Amy and her husband John were looking to combine two small apartments in a classic Art Deco building in Union Square. The couple had shared a relatively comfortable space in Astoria Queens for several years but the toll of a daily 45 minute commute to their jobs in lower Manhattan, along with a chance at easier access to nearby schools and daycare for their five-year-old meant they were very open to the possibility of moving into Manhattan.
“We are well aware of the irony. Most people, when their family is growing, look to move out of the city. We went in the other direction completely,” says John with a smile.
When Amy spotted a listing for a one bedroom and studio apartments in Union Square on Streeteasy.com she was excited at the possibility of making a new home among the hubbub and urban clutch of chic coffee shops and quaint bookstores that have come to define this burgeoning neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Plus the location was literally blocks from her place of work.
NYC Renovation Calculator
About Bolster's NYC Renovation Calculator: Bolster's Renovation Calculator enables you to easily calculate the estimated cost of a major New York City renovation. All you'll need to know is 1) the scope, complexity, and type of your project, 2) the quality of your desired finishes, and 3) the area being renovated. [Hint: Bookmark this page for easy reference!]
About Bolster: Bolster is a New York City design-build firm that delivers a seamless, radically transparent renovation experience--beginning with a line-by-line cost estimate that empowers you to plan your scope, budget, and schedule.
Standard: The quality of the finish is acceptable with attention to detail but reliant on big-box store sourced cabinetry, MDF etc.
Mid Range: The quality of the finish is good (grade A) with attention to detail but reliant on big-box store sourced cabinetry, MDF etc.
High Range: The quality of finish is high (grade AA) and customized with fine finishes and materials being used that can last years, if not a lifetime.
Upscale: The quality of finish is the highest possible (grade AAA) and labor-intensive, with every surface bespoke, new, and beautifully finished.
Low: Simple design, no layout or structural changes, elevator in building.
Medium: Average design, moving of some systems and/or structural changes, no elevator in the building.
High: Complex design, complicated engineering, lots of logistics (e.g. boom lifts, suspended scaffolds, etc.), dangerous working conditions.
Small: Changes to surfaces only (e.g. painting, tiling).
Medium: Small + Changes to the finishes themselves (e.g. removing plaster, replacing flooring etc).
Large: Small + Medium + Changes to the building's infrastructure (e.g. replacing all systems, walls, floor joists etc).
Design & Build: Full architectural services including schematic design, design development, construction drawings and approvals from the DoB and full build services.
Build with some Design: Full build services and some design with minimum compliance.
Build Only: Full build services with no design input (performed by another architect or not required at all).
Project Cost0 0
Materials & Finishes0 0
Architect Fees0 0
Third Parties0 0
Skilled Labor0 0
Project & Site Management0 0
Workers Comp Insurance0 0
Contractor Overhead0 0
Contractor Profit0 0
General Liability Insurance0 0
“We knew from the start that we actually needed a three-bedroom apartment. So when I saw the listing, we pounced. We have a five-year-old, and at the time I was pregnant with twins,” Amy told us.
The couple immediately saw a chance to expand their nest. Combining the one bedroom with the studio apartment next door should give them enough space to create a decent sized three-bedroom apartment. Surely a rare find in what’s quickly becoming one of the pricier areas of Manhattan.
Amy and John's real estate broker, Jared Blumberg of Bold New York, knew there were some obstacles to overcome before going into contract on both apartments. “Putting a deal like this together on the brokerage side, with two sellers, each with a broker, and us, was more complicated than your normal transaction. But, the finished product was more than worth it!” said Blumberg.
Dealing with the building's co-op board was a bit more tricky however. Amy and John’s proposed renovation request would be only the second time in the building's history that a tenant would be allowed to combine apartments, and there were concerns about messing with the buildings aging electrical system. Plus John and Amy would be the only family in the building with three small children. However after some initial wrangling, cooler heads prevailed and the couple was given permission to proceed.
Working closely with Bolster architect Agustin Ayuso the couple was able to realize their vision. The project would require decommissioning the kitchen in the old studio space and breaking through a wall to connect the two apartments. The new spaces were transformed into two kids’ bedrooms. And to finish, the floors were upgraded and the walls freshly painted.
The end result lived up to Amy and John’s vision of a spacious, well-lit three bedroom with dedicated rooms for their three kids, a comfortable living room and a master bedroom that they could hide away in.
The project was completed for $350K. The entire renovation took just four months to complete and the family is settling in nicely. There have been a few noise complaints, but ironically the trouble makers are the three college age tenants upstairs that insist on having a weekly fantasy football party. Amy and John are taking it in stride. “We live in Union Square!”
The Bolster Smart Renovation Zero-Risk Guarantee
How can a design-build firm guarantee a Zero-Risk renovation?
Bolster has pioneered Smart Renovation. We apply quantitative analysis along with our proprietary technology solution to identify and quantify the performance risk on every renovation project. The result is a personalized strategic approach to each renovation that allows us to absorb 100% of the homeowner’s risk. Your home will be beautifully designed, and delivered on-time and on-budget. That is our guarantee.
Smart Renovation & Zero-Risk means that Homeowners are now free to dream.
To start your major home renovation project visit bolster.us
The Bolster Promise video