How Long Does A Full Apartment Renovation In New York City Take?

Remodeling in NYC? Familiarize yourself with every aspect of a full apartment renovation timeline.

August 19, 2020


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How Long Does A Full Apartment Renovation In New York City Take?

Full apartment renovation timelines differ based on the specifics of each individual project and a realistic renovation timeline consists of numerous parts.

Inevitably, clients are curious about timelines. The first question we typically get in the consultation process is, “so, how long will this renovation take?” Fair enough.

Our process is generally dictated by the nuances of each respective renovation, and the timeline for a kitchen renovation and bathroom renovation are a bit easier to ballpark, but renovating a full apartment naturally takes more into consideration.

While there is always a range based on the specific work, the renovation timeline for a complete renovation of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1700-square foot apartment, in which we update every aspect of the space, takes roughly 5-6 months. In addition, 4-6 months worth of planning are typically necessary prior to actually starting demolition and construction. With those two pillars of the timeline in place, let’s break down what the full renovation journey actually entails.

4-6 Months: Planning

The planning phase is especially vital prior to a full renovation of an apartment due to the large amount of moving parts. At Gallery, as a turnkey design-build firm, we take great pride in fully streamlining the renovation process for our clients. The planning phase includes the following:

Architectural Drawing

Our architects produce the drawings that are filed with the building management companies and later with the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). All drawings are reviewed with clients prior to submission to ensure any adjustments to the desired floor plan meet expectations.

All Design Work

We execute all aspects of the apartment renovation design - not only from an architectural and space planning perspective, but the aesthetic of the interior design. This means we review all design options with our clients, offering contemporary, farmhouse, transitional, or any other preferred style. This is a key benefit of working with a design-build firm.

Material Selection & Procurement

With as much input from the client as desired, we select all finishes and fixtures for the project. This includes all tiles and stones for backsplashes and countertops, custom cabinets and vanities, paint colors, wood for new flooring planks, plumbing fixtures, finishes of all stripes, and any other materials required to complete the entire renovation. Once the selections have been made, we confirm lead times to ensure they align with the production schedule and then procure, warehouse, and handle all finishes. We are brand agnostic and source materials from wherever is needed to ensure we meet the client’s desired design, including commissioning custom pieces from overseas or local artisans - like the marble bathroom counter slab we had designed for this East Village bathroom renovation.

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. See an example of a recently-completed kitchen render for a full Manhattan apartment renovation we're currently working on below: 

Design render of kitchen for upcoming Manhattan apartment renovation.

Building Board Approval Process

Each building has their own process as far as approving renovations to the space, and we handle all the necessary communication with the building’s designated reviewing architect and management company.

NYC Dept of Buildings Approval Process

Of course, New York City Department of Buildings has their own approval process and our services include navigating and expediting all city approvals and permitting.

LPC Approval Process, If Landmarked

If the property is historic, we’ll also need to get the renovation approved by the Landmark Preservation Commission or at the least have LPC issue a certificate of no effect (if there is no exterior work that must meet LPC approval).

Four-Six Months: Demo to Completion

Once design and approvals are settled, the demolition and build portion of the full apartment renovation begin. In our example, a full renovation entails three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, and all the flooring throughout a 1700-square foot apartment, in which we update every single aspect of the space.

Floors & Walls

Living area from renovation of Brooklyn brownstone. View full renovation before and after.

Floors are a huge component of a full apartment renovation. Refinishing old floors saves time and cost, but entirely updating (or restoring) floors is a common desire in many apartment renovations. We tear out the old planks or tiles, and install new ones throughout. Or, we fully restore the original planks, if requested. Full renovations usually include wall updates too, whether we paint, skim coat, install wallpaper, or a combination of all.

Bathrooms & Kitchens

Bathrooms and kitchens are often the focal point of many renovations and usually have the most moving parts in terms of materials and additional architectural factors. This includes updating electric or plumbing and reconfiguring floor plans to add or remove islands, turn tubs into showers, and other modernizing changes. Some apartments require us to consider wet-over-dry restrictions, which dictate where plumbing fixtures can be located.

Room Creation & Built-Ins

To maximize small spaces, we often build closets or turn existing ones into laundry rooms. Or, we’ll similarly design and create custom built-ins. These are common features in pre-war apartments and brownstones, such as nooks in kitchens or extra storage in bedrooms. In this Brooklyn brownstone kitchen renovation, we refinished the original window moldings and wood casings, as well as renovated and repurposed the brownstone’s original built-in arches - originally used as closets - into a nook with extra storage.

City Factors

Construction is generally more time consuming in New York City apartment renovations, due to the confined space of the buildings themselves. We have to carry out chunks of old, broken pieces of wall in buckets by hand, for example. Another factor is time itself, as many buildings have designated construction times (IE: no noisy work before or after certain times), which can extend timelines.

Timelines Are Key

Being realistic with job timelines is essential because clients make decisions based on them. One way we strengthen trust is through JobTracker, the project management app we use to stay in touch with clients. Clear communication is always available regarding site visits - full project schedules with projected timelines and granular views into material delivery or pick-up, demo days, or any other activity. In short, every single detail is entered into the system to create an ongoing document that keeps everyone informed.

So, how long does a full apartment renovation take? The broad answer is 5-6 months, with 90-120 days of planning. See some examples of projects below with similar timelines:

Tribeca Loft Renovation 

See how we completely refreshed a 2,000-square-foot penthouse with a new kitchen, new bathrooms, new floors and updated lighting via a before and after of the full renovation.

Brooklyn Condo Renovation 

In this BK condo renovation, we upgraded the kitchen, remodeled multiple bathrooms, and added new flooring and painting throughout. See the full condo renovation via our before and after.

Manhattan Co-Op Renovation 

This apartment renovation on the Upper West Side consisted of a remodeled kitchen, an upgraded master bathroom with walk-in shower, new hardwood flooring, plus new closets, interior doors, and radiator covers. See the full co-op renovation via our before and after.

Apartment Combination In Westside Manhattan 

This Columbus Circle renovation required us to combine two apartments and fully renovate the kitchen and bathroom, with new floors, doors, paint, and general carpentry work. See before + afters of the full apartment combination renovation

Full Home Renovation Contractors In New York City

Searching for the right design-build firm to do a full apartment renovation in New York City? Our start-to-finish approach ensures a seamless experience, with the highest quality materials, project management, and build. Learn more about Gallery or contact us to see why our New York City apartment renovation and remodeling services are the most mindful choice when considering a residential renovation in Manhattan or Brooklyn.

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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