Pretty Meets Gritty in a Prewar Bath

It’s equal parts raw and refined

Long white tub with white wall tile and marble herring bone floor tile after renovation

Project: Fix a crumbling bathroom in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

Before: A prewar apartment’s charm can be a benefit and a curse. In Karun’s nearly century-old co-op bathroom, it was the latter. “I purchased the apartment from a sponsor [the owner who had previously rented out the space]. It likely had never been remodeled and was in desperate need of a makeover,” he said. The wall and floor tiles were cracking, and overall the bathroom didn’t reflect his industrial style. The entire apartment has been in a constant state of renovation since Karun moved in, and he wanted to make sure the bathroom changes matched the raw, exposed vibe of the other rooms. He posted his project to Sweeten and was matched with a general contractor.

White bathroom tiles with red trim and sink with vanity before renovation

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After: Karun’s dream of a rugged, yet, refined bath came to life with an eclectic mix of materials and finishes. “I knew exactly how I wanted to do it, and my contractor was able to make it a reality,” he shared. More polished pieces like the Carrara marble sink and brushed bronze hardware balance out his edgier choices, like the vanity and raw cement walls. He included more modern touches too, opting for a wall-mounted faucet over the sink and marble herringbone tile for the floor. His sister built the floating wood shelves and vanity surface from a tree that fell in her backyard, which puts another personal spin on the bathroom.

Tempered glass separating the white bathtub and gray cement wall with floating wood shelves after renovation
Gray cement wall with floating wood shelf on brushed bronze bracket after renovation
Gray door in a white bathroom with white bathtub and herringbone floor tile after renovation

His Sweeten contractor helpfully suggested modifications to Karun’s original plans, including choosing a contrasting color tile for the in-shower storage niche. Overall, the project went smoothly, though Karun did have to stay with his cousin for a longer time than expected due to plumbing delays.

As a first-time renovator tackling multiple projects, his biggest questions revolved around expected costs. “Estimates vary considerably,” he said. “Sweeten’s platform was invaluable in this respect.”

The bathroom turned out just as he expected. “[It’s] home, sweet, home. There’s nothing like living in a place that’s been customized to your own tastes,” he said.

Happy homeowner sitting in a pink chair with his pet

Bonus: Karun’s advice for future renovators: “Get a lot of estimates and research customer reviews!”

Style finds: White Carrara marble wall and floor tile: Discount Glass Tile. Delite shower and tub hardware and Tipton sink wall-mount faucet: Signature Hardware. Square stone vessel sink and Dian vanity light: Wayfair.

Angela renovated her classic prewar bathroom in Manhattan.

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