Bathroom Tile Exterior in Greenwood Heights

The South Slope and Greenwood Heights have been ground-zero for some of the worst kinds of architectural experimentation in recent years, so it was with little surprise that we opened a tipster email to find this photo of a recently-completed facade on 19th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues that’s composed of, you guessed it, bathroom tiles. An OT regular even went up and touched the facade to confirm. There’s a full-length photo on the jump.


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  • Wow. Just wow.

  • Brings a new meaning to bath house.

  • I’m sorry, but have any laws been broken here? Sure its not the best looking home but to place the Scarlet letter on the home and then post its locations is far more tacky in my opinion.

  • Better than another boring old shade-of-brown facade. I like the idea of it. Now, about the small windows and the miserly trim…

  • HAH! When you thought that we couldn’t get any worse with siding, we went to bad brick. When you thought the bad brick was the limit, we switched to a frosting-like stucco. When you felt stretched to the limit on frosting-like stucco, we went and flipped the script. Bathroom tile-let that simmer, pretty house people.

    As soon as you get your head around this, we got a guy on deck who’s going to use silly string and old urinals to cover his facade.

  • Are *Scrubbing Bubbles*tm less expensive than brickpointing???

  • If these are really interior bath tiles, not exterior pavers or something, they wasted a lot of time and money. After a few changes of season, these puppies will be falling like leaves in autumn. They weren’t designed to be exposed to the elements. Even if they are exterior pavers, they aren’t meant to be hung. What were they thinking?

  • This is a perfect example of some moron on the far left of the intelligence bell-curve.

  • I’m not sure what the facade is, but I don’t think it’s tile. Hard to be sure, but looking at the photo, I see regular vertical seams, indicating it’s some kind of a sheet good. Still a bizarre choice whatever it is.

  • (gasp) Why would some think that’s a good idea? smh

  • Wahoo! You go freaky GWH renovators!

    Seriously, MM is right, this will be in sad shape after a single winter, unless they used masonry grade PL to stick them to the facade.

    A+ for the idea, C- for the execution.

  • hey, gwg,

    I think we need the Philly brownstoner folks to send this guy our way. Would be perfect for Greenwood.

    Meanwhile, looks like the grout lines are neat, at least.

  • i bet they are eastern european.


  • Wow. Just, wowie!

    I’m very much in favor of landmark districts, but one thing you lose completely in those districts is this very liberal interpretation of appropriate facade materials. In some ways, I kinda find that unfortunate. Of course, I’m also assuming that the “pre-improvement” appearance of this facade wasn’t anything to write home about.

    Clearly this owner is extremely proud of his or her building. I’m sure doing something like this is far from cheap. I appreciate that the owner’s heart is in the right place, even if his or her aesthetics are not.

  • sorry for my comment (i guess), but they seem to like that asesthetic. it’s no uglier than people who use tiles in their living room and bathroom. i like the idea of tiles as a facade, but that color scheme is deplorable. that said, people need to mind their own business what people dress their house in


  • It could have been worse. If it falls off, then it falls off. They’ll just have to do something else then. More interesting to look at than a typical brownstone facade IMO. I’m gonna go check this out in person today. I strongly suspect that’s not actually bathroom tile.

  • is the house at the corner of Greene Ave & Adelphi still covered in white tile? not as egregious as this perhaps but up close it looks pretty bad.

    but this facade, is it worse than ubiquitous stucco or that fred-flintstone permastone?

  • “Greene Ave & Adelphi”

    Having lived in that ‘nabe for 20 years, I believe that was a different type of tile. If I remember correctly Dr’s office and pharmacy, but I’d bet MM would have the skinny…

  • “I’m sorry, but have any laws been broken here?”

    Yes, the laws of good taste and common sense.

  • I’m all about freedom of expression, so I say go for it! Or is the only suitable treatment to clad the building in vinyl siding to respect the historical context of the building next door?

  • Houses in Taiwan are faced with tiles, though not bathroom tiles. In Mexico, azulejo tiles are sometimes used as an exterior wainscoting in ancient houses. But this is just bad.

  • Good thing the owner of this place doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what anyone else thinks. Imagine having to design your home to please this crew. Sheesh.

  • It’s not that horrible. If the “Craptastic Finish” post of a few days is an eleventy, this is just slightly odd. Actually, it looks kind of cool (the context, the buildings around it may tell a different story).

  • better than vinyl .. LOL

  • “If it falls off, then it falls off.”

    That pretty much sums up modern architecture in NYC. Ever watch the guys the (NY) Times building pays during the winter to watch for DEADLY FALLING ICE from its non-corniced exterior?

  • I’ve seen worse facades but my concern is whether or not it will hold up, and if its properly mounted. I wouldn’t do it if I owned the building but it’s clean looking and understated. The old fake fieldstone stucco stuff is what makes me crazy.

  • Action Jackson, Thanks for the endorsement, but I’m not that good. I’m not familiar with the building. Sounds lovely…..

  • MM, it’s a real oddity in a brownstone ‘nabe. Every surface (well, it’s been years) was covered in what looked like small white bathroom floor tile (square), but I believe it was masonry grade and glazed. If it’s still standing, and not been reno’d, it’s worth checking out.

    Perhaps Mr. B’s next house of the day…

  • At least there are no fedders boxes under every single window.

  • Didn’t we just all swooned over another building that was covered with black subway tile (no doubt of interior variety)?

    Permastone is far worse, IMO.

  • it’s not THAT bad – would be alot better if there weren’t so many different colors of tile.

  • it looks clean enough, who cares. what ever happen to individuality ? if you want conformity go live in the suburbs and form a home owners association.

  • “By armchairwarrior on April 28, 2010 12:34 PM

    it looks clean enough, who cares. what ever happen to individuality ? if you want conformity go live in the suburbs and form a home owners association. ”

    Or go live in Brooklyn and get your neighborhood landmarked.

  • OMG!!!!!!

    OK, now how do you tell it’s bathroom tile? What’s the difference?

    My last landlord, though, used exterior unglazed tile for the kitchen floor. Impossible to clean — unless you could wash it down with a hose.

  • “Or go live in Brooklyn and get your neighborhood landmarked.”

    yes – because every house in a landmarked neighborhood is attractive and in a state of good repair.

  • Maybe they were inspired by I.M. Pei’s exterior for the Wiesner Building at MIT, which looks like a bathroon turned inside out. See for the stock photo and here for one of the many hacks on the building (the Scrubbing Bubbles one).

  • Umm… as a commenter on the reddit post I made for this stated, there seems to be some seams breaking the tile patterns, indicating this might be a laminate. Even worse!

  • Was it grouted?

    There is a guy in the SSlope who has been covering his wood frame house in belgium block cobble stones for as long as I can remember. Just a little bit at a time for years.

  • I’m nearby so I went and checked it out cuz I too saw the lines. It’s definitely some kind of stone, not a laminate. Maybe it was assembled on the ground and put in place in pieces, hence the seems, but it’s not an improved vinyl.

  • there doesn’t seem to be any place to put my toothbrush.

  • im not saying its great, but it doesnt offend me like some things do.

  • Perhaps this could be a new treatment for Scarano and Fischer? Black bricks and stucco are so 2007!

  • IMBy, are you talking about the house on 14th street near 5th with nothing but cheap plywood and bits of tarpaper showing from the parlor floor up? I can’t figure out what’s going on there, but his progress has definitely slowed from “Just a little bit at a time for years” to imperceptible.

  • glad we dont have this ka ka in West Prospect Heights : )

  • When I find myself and others saying “oh I have seen worse”, I realize that living in Brooklyn has lowered my standards of design because there are soooo many bad bldgs going up.

    This tile facade is awful. Its not about individuality, especially if its not even an appropriate exterior facade. Its just cheap and tacky. You can have a tight budget AND good tatse. And also be sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood.

  • “Its just cheap and tacky. You can have a tight budget AND good tatse. And also be sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood.”

    Really? The same arguement can be said for people who wear UGG boots. I think they’re ugly as sin, but apparently there’s a whole bunch of people who think they’re the bomb, and who am I to think everyone should be subject to my taste in footwear?

  • i think it’ll probably fall off too and its too bad as it looks good compared to the vinyl is final crap on the house next door. up here in the sticks, that stuff is the fixit for all ills and the solution to actually painting. yecchh!!! bathroom tiles would be an improvement. my house is appealing yellow – its apeeling right off the house. i paint my house every 100 years whether it needs it or not.

  • I think if you crazy glued 3 thousand brown UGG boots horizontally to the facade of this POS It would come out way nicer.

  • People who wear UGGs don’t bring down the neighbor’s property values, or shoe values for that matter. And, sorry, it is a matter of not just taste but design. There’s good and bad in both categories. There’s plenty I wouldn’t do myself because it’s not my taste, but still falls under the mantle of good design. It doesn’t have to be an historic replica of anything else and there’s plenty of interesting and innovative design ideas out there that are unusual that would work. This ain’t working. Rule of thumb: If it reminds a majority of people of a bathroom floor, it’s probably not a great choice for a house exterior.

  • I walked by earlier. Denton is correct, they are some kind of snap together paneling. Meant for outdoors, who know. But it actually looks pretty interesting in person. Outside reno was done decently enough.

    Al change my grade to a B+

  • UGG boots are well known to be a horrific sartorial offense, trendy in LA for five minutes five years ago. They are comfortable and warm, is all.

  • when it’s time to scrub the mold off the grout, this is gonna take a *really* big scrub brush and bottle of Comet.

  • Thanks Kensington Gal. Thats what I meant to say. Good design, not taste neccesarily. This is bad design.