A Bathroom Goes from Clunky to Classy

In Gramercy, a full bathroom and vanity renovation transitions a space from “1980s Mafia movie” to “personal heaven”

white farmhouse sink near glass shower door to walk in shower and vanity mirror over marble countertop after renovation “After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

Before: Give a Gramercy bathroom a much-needed facelift for storage, style

Dated tile (“the bathroom looked like a 1980s Mafia movie!”) and no storage (“with a pedestal sink and no drawers or shelving, we didn’t even have room to store extra toilet paper”) drove homeowners Jessica and Kevin to finally renovate their bathroom. She’d been living in the 750-square-foot, one-bedroom co-op overlooking Pete’s Tavern, the oldest tavern in NYC, for seven years. Renovating the bathroom had been on her remodeling bucket list since day one.


After getting married, they used wedding money to fund their renovation, enthusiastic to update the aesthetics by losing the “burnt-red marble, gold hardware, and wall-to-wall mirrors” and adding storage solutions. Jessica posted her project to Sweeten and chose her Sweeten contractor.

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After: A dramatic change resulted when white modern tile replaced the “heinous red marble tile” Jessica still has nightmares about. Their bathroom, which was trapped in an ‘80s vibe, became a calming, minimal space aligned with the couple’s style. The white and pale gray palette lent the former bathroom new life with a spa feel.

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The couple replaced the “clunky” bathtub with a modern shower with two heads and switched to chrome fixtures. Next, they tackled their storage woes. A console sink with open shelving for towels gave an airy illusion and contributed to the room feeling more spacious.

While designing their new bath space, Jessica was mindful of potential future buyers. She said, “When I bought the apartment, I found it very frustrating there were so many permanent fixtures, including a built-in glass shelf over the toilet, wall-to-wall mirrors, and tile covering most of the walls.” To give the next homeowners the room to express their own personal touch, she kept the walls painted instead of tiled, installed a mirror that could easily be replaced over the vanity table, and hung two simple towel hooks.


Jessica offered this sage advice, ”If you are purchasing your own materials for the renovation, have it arrive before the start date.” This will help avoid waiting for products to arrive and delaying the project.

Now Jessica calls her new bathroom a happy place and is appreciative of her well-matched contractor. “As with any NYC renovation, you tend to get a lot of complaints about uncontrollable things like dust and loud noise which comes with the territory of living in an apartment building. My Sweeten contractor handled everything like a pro and had much more patience for people than I ever could have exhibited,” she said. “He was extremely flexible and true to his word with regards to price and timing of the project.”

Bonus: Jessica doubled their storage by adding a two-drawer unit under the existing vanity table as well as a cabinet, creating a “personal heaven” she uses every morning to get ready for work.

Thanks for sharing your fantastic bathroom and vanity renovation with Sweeten, Jessica and Kevin!

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Style finds: CoreLux Driftwood Hickory engineered vinyl plank flooring: Lumber Liquidators. Shower floor tile: Jeff Lewis. Shower wall tile: Jeffrey Court. Shower doors: Dreamline. Hardware and shower fixtures: Danze. 24″ Hammonton Console sink/vanity set: Wayfair. Toilet: Toto. Medicine cabinet: Kohler. Vanity table mirror and storage cabinetry: Pottery Barn.

Keep your materials budget in check. Here’s how to accurately measure for the amount of tile you will need.

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