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Three Modern Baths and Two Custom Built-Ins in One, Sweetened Upper East Side Condo

There is something undeniably delightful about a great bathroom before and after — this week, we have three! It’s possible that I love to live vicariously through other folks’ bathroom renovations because the depths of despair in the “before” photos appear to know no bounds; New York City sure seems to have more than its fair share of aged, beige tiles, peeling laminates, and harsh lighting all piled into miniature rooms upon which dwellers make endless daily demands. Despite the obvious space limitations, the bathroom can be the ideal place to showcase beautiful design and materials precisely because there is so much to fit into a typically tiny space. Hard-working fixtures and finishes are forced to play nicely together as they compete for square inches, and a bathroom renovation somehow feels contained — a great before and after bath serves as a reminder that every home has to make space for basic bathroom essentials. Even the tiniest of urban baths can do so stylishly.

Here, three full baths complete an Upper East Side family’s condo renovation. Scroll down to see how design duo Sweeten Experts Lauren and Adam and Sweeten’s expert general contractor Alan worked together to create modern and simple baths throughout this home, and take a bonus peek at the custom millwork that brought similar form and function elsewhere in this uptown Manhattan renovation.

In the master bath, Lauren and Adam worked to balance two competing values: the bath itself is the largest of the three, with plenty of room for his and hers sinks, a sizable window, and a full tub, but the condo’s owners wanted to create a sense of privacy and make room for more storage. To take advantage of the bath’s spacious footprint but minimize sight lines into the master bedroom, the designers left the layout of the room generally intact, swapped in high-end tiles and custom cabinetry, and split the tub into a standing shower with a bench and expanded shelving.

Here, 6″ Carrera marble hex tiles create an understated geometric floor foundation, evoke the feel of a refined version of the identically shaped black asphalt pavers that ring Central Park, and are complemented by simple white subway wall tiles from Heath Ceramics. Alan’s millworkers built the vanity with white-lacquered cabinets and drawers and inverted the medicine cabinet, previously wall-mounted and hanging over the sink counter. This subtle detail really stands out: Lauren and Adam chose a walnut inset ledge to line the vanity mirror, creating a slightly recessed niche and allowing for an additional lighting strip to sit just inside the top line. The Toto toilet, Duravit sink, and Lefroy Brooks sink and shower faucet fixtures complete this clean-lined look.

In the second bath, Lauren and Adam found ways to balance continuity with diverse details by using 6″ square Carrera marble floor tiles and by making the shower the centerpiece of this room with luminous green Heath subway tiles on the inner shower walls. White subway tiles from Daltile, lined with neutral gray grout, complete the shower surround. The underlying footprint of this bathroom was altered to meet the owner’s suggestion of relocating the entry door – a move that allowed Lauren and Adam to focus the viewer’s eye on the shower details, add shallow storage shelving behind the newly-converted closet door, and take advantage of the narrow niche next to the shower stall to warm up an impeccably-tiled room with open cedar storage shelves and a compact cabinet. I can not get enough of that tiny oil-rubbed bronze door knob – the owners sourced both the knob and the vanity lighting fixture from Rejuvenation. The bathroom sink, chosen for it’s asymmetrical corner counter, is from Pozzi Ginori, and the plumbing fixtures have been outfitted with Grohe.

In the third bath, Lauren and Adam continued to rely on subway tile but added variety and character with a cubed navy floor tile from Mosaic House, a red cedar inset vanity ledge and cabinet, a gently-squared Duravit tub and sink set, Grohe plumbing fixtures, and a wall-mounted Rejuvenation vanity sconce, identical to the light selected for the second bath.

For one final example of the beautiful design and flawless execution that accompanied this project, look no further than the intricate built-ins that now line the master bedroom and the family’s living room. Lauren and Adam worked closely with the condo’s owners to make the most of these wall-to-wall units. The owners came to the table equipped with sketches and inspiring images, and had specific proportion requests in mind for each piece. While they intended to use the living room shelving to house the tv, they were smart to focus on a design that would minimize the appearance of the tv by placing it alongside other interesting items, and by slightly off-setting the tv area so that the tv is not the focal point of that wall. The team played with ideas like incorporating a bar area or bench seating, but ultimately created a piece that houses books and media and art without overtaking the room.

In the master bedroom, Lauren and Adam designed a full-wall custom built-in that is unbelievably functional and simultaneously well-integrated. With no visible pulls or hardware, it is easy to miss all of the elements that the wall now accommodates: a workspace by the window, storage cabinets, deep drawers, and hanging wardrobes — all concealed by lacquered doors and inset handles. The workspace has pocket doors that open and slide back toward the wall, which gives the owners the option to keep the desk open or slightly sectioned off from the rest of the room. 

Many, many thanks to Sweeten Experts Lauren, Adam, and Alan for this insider’s look at the design and craftsmanship throughout this home. So fun to see a renovation that included everything AND the kitchen sink!  We are beyond psyched that we were able to bring this team together — if you are thinking about similar projects or feeling inspired by the transformations in each room of this home, post your project on Sweeten and let us help you find the right designers and general contractors for your space.

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A Scandinavian-Inspired Clinton Hill Bath Remodel


When a creative Clinton Hill couple came to Sweeten to find the right general contractor to renovate their aging co-op, we sent Sweeten Expert Kris their way to create a new bath, alongside a new kitchen and hallway. Their original project post called for a partial bathroom renovation, but for a couple who both work in graphic design and art, the temptation to work with a blank slate led to a top-to-bottom upgrade.


You can’t tell from looking at the new sleek space, but the honest truth is that these homeowners poured all of their energy into designing and sourcing materials for their stunning kitchen and flooring renovation. By the time they got around to decision-making for the bathroom, they were determined not to over-design the space or spend more hours looking over tile choices.

Inspired by Scandinavian design, they took a simple, clean, and functional approach in finding materials that would create a relaxing environment with no frills. White subway tiles anchored by dark slate floor tiles maximize brightness in the small space and amplify the extra square footage they carved out by doing away with the full-size bathtub. The new glass shower adds significant visual depth to the room, provides continuity for the tile’s subtle sheen, and gives a little gloss and polish to otherwise simple white and mirrored walls. Kris installed an IKEA sink cabinet – a cost-saving piece with deep drawers that provides more storage than the old pedestal sink. Kris’s team also added a double-wide recessed medicine cabinet and re-located electrical outlets to make them more accessible.


For more on this Clinton Hill renovation with Sweeten Expert Kris, check out the full rundown on the new kitchen, floors, and hallway shelving. Sweeten handpicks contractors to match each renovation’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration, and when you’re ready to renovate, post your project on Sweeten!

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15 Small Bedrooms Filled with Snazzy Pattern: Small Space Craze!

When it comes to decorating and interior design of small spaces, there are a few rules that almost every one tends to fall back on. These are the basics that allow you to create a more visually spacious and cheerful room despite limited space on offer. Yet, those willing to go beyond these conventional norms get discover a much brighter and fun-filled world that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. And with more people willing to take this plunge, we have seen the birth of a fresh, new trend when it comes to small bedrooms – an infusion of bold pattern.

Nature-centric theme takes over the backdrop in this small bedroom
Nature-centric theme takes over the backdrop in this small bedroom

Pattern-filled small bedrooms are all the craze at the moment with many homeowners willing to break the monochromatic norm. Some bring this pattern into the bedroom using the tried and tested accent wall, some use bedding that is much more cost-effective and others take down the route of a brilliant ceiling to get job done. No matter what your preferred mode is, a pattern-filled bedroom is a must try in 2021. Step in and discover the most audacious and exciting small bedrooms full of pattern

Color and Pattern

There are plenty of different ways in which you can actually usher pattern into the modern bedroom. But we will get to that just a tad bit later down the line. The starting point here is to select a definite path regarding the way in which you would love to add a bit of pattern-filled dazzle to the small bedroom. The more audacious choice sis undoubtedly one that involves multiple colors and a backdrop that is equally captivating. Colorful patterns can be tricky to work with in the small bedroom unless you are downright shooting for a style like eclectic.

Small bedroom with wallpaper for the headboard wall in green is filled with a hint of tropical charm [From: No.54 Interiors]
Bright orange and pattern filled pink wall make an impression in this small bedroom
Colorful bedding, backdrop and pillows drive out any sense of dullness in this small contemporary bedroom
Multi-colored butterflies enliven this tiny bedroom in white! [From: CG1 Design]

Try to find a common element with all the colorful pattern that you add to the bedroom. This could be in the form of the style of artwork that you add to the fabulous gallery wall, the wallpaper in the backdrop with a certain chevron pattern or maybe simple stripes that are repeated all over the room. This creates a more cultivated and visually pleasing small bedroom.

Eclectic small bedroom in Moscow home with fabulous gallery wall and painted walls that usher in ample pattern [From: olga tkacheva]
Bedding, shutters and wall art pieces bring pattern to this small shabby chic bedroom

Going Down the Neutral Path

Adding pattern to the small bedroom does not necessarily mean that you only have colorful options to choose from. Pattern in neutral colors of in hues that are already present in the bedroom make for a more harmonious and yet interesting sleeping space. A chevron-patterned headboard in wood, the classic Woods wallpaper in the backdrop or unassuming stripes in white and gray – there are plenty of ‘neutral’ options to choose from in here.

Super-tiny bedroom in wood with a chevron pattern headboard that does not disturb the color scheme [From: LoftNets]
Wall panels with overlapping hexagon motifs make an impression in this small modern bedroom in gray and white [From: nikki rusanova]
Adding pattern to the wood and white bedroom without disturbing the color scheme [From: Beth Levine Architect]
Bespoke wallpaper with leafy pattern for the headboard wall brings coastal vibe to the small bedroom by Orange Moon Interiors

What Works for You!

So how you wish to introduce pattern into the small bedroom without disturbing its curated ambiance? The choices are aplenty with things as simple as the bedding and wall art that do not demand a tedious makeover to wallpapered headboard walls and custom painted ceiling murals that make a grand visual impact. Keeping rest of the room as neutral as possible not only gives the room a settle look, but it also elevates the impact created by the patterned additions in the room. Drapes with chevron stripes, a chair in the corner with snazzy motifs or just an eclectic accent wall – take your pick and get to work now!

Mirrored wardrobe and dazzling wallpaper along with lighting create a magical small Mediterranean bedroom
Tiny attic bedroom with a pattern-filled accent wall
Wallpaper is an easy way to add pattern to the bedroom without opting for a major makeover [From: utkina darya]
Fabulous wallpapered ceiling that mimics the sky brings color and pattern to this tiny loft bedroom [From: Studio Palomino]

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Before & After: Ellen and Ben’s Brooklyn Bathroom Renovation – Sweetened!

Ellen and Ben, first time buyers in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood, came to Sweeten with their renovation sights set on the kitchen of their 1963 co-op. They bought the two bed, two bath apartment in 2014 and were all geared up to re-do the kitchen when a week away on vacation gave them pause. They thought about how the kitchen was central to the apartment’s flow, how it would be a big project to take on, and how much pressure they felt to get everything right in such a hard-working room. Maybe they needed a little more time to live in the new place and decide what they really wanted? Maybe the bathrooms would be a more manageable starting point?

“Our Sweeten contractor has been amazing – he has a daughter who is the same age as ours, and he just got it. The quality of the work is phenomenal, and he was very patient and helpful with our decisions.”

— Ellen, Kensington homeowner

Ellen, a graphic designer, and Ben, who works in software for the financial services industry, came back to update their project with a new focus: modernize the dated and uninspiring master bath. Ellen added an extra flourish to give us a sense of their urgency – in her otherwise succinct project post, she noted that “the toothbrush holder in each bathroom has holes for 5 brushes — that’s 10 total in a two-bedroom apartment and our brushes don’t even fit!” While that particular complaint may not have been the driving force behind the decision to renovate, if there is one thing a New York apartment doesn’t need, it is room for 10 toothbrushes.

We sent three contractors their way and this Sweeten contractor immediately clicked with the family, guiding them on first-time renovation questions and helping them sequence the work to take advantage of the space they had. Above all else, Ellen and Ben wanted to open up the space, make the room feel brighter, and incorporate features that would use water more conservatively. Out with the industrial-flush toilet, bland beige vanity, and tetris tile! In the master bath, the stand-up shower was unnecessarily tight and penned in by a dropped ceiling, but keeping the overall layout in place let Ellen focus on the fun of the hunt for just the right materials and fixtures and feel.

Ellen and Ben decided to stick with a simple black and white contrast in the master bath. Large-format matte black hex tiles found on Amazon are lined with a light gray grout and provide an anchor for the new wall tile. Ellen went with classic subway wall tile laid in a straight grid – the unstaggered approach is a more modern and linear take on a perennial design choice. Ellen’s pièce de résistance is the wooden vanity. We assumed that beauty was a custom piece – nope – Ellen took a West Elm side table and worked with their contractor to customize it for plumbing, adding a marble topper and Kohler vessel above-counter sink to shield the wood from water exposure. A wall-mounted faucet by California Faucets keeps the sink counter clear and adds simplicity with a single handle. Ellen should definitely get a cut of any future side-table-as-sink West Elm sales…!

Two IKEA medicine cabinets were installed side-by-side for tons of concealed storage and added under cabinet lighting that illuminates the black and white tiles and warm wood console. Despite lots of in-wall plumbing, the contractor was able to carve out three marble niches in the shower and lined the shower step with an extra slab of marble. The new shower is partially enclosed with a frameless glass door that visually doubles the size of the room, and stands opposite a new white entry door with a modern frosted-glass feature that lets light in from the adjacent room without compromising privacy. To reduce water usage and minimize cleaning and upkeep needs, Ellen chose a minimalist dual-flush Kohler toilet, skirted to conceal piping, and finished the bathroom’s new ‘do with striking Brizo matte black fixtures for the shower.

Ellen and Ben are treating us to not one beautiful bath, but two! We’ll check back in next week to see how their second bathroom turned out, and we’re hearing that the kitchen renovation is still on the horizon, so here’s hoping we get to see more from this stylish family!

Sweeten handpicks contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project on Sweeten.

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Before and After: Ellen’s Kensington Bathroom Renovation – Sweetened!

We’re back with Ellen and Ben, first time buyers in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood and the duo behind one of our most favorite Sweetened black and white baths. Thankfully, Ellen had two shots at creating the perfect bathroom oasis in her family’s two bed, two bath co-op — if she’d stopped with the master bath, we would have missed out on a whole new way to take a 1960s bathroom from particle board cabinetry and bland beige tile to all modern and all white gleam. Ellen and Ben hired Sweeten Expert Alan to tackle their second bathroom renovation, modernize its features, and add a little custom storage that goes a long way.


Instead of focusing on the various offenses of the original bath, Ellen took a singular approach to keeping the space as open and as bright as possible. With Alan’s help, the family decided to leave fixtures in their original locations and Ellen set off on the hunt for tile to replace the chunky beige wall tiles and mini cubed floor tiles that were the defining features of the room’s look and feel. Ellen also eyed the sink vanity as an opportunity to reclaim a bit of space. It’s not that the original vanity’s square footage was so hefty, but as the visual focal point, it jutted into the bathroom’s center and acted as an unnecessary extension of the wall.


Ellen opted for round penny tile in a matte white finish and then went big with it, lining the floor, the tub, the mirror frame, and the walls in the same geometric finish. This much shiny penny tile might have been overwhelming, but the smooth matte finish and the surrounding light gray grout instead feel calming and add beautiful texture to the all-white approach. An unintended bonus of going exclusively white is that this bathroom is often filled with colorful children’s bath toys – an instant way to brighten the room and add real-life “accent”!



Ellen and Ben went with a wall-mounted sink, foregoing a conventional vanity and under-cabinet storage. The minimalist basin leaves just enough room for narrow countertop display and a hanging towel rod, and Ellen added similarly stream-lined faucet features with a wall mount and single handle. The simplicity of all that white tile left room for some especially lovely details: Alan’s team designed the custom built-in shelving to stow supplies and framed the mirror with a a custom marble ledge. The warm wood from the shelves and the slim stone detailing is subtle but oh so eye-catching.

To reduce water usage and minimize cleaning and upkeep needs, Ellen chose a minimalist dual-flush Kohler toilet, skirted to conceal piping. A number of the fixtures came from Park Slope Plumbing Supply, including the rainwater shower head and family-friendly hand-shower addition. Alan also came through with an unexpected touch, recommending a new white entry door with a modern frosted-glass feature that lets light in without any exposure.

This family’s second bath is second to none. Bravo to Ellen, Ben, and their expert team on a gorgeous renovation!



Sweeten handpicks contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your project on Sweeten.

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