A Footprint Remains the Same…But What a Head-Turner!

A NYC couple had to scrap their lofty bathroom renovation ideas, finding solutions that they (and their cat, Floyd) love

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Project: A Manhattan bath gets new fixtures and finishes nearly 15 years later than planned

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Before: Nancy and Aram purchased their 1-bed, 2-bath, 1,500-square-foot loft apartment in 2000 and made updates throughout the space soon after moving in. A few years down the road, they realized the work in their Chelsea bathroom was not up to standard: the subfloor wasn’t stable and as a result, the penny tile kept popping up. The wall tiles fared only slightly better, and other finishes were showing their age. The pedestal sink proved to be inadequate for their needs, with no countertop space or storage beneath. A tub, original to the home purchase, was unnecessary since neither Nancy nor Aram enjoyed baths. But one of the original bathroom renovation ideas they kept was the cabinet that they had installed during the first remodel, with its custom cut-out for their cat, Floyd, to access his kitty litter.

After: With grand visions of a wide, spacious shower and a reconfigured floor plan, Nancy and Aram posted their project on Sweeten, a free service matching renovating homeowners with vetted general contractors and chose this Sweeten contractor to execute their plans. Unfortunately, they discovered early on through a walkthrough with an architect that the Sweeten contractor recommended that their dreams were not code-compliant. Specifically, their desired layout would not provide the required clearance in front of the toilet, as specified by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They regrouped and proceeded with the project, opting to keep the old footprint and changing out all the fixtures and finishes. Nancy had wanted a patterned terrazzo or cement tile for the new floor and pored over dozens of virtual and physical samples. Ultimately, it was Aram who chose the new floor, spotting it just as they were heading out of the tile store: a black-and-white ceramic tile made to resemble the Moroccan-inspired cement options that Nancy had liked. (Fun tidbit: the couple hauled hundreds of pounds of tile in their car to NYC from the tile store in Hillsdale, NY, where they had previously renovated several baths in their second home. They were, shall we say, very committed to their upstate tile lady.) With the centerpiece flooring picked out, they chose a beveled white subway tile to complement it. A 1/3-offset installation gave the traditional tile a nice sense of flow. In place of the old tub, their contractor installed a shower with glass walls and a sliding glass door (a smaller version of what they had originally envisioned). For walls and cabinetry, they chose this shade of millennial pink while in a state of distress the day after the presidential election—but were surprised to discover that they still loved the color, even after the shock subsided.

Bonus: Nancy agonized over the vanity, given that space required unusual dimensions. A custom-ordered Duravit vanity with an integrated sink and countertop fit the bill, coordinating perfectly with their overall bathroom renovation ideas—it didn’t block Floyd’s kitty litter access and was shallow enough while providing storage for small items that Nancy wanted within easy reach.

Style finds: Black-and-white ceramic floor tile, white beveled subway wall tile, penny shower tile: Country Town Marble & Tile (Hillsdale, NY). Custom sink and vanity: Duravit. Wall sconce fixture and shade: Schoolhouse Electric. Vintage vanity mirror: Pottery Barn. Pink Cloud paint: Benjamin Moore.

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Since it’s practically invisible, a glass shower enclosure is a one of our favorite bathroom renovation ideas for a smaller bathroom. In Mary Ann’s master bath, the glass shower makes the space to feel open and bright.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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