Remodeling the bathroom in NYC restores the prewar beauty Home Renovation

With this pre-war bathroom remodeling in NYC, tiles and gold surfaces show the old school charm

Bathroom renovation before the war

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

  • Homeowner: Leah posted a project on sweets
  • Where: Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York
  • Primary renovation: A bathroom where you can exchange ideas
  • Remarkable: It was worth waiting for features and custom elements.
  • Result: Removing a suspended ceiling brought the room closer to the original feeling.
  • Sweet general contractor
  • Sweet’s role: Sweeten Brings home renovation projects together with certified general contractors and offers advice, support and financial protection – free of charge for the homeowner.


Leah, a financial lawyer, bought her pre-war one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. She lived in the apartment for several years before starting to renovate the kitchen. She also redesigned the floors. “The decisions I made after really living in the room were just better – how I moved in and out of the kitchen, how the rooms communicated with each other,” she said.

The renovation projects were exhausting and she paused – although the bathroom with its beige tones and the grumpy aesthetics of the 70s was separate from the rest of the apartment. It also had a suspended ceiling for no reason, which narrowed the small space. “I retired because it seemed too much to accept,” she said, but finally took the plunge and posted her conversion of the pre-war New York bathroom to Sweeten to find a general contractor.



Leah imagined something that reflected the beautiful foyer of her cooperative building with its marble and clean look. “I think my design was to let the room speak for itself,” she said. The Sweeten contractors she commissioned set about raising the upper limit. “We didn’t know what we would find,” said Leah. Since they could not find any pipes or other obvious reasons for the suspended ceiling, they were able to lift it up again.

She chose classic subway tiles for the walls and marble slabs for the vanity. With the floors, the Sweeten building contractors made a reassuring discovery – the original tiles were still underneath and matched the new creamy hexagon tiles that Leah had selected. It was confirmation that their design decisions matched the original bathroom design.


While Leah was planning white and silver tones, she made the last minute decision to introduce gold fixtures. “I wanted to add warmth,” she said of the 11th hour election. Fortunately, the renovation process was far less demanding than expected. She was in daily communication with her Sweeten contractors, who helped solve problems and helped her make the right decisions, such as: B. how far the tiles should reach the wall. “It was a very collaborative process,” she said.


Leah decided early on where she would save money on her budget (like choosing tiles) and where she would spend more wastefully. Because of the small space, she opted for a bespoke bathtub that took six weeks to manufacture in South Carolina. “Every bathtub that was standard was made for larger rooms,” she said. “I needed something that would fit my dimensions.” The combination of shower cubicle and bathtub became an outstanding centerpiece of the bathroom and the wait was worth it.


Porcelain wall tile Casa Vogue in shiny snow white, hexagonal floor tile and white chair rail: Charcoal burner. Bathtub: MTI baths. French gold shower and sink fittings: Charcoal burner. Empire Windsor Vanity: AiO cabinet and mirror: Robern. Washstand lamp: Recovery hardware. UltraMax toilet: Toto. Glass surround: Alpha glass.

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Even small changes to a floor plan can create enough space for an additional bathroom. Here’s how five cute homeowners added one.

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