An Odd Bathroom Finds New Solutions

Old plumbing called for a creative solution to elevate a bath space

White bathroom with glass door for shower area and a large white sink in a floating vanity after renovation

Project: Modernize a bath in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn

Before: Older apartments often come with quirks, especially with plumbing. In Lori’s 1930 co-op apartment in Brooklyn, one of those quirks materialized as a two-foot square platform that elevated the toilet by three inches. “It was protruding into the small room,” said Lori. To make the space more open, the platform needed to go. As did the dark blue faux marble tiles, which made the bathroom seem heavy. A vanity also needed to be retired. “It was an awful, dark, scratched up wood that we temporarily painted,” said Lori. Plus, it didn’t provide much storage.

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After: She decided to post her project on Sweeten, a free service that connects renovators with vetted general contractors. Of course, solving an old plumbing issue is easier said than done. Lori’s Sweeten contractor discovered the toilet’s waste pipe was crucial to the apartment floors above (her apartment is on the first floor). The toilet plumbing required additional room, hence the platform. However, her contractor figured out a workaround by cutting a stack of plywood into the shape of the new toilet base. He then stacked them under the new toilet, which was lower than the old one, to give the plumbing the additional space it needed. “The plywood was covered with a small mosaic tile that blends into the floor tile,” said Lori. “It’s barely noticeable now.”

The newly renovated look leaned on bright whites with a patterned floor tile to add some excitement. The floating wooden vanity offers a warm pop of color as well as storage, but when Lori first saw it in the new space, it looked bigger than she had hoped. Her Sweeten contractor had another practical fix for that, moving it two inches lower down the wall. “That made it much less obtrusive and we were really happy with it after,” she said.

Bonus: Lori had not decided on a general contractor yet when she spoke with Miranda in client services at Sweeten about who would be a good match for her project. Miranda described the previous projects of the Sweeten contractor Lori ultimately picked. She also saw a Sweeten blog post on a previous project. “It was great to have someone to talk to behind an online service,” she said.

Style finds: Floor tile: Natucer. Wall tile: Daltile. Vanity, sink, faucet and “Alto” medicine cabinet: Fresca. Toilet, tub, and tub door: Kohler. Hardware, paper holder, and robe hooks: Moen. Shower tower: Art of Bath. Vanity light: George Kovacs-Saber. Ceiling light: Quoizel.

Thank you, Lori, for sharing your renovated bathroom with us!

Small bathroom with dark tiles and shower curtains before renovationGray and white bathroom with patterned floor tiles along with floating vanity and glass shower door after renovationNatural oak wooden floating vanity with white sink and glass shower door after renovationWhite bathroom with gray patterned floor tiles and small mosiac tiles after renovationNarrow white shower area with nickel oversized shower head and bathroom fixtures after renovationWhite subway tile with inbuilt shelves near a grab bar after renovation

A corner sink was the perfect solution to make this small bath feel spacious.

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