NYC Renovation Chronicles

Making your bathroom sell-worthy

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The Situation:
Last week, I got a call from a client who'd taken advantage of the soft market to snag a new, larger place. The only problem: How to sell her place, when the bathroom is, admittedly, a wreck?  Can we fix it up without spending more than she's likely to recoup?

Here's the Deal:
• Style matters even more in a soft market: Don't think savvy New Yorkers are going to fall for cheapo "landlord" fixtures.

• Stick to white, because no one argues with white. Avoid the urge to leave your mark with an accent color or quirky border--stay white. Repeat, stay white.

• Keep the tub and have it glazed. Cost: About $500. If the wall tiles are in good shape, not loose or chipped, have them glazed, too.

• If you must retile the walls, buy machine-made ceramic tile in a 6"x6" or 8"x8" format, set staggered. Handmade tile is more expensive and requires more skill to set properly.

• Do not use 12"x12" stone tile on the walls. The '80s are over.

• If you must retile the floor, glazed penny or hex tile is cheap and cheerful. Mosaic glass or stone tile is another appealing option.

•  Choose a clean-lined pedestal sink, or a petite vanity from Ikea. Take up as little visual space as possible, create openness.

• Do not add a surface-mounted formica medicine cabinet--the dead giveaway of a cheap renovation. If you have a recessed one, get it plated or spray paint it with enamel.

• Don't ever let me see one of those awful "Hollywood" lights! One stylish Italian fixture will blast the room with enough light to operate by.

• Stage it with new, clean hand towels in a cheerful color, and a simple shower curtain. Light a candle.  Sold!