The Advantage of Fully-Integrated Design-Build Firms in NYC Apartment Renovations

Aiming for a sizable apartment renovation in NYC? Learn why an all-inclusive design-build approach presents the most client-friendly, comprehensive approach.

June 20, 2024


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The Advantage of Fully-Integrated Design-Build Firms in NYC Apartment Renovations

Apartment renovations in NYC have many moving parts, which makes having a partner who can manage them all seamlessly more valuable than ever.


When renovating your apartment in New York City, the decision between hiring an independent architect or opting for a fully-integrated design-build firm can be pivotal in the outcome of your renovation. While both options offer their own set of benefits, there are compelling reasons why choosing a firm that includes architects as part of their team is often the smartest choice for busy New Yorkers looking to renovate who value both design input and staying within budget.

[#Choosing]Choosing An Independent Architect, Opposed To Design-Build[#Choosing]

Before committing to an independent architect for your upcoming NYC renovation, consider the potential pitfalls these singular firms may present upon engagement. 

Independent Architects Don’t Always Prioritize Client

Let's address the elephant in the room first: the perception that independent architects prioritize their own interests over those of their clients. While it's unfair to generalize, there's a grain of truth to this sentiment. Independent architects are often celebrated for their uniqueness and creativity, reminiscent of architectural giants like Frank Lloyd Wright. While not always the case, their pursuit of industry recognition through prestigious publications can sometimes lead to inflated design budgets and clashes between aesthetics and functionality.

Costs Are Higher, Not Transparent Or Delivered Up-Front

Moreover, the transparency of costs can be murky with independent architects. Construction management fees, often essential for overseeing the project's execution, may only surface months into the process, making budgeting a daunting task. This lack of upfront clarity from many independent architects can lead to financial stress and uncertainty, detracting from the joy of renovating your home. 

Picture this scenario: you're envisioning a breathtaking apartment transformation, but as the project progresses, you find yourself relinquishing control as costs skyrocket. Independent architects may steer towards materials and designs that elevate the uniqueness of your space, but at a steep price. It's not uncommon for materials to cost 50-100% more when pursuing the one-of-a-kind appeal that independent architects aim for. This can leave you with a stunning apartment but a depleted bank account and minimal input on the final outcome.

Dining area from our full renovation of pre-war co-op In Manhattan at 1035 5th Avenue. View full renovation before and after.

[#Firm]Benefits Of A Fully-Integrated Design-Build Firm[#Firm]

So, what separates a design-build firm from an independent architect? Let’s review the main distinctions that make design-build a preferred option for those who want more control over their dream home renovation in NYC. 

Architects Part Of In-House Team 

Enter fully-integrated design-build firms, where architects are an integral part of the team from inception to completion. These all-inclusive renovation firms offer a holistic method that emphasizes collaboration, functionality, and cost-efficiency. By having architects, designers, and builders working seamlessly together under one roof, clients benefit from a streamlined process where design aspirations are balanced with proactive practical considerations.

Transparent Costs, Delivered Up Front In Process 

One of the most significant advantages of true design-build firms is the upfront transparency regarding costs. With all stakeholders involved from the outset, clients receive comprehensive project estimates that include construction management fees, minimizing unwelcome surprises down the line. This transparency builds trust and empowers clients to make informed decisions that align with their budget and vision.

Client-Focused Design 

Beyond the logistics of the process, the main differentiator between independent architects and our integrated design-build option is that a full-service firm like Gallery prioritizes client input throughout design and construction. Whether you prioritize functionality, sustainability, or aesthetics, your preferences are integrated into the design process, ensuring the final result reflects your unique style and needs.  


While independent architects certainly offer high-level creativity and vision, the benefits of opting for a fully-integrated design-build firm cannot be overstated. From transparent cost estimates to collaborative design processes, a true design-build firm offers a compelling alternative for NYC apartment renovations. Keep in mind, this requires being able to identify true design-build expertise, as many companies claim be design-build but aren't a full-service partner at all (Read: How To Distinguish True Design-Build Expertise For NYC Apartment Renovations). By choosing a truly fully-integrated team that values your input and prioritizes your interests, you can achieve the apartment of your dreams without breaking the bank. 

Considering an apartment renovation in New York City? View our portfolio of NYC renovation before and afters, learn more about Gallery, or contact us today. We are an award-winning design-build firm in New York City with a full-service approach to renovations in Manhattan and Brooklyn that includes everything from interior design and architecture services to filing permits and construction management. We’re experts in pre-war apartment renovations, apartment combinations, room creations, full gut renovations and all that falls in between. Let us bring your dream home to life.

Managing Partner/CEO

Avi Zikry

Avi Zikry is the CEO and managing partner of Gallery KBNY, a full service design-build firm specializing in the design and interior renovation of apartments, townhomes, and lofts in NYC. Under his leadership, Gallery KBNY has earned the reputation for delivering exceptional service and beautiful homes to our select group of clients. Avi's strategic positioning extends beyond the brand. He has strategically cultivated a network of industry partners and suppliers, forging strong alliances that allow Gallery KBNY to access cutting-edge technologies and materials. By staying abreast of industry trends and technological advancements, Avi ensures the firm remains at the forefront of innovation, consistently offering clients the latest design solutions and construction methodologies.




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