Home Projects

Before & After: A Tiny Vintage Bathroom Gets a Fresh Look

updated May 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Sweeten)

Washington Heights homeowners Pepper and Marshall were thinking about combining the two bathrooms in their two-bedroom co-op into a single, much larger, bathroom. But they changed their tune when they realized how much the combination would hurt their home’s resale value — and how much additional money and time they would spend moving all that plumbing around. So instead, they decided to make the most of their two existing bathrooms, by replacing outdated fixtures and making smart choices that would open up these small spaces. Today we’re taking a look at bathroom #1 — look for the second bathroom in a future post.

In their search for a contractor to complete the project, Pepper and Marshall came across Sweeten, a New York-area resource that connects homeowners with designers, architects, and contractors. Through Sweeten, they were introduced to four different contractors, and they finally chose to go with Aleks, who convinced them that leaving the two bathrooms, and all the fixtures, in the same place was the way to go.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

Deciding to keep everything in more of less the same spot freed the couple up to focus their budget on really great fixtures and finishes for their new space. Although the walls haven’t moved at all, the new bathroom seems much more spacious, thanks to bright white tile, which visually enlarges the room. Another little decision that makes a big difference? Adding a pane of glass to control the splash from the shower, which takes up a lot less space (visually and otherwise) than a shower curtain.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

The old vanity was of an unknown vintage, but almost certainly not original, since bits and pieces of the bathroom had been replaced haphazardly throughout the apartment’s history. It was swapped for a new vintage-style sink with thin legs, which allows space to flow through the room and makes the bathroom feel much larger. An oversized medicine cabinet helps to recoup a little of the lost storage space.

(Image credit: Sweeten)

The new bathroom still contains little nods to the home’s history: the old tub was kept in place and re-glazed, and the new vintage-styled fixtures are a perfect complement. The encaustic floor tile, laid on the diagonal, adds a bit of pattern, and just a little touch of the unusual, to this very classic space.

To read more about the project and see more photos, visit the project page on Sweeten.

Re-edited from a post originally published 3.4.15-NT