A Doctor Resuscitates an Out-of-Date Bath

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Project: Restyle an outdated bathroom in a Brooklyn brownstone without overshadowing its history

Before: The owner, an Italian doctor newly arrived in the US by way of Canada, bought this studio apartment because its leafy Brooklyn neighborhood delivered history and character plus an easy commute. Unfortunately, the bathroom was worn out, and there was essentially nothing worth saving. “I’ve been living for years in Italy and have a passion for design,” the doctor explained. “The apartment was not usable in that condition.”

After: “My look is nice and fresh, without being outrageously expensive,” he notes. The bathrooms in Upper East Side restaurants gave him important material cues. For the walls that meant subway tile, of course, here updated with a matte glaze that won’t show fingerprints. He settled for a readily available white toilet instead of the elusive black one he truly wanted. (To compensate, he found a black toilet seat.) The mosaic floor only looks vintage—it is composed of relatively small tiles and has a profusion of grout lines to enhance slip-resistance. Build.com supplied his lacquered vanity, coordinating sink, and mirrored medicine cabinet above. Their simple modernity pique the room’s classic style, thus keeping it from feeling old-fashioned.  

Bonus: A modern wall-hung sink is easy to clean underneath, and it juxtaposes crisply against the graphic pattern of the mosaic tile flooring.

Style finds: A new white tub, wall-mount rain shower head, miniature recessed lighting, sink/vanity/medicine cabinet sold as a set on build.com.

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A renewed color palette, shiny new finishes, and modern lines make up the winning formula for a revitalized bathroom. Make sure to check out our guide, Budget Basics: Bathroom Renovation Costs when you are ready to begin planning.

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