Before and After: Ellen’s Kensington Bathroom Renovation – Sweetened!

We’re back with Ellen and Ben, first time buyers in Brooklyn’s Kensington neighborhood and the duo behind one of our most favorite Sweetened black and white baths. Thankfully, Ellen had two shots at creating the perfect bathroom oasis in her family’s two bed, two bath co-op — if she’d stopped with the master bath, we would have missed out on a whole new way to take a 1960s bathroom from particle board cabinetry and bland beige tile to all modern and all white gleam. Ellen and Ben hired Sweeten Expert Alan to tackle their second bathroom renovation, modernize its features, and add a little custom storage that goes a long way.


Instead of focusing on the various offenses of the original bath, Ellen took a singular approach to keeping the space as open and as bright as possible. With Alan’s help, the family decided to leave fixtures in their original locations and Ellen set off on the hunt for tile to replace the chunky beige wall tiles and mini cubed floor tiles that were the defining features of the room’s look and feel. Ellen also eyed the sink vanity as an opportunity to reclaim a bit of space. It’s not that the original vanity’s square footage was so hefty, but as the visual focal point, it jutted into the bathroom’s center and acted as an unnecessary extension of the wall.

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Ellen opted for round penny tile in a matte white finish and then went big with it, lining the floor, the tub, the mirror frame, and the walls in the same geometric finish. This much shiny penny tile might have been overwhelming, but the smooth matte finish and the surrounding light gray grout instead feel calming and add beautiful texture to the all-white approach. An unintended bonus of going exclusively white is that this bathroom is often filled with colorful children’s bath toys – an instant way to brighten the room and add real-life “accent”!



Ellen and Ben went with a wall-mounted sink, foregoing a conventional vanity and under-cabinet storage. The minimalist basin leaves just enough room for narrow countertop display and a hanging towel rod, and Ellen added similarly stream-lined faucet features with a wall mount and single handle. The simplicity of all that white tile left room for some especially lovely details: Alan’s team designed the custom built-in shelving to stow supplies and framed the mirror with a a custom marble ledge. The warm wood from the shelves and the slim stone detailing is subtle but oh so eye-catching.

To reduce water usage and minimize cleaning and upkeep needs, Ellen chose a minimalist dual-flush Kohler toilet, skirted to conceal piping. A number of the fixtures came from Park Slope Plumbing Supply, including the rainwater shower head and family-friendly hand-shower addition. Alan also came through with an unexpected touch, recommending a new white entry door with a modern frosted-glass feature that lets light in without any exposure.

This family’s second bath is second to none. Bravo to Ellen, Ben, and their expert team on a gorgeous renovation!



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

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