner for transforming their kitchen. After only 3.5 weeks of construction, their kitchen had a completely new look. The updated appliances were a must for Mark and Erin, who love to cook and entertain. The white quartzite countertops, subway tile backsplash, and glass cabinets give the kitchen an elegant, classic look. But this renovation isn't just for looks. Nick took the cabinets all the way to the ceiling, adding a significant amount of storage space to this small kitchen. He also extended the countertop to create a breakfast bar, a great spot for snacking or chatting with the cook. The new overhead fixture casts light up onto the ceiling, and undercabinet lights help keep everything bright. To read more about this renovation (and see more photos!), check out the project page on The Sweeten. You can also visit The Sweeten's main page to find a designer or contractor in the New York area, or to see even more renovating projects.

Site Visit :: Custom Floating Desk
This week we’re in the home of interior designer Katherine Hammond to check out the newest addition to her lovely Brooklyn Brownstone. After hearing about us from a friend, Katherine posted on theSweeten seeking a contractor to build the custom floating desk she had designed. We matched her up with Nick Dillon of Nick Knacks Creative Interiors, who worked with the designer to build and install her floating-concept desk. When the project was completed, Katherine reported that Nick was a ‘dream to work with’ –and, as a bonus to us, she even ended up becoming a member of theSweeten network with her company Katherine Hammond Interiors! ​​And here’s the transformed space! Katherine’s desk spans the length of the wall and is built-in for a floating effect, rather than being held up by vertical structural elements. Katherine explained that Nick advised her in the desk’s structural design, adding 3 thin steel brackets at different intervals across the span of the desk. In the center-back, the desk features a linear opening for cords so that items can be plugged in neatly and also moved from side to side. Beneath the opening, the cords are run through a hollow channel and straight to a power source which was relocated by NKCI for this purpose. These details allow Katherine can keep her desk as cord-free as possible! Here’s Nick Dillon, owner of Nick Knacks Creative Interiors, on site during the desk installation. The desk was designed to be tucked away in the alcove behind this headboard. Like much of this Brooklyn Brownstone interior, the headboard, which doubles as a bookcase on the other side, was designed and built by Katherine and her father. When Nick & his crew came to install the desk (which they built off-site), Nick did his usual, very meticulous prep-work in order to ensure that none of Katherine’s belongings were damaged. We love how clean and minimal the design is –and while we can only see a glimpse of the desk from around the corner, we can still get a sense of its conceptual lightness.Here’s the designer, Katherine Hammond. Once her desk was in place, Katherine painted a few layers of magnetic paint primer onto the wall above. Now her inspirations can also float (without damaging the wall!). Covering the magnetic layer is Benjamin Moore’s Satin Impervo, which was also used on the desk.The desktop and drawer faces were built with MDF then painted, while the drawer interiors feature the natural grain and texture of finished plywood.We couldn’t be happier to have found the perfect match for Katherine’s project! Many thanks to Nick, Dawn & team at Nick Knacks Creative Interiors, and to Katherine of Katherine Hammond​




This week we met up with Nick Dillon and his crew at Nick Knacks Creative Interiors. The guys are off to a good start on this residential lighting project in South Williamsburg, which they were awarded via theSweeten. For the homeowners, a thorough revamp of the lighting scheme in their 1400 sqft home all started with one dark closet. In addition to the closet, not a single one of their 3 bedrooms nor the living and dining spaces was equipped with overhead lighting. Nick worked closely with the homeowners to come up with the best lighting solutions for each space. In order to finish the job, they’ll also be replacing the existing, standard ceiling-mounted hallway fixtures with something a little more stylish.Here's Nick, owner of Nick Knack's Creative Interiors, showing off a microphone-style track fixture.As we saw in an earlier post, Nick is serious about his prep work in order to protect his clients' homes and belongings while the tools are out. Here he is on day 1 prepping the guest bedroom with one of his crew members.Here's an example of a dark corner in the living space that really needed some overhead light. Nick helped the homeowners come up with a track light system that will fit the space perfectly.The team started work in the living and dining areas. In only a matter of a few hours they'd drawn electricity through to the new 3-way switches and fixture locations, and by the end of the first day the tracks were already installed.Here's where they added a switch location and have drawn power through.We loved the brushed steel tracks & fixtures these homeowners chose for the living room.Nick suggested 3-way switches for the spacious, open living / dining space, and they installed these Lutron Maestro digital dimmers (600 Watts).On our second visit we could see more of Nick's systematic style. Back in the dining space, the guys had installed "pigtail" lamps in place of the future fixture, which will be an industrial-style chandelier from Rejuvenation. Nick said these dangling pigtail lights represent where the new electrical connections had been made and properly secured. Next, the cuts to the ceiling (and walls) will need to be patched with drywall, then plastered and painted, before the final fixtures are installed.After the living / dining spaces, Nick and his crew moved into the guest bedroom and office, leaving more pigtails behind until the ceiling has been mended.At this point, they’re almost halfway finished with this 7-day job. Next they’ll be working on a new entryway chandelier and the master bedroom. We can’t wait to see all the new fixtures installed!The Sweeten can help you find and hire the most talented & dedicatedcontractors, designers and architects in nyc.

​Thursday, May 17, 2012Site Visit w/ Nick Knacks Creative Interiors



This week we’re catching up with another one of our new GC’s – Nick Knacks Creative Interiors is a husband-wife team lead by Nick & Dawn Dillon. The homeowners (a pair of young, newly-wed professionals) chose Nick Knacks after interviewing 7 other contractors for this project which included renovating both a master (full) bath and a half bath in their Upper West Side home. Nick has a knack for details, so we’ve broken down the nitty-gritty on just the master bath makeover.The Nick Knacks team did a complete gut of the bathroom space to discover rotted flooring along with old plumbing lines and pipes that would have to be re-routed in order to realize its new design. After re-routing the plumbing where necessary, they upgraded all of the wiring to code, also adding recessed ceiling lights, 2 vanity light fixtures, a silent vent fan, and designated dimmer switches... Then onto the details below!​Nick always stresses the importance of proper site prep -- for this project, his team spent an entire day protecting surfaces, setting up equipment & preliminary building materials to create a proper construction zone (which was also 99% dust free!).Here's a first view into the renovated master bath. Nick's design featured classic white beveled-edge subway tiles and Benjamin Moore's Aura Sweet Honeydew Melon on the walls, as well as framed inset medicine cabinets from Restoration Hardware, and a new granite top for the vanity.​When it came to the bathroom cabinets, Nick worked closely with these homeowners to come up with a custom solution that was "exactly it." Nick did the design, fabrication, installation and wood staining of the double sink base cabinet (above) as well as a floating sink base and vertical storage cabinets in the half bath.Nick's eye for details is also found in the finish of the window sill and tub ledge where he matched the granite used on the vanity.​He also chose lighting and bath fixtures in polished chrome, including faucet and shower fittings from the Kohler Purist Collection. The floors and tub side were tiled with these unglazed porcelain in Linosa by Basaltina.Nick says that the homeowners were so pleased with the bathrooms that they added a custom bedroom closet to the scope of the original project. Great work and many thanks to Nick & Dawn!​






​​HuntGrunt  I also answer to HuntHoney, August 01, 2007


Baby BathroomAfter a year of homelessness, Andy and Jordana Levine bought a co-op on Riverside Drive. They had the interior fully renovated. It hadn't been touched in about 60 years.The tiny maid's bathroom came with a non-standard four-foot tub. Instead of turning it into a stall shower, they preferred to keep it so the kids, Samson and Susie, would have a tub of their own.They also wanted a counter where the kids could put their toothbrushes.​Here's what their contractor, Nick Dillon of Nick-Knacks Creative Interiors, cleverly did to the bathroom. The room is fully tiled, and the little sink faces outward.​




July 29, 2007   The HuntNomads No Longer: By JOYCE COHEN


iT was a year ago that Andrew and Jordana Levine intended to move to their new home on Manhattan Avenue. Instead they moved to their new home just this month, but this one is on Riverside Drive.Over the last year they have found themselves unwitting nomads, staying with friends and relatives and in rental apartments, with a baby in tow and another on the way.The two, natives of Massachusetts, met as students at Brandeis University. Later, he attended the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University and she earned a doctorate in psychology from Yeshiva University.In 1998, they bought their first home together, an 800-square-foot one-bedroom co-op on West 15th Street near Union Square, for $305,000. After the birth of their son, Samson, now 2, they began hunting for a two-bedroom. They kept an eye on units in their building, but prices were high: $1.3 million to $1.5 million.“It was more important for us to have space than to stay in that location,” said Dr. Levine, 33, a school psychologist. They singled out the Upper West Side, which seemed child-friendly and affordable, planning to spend $850,000 to $950,000.Weekends were devoted to open houses. They liked the idea of renovating a prewar apartment, especially after finding a wreck on West End Avenue. But their offer was contingent on the sale of their downtown apartment, and the seller chose someone else.Last winter, they found a condominium on Manhattan Avenue in West Harlem, in an area full of shops and restaurants. A row house was being gutted and rebuilt. They chose the third floor, a well-laid-out 960 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a host of amenities, including a private elevator. The price was $729,000. They signed the contract in February 2006.“It was not going to be livable anytime soon,” said Mr. Levine, 31, a lawyer for Credit Suisse. “And that kind of gave us comfort because we needed to sell West 15th Street. The timing was working out nicely.”They sold their old apartment in the summer of 2006, for $745,000, expecting their new place to be ready soon. They put their furniture in storage, for $460 a month, and crammed into the second bedroom of a college friend. When their home still wasn’t finished, Dr. Levine took Samson to visit his grandmother in Great Barrington, Mass., for a few weeks, while Mr. Levine stayed in the city, first with his sister and then with his brother. The couple learned that a second baby was on the way.So when would their new home be ready? In two weeks, they were told. Always, in two weeks.In the fall, they took a furnished rental in White Plains near Dr. Levine’s job. That was tough, she said. “Our life is in Manhattan,” she said. “If we wanted to live outside the city we would have, but we didn’t.”When they visited their new apartment, they saw little progress. No matter how many phone calls they made, they couldn’t get meaningful answers about why.The conversion was the sponsor’s first project in Manhattan, said the listing agent, David Owens of Halstead Property. There were many unanticipated delays — for example, adding an elevator to a walk-up building was a big endeavor. “I was passing on the information I was getting from the sponsor in regard to when things would be done,” Mr. Owens said.During the wait, Mr. Levine said, he grew “increasingly bellicose.” He added, “Every night, I would sit on the train from Grand Central growing more angry and frustrated.” Mortgage rates were rising, too.He feared months of open-ended delays, so he re-read the contract looking for an exit strategy. There it was. Nine months from the date of signing, they could cancel the contract and reclaim their deposit.“If they had been honest with us and better at managing our expectations, we would not have been so quick to pull out of the deal,” Mr. Levine said. They gave the developers two more weeks, and then canceled.Now, they faced the hunt all over again. “For the first iteration, we drove all over in the snow and the cold with a baby,” Mr. Levine said. This time, with a pregnant wife, an angry husband and a trip from White Plains, it would be worse.The Levines decided to attend just a few more open houses. If they didn’t find a place quickly, they would rent for a year. Within days, however, they saw a listing for a co-op on Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights. It said, “Bring your contractor to this diamond in the rough.” There were no interior pictures.The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, with a maid’s room, covered around 1,300 square feet. It had lots of light but not much of a view — just a glimmer of the river from one bedroom. The listing price was $860,000, with monthly maintenance of around $1,000.“Pictures would not have brought people in,” said the listing agent, Greg Kammerer of the Corcoran Group. The elderly owners had moved to nursing care in Maine, leaving the apartment in “pretty much original condition,” he said. The Levines wanted it instantly. Others did too, Mr. Kammerer said. Such large apartments in established doorman buildings in the neighborhood were scarce. But the Levines, with money from their previous sale, were the most financially qualified. They paid the asking price, closed in January and set about renovating.Wishing to be nearby during construction, which cost around $100,000, they rented a one-bedroom on Riverside Boulevard for $3,325 a month. “The agent said, ‘You don’t seem that excited about moving in here,’ and I said: ‘I don’t know how to explain it — we’ve been through a lot; this will do,’ ” Dr. Levine said.In April their daughter, Susie, was born.Their contractor, Nick Dillon of Nick-Knacks Creative Interiors, built an entirely new kitchen, added moldings, upgraded the wiring and reconfigured the tiny maid’s bathroom, keeping the miniature-sized tub for the kids. “I wanted our own bathroom without toys in the tub,” Dr. Levine said.Now settled and content, they find their anger has dissipated. “We were making these on-the-fly decisions, and things worked out for the best,” Mr. Levine said.The Manhattan Avenue apartment, which sold in May for $799,000, would have been too small for a second child, he said, and they would have had to move eventually. But in their Riverside Drive home, the second bedroom is big enough to be easily divided in two.​






October 15, 2006​The HuntIt Pays to Know What You Want


"Renovation was still a daunting unknown. But they hired a contractor, Nick Dillon, who was already working in the building, to add lighting, build bookshelves and soundproof the bedroom. (Otherwise, they were informed, the upstairs neighbors could hear everything.)"All rights reserved

© 2014 Nick Dillon The Renovation Specialist Nick-Knacks Creative Interiors