Before & After: A Battered Brooklyn Bathroom Goes Back to its Roots


Park Slope homeowners Elinor and Joel were charmed with the details of their 1920s bathroom, like the original tub and tile. Less than charming were the 90-year-old fixtures: the towel bars that fell out of the wall, the showerhead that sprayed water all over the place, the toilet that threatened a flood with every flush. After six years in their co-op they decided it was time for a renovation, not to change the look of their bathroom but to restore it to its former glory.

Elinor and Joel wanted to save as many of the original features of their bathroom as possible. With that in mind, their contractor Niki re-glazed the tub, and saved the original black and white floor tile. The original subway tile on the wall, unfortunately, had to go: plumbing work necessitated pulling down the tile, and patches made over the years meant it was already too far gone to save, anyway. To replace it Elinor and Joel chose a new tile in a soft cream finish, instead of stark white, for a better match with the vintage floor tile. The old tile border proved impossible to replace, so instead they selected a simple black border.

Niki's team built a new vanity with a Carrera marble top, and also put in an outlet next to the sink — a welcome addition. A new medicine cabinet from Restoration Hardware replaced the old one, which had been painted over so many times it would no longer shut. The shelf below (handy for stashing things that get used every day) and the light above are from Pottery Barn.

Since the old fixtures were too damaged to save, Elinor and Joel picked out new ones with a vintage look. New towel bars (that don't fall out of the wall!) and a lovely light blue wall color (Benjamin Moore’s “Nearly Teal”) are the perfect finishing touches to a bright, beautiful new space.

Elinor and Joel found their contractor, Niki, through Sweeten, an online resource that connects New York-area homeowners with architects, designers, and contractors. To read more about Elinor and Joel's bathroom and see more photos and sources, check out the project page on the Sweeten blog.

(Image credits: Sweeten)