Turning Two NYC Apartments Into One? Here’s What You Need to Know
Combining two apartments into one can be an enticing option for homeowners in New York City. Why? It’s simply more cost-effective to purchase the studio or one-bedroom unit next door than to search for and buy a whole new two-bedroom apartment. Factor in the additional inconvenience of uprooting your family and your day-to-day routines, and the decision starts to seem like a no-brainer.
For those who aren’t looking to move, hearing that a neighbor is selling his or her unit at a bargain — perhaps due to its subpar condition or an estate sale — could make way for a wise investment decision. Knowing that a renovated two-bedroom unit will carry a higher price per square foot than the current unit makes the deal even sweeter.
Tips for a New York City Remodel
If your next NYC remodel includes turning two units into one, you should know a few things before starting your project:
While there aren’t any specific areas in NYC that make combining two apartments easier, there are some elements you need to consider. For example, your condo or co-op board will need to approve the apartment combination before you can file your plans and receive permits.
It’s typically easier to get approval for adjoining two apartments on the same floor than for a vertical combination. And if you’re the first owner in your building to try getting a combo approved, you might have a harder time than if others have combined units before.
If you’re able to make a pre-construction purchase, your combination will be easier. If you’re buying an older unit, however, you’re opening the door for asbestos or use of rarer, older materials that aren’t as readily available compared with newer products. Either way, you should be prepared for larger costs associated with electric and plumbing because taking down walls, rewiring, and rerouting pipes to create new spaces is complicated.
You can’t assume you’ll be able to live in one unit while the other is being remodeled. It’s possible, sure, but it’s not ideal. Different floor types and heights will likely require work to be done in both units to make them uniform. The same is true for ceiling and door heights.
You also can’t count on having the ability to move a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room to a previously “dry” area, like a closet or living room, during your upscale home remodel. Wet over dry areas have the potential to create a liability, which is one of the main reasons projects fail to receive approval.
Most buildings do not allow the removal of a unit’s main entry door, the one that is visible from the hallway or other common area. Some buildings might allow you to wall off the entry from the inside, but the door usually must remain.
Be aware that your timeline might need to be extended if a lot of plumbing work is involved — that leads to open-wall inspections by the Department of Buildings as well as a lot of red tape. If you’ve renovated an apartment in the past, don’t expect a project of this scope to be finished just as quickly.
As long as you’re prepared to face some of these challenges head-on, you’ll reap the benefits of a successful house renovation.
How a Design-Build Firm Can Help
Many moving parts are involved in a New York City remodel, especially one that involves combining two units into a single home. There’s the planning and design phase, the board approval phase, the Department of Buildings approval phase, the material selection and procurement phase, and the building phase. You need a luxury home remodeler to supervise all those moving parts.
The most effective way to organize and manage a project of this scope is to centralize the processes under one roof — and that’s exactly where Gallery Kitchen & Bath brings the most value to our customers. As a design, selection, and build firm that specializes in the renovation of apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, we have a wide range of experience working on these projects. And we handle everything so you don’t have to.
Hiring and coordinating the work for a designer, an architect, and a contractor while also choosing and procuring all the materials for a project can get costly and chaotic fast. And ensuring transparency among all your vendors is nearly impossible. Our all-inclusive, turnkey approach means you don’t have to manage multiple vendors and all the moving parts yourself.
At Gallery, we employ designers, plumbers, electricians, architects, project managers, foremen, and carpenters so every aspect of your remodel is under control. We handle the process from start to finish, ensuring every element of the project meets your expectations.
If you’re planning a remodel that involves multiple units, contact us today to see how our all-inclusive, turnkey approach can help bring your dreams to life.