Friday, October 26, 2012

☞ BESPOKE: The Classic Modern Harlem Bath

Original details have all attracted buyers to some of the record selling townhouses uptown but high functioning chambers such as the bathrooms have to be updated with modern conveniences.  The above photos are some of homes that have sold for $2 million or over in the past couple of years and each has classic design elements to their upgrades.

Marble or mosaic floors are a natural finishing for century old townhouse and each bath has some sort of element that alludes to this.  Subway tiles with border trims either in ceramic or marble are another distinct feature.  Double sinks in a console or cabinet layout also appear to be as popular as the well as the appropriate pedestal sink.  Shower fixture and faucets allude to Victorian lavatory plumbing and multiple cross handles are a must (the less expensive way to configure the plumbing is setting up the single handle variation).

The last photo is an example of modern and contemporary flourishes that also seem to work since it contrasts textures and colors.  Wide, dark slate panels on the wall provide a striking background to the lighter mosaic floor tiles while the pedestal sink and toilet keeps the continuity of the classic aesthetic.  Mosaic floors with this type of greek key border were commonly used in foyers at the turn of the century and some manufacturers still sell them today.

Contemporary elements such as glass tiles, pebble textures and bamboo were considered modern a couple of years back but already look dated. Keeping a washroom updated with electrical, venting and plumbing upgrades are a must but renovating these rooms to match the original details seem to pay off at the end with the brownstone buyer.

For more on these record selling homes, check out our past posts:

30 West 120th Street Brownstone
105 West 122nd Street Brownstone
357 West 121st Street Brownstone


  1. I'm truly inspired by the tile design of each of these. Can you tell me who did the bathroom design or the work?

  2. All are really nice, but that top bath is stunning! All it lacks is a tub, but what an homage to the origins of the house.

  3. The bathroom is a place to splurge, for a brownstone I think a claw foot tub with high end faucet and shower set is almost essential if you have the space. Another fixture not seen in NY but popular in high end European bathrooms is the high water tank pull chain toilet which would work well in a Victorian era home. For the tiling, white and marble work well with maybe basket weave or another small pattern. If done well the bathroom can be classic to the point of not going out of style. Out of the three shown here, the first picture the winner.