Before & After: This 88-Year-Old Bathroom Goes Mad for Marble — Sweeten

The idea of a vintage bathroom sounds very nice, but sometimes the reality is less than appealing. The bathroom in Mary Ann and Frank’s Upper West Side apartment was what Cher Horowitz might call a Monet: “from far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big ol’ mess.”

The bath was completely unchanged since the building was built in 1929, and its age was starting to show, with missing tiles and permanently icky grout. And most of the bathroom storage was in the linen closet, which meant that toiletries were permanently on display.

For their new bathroom, Mary Ann and Frank wanted a space that felt calmer and less cluttered. To keep costs down, they kept all the fixtures in the same place, but that’s where the resemblance between the old bathroom and the new bathroom ends. The old tub has been replaced with a glass shower. The minimal shower enclosure helps to open up the room, but still feels luxurious, thanks to the marble subway tile which coordinates with the new floor and countertop.

The floor is made from marble hex tiles, a style that feels classic and a little bit unexpected at the same time. The old floor, if you look closely, was also hex tiles, but these are a bit larger, which enhances the geometric effect and also means there’s a lot less grout to clean. The marble floor in turn matches the marble countertop of the new oversized vanity, with two sinks and a giant, beautiful stretch of countertop perfect for placing things while you’re using them. The vanity also has two cabinets and six drawers, a bounty of bathroom storage that makes this New York apartment dweller want to weep. The bathroom renovation meant getting rid of the old space’s linen closet, but the vanity storage (and the storage in the two new mirrored medicine cabinets) helps to make up for it.

Replacing the tub with a shower, and eliminating the closet for a longer vanity, means that this bathroom, while still quite narrow, has a much more spacious feel. The detailing is fairly minimal but the materials are luxe, striking a nice balance between modern and traditional styles. It’s an upgrade that’s at once functional and beautiful, and will, hopefully, last for another 88 years.

Mary Ann and Frank found their 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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