Before & After: Dramatic Updates for a Brooklyn Bathroom — Sweeten

If you’ve ever lived in an apartment with an old, crumbling bathroom, you recognize Janna’s frustration with her Manhattan bathroom. “No matter how much we cleaned, it never felt clean,” she said. The small bathroom was dominated by an enormous seven foot tub, as demonstrated by the “before” pic above. In addition to the less-than-ideal layout, the walls and floors were in bad shape, the toilet leaked, and the vanity was beginning to fall apart. It was time for a change.

With this remodel, Janna wanted to take the opportunity to inject a little personality into her bathroom, but she also wanted to keep the space true to her apartment’s pre-war style. The solution? Classic subway tile, but in a bit of an unexpected pattern — and a little bit of dark drama.

The biggest change made to the new bathroom was replacing the old, hulking tub with a walk-in shower, which dramatically opens up the space. What was once a cramped bathroom now seems quite roomy. The new pedestal sink contributes to the spacious feel.

Janna originally wanted a different wall tile, but when the bill for her first choice came to a hefty $12k, she decided to go for a more budget-friendly option — classic subway tile, set in a herringbone pattern. (This herringbone is turned 45 degrees from the patterns you typically see, giving it a bit of a stairstep effect.) The dark walls and ceiling provide a lovely contrast with the subway tile, and the bathroom door and even the trim are painted in the same color, to maximize the effect.

To make up for the lost storage from the old vanity, the new bathroom includes a tall built-in cabinet, painted black to blend with the walls. On the floor there’s a large-format black tile, which means less grout lines and easy cleaning.

The new bathroom is light-years ahead of the old one when it comes to both looks and function — and now, Janna can be satisfied that, when she cleans her bathroom, it really will look clean.

Janna found her contractor on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with local general contractors. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.

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