A Bath Gets Graphic with Tile

Project: Gut a crumbling bathroom in Morningside Heights, Manhattan

Before: A hulking seven-foot tub dominated the layout, while the ruined floors, walls, and (most of the) ceiling all begged for attention, too. The old industrial toilet was leaking, a wall of ’80s-style glass-bottle tile needed to come down, and the vanity had begun literally to crumble. For Janna H. and her family, the bathroom was “disgusting.” “No matter how much we cleaned, it never felt clean,” she recalls.

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After: Janna appreciated the history of her pre-war apartment building and worked hard with her Sweeten contractor to flatter it. She avoided today’s usual combination of medicine cabinet and vanity by choosing a vintage-looking white German pedestal sink and topping it with a 12-sided beveled statement mirror crowned with a wall-mount vanity light. For much-needed storage, a designer recommended tall built-in cabinets painted to match the bathroom’s charcoal walls.

Janna’s first-choice wall tiles cost $12,000, so she got creative and instead used regular subway tiles in a jaunty herringbone that’s vertical, rather than tilted the typical 45 degrees.

The tub was swapped for a spacious, walk-in frameless glass shower on a low curb. A hand shower accompanies the luxurious oversize rain shower head.

Bonus: The sink has a generous lip that serves as a functional surface when Jenna is applying makeup.

Style finds: Toilet and vintage-looking 1930 Series pedestal sink, both from Duravit; bathroom faucet by Hansgrohe.


The color, shape, and pattern of tile is a key player to a space’s personality. Take a look at Mollie’s shower wall which spotlights a bold chevron design.

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