Megan and Ryan’s Upper East Side Bathroom Renovation – Sweetened!

by Kerry O'Brien

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“Sweeten helped us with everything, really. The community was accessible and trustworthy and helped solidify what to expect in the process. We were first-time renovators and our Sweeten general contractor had the patience to help us find materials and map out what we needed, especially in determining how far we could push storage options and get the most out of a small space.”

– Megan, Upper East Side homeowner

Megan and Ryan moved into their one bedroom co-op on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 2012 after deciding that the apartment’s crumbling bathroom (an almost-dealbreaker that nearly scuttled the sale) would be their first renovation project to tackle as new homeowners. Megan, who works at the United Nations, and Ryan, who works in personal finance, knew they needed to replace the discolored tiles that previous owners had attempted to cover in paint. The vanity, a bizarre combination of sink overhang and unnecessarily narrow cabinet storage, was cracked and beyond salvageable. And the window, a great asset in a Manhattan bath, had been painted and sealed with uneven tile – more or less negating its value in the room.

The task ahead was clear, but Megan and Ryan felt daunted by the lack of information on bathroom renovation costs and didn’t know where to start. After reading Sweeten’s guide to bathroom renovation costs, the couple posted their project and we introduced them to a general contractor, a regular go-to for classic bathroom upgrades. Scroll down for the full set of before and afters, and a quick rundown of this Upper East Side bathroom renovation.

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Megan and Ryan set out to solve three main issues:

1. Tile work was a mess…discoloration, uneven grid work, and paint remnants meant everything needed to go.

2. Storage was non-existent. Did that vanity come off the factory line that way or was it hacked together at some point!? Unclear…!

3. The overall feel was out of sync with the couple’s style – a point of distraction in an otherwise crisp home.

The couple partnered with their general contractor to move in a new direction with three key plans:

1. Remove the tub and replace with a glass shower.

2. Achieve a clean and consistent look with beautiful materials and a crisp, light color palette.

3. Make the most of the small space with significantly expanded vanity storage.

Megan and Ryan consulted with him throughout the process to understand their options for better utilizing the space. He helped them select a new sink console with more accessible drawer storage from Pottery Barn to best fit the bathroom’s available width and depth. The contractor also built a marble-topped shower ledge, partly to provide extra utility and partly to conceal piping that extended from the sink through the tub.

Megan ran with her love for Carrera marble, selecting four coherent but distinct tile types from Nemo: classic white subway tiles to line the full bath, Carrera pencil tile installed in an unexpected and especially beautiful herringbone pattern, and two Carrera hex tile picks in large and small sizes. A new medicine cabinet, a schoolhouse-inspired wall mount lighting fixture (both also from Pottery Barn), and a more central electrical outlet have made the room far more functional and stylish for the couple. Their Sweeten contractor completed his work with Moen shower and sink faucets and a simple Kohler toilet.

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 We’re thrilled that this homeowner / general contractor pair was able to work together on all of the big and small details of this bathroom. Thanks, Megan and Ryan, for this look at your beautiful new bath! We’re ready to help other New Yorkers create spaces they love – post your home renovation project on Sweeten and meet general contractors who are hand-selected for your project.

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