Design-Build: The Best Method For Your NYC Apartment Renovation

Combining design, architecture, and build under one roof to deliver beautiful projects on time and on budget.

September 28, 2020


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Design-Build: The Best Method For Your NYC Apartment Renovation

Most people know the process of making updates to one’s home as renovation or remodeling, but there's more to the story than meets the eye. Enter design-build firms, which combine the communication between designers, builders, and architects, under one roof.

Table of contents

Since design-build brings all aspects of a home renovation under one roof, a design-build firm like Gallery is often the ideal method for New York City apartment renovations.

[#What]What Is Design-Build?[#What]

The design-build firm model maintains responsibility for the entirety of a renovation project. Put another way, a design-build firm includes both the architect, designer and builder working for the same company, turning three or four relationships into one.

[#Why]So Why Not Just An Architect?[#Why]

A design-build firm includes an architect in-house, but your renovation also gets the added benefit of experts in design and construction under one roof. A full service design firm also contains a dedicated procurement team and an expeditor navigating the tricky NYC formalities. For more specific distinction, read The Pros And Cons Of Design-Build Vs. Architectural Firms.

Kitchen from Brooklyn loft renovation via our NYC renovation portfolio.

[#Delivery]Design-Build vs Traditional Project Delivery (Design-Bid-Build)[#Delivery]

While design-bid is a full-service renovation solution, the more traditional design-bid-build renovation method requires the would-be client to contract a designer or architect to plan and render the project design. They then bid out the construction to a separate build contractor, who may then bid it out to various subcontractors. Designers and contractors are not always contractually obliged to one another and often require coordination from the client to manage the project.

For more information on these main two types of home renovation, read Design-Build Vs Design-Bid-Build: What’s The Difference? 

[#benefits]Benefits of Design-Build[#benefits]

Streamlined Communication

With so many moving parts during a home renovation, effective communication is a must. Since design-build firms have all parties involved under one roof, communication between design and construction is seamless and leaves minimal project management for the client. 

Extensive Planning To Avoid Unexpected Costs/Delays

With a full-service team of design and construction professionals experienced in the complexities of specialty NYC home renovations, design-build firms make change orders and mid-project budget adjustments much less likely.

Board Approval And Permit Pros

We take on the responsibility of handling all red tape involved in a NYC renovation, at no additional cost. This includes reviewing and satisfying a condo board’s alteration agreement, filing all relevant architectural plans with the Department Of Buildings, and procurement of all necessary permits. We also handle all LPC approvals and requirements. In addition, we also fully take on the approval process with the building management company and co-op board.

Master bedroom from a classic 8 pre-war apartment renovation in Manhattan from our portfolio.

[#Process]Design-Build Process[#Process]

PLANNING & PREP | Legalities & Logistics 

We handle the following inspections, permits, and testing for our clients before any home renovation in New York City: 

  • Plumbing Inspection 
  • Asbestos Test
  • Electrical Test
  • Building, Electrical, and Plumbing Permits from Department Of Buildings
  • Approval Process with Building Management Company and Co-op Board
  • Building Alteration Agreement & Corresponding Requirements 
  • Landmark Applications via Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC)

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.

Living room and kitchen from Brooklyn condo renovation from our portfolio.

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 style, 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

After all materials have been sourced, we create life-like digital renderings of what the renovated space will look like upon completion. This includes 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
Kitchen and living room from full apartment renovation in Manhattan via our portfolio.

[#FAQs]Design-Build FAQs[#FAQs]

What Projects Does Design-Build Cover?

With a design-build firm, anything is possible. Design-build renovations aren’t limited to any specific job size, type, or style. If you want a full brownstone renovation in Brooklyn or a luxury Sky Loft Kitchen Renovation, design-build construction is ideal, offering a full-service approach including all aspects of a robust and often cumbersome process. If you’re looking for a smaller-sized project or single room remodel, Design-Build may be more than required for the job.

Do Clients Forfeit Control During A Design-Build Project?

Absolutely not. Our design-build process might be full-service, but our clients are included in every step of the renovation process. Each project has a dedicated in-house designer and project manager, who deliver timely updates throughout the renovation, offering opportunities for client input at every stage of the process. Plus, all updates are recorded daily and conveniently available for review via our JobTracker app.

[#Before]Design-Build Before + Afters[#Before]

Upper West Side Pre-war Co-Op Renovation

When we were enlisted for this co-op renovation on the Upper West Side, the prime pre-war space needed some work. The family recently purchased the Manhattan home near Broadway with the intention of reinvigorating the spacious property without losing the historic character. With a speciality in pre-war renovations in NYC, we were happily up for the challenge. View the full renovation via our Before + After portfolio here.

Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation In Bed-Stuy

In one of our biggest renovations to date, Gallery KBNY undertook the complete overhaul and gut renovation of a Brooklyn brownstone, standing four-stories in the heart of Bed-Stuy, that involved touching every square inch of the entire space. The owner of this property, a real estate developer who was looking for a full-service design-build firm to handle the entire process, hired Gallery and tasked us with creating an owner’s quadplex with a separate garden studio apartment as a rental unit. View the full renovation via our Before + After portfolio here.

[#Choose]Why Choose Gallery for Design-Build Construction in NYC[#Choose]

When working with Gallery KBNY, our clients rest easy knowing we plan, design, and execute all of our NYC home renovations with customer care front and center. To see for yourself, learn more about Gallery, view a portfolio of our work, or contact us to take the next step towards your upcoming renovation.

Chief Revenue Officer

Alex Ushyarov

Alex Ushyarov is the Chief Revenue Officer of Gallery KBNY, a full service design-build firm specializing in the design and interior renovation of apartments, townhomes, and lofts in NYC. Recognizing the importance of differentiation in a competitive industry, Alex has developed a clear and compelling brand identity for the company. Through meticulous market analysis and a deep understanding of customer needs, he has honed the firm's unique value proposition, highlighting its ability to deliver innovative, sustainable, and high-quality design-build solutions.




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