In this Chelsea bathroom renovation, exposed bulbs and graphic tile create an unforgettable look
Project: Update and brighten a small bathroom in a Chelsea studio
Before: The bathroom tub, fixtures, and drain in this circa 1964 co-op had done their job, but were now way past their sell-by date. Kristen knew her Chelsea apartment was ready for a bathroom renovation. “The shower and tub had gotten a little scary,” says Kristen, the homeowner of this 700-square-foot studio. Peeling paint on the tub and hard water stains on the tiles didn’t help. Plus, the windowless room was dark, with floor-to-ceiling slate tile and poor lighting. And there was no medicine cabinet or built-in storage.
After: Knowing that she wanted the bathroom to be bright and modern with classic elements and storage, Kristen posted her project on Sweeten and was matched with a general contractor. Because of building regulations, she wasn’t able to change the location of the plumbing, so the work was cosmetic only. Flash forward to the finished room…now, the crisp, light lavender-gray walls and tub paired with the black-and-white floor tile. A porcelain-tiled shower and Hollywood-glam mirror lighting brighten up the bathroom considerably.
“I’m glad I chose porcelain over marble because it requires less upkeep,” said Kristen. She decided to pass on installing a vanity. This gives the illusion of more space—as does the stripe pattern on the floor tiles. A free-standing cabinet is part storage and part display. The overall feel of the space hits the modern yet classic style she was looking for.
Kristen’s biggest challenge was finding all the materials that would work together. It was difficult, she said, narrowing down selections, “considering the many options out there.” Her contractor “provided a lot of information to help make decisions.” In addition to having a Renovation Checklist, Kristen had a list of products and materials to order for her project. “I checked off each item once I had sourced it. This was really helpful because there are some things I never would have thought of, like a new vent for the wall,” Kristen said.
Having an organized list also allowed her contractor to make sure it was all compatible with the space. The contractor, she said, “helped incorporate eco-friendly elements into my renovation, telling me what to look for in a toilet, showerhead, and faucet.”
Tile ideas at the airport
Her other challenge was that she was traveling during the renovation. But her contractor took care of any bumps, even going directly to the manufacturer when there was an issue with a showerhead. At one point, she said, while she was at the airport waiting for a flight, the Sweeten contractor’s tile installer called with a layout question. “Luckily, this airport had a lot of tile,” she said with a laugh. “So I walked around and looked for different layouts to help reinforce my decision.” Who needs subway tile when airport tile offers loftier inspiration?
Style finds: Floor tile: Cement Tile Shop. Battiscopa Renaissance Calacatta porcelain wall tile: AKDO. Shower and sink fixtures: Brizo. Pedestal sink: Signature Hardware. Toilet: Toto. Lighting: Illuminate Vintage via Etsy. Hutch: Target. Medicine cabinet: Robern. Art: Neue Galerie.
Marissa created a glamorous bath with high-contrast design, combining black walls with gleaming tile and a sparkling chandelier.
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