Pre-War Apartment Renovation Contractors In New York City

Boasting premium locale and timeless historic charm, pre-war apartments in New York City are forever in demand. When nurtured, these often century-old properties emit an elegance rare in modern architecture, leaving pre-war residents as gatekeepers of past metropolitan elegance.

Pre-war apartment renovations NYC


However, a rich history doesn’t come without flaws. As experienced pre-war renovation contractors in New York City, Gallery KBNY helps clients turn their pre-war palettes into masterpieces. We also know how much work is needed before each unveiling. Thanks to scattered ownership and inevitable decay, pre-war properties often require significant planning and renovation before they can meet their full and pristine potential.

Pre-war apartment renovation Manhattan

What Is Involved In A Pre-War Renovation?

PLANNING & PREP | Legalities & Logistics

Surprises when renovating a NYC apartment are common, but the chances issues may arise during inspection of a pre-war property in NYC are much higher. Due to their age, these seasoned properties typically have extensive owner history spanning 100 years-plus, making shotty handyman work or outdated materials likely and pre-reno inspections a must. We handle the following inspections, permits, and testing for our clients before any pre-war renovation in New York City:

Pre-war apartment renovation New York City
Pre-war condo renovation New York City

Plumbing Inspection

Corroded plumbing is a common discovery upon inspection of a pre-war home, especially those in estate condition. Typically previous owners weren't even aware of the issue, resulting in substantial corrosion. Replacing corroded plumbing will extend demolition timelines, but removal is a must before proceeding with renovations.

Asbestos Test

Testing for asbestos in the early planning stages is not only smart planning but often required in order to file architectural plans. As part of this process we plan for any added effort required for removal or see if there are workaround cost saving measures that can leave the asbestos undisturbed. By law, if work disturbs the asbestos, mitigation is required and bringing in an asbestos remediation company for asbestos removal and air quality monitoring is likely needed. However if preliminary tests confirm asbestos won’t be disturbed during the work, we’ll plan to avoid the area and issue altogether.

Electrical Test

There are two main reasons electrical tests are required before pre-war renovations. The first is to confirm there is no cloth wiring, which was common in the 40’s/50’s and will not pass inspection. The second is to ensure the electrical capacity of the apartment can handle the proposed electrical load requirements of the renovation - which isn’t always the case in older buildings.

Building, Electrical, and Plumbing Permits from Department Of Buildings

Navigating management companies, co-op boards, and city agencies can be a cumbersome process. As a full service design & build firm, we take on every aspect of the planning, approval,  and renovation process on our clients behalf. This includes the production and filing of all architectural plans along with obtaining all building, plumbing, and electrical permits. At times this also includes handling all landmarked related approvals.

In addition we also fully take on the approval process with the building management company and co-op board.

Landmark Applications via Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC)

A landmark approval is only needed if the property is designated a landmark or on a landmarked street). If landmark, the LPC must also approve all exterior street facing materials and design aesthetics prior to implementation, otherwise an LPC certificate of no effect is obtained.

Pre-war apartment renovation NYC

PLANNING & PREP | Architectural Drawing and DOB Filings

Most entire apartment renovations require architectural plans to be approved by the building reviewing architect along with the NYC Dept of Buildings. As a full service design & build firm, we take on all architectural planning and filings with our award winning in-house design team and architects.

PLANNING & PREP | Interior Design

Settling on a design style before diving into the renovation is vital, so architectural plans can account for preference. Our end-to-end design-build process will help enhance your design goals by guiding them from fruition to execution by our award-winning in-house design team.

PLANNING & PREP | Material Selection + Procurement

The most hands-on aspect of any pre-war renovation is finding materials to bring the chosen interior design style to life. That entails paint color, accent walls, flooring, mouldings, fixtures, countertops, and more. As a full-service design-build firm we take on the design, sourcing, and procurement of every permanent fixture in your home.

PLANNING & PREP | Design Renders

Visualizing a finished space prior to breaking ground is essential for any well thought out design process. This is why we utilize life like 3D renderings that include every aspect of the design - down to the cabinet color and hardware. These high-end renderings provide a visual accompaniment to the blueprint that guides construction.


  • Demolition Phase
  • Initial Inspections
  • Framing & Rough Carpentry
  • Electrical & Plumbing
  • Finish Carpentry & Fixtures
  • Final Inspections & Walk-Through
Pre-war kitchen renovation New York City

Pre-War Apartment Renovation Timeline

Every pre-war apartment renovation timeline looks different. On average, expect timelines similar to these:

Renovation Timeline | Planning & Prep

In a pre-war renovation that doesn’t require building additional rooms or significantly restructuring the apartment, the planning process takes approximately 90-120 days. A common factor that can extend the planning phase is whether proposed renovation takes place in a landmarked building or whether the renovation requires architectural plans. In this scenario, the plans must first be submitted to the building's reviewing architect for approval.

Renovation Timeline | Construction & Construction Management

Every project is different and the respective timelines are impacted by the scope, site conditions and building rules. On average a full renovation of a classic 6, 7, or 8 apartment renovation takes 5-7 months although timelines can vary based on the specific factors.

Pre-war kitchen reno New York City
Pre-war kitchen renovation Manhattan

Costs of Pre-War Apartment Renovations

The cost of any renovation is dependent on existing site conditions, clients’ design aesthetics/preferences, and the actual scope of the project. A pre-war apartment is no different. However, a good rule of thumb for an entire pre war apartment renovation is $350-550 per square foot as an all in cost.

Pre-War Apartment Renovation Options

Our pre-war apartment renovation options are unlimited, meaning clients ultimately decide their needs based on preliminary design discussions. For example’s sake, a full pre-war apartment renovation in NYC may include:

  • Integrated Smart Home Technology
  • Full Kitchen Renovation (Fixtures, Appliances, Countertops, Backsplash, Island)
  • Multiple Bathroom Renovation (Fixtures, Shower/Bath, Vanity, Tiling & Ceramics)
  • Hardwood Flooring and/or Carpet Installation
  • Pre-War Restoration (Flooring, Framing, Moulding)
  • Custom Window Treatments + Fabrication/Installation
  • Paint Color + Wall Covering
  • Lighting + Electrical Fixture
  • Custom Carpentry (Cabinets, Closet Builds, Millwork, Finish Carpentry)
  • Plumbing Selections
Pre-war bathroom renovation New York City
Pre-war apartment renovation NYC

NYC Contractor With Pre-War Experience

We use a consultative and partnership philosophy with our clients. As a design-build firm with expertise in pre-war apartment renovations in NYC, we offer budgetary insights to suggest priorities, helping find the middle ground between client goals and staying within budget.

All Renovation Services Under One Roof

Strong communication is essential to a successful renovation, which is why each project is assigned a dedicated team with one central and main point of contact.

Extensive Planning To Avoid Unexpected Costs/Delays

With a full-service team of design and construction professionals accustomed to the complexities of pre-war NYC renovations, we make change orders and mid-project budget adjustments much less likely by our in-depth planning process.

Licensed Contractors In New York City

When renovating your pre-war apartment with Gallery, rest assured you’re in good hands. We are fully licensed with the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and the New York City Department of Buildings. We also carry lead-safe and Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications, as well as all other necessary certifications. Finally, we carry insurance that’s significantly higher than the required limits ($5 million in general liability, $1 million in workers’ compensation, and $3 million in auto).

Examples Of Our Pre-War Renovations In New York City

Pre-war apartment renovation NYC

Manhattan Classic 8 Pre-War Apartment Renovation

Many elements of this Upper West Side pre-war apartment were entirely out of character with the historic charm inherent to the appeal of many pre-war apartments. To bring the entire space into design sync we crafted a transitional style to match the original details, refinishing and restoring the moldings and other fine details while bringing in modern touches where needed. View the full renovation via our before and after

Pre-war apartment renovation NYC

Manhattan Pre-War Apartment Renovation

In this Manhattan pre-war classic six renaissance palazzo apartment renovation, the clients wanted to pay homage to the original historic details while mixing in contemporary touches. The apartment is a classic six on the Upper West Side and was in estate condition, having been untouched in some 50-60 years. Fun Fact: Our renovations added nearly $1 million in value to this apartment, which was featured in the New York Times. View the full pre-war renovation via our before and after.

Helpful Pre-War Renovation Articles

Looking to enhance and modernize the industrial-chic design of your loft kitchen? See how we renovated this historic Soho loft. Is your preferred design style contemporary? See how we brought this Brooklyn brownstone kitchen to life, complete with fully custom Miralis flat-panel kitchen cabinets. Does mid-century Scandinavian design make your eyes light up? Take a look at this Columbus Circle space, where we seamlessly combined two apartments into one. Whether you have a highly specific theme in mind or need some help to figure out exactly what your aesthetic is, our team has the experience to do it all, and then some.

Pre-war bedroom renovation NYC
Pre-war bedroom renovation NYC

Why A Design-Build Approach Is Ideal For Pre-War Renovations In NYC

Apartment renovations in New York City can be particularly challenging due to the multiple moving parts such as the various required approvals and the unique dynamics of working in older buildings. That statement goes double for pre-war apartments, which usually require additional technical work, planning, and a keen design eye to ensure the aesthetic never slips out of sync with the pre-war sensibility of the architecture. As a full service design & build firm, we streamline the entire design, planning, and renovation process under one roof.

If you are looking to renovate a pre-war apartment or brownstone in New York City, learn more about Gallery KBNY or contact us to leverage our full-service, design-build approach that will handle every aspect of the pre-war renovation process from start to finish.




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