Combining Two NYC Apartments Into One? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you are combining two NYC apartments, there are a few things you should know before taking on this scale of a project.

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Combining Two NYC Apartments Into One? Here’s What You Need to Know

Combining two NYC apartments can be an enticing option in New York City, but there are many pros and cons to consider beforehand.

Are you or your family cramped in your current NYC apartment and considering moving to find more flexibility? If the answer is yes, but you're hesitant to take on the logistical headache associated with moving in New York City, consider combining two apartments. While not always an immediate option, purchasing a neighboring apartment combining it with your existing space can often be the path of least resistance for those looking to expand their footprint in NYC.

Is Combining Two Apartments A Better Option Than Buying One Large Apartment?

There are various pros and cons of combining two apartments in NYC, but let's start with the pros: 

Cost Effective

Combining two apartments is oftentimes a better option than buying one large apartment, simply because purchasing and combining an adjacent unit next door is typically more cost effective on a per square foot basis compared to purchasing a new apartment with the already combined square footage. Another way to think about this is that combining apartments is one of the common ways to unlock value in NYC. 

Peace of Mind

Factor in the additional inconvenience of uprooting family and day-to-day routines, and the decision starts to seem like a no-brainer.

Added Resale Value

For those who aren’t looking to move, hearing a neighbor is selling their unit at a bargain — perhaps due to its subpar condition or an estate sale — could make way for a wise investment decision. Knowing that a renovated three-bedroom unit will carry a higher price per square foot than the current unit makes the deal even sweeter.

Living area from apartment combination in westside Manhattan. View full renovation before and after.

Challenges When Combining Two NYC Apartments

If your NYC remodel includes turning two units into one, there are a few factors to consider before starting the project. As long as you’re prepared to face some of these challenges head-on, you’ll reap the benefits of a successful house renovation: 

Permits & Board Approvals 

While there aren’t any specific areas in NYC that make combining two apartments easier, there are some elements that should be considered. For example, condo or co-op boards will need to approve any apartment combination before plans can be filed and permits can be received.

When considering horizontal vs vertical apartment combinations, getting approval for combining two horizontal apartments on the same floor is typically easier than for a vertical combination. If you’re the first owner in your building joining two properties and trying to get approval, you might have a harder time than if others have combined units before.

Differences Between New vs Old Units 

If buying an older unit or in an older building, there's added potential for unfavorable site conditions such as asbestos or the need for significant electrical rewiring that add to the cost of your renovation. . Either way, be prepared for larger costs associated with electric and plumbing, because taking down walls, rewiring, and rerouting pipes to create new spaces is complicated.

Additionally, living in one unit while the other is being remodeled is typically not a realistic option since most apartment combinations touch both apartments simultaneously.. (Think, t different floor and door types,and  heights, along with integrating electrical circuitry in both units as some examples) 

You also can’t count on having the ability to move a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room to a previously “dry” area, like a closet or living room. Wet over dry areas have the potential to create a liability, which is one of the main reasons projects fail to receive approval. Important to note however that not all buildings have strict wet over dry restrictions. There are numerous buildings throughout Manhattan with lax wet over dry regulations.

Two Front Doors?

Most New York City buildings do not allow the removal of a unit’s main entry door, the one that is visible from the hallway or other common area. When joining two properties, some buildings might allow you to wall off the entry from the inside, but the door usually must remain.

Timeline Extensions 

Apartment combinations are typically larger projects in scope and thus involve significant time in the planning and production stage. On average they take 5-6 months in planning and another 5-7 months in construction.

Kitchen entryway and separate dining area from Manhattan apartment combination.

How a Design-Build Firm Can Help

Many moving parts are involved in a New York City remodel, especially one that involves combining two units into a single home. There’s the planning and design phase, the board approval phase, the Department of Buildings approval phase, the material selection and procurement phase, and the building phase. You need a luxury home remodeler with expertise in apartment combinations to supervise the various moving parts.

We Do It All So You Don't Have To

The most effective way to organize and manage a project of this scope is to centralize the processes under one roof — and that’s exactly where Gallery Kitchen & Bath brings the most value to our customers. As a full service design and build firm that specializes in the renovation of apartments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, we have a wide range of experience working on these projects. And we handle everything so you don’t have to.

All Under One Roof

Hiring and coordinating the work for a designer, an architect, and a contractor while also choosing and procuring all the materials for a project can get costly and chaotic fast. And ensuring transparency among all your vendors is nearly impossible. Our all-inclusive, turnkey approach means you don’t have to manage multiple vendors and all the moving parts yourself.

NYC Expertise

At Gallery, we employ interior designers, plumbers, electricians, architects, project managers, foremen, and carpenters so every aspect of your remodel is under control. We handle the process from start to finish, ensuring every element of the project meets your expectations. For an example of our expertise in combining apartments in NYC, dig into this recap of a project that found us combining two apartments into one for a pre-war apartment combination in Greenwich Village.

If you’re planning a remodel that involves combining two apartments into one, learn more about Gallery KBNY, view our apartment combination before and after portfolio, 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.




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