Before: Rita and Mark lived in their 500-square-foot apartment in the Clinton Hill Co-ops for four years before they decided to take on a renovation. Their bathroom, with a pine toilet seat and coordinating medicine cabinet, didn’t offer enough storage or fit in with the couple’s aesthetic. They wanted items like towels and toiletries to be contained to the room, without creating clutter. While this wasn’t their first remodel (the couple renovated their kitchen and bath in New Jersey) they knew circumstances would be different given the requirements and peculiarities of renovating in an NYC co-op building. They posted their project on Sweeten and were matched with a general contractor, ready to take on a cosmetic overhaul.
After: Inspired by sleek white bathrooms on the site’s blog, Sweeten Stories, the couple decided on a neutral whiteout look, carried out through the subway-tiled shower-bath wall and the hexagonal floor. The layout stayed the same, also known as a “rip-and-replace,” and they focused on cosmetic changes. They decided to stick with white to make the bathroom appear larger, plus the neutral palette allowed Rita to change out accessories and colors at any point. “My first color palette came from the painting The Bath Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida which a friend gave me years ago in Madrid. I love the mix of blues and it reminds me of the wonderful times we’ve spent with our sons and their friends at the beach,” she said.
The couple swapped out the old tub for a cast iron tub because of the material’s durability, and resistance to chipping and scratching. Since they found storage solutions through a niche in the shower and wall shelves, there was no need for a full vanity. Plus, the open sink makes the bathroom feel even more open. They wanted every material used to be easy to clean and made of glass or chrome. Wood was a big “no” because of the humidity, as the bathroom only had a vent and no fan.
Their Sweeten contractor worked with the co-op board, employees, and other residents to get certain tasks done. His experience with that part of the process was crucial. When they realized they needed access to the apartment below to repair plumbing connected to the bathtub, he took the initiative to talk to the owners. “His answer was always ‘no problem,’” Rita shared. “He was a dream to work with, he’s a doer and tackles problems right away.” He also convinced the co-op board to replace all the risers while the walls were open. The building plumbing is over 75 years old so this repair was especially important.
Rita offers her advice for future renovators: “Talk to as many people and vendors that you have time for. It is the best way to get a feel for what you really want to do with the space,” she said.
Bonus: Rita had initially imagined installing a medicine cabinet along the whole width of the wall above the sink. Instead, she chose open glass shelves that could fit various organizational items like baskets and containers.
Style finds: Ontario series hexagon matte floor tile and Chess series wall tile: Olympia Tile. Shower fixtures: Riobel Vero sink and vanity: Duravit. Cimarron collection toilet: Kohler. Industrial Revolution collection lighting: Feiss. Artemis collection medicine cabinet: Sofia Medicine Cabinets.
Saira and her husband renovated their half and full bathroom in the East Village.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.