8 Top NYC Home Remodeling Tips

Learn our top tips for a totally streamlined NYC home remodel to make the most of your renovation.

May 11, 2024


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8 Top NYC Home Remodeling Tips

Our priority tips for a totally streamlined NYC home remodel help simplify a complicated process.

Table of Contents

When a potential client is considering an apartment remodel in NYC, we always start by asking how the space will be used. Do you like having friends and family over? Are you planning to sell or is this your forever home? With an understanding of the owner’s goal, creating a renovation plan for a space that is both stylish and functional becomes much more realistic. 

Below are eight tips to consider before remodeling in NYC. 

[#Decide]Decide Design Style Before Remodel Begins[#Decide]

Before anything can take shape on a NYC remodel, the design style for the new home must be decided. Will there be a high-end, contemporary approach, or a more warming mid-century modern touch? Finding examples of the aesthetic goals will help an experienced eye better differentiate between the must-haves and nice-to-haves of the renovation. For design inspiration, view these Interior Design Trends In 2023

[#Intent]Renovate With Intent[#Intent]

Understanding the intent of a renovation is key to a proper remodel plan. Owners living in the home long-term have different needs than those looking for a quick-flip and short-term ROI. Kitchen and bathroom renovations have some of the strongest ROI upon resale, but don’t get too unique or custom, as bold design choices tend to date themselves. However, if moving seems unlikely, consider more personal and extravagant aesthetics when renovating. 

Living room of 4,000 square foot Manhattan pre-war co-op renovation at 1035 5th Ave. View full renovation before and after.

[#Budget]Set A Budget (With Wiggle Room)[#Budget]

Knowing how much budget is available is essential to a smooth remodel in NYC. Having a baseline allows backwards budgeting, adding all costs until the total budget is met. A budget also allows owners to more effectively shop between contractors, as quality contractors will be able to better assess the viability of goals based on the proposed budget. We always recommend adding some wiggle room to a remodel budget. Every remodel has unexpected costs, so be prepared to pay beyond base budget. 

[#Prepare]Prepare To Redefine Your Comfort Zone[#Prepare]

Owners currently living in the space being renovated should prepare to navigate a few uncomfortable realities. If you’re renovating the only bathroom in the home, what accommodations can you make for the next few weeks? If you’re having new floors installed, will you have somewhere to store your furniture until moving back in? If going the full gut renovation route, is there a friend or relative nearby who can accommodate? These are questions to consider when planning a home remodel in NYC. 

[#Combine]Combine Renovation Projects When Possible[#Combine]

Renovations are stressful, so why not combine the disruption into a single project? If prepared and budget allows, we recommend renovating multiple aspects of the home at once. 

With a complete renovation plan, there are even more ways to augment nice-to-have list items into must-have alterations. Plus, the increased project size means owners are less likely to change their mind halfway through the project and go over budget (like 30% of those who alter plans mid-renovation). 

[#Regret]Be Willing To Compromise Without Regret[#Regret]

Keep in mind every renovation comes with compromises, and no matter what pivots must be made, having a realized dream home will be worth the investment. For instance, finally having an updated kitchen layout and fixtures will be priceless, with or without those specific shelves from that two-year-old AD magazine. The good news is working with an all-inclusive design-build firm helps make the most of all directions presented - whether anticipated or not. 

Blended kitchen and dining area in Brooklyn condo renovation. View full renovation before and after.

[#Permits]Consider Permits And Inspections[#Permits]

If the remodel or renovation requires adjustment of any internal elements of the home (IE: plumbing, electrical, etc), the following permits and tests may be required prior to any work: 

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 an NYC apartment renovation. 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. 

Plumbing Inspection

Required if areas touching plumbing will be renovated, such as the kitchen or bathroom.  

Building, Electrical, and Plumbing Permits from Department Of Building

Navigating management companies, co-op boards, and city agencies can be a cumbersome process. 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. 

Also consider approval processes 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.

Open floor plan kitchen and dining from our Manhattan renovation at 130 E 18th. View full renovaiton before and after.

[#Research]Research Multiple Contractors And Renovation Methods[#Research]

Once all details above are settled, research various contractors and ask lots of questions before hiring (Read: 5 Questions To Ask A Contractor Before Hiring). Experienced contractors will be able to answer all with ease, offering additional direction and insight that hadn’t been considered. Additionally, consider that a traditional contractor or architect may not be the ideal for your specific renovation and a more complete and akll-inclusive approach may be more appropriate for a job like yours. Read in depth about why a full-service design-build firm is more ideal than ever for New York City apartment renovations.

Why Gallery KBNY’s Design-Build Approach Is The Right Choice For Apartment Remodels In NYC

Thinking about renovating your New York apartment, loft, brownstone, or condo? As a full-service design-build firm in New York City, Gallery handles home renovations from start to finish, driving all aspects of a renovation from interior design and architectural planning to building board management and construction. Ready to renovate? Contact us for a consultation.

Chief Revenue Officer

Alex Ushyarovhttps://www.gallerykbny.com/authors/alex-u

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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