A Return for a Royal Blue Bath

After a Sweeten kitchen reno, Kate and Daniel take on the bath

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Project: Update an inefficient bathroom in Queens

Before: Kate and her husband, Daniel, had lived in their two-bedroom co-op in Jackson Heights, Queens, for four years. Redoing the bathroom and kitchen were always on the table, but since Daniel is a food writer who needed to experiment with recipes, he went to Sweeten for the kitchen renovation first. “We didn’t have the funds to do them both at the same time,” explained Daniel. Fast forward a few years and a baby on the way “really forced our hand with the bathroom renovation,” he said. “We are either doing it now or never.”

Adding a bathtub was just the immediate necessity. There was also an issue with the water temperature; the shower would either freeze or scald you. The radiator was installed on a wall above head height, which Daniel thought was odd. (“Doesn’t hot air rise?”  he asked.) The bathroom looked like it had been revamped in the ’70s with plenty of drab beige tiles decorated with floral prints. The couple wanted to bring the lagging aesthetic in-line with the prewar design of the building.

After: One of the most important aspects of the renovation was the timeline. They came back to Sweeten, a free service that connects homeowners with vetted contractors, and found their general contractor. “We have this baby coming. Please, please don’t let there be construction going on when we have a baby,” Daniel recalled saying. Their Sweeten contractor understood the tight timeframe and kept the project moving, finishing a month before baby Adrian arrived.
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The radiator dilemma was a key feature that Kate and Daniel’s Sweeten contractor helped to resolve. At one point, there was a complicated plan to rerun the steam pipe so the radiator could be installed on the floor. However, the contractor guided them toward removing the radiator altogether. The risky decision was a winner, with the rest of the apartment generating enough heat to keep the bathroom warm.

Fixing the water temperature issue was another unknown. The problem could have been in the wall of the bathroom or elsewhere in the building. Thankfully, it turned out to be inside the wall. “Our water temperature control is so beautiful, I feel like I am in a hotel,” said Daniel.

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As for the aesthetic, the couple spent a lot of time on Pinterest. They went with classic subway tile for the walls and hexagonal tile in a royal blue colorway for the floor. Salvaged redwood planks along the bathtub added some warmth. The gold fixtures were an effort to mimic the brass found throughout the rest of the apartment.

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Bonus: While on a trip to Puebla, Mexico, a few years ago, the couple bought a box of hand-painted tiles with no real purpose in mind. When Kate and Daniel’s Sweeten contractor proposed a nook in the shower for soap, they were able to incorporate some of the tiles into the design.

Style finds: Floor tile: American Restoration Tile. Wall tile: Daltile. Shower fixtures and toilet: Kohler. Charlottesville 42″ vanity in light gray: Fairmont Designs. Salvaged wood planks: Sawkill Lumber. Mirror: Restoration Hardware. Brass towel bars and train rack: Rejuvenation. Lighting and coat hooks: Schoolhouse Electric.

Check out Kate and Daniel’s Sweeten kitchen renovation here!

A bright blue waterfall of penny tile sets the tone in Rachel and Michael’s prewar, Jackson Heights bath.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor. 

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.