A Marble-Look Tile Is a Focal Point in This Small Bathroom
Exposed bulbs, marble-patterned shower, and graphic tile uplift a windowless bathroom remodel in Manhattan
- Homeowner: Kristen posted her bathroom remodel in a studio apartment on Sweeten
- Where: Manhattan, New York
- Primary renovation: Renovate a cramped, black-tiled bathroom in a 700-square-foot home
- Sweeten general contractor
- Homeowner’s quote: 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.”
- Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and secure deposits—at no cost to the homeowner.
Written in partnership with homeowner Kristen. “After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten.
TLC for a dark, windowless bathroom
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,” said 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. Lastly, there was no medicine cabinet or built-in storage.
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A dark space brightens with white marble porcelain tile
The new plan for the bathroom would be bright and modern with classic elements and storage. 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. The crisp, light walls and tub contrast with the black-and-white floor tile. A white marble porcelain tile shower with lighting reminiscent of Hollywood glamour 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. Showing more floor gives the illusion of a larger space as does the linear pattern on the floor tile. A free-standing cabinet is part storage and part display. The overall look exhibits how small space bathrooms can carry strong design elements successfully.
“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.”
Organizing material selections
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 Sweeten 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.”
Inspiration from unexpected places
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 the internet when airport tile offers loftier inspiration?
Floor tile: Cement Tile Shop. Battiscopa Renaissance Calacatta porcelain wall tile: AKDO. Shower and sink fixtures: Brizo. Pedestal sink: Signature Hardware. Toto toilet: Toto. Lighting: Illuminate Vintage via Etsy. Hutch: Target. Medicine cabinet: Robern. Art: Neue Galerie.
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