A Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation “Flips” for the Better


Living space and rental come together in this Brooklyn brownstone renovation

brownstone renovation, Brooklyn

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

  • Homeowners: Bellamy, an executive at The GAP, and Zak, a senior environmental scientist, posted their project on Sweeten
  • Where: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
  • Primary renovation: Three stories of a 2,400-square-foot Brooklyn brownstone
  • Notable: Swapping the positions of their renovated garden rental and owners’ duplex
  • Result: Better functionality for the two-family building
  • Sweeten general contractor
  • Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Guest post by Sweeten homeowner Bellamy

Finding their circa 1900 Brooklyn brownstone home

After a grueling year-long search, countless open houses, and one house lost in a bidding war, we found our home. Remarkably, it had everything we wanted: it was a two-family home in the heart of “brownstone” Brooklyn, with original hardwood floors. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built circa 1900. Many we viewed did not stand the test of time, but this home had been in the same family for years and did not show the usual wear-and-tear of a 100-year-old home. We were lucky, but it did need a major facelift.

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I was thankful to stumble upon Sweeten early in my renovation research for our brownstone in Brooklyn. While I had owned a home before, this was our first time doing a serious renovation that would require more than our DIY skills could handle.

The layout of the house and our budget did not afford us a ton of options, so the renovation was straightforward. We focused on structural changes to change the flow and use of the house. Thankfully, when we moved in, we were able to live in the garden floor apartment while we renovated the upper two floors where we would eventually live.

Salvaging and repurposing

We removed the original entry doors as you come into the entry foyer, but left the structural wall intact. This allowed the area to feel more open as you continue into the living area; it also gave back more livable space to work with. However, I loved the original details of the doors and wanted to find another use for them. Luckily, they just fit the ceiling clearance on the second floor and they found new life as the guest room headboard.

In the living room and through to the kitchen, we tore down two walls and exposed a long expanse of brick wall. The former owner had repointed the brick in the front room with black mortar, which was a real eyesore. When we exposed the whole length of the house, we were left with two walls that didn’t match. Limited by our budget, we repointed the half that was previously covered and experimented with painting techniques to blend the two together.

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An overhaul for the kitchen

I wanted the kitchen to be the focus of the home. There were three main obstacles: adding a door for backyard access, the ceiling height, and a non-negotiable double oven. I initially wanted to enlarge the back window above the sink to make it a focal point and let in more natural light. Not far along into the process, I had to abandon that idea since we were concerned with what the enlarged opening would do to the structural integrity of the home, given its age. It was also a huge expense so we chose to use those dollars elsewhere.

In the end, we actually made the window above the sink slightly smaller to allow for a proper backsplash. We replaced the second window with a door and added a small landing and stairs for easy backyard access.

The next question was how to vent the hood with 11-foot-high ceilings and open shelving left nowhere to hide. Ultimately, the ducting was kept exposed and vented directly through the wall outside. I love the industrial element it adds to the newly renovated space.

Lastly, where to fit the double oven? At first, I was concerned I would be giving up valuable pantry space, but the layout worked out perfectly and there was room for everything we wanted, even the custom built-in beverage taps. We are home-brewing enthusiasts and wanted a unique feature in our kitchen to showcase that.

WATCH: How Bellamy and Zak find their Sweeten contractor

Splurging and saving

The first-floor bath was an easy update. The layout was already functional, so we kept it as-is with a direct replacement—aka rip-and-replace—of all the fixtures. We were able to salvage the original door and reuse the existing tub. We later put our DIY skills to the test and added fun wallpaper and wainscoting.

My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

The top floor previously served as a separate apartment complete with its own kitchen. We wanted to have a master bedroom, master closet, master bathroom, guest bedroom, and laundry room. The tricky part was figuring out where to put everything. The pre-existing kitchen allowed us to easily add laundry without a huge expense. Once that was decided, everything else fell into place.

The master bedroom closet is a dream spot that had been a small room that our contractor converted. My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

Throughout the house, we did some major upgrades that elevate the whole space: we put up fresh drywall throughout the second floor, refinished the original floors in a dark walnut color, and replaced all the windows in the house.

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Managing the renovation budget and process

While I would not necessarily recommend living in a renovation (so much dust), it did allow us to check on the progress and be more involved in day-to-day decisions such as outlet locations and doorknob height. We optimistically thought the renovation would take three months, but we did add on some significant projects that stretched the timeline. Overall, the project took about five months to complete the top two floors with some minor updates in the garden apartment.

The budget was our major obstacle, but our Sweeten contractor was great at working with us to determine where we could splurge and where we could save. Once our contractor realized we were quite handy, we were able to figure out what we could do ourselves versus what we should leave to the professionals. For example, we chose to take on all the painting, which was a huge undertaking. I’m talking all ceilings, all walls, all trim, and multiple coats! I don’t think we understood what a huge task it was—and that in certain spaces, the contractor was unable to move forward until we completed painting. I’m glad we did it, but it was a grueling several months and I’m pretty sure I gave myself carpal tunnel.

Switching the brownstone layout

The biggest change in terms of the function of the home was separating the garden floor apartment from the upper two floors. In dividing the two, we were able to gain a coat closet in the apartment and additional storage space for us before the basement level. The ground floor is now available as its own standalone rental unit, while we live on the two floors above. Now that the house is done, I am so thankful we splurged on what we wanted—replacing the windows, skim-coating, and repointing the brick; those are some of my favorite things in the house.

Thanks to Bellamy and Zak for sharing your beautiful and unique Brooklyn brownstone renovation story with us! Here’s how they renovated their new garden rental space on a budget.

SHOPPING GUIDE

FOYER RESOURCES: Merola floor tile: Home Depot.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Vega brushed brass blush-mount lamp: CB2.

GROUND FLOOR BATH RESOURCES: Merola hex black floor tile: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile: Home Depot. Devine Color Speckled Dot peel-and-stick wallpaper: Target. Delta Foundations shower fixtures: Home Depot. ENSEN faucet: IKEA. Black towel bar hardware: CB2. The Copper Factory doorknob: Overstock.com. Godmorgon/Odensvik vanity and sink: IKEA. Framed fog-free wall mirror: Home Depot. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com.

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Merola floor tile, FRC8TWED: Home Depot. Kitchen cabinets: Custom. Omnia cabinet knobs, 9153/18.3: Build.com. Drawer pulls: Custom. Quartz countertops, 1141: Caesarstone. Jeffrey Court Fresh White backsplash tile, 96012: Home Depot. Olde London apron-front farmhouse fireclay sink, OL33SG: Home Depot. Kenmore refrigerator, 70423: Sears. Bosch dishwasher, SHVM78W53N: Sears. Whirlpool self-cleaning double electric wall oven, WOD51EC0AS: Lowe’s. Kenmore slide-in gas cooktop, 34913: Sears.

MASTER BATH RESOURCES: Carrara marble hex mosaic floor tile, C33XH: MarbleOnline.com. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile, 96012: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Retro Octagon White Dot shower floor tile, 96025: Home Depot. Towel bar and toilet paper holder: CB2. Delta Porter shower fixtures, 142984C-BN-A: Home Depot. Godmorgon/Odensvik sink and vanity, 291.852.39: IKEA. Vanity cabinet fronts: Semihandmade. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com. Home Decorators Collection framed fog-free wall mirror, 81160: Home Depot.

PAINT RESOURCES: Trim paint in Totally Black, HDC-MD-04: Behr. Wall paint in Pure White, PPU18-06: Behr.

See the downstairs rental results from Bellamy and Zek’s Brooklyn brownstone renovation story!

Remodel the brownstone of your dreams with help from our guide on purchasing and renovating a townhouse.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



Source link

Sweeten’s Guide to Hamptons Renovation Costs in 2020


Sweeten’s 2020 guide to Hamptons renovation costs, including kitchen, bath, and whole-home, plus permit tips

The Hamptons…the mere mention conjures up images of poolside luxury and endless summer. But what’s it really like to live—and renovate—there? If you’re considering buying a home in the East End to renovate, there are some things you should know. Luckily for you, we’ve done the homework! Read on to learn what to expect (and budget) for your Hamptons renovation costs. (Keep in mind that all projects are unique, and many variables will impact a remodel!)

Sweeten offers a guide to Hamptons renovation costs, focusing on four categories—cost per square foot, kitchen, bathroom, and permits. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Note: every expert contractor will want to have a detailed chat and inspection of your home before creating an estimate for your needs and wants.

Here’s a breakdown of typical Hamptons renovation costs, compiled from Sweeten renovations and Remodeling’s 2020 Cost vs. Value report.

  • Full home renovation: Starting at $100 per square foot (psf) with stock materials; high-end properties start at $250+ psf
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: $25,000 for under 100 square feet
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: $40,000—$75,000
  • High-end kitchen remodel: $75,000+
  • Low-end bath remodel: $20,000
  • Mid-range bath remodel: $25,000—$40,000
  • High-end bath remodel: $40,000—$100,000
  • Basement remodel: $25,000—$100,000

To be clear: when referring to the Hamptons, we are talking about the Town of Southampton and the Town of East Hampton, which both comprise many hamlets and villages. Hamlets such as Westhampton, East Quogue, or Hampton Bays lie within the boundaries of the town of Southampton. The villages of Amagansett and East Hampton are within the administrative boundaries of the town of East Hampton. So, any building permits filed will be with the offices of Southampton or East Hampton.

There is a season for everything, but especially in the Hamptons. Usually, there is a big push before summer so that everyone can enjoy their homes before the summer is out, and everyone is very busy. If possible, start your design process in the fall and do the work in the winter. 

However, with the unexpected events of 2020, real estate industry experts expect the busy season to shift due to the freeze on non-essential activities and business.

Hamptons home renovation costs per square foot

According to experts who work in both New York City and the Hamptons, the consensus is that costs per square foot are essentially the same in both locales. As we point out in our cost guide to Westchester County, proximity to Manhattan dictates both the buyer demographic as well as real estate values. This, in turn, is reflected in the cost of renovations. As Sweeten contractor Eric points out, however, there are subtle differences between the villages and hamlets, with East Hampton being the priciest. Sweeten sees projects starting at $100 per square foot with stock materials and high-end properties at $250+ psf.

While renovation costs per square foot will vary depending on whether it is a gut or non-gut, and the level of finishes and custom features you require, Eric tells us that there is a starting point of $150 psf for renovations with stock materials. Luxury waterfront properties, however, start at $500 psf for high-end renovations and can exceed $1,000 depending on complexity and finishes. (See Budget Basics: Renovation Costs Per Square Foot, where we outline three levels of renovation.)

Additionally, cost increases over the past year have also pushed baseline budgets upwards: the price of fuel has gone up, as has general liability insurance, said Sweeten contractor Eric. “Building materials are also up from last year because of supply and demand; everyone is renovating! And when homeowners are renovating, the cost for electricians and plumbers and other subs increase, because they can pick and choose between the most profitable jobs. They will charge more now for smaller jobs like a single kitchen or bath.”

Costs for a kitchen renovation

  • Low-end kitchen: Most Sweeten kitchen remodels in the budget range average $25,000 for under 100 square feet with budget-friendly finishes from retailers such as Home Depot. 
  • Mid-range kitchen: Most Sweeten projects in the mid-range can fall between $40,000—$75,000. In Sweeten contractor John‘s experience, he cites a mid-range kitchen could average in the $75,000 range. Ariel Okin, an interior designer who works in the Hamptons, tells us: “Kitchen gut renovations can range from $40,000—$150,000 depending on the level of work the client wants, and the same goes for baths. Square footage, scope of work, and estimated amount of time it will take to complete the job are all major considerations that go into pricing out the project.”
  • High-end kitchen: At Sweeten, we’ve seen projects cost start at $75,000 for high-end finishes. According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value 2020 Report, a major upscale kitchen remodel averages $166,408 in New York or $832 per square foot.
    This is based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with top-of-the-line custom cabinets, stone countertops, imported tile backsplash, built-in refrigerator, microwave, commercial-grade cooktop, and vent hood, as well as all new lighting and wood floors.

Sweeten contractor John estimates that a high-end kitchen in the Hamptons will start at $150,000 and up.

Costs for a bathroom renovation

  • Low-end bathroom remodel: At Sweeten, we’ve seen projects begin at $20,000. John quotes a three-piece (shower, sink, and toilet) project to average out to about $35,000 for a 5’ x 8’ space with budget-friendly finishes.
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: Sweeten has completed bathroom renovations between $25,000—$40,000 in the mid-range that covers about 100 square feet. Cost vs. Value 2020 Report cites an average of $29,585 for a mid-range bath remodel.
  • High-end bathroom remodel: At the high-end range, Sweeten renovations that consist of three-pieces can cost between $40,000—$60,000. A high-end master suite remodel consisting of 4-5 pieces including a shower, double sink, bathtub, and toilet costs between $60,000—$100,000. According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value 2020 Report, an upscale bathroom remodel averages $88,523 in New York or $885 psf. This is based on expanding an existing 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet, relocating all fixtures, and installing a new shower with a frameless glass enclosure, freestanding soaker tub with high-end faucets, stone counters with dual sinks, one-piece toilet, and a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan.

Sweeten contractor John estimates that a high-end master bath renovation would run about $100,000 on average.

Costs for a basement renovation

At Sweeten, we’ve seen basement remodels budgeted at $100—$150 psf or $25,000 for a simple coat of paint. A gut renovation would cost $50,000—$100,000 which could include plumbing, electrical, an entertainment center, appliances, closets, and with possible walls going up or down. An average basement conversion project in the New York area is $75,000, according to the Cost vs. Value report. The project for this size budget includes a 20′ × 30′  foot room and a 5′ × 8′ foot bathroom with a shower and bar area as well as insulation and laminate flooring. This sample project works out to $117 psf.

What to know about permits in the Hamptons

Permits are a big part of the renovation process in Hamptons towns. While expediters are not regularly used there, the process can involve two types of experts not usually called upon in renovation projects elsewhere.

  • Environmental consultants can assist homeowners and architects in parsing land use regulations, coastal environmental planning, and acquisition of related permits. Given the delicate ecosystems and the proliferation of wetlands and sand dunes along the coasts, these consultants are crucial to navigating this aspect of the permit process. Additionally, they can answer help determine whether you can expand the footprint of a house or add a dock. They typically charge by the hour (ranging from $250-350/hour, with a minimum project fee). For the initial site inspection and report, some offer a flat rate fee of around $1,500. This fee would cover the property inspection and produce a report.
  • Local attorneys who are well-versed in the zoning codes of the particular town in question can help navigate the process. Sweeten architect Andrew tells us that East Hampton recently changed some of its codes and a local attorney assisted him and his client in liaising with the town office on a debated matter of allowable square footage. Attorneys’ fees vary; a local real estate agent can provide recommendations.

Keeping up with local regulations and requirements

While the town offices may be small and provide a more personal interaction, as Sweeten architect Andrew relates, don’t mistake that casual air for a casual approach to enforcing regulations. For example, certain Hamptons neighborhoods won’t allow work on weekends, or after a certain time during high season. There have also been increasing attempts to limit the square footage on properties and accessory structures that may be used as rental properties. Additionally, there are stringent regulations at the town, state, and federal levels that will affect your renovation, depending on scope.

It’s important to understand what the current code is. However, you should also try to find out what is upcoming or anticipated in terms of changes. Because project timelines can extend, you want to ensure you’re complying with the relevant codes when your project finishes.

One relatively recent development has been a change in the energy conservation requirements in East Hampton, for example. Andrew notes that he is dealing with this on a current project. Now, they’ll need to hire someone who is certified to complete the HERS rating, which will cost between $1,000—$2,000. They may also need to use different building components to achieve better insulation and R-value required today.

The Town of Southampton provides this handy Building Permit Application Checklist for residential interior renovations (note that different fees and applications are required for other types of construction).

  • Building permits for residential interior remodeling permits run $65 psf up to 2,000 square feet on the first story of a house with a $50 fee for up to $1,000 of estimated construction cost (ECC).
  • This Electrical Permit Fee Schedule indicates that electrical permits range from a minimum of $50 for a re-inspection to $1,000 for additions, renovations, basement wiring, and garages with more than 7 devices over 15,000 square feet.
  • Fees for plumbing fixtures are $5 per fixture with a $50 minimum.

Ready to start planning your Hamptons renovation?

Now that you understand typical Hamptons renovation costs, you can start the planning process! Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist offers you a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a home renovation, including laying out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Once you post your home renovation project on Sweeten, you’ll be matched with multiple excellent contractors who can provide their expertise and estimates. Sweeten stays involved and monitors your project until it is completed. The result: peace of mind during the renovation and your dream house at the end!

Learn more about remodeling costs based on location and project scope with our handy cost guides.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



Source link

Sweeten’s Guide to Hamptons Renovation Costs in 2020


Sweeten’s 2020 guide to Hamptons renovation costs, including kitchen, bath, and whole-home, plus permit tips

The Hamptons…the mere mention conjures up images of poolside luxury and endless summer. But what’s it really like to live—and renovate—there? If you’re considering buying a home in the East End to renovate, there are some things you should know. Luckily for you, we’ve done the homework! Read on to learn what to expect (and budget) for your Hamptons renovation costs. (Keep in mind that all projects are unique, and many variables will impact a remodel!)

Sweeten offers a guide to Hamptons renovation costs, focusing on four categories—cost per square foot, kitchen, bathroom, and permits. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Note: every expert contractor will want to have a detailed chat and inspection of your home before creating an estimate for your needs and wants.

Here’s a breakdown of typical Hamptons renovation costs, compiled from Sweeten renovations and Remodeling’s 2020 Cost vs. Value report.

  • Full home renovation: Starting at $100 per square foot (psf) with stock materials; high-end properties start at $250+ psf
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: $25,000 for under 100 square feet
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: $40,000—$75,000
  • High-end kitchen remodel: $75,000+
  • Low-end bath remodel: $20,000
  • Mid-range bath remodel: $25,000—$40,000
  • High-end bath remodel: $40,000—$100,000
  • Basement remodel: $25,000—$100,000

To be clear: when referring to the Hamptons, we are talking about the Town of Southampton and the Town of East Hampton, which both comprise many hamlets and villages. Hamlets such as Westhampton, East Quogue, or Hampton Bays lie within the boundaries of the town of Southampton. The villages of Amagansett and East Hampton are within the administrative boundaries of the town of East Hampton. So, any building permits filed will be with the offices of Southampton or East Hampton.

There is a season for everything, but especially in the Hamptons. Usually, there is a big push before summer so that everyone can enjoy their homes before the summer is out, and everyone is very busy. If possible, start your design process in the fall and do the work in the winter. 

However, with the unexpected events of 2020, real estate industry experts expect the busy season to shift due to the freeze on non-essential activities and business.

Hamptons home renovation costs per square foot

According to experts who work in both New York City and the Hamptons, the consensus is that costs per square foot are essentially the same in both locales. As we point out in our cost guide to Westchester County, proximity to Manhattan dictates both the buyer demographic as well as real estate values. This, in turn, is reflected in the cost of renovations. As Sweeten contractor Eric points out, however, there are subtle differences between the villages and hamlets, with East Hampton being the priciest. Sweeten sees projects starting at $100 per square foot with stock materials and high-end properties at $250+ psf.

While renovation costs per square foot will vary depending on whether it is a gut or non-gut, and the level of finishes and custom features you require, Eric tells us that there is a starting point of $150 psf for renovations with stock materials. Luxury waterfront properties, however, start at $500 psf for high-end renovations and can exceed $1,000 depending on complexity and finishes. (See Budget Basics: Renovation Costs Per Square Foot, where we outline three levels of renovation.)

Additionally, cost increases over the past year have also pushed baseline budgets upwards: the price of fuel has gone up, as has general liability insurance, said Sweeten contractor Eric. “Building materials are also up from last year because of supply and demand; everyone is renovating! And when homeowners are renovating, the cost for electricians and plumbers and other subs increase, because they can pick and choose between the most profitable jobs. They will charge more now for smaller jobs like a single kitchen or bath.”

Costs for a kitchen renovation

  • Low-end kitchen: Most Sweeten kitchen remodels in the budget range average $25,000 for under 100 square feet with budget-friendly finishes from retailers such as Home Depot. 
  • Mid-range kitchen: Most Sweeten projects in the mid-range can fall between $40,000—$75,000. In Sweeten contractor John‘s experience, he cites a mid-range kitchen could average in the $75,000 range. Ariel Okin, an interior designer who works in the Hamptons, tells us: “Kitchen gut renovations can range from $40,000—$150,000 depending on the level of work the client wants, and the same goes for baths. Square footage, scope of work, and estimated amount of time it will take to complete the job are all major considerations that go into pricing out the project.”
  • High-end kitchen: At Sweeten, we’ve seen projects cost start at $75,000 for high-end finishes. According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value 2020 Report, a major upscale kitchen remodel averages $166,408 in New York or $832 per square foot.
    This is based on a 200-square-foot kitchen with top-of-the-line custom cabinets, stone countertops, imported tile backsplash, built-in refrigerator, microwave, commercial-grade cooktop, and vent hood, as well as all new lighting and wood floors.

Sweeten contractor John estimates that a high-end kitchen in the Hamptons will start at $150,000 and up.

Costs for a bathroom renovation

  • Low-end bathroom remodel: At Sweeten, we’ve seen projects begin at $20,000. John quotes a three-piece (shower, sink, and toilet) project to average out to about $35,000 for a 5’ x 8’ space with budget-friendly finishes.
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: Sweeten has completed bathroom renovations between $25,000—$40,000 in the mid-range that covers about 100 square feet. Cost vs. Value 2020 Report cites an average of $29,585 for a mid-range bath remodel.
  • High-end bathroom remodel: At the high-end range, Sweeten renovations that consist of three-pieces can cost between $40,000—$60,000. A high-end master suite remodel consisting of 4-5 pieces including a shower, double sink, bathtub, and toilet costs between $60,000—$100,000. According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value 2020 Report, an upscale bathroom remodel averages $88,523 in New York or $885 psf. This is based on expanding an existing 35-square-foot bathroom to 100 square feet, relocating all fixtures, and installing a new shower with a frameless glass enclosure, freestanding soaker tub with high-end faucets, stone counters with dual sinks, one-piece toilet, and a humidistat-controlled exhaust fan.

Sweeten contractor John estimates that a high-end master bath renovation would run about $100,000 on average.

Costs for a basement renovation

At Sweeten, we’ve seen basement remodels budgeted at $100—$150 psf or $25,000 for a simple coat of paint. A gut renovation would cost $50,000—$100,000 which could include plumbing, electrical, an entertainment center, appliances, closets, and with possible walls going up or down. An average basement conversion project in the New York area is $75,000, according to the Cost vs. Value report. The project for this size budget includes a 20′ × 30′  foot room and a 5′ × 8′ foot bathroom with a shower and bar area as well as insulation and laminate flooring. This sample project works out to $117 psf.

What to know about permits in the Hamptons

Permits are a big part of the renovation process in Hamptons towns. While expediters are not regularly used there, the process can involve two types of experts not usually called upon in renovation projects elsewhere.

  • Environmental consultants can assist homeowners and architects in parsing land use regulations, coastal environmental planning, and acquisition of related permits. Given the delicate ecosystems and the proliferation of wetlands and sand dunes along the coasts, these consultants are crucial to navigating this aspect of the permit process. Additionally, they can answer help determine whether you can expand the footprint of a house or add a dock. They typically charge by the hour (ranging from $250-350/hour, with a minimum project fee). For the initial site inspection and report, some offer a flat rate fee of around $1,500. This fee would cover the property inspection and produce a report.
  • Local attorneys who are well-versed in the zoning codes of the particular town in question can help navigate the process. Sweeten architect Andrew tells us that East Hampton recently changed some of its codes and a local attorney assisted him and his client in liaising with the town office on a debated matter of allowable square footage. Attorneys’ fees vary; a local real estate agent can provide recommendations.

Keeping up with local regulations and requirements

While the town offices may be small and provide a more personal interaction, as Sweeten architect Andrew relates, don’t mistake that casual air for a casual approach to enforcing regulations. For example, certain Hamptons neighborhoods won’t allow work on weekends, or after a certain time during high season. There have also been increasing attempts to limit the square footage on properties and accessory structures that may be used as rental properties. Additionally, there are stringent regulations at the town, state, and federal levels that will affect your renovation, depending on scope.

It’s important to understand what the current code is. However, you should also try to find out what is upcoming or anticipated in terms of changes. Because project timelines can extend, you want to ensure you’re complying with the relevant codes when your project finishes.

One relatively recent development has been a change in the energy conservation requirements in East Hampton, for example. Andrew notes that he is dealing with this on a current project. Now, they’ll need to hire someone who is certified to complete the HERS rating, which will cost between $1,000—$2,000. They may also need to use different building components to achieve better insulation and R-value required today.

The Town of Southampton provides this handy Building Permit Application Checklist for residential interior renovations (note that different fees and applications are required for other types of construction).

  • Building permits for residential interior remodeling permits run $65 psf up to 2,000 square feet on the first story of a house with a $50 fee for up to $1,000 of estimated construction cost (ECC).
  • This Electrical Permit Fee Schedule indicates that electrical permits range from a minimum of $50 for a re-inspection to $1,000 for additions, renovations, basement wiring, and garages with more than 7 devices over 15,000 square feet.
  • Fees for plumbing fixtures are $5 per fixture with a $50 minimum.

Ready to start planning your Hamptons renovation?

Now that you understand typical Hamptons renovation costs, you can start the planning process! Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist offers you a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a home renovation, including laying out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Once you post your home renovation project on Sweeten, you’ll be matched with multiple excellent contractors who can provide their expertise and estimates. Sweeten stays involved and monitors your project until it is completed. The result: peace of mind during the renovation and your dream house at the end!

Learn more about remodeling costs based on location and project scope with our handy cost guides.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



Source link

A Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation “Flips” for the Better


Living space and rental come together in this Brooklyn brownstone renovation

brownstone renovation, Brooklyn

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

  • Homeowners: Bellamy, an executive at The GAP, and Zak, a senior environmental scientist, posted their project on Sweeten
  • Where: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York
  • Primary renovation: Three stories of a 2,400-square-foot Brooklyn brownstone
  • Notable: Swapping the positions of their renovated garden rental and owners’ duplex
  • Result: Better functionality for the two-family building
  • Sweeten general contractor
  • Sweeten’s role: Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Guest post by Sweeten homeowner Bellamy

Finding their circa 1900 Brooklyn brownstone home

After a grueling year-long search, countless open houses, and one house lost in a bidding war, we found our home. Remarkably, it had everything we wanted: it was a two-family home in the heart of “brownstone” Brooklyn, with original hardwood floors. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were built circa 1900. Many we viewed did not stand the test of time, but this home had been in the same family for years and did not show the usual wear-and-tear of a 100-year-old home. We were lucky, but it did need a major facelift.

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I was thankful to stumble upon Sweeten early in my renovation research for our brownstone in Brooklyn. While I had owned a home before, this was our first time doing a serious renovation that would require more than our DIY skills could handle.

The layout of the house and our budget did not afford us a ton of options, so the renovation was straightforward. We focused on structural changes to change the flow and use of the house. Thankfully, when we moved in, we were able to live in the garden floor apartment while we renovated the upper two floors where we would eventually live.

Salvaging and repurposing

We removed the original entry doors as you come into the entry foyer, but left the structural wall intact. This allowed the area to feel more open as you continue into the living area; it also gave back more livable space to work with. However, I loved the original details of the doors and wanted to find another use for them. Luckily, they just fit the ceiling clearance on the second floor and they found new life as the guest room headboard.

In the living room and through to the kitchen, we tore down two walls and exposed a long expanse of brick wall. The former owner had repointed the brick in the front room with black mortar, which was a real eyesore. When we exposed the whole length of the house, we were left with two walls that didn’t match. Limited by our budget, we repointed the half that was previously covered and experimented with painting techniques to blend the two together.

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An overhaul for the kitchen

I wanted the kitchen to be the focus of the home. There were three main obstacles: adding a door for backyard access, the ceiling height, and a non-negotiable double oven. I initially wanted to enlarge the back window above the sink to make it a focal point and let in more natural light. Not far along into the process, I had to abandon that idea since we were concerned with what the enlarged opening would do to the structural integrity of the home, given its age. It was also a huge expense so we chose to use those dollars elsewhere.

In the end, we actually made the window above the sink slightly smaller to allow for a proper backsplash. We replaced the second window with a door and added a small landing and stairs for easy backyard access.

The next question was how to vent the hood with 11-foot-high ceilings and open shelving left nowhere to hide. Ultimately, the ducting was kept exposed and vented directly through the wall outside. I love the industrial element it adds to the newly renovated space.

Lastly, where to fit the double oven? At first, I was concerned I would be giving up valuable pantry space, but the layout worked out perfectly and there was room for everything we wanted, even the custom built-in beverage taps. We are home-brewing enthusiasts and wanted a unique feature in our kitchen to showcase that.

WATCH: How Bellamy and Zak find their Sweeten contractor

Splurging and saving

The first-floor bath was an easy update. The layout was already functional, so we kept it as-is with a direct replacement—aka rip-and-replace—of all the fixtures. We were able to salvage the original door and reuse the existing tub. We later put our DIY skills to the test and added fun wallpaper and wainscoting.

My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

The top floor previously served as a separate apartment complete with its own kitchen. We wanted to have a master bedroom, master closet, master bathroom, guest bedroom, and laundry room. The tricky part was figuring out where to put everything. The pre-existing kitchen allowed us to easily add laundry without a huge expense. Once that was decided, everything else fell into place.

The master bedroom closet is a dream spot that had been a small room that our contractor converted. My favorite splurge on the top floor was a heated bathroom floor—worth every penny in the winter.

Throughout the house, we did some major upgrades that elevate the whole space: we put up fresh drywall throughout the second floor, refinished the original floors in a dark walnut color, and replaced all the windows in the house.

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Managing the renovation budget and process

While I would not necessarily recommend living in a renovation (so much dust), it did allow us to check on the progress and be more involved in day-to-day decisions such as outlet locations and doorknob height. We optimistically thought the renovation would take three months, but we did add on some significant projects that stretched the timeline. Overall, the project took about five months to complete the top two floors with some minor updates in the garden apartment.

The budget was our major obstacle, but our Sweeten contractor was great at working with us to determine where we could splurge and where we could save. Once our contractor realized we were quite handy, we were able to figure out what we could do ourselves versus what we should leave to the professionals. For example, we chose to take on all the painting, which was a huge undertaking. I’m talking all ceilings, all walls, all trim, and multiple coats! I don’t think we understood what a huge task it was—and that in certain spaces, the contractor was unable to move forward until we completed painting. I’m glad we did it, but it was a grueling several months and I’m pretty sure I gave myself carpal tunnel.

Switching the brownstone layout

The biggest change in terms of the function of the home was separating the garden floor apartment from the upper two floors. In dividing the two, we were able to gain a coat closet in the apartment and additional storage space for us before the basement level. The ground floor is now available as its own standalone rental unit, while we live on the two floors above. Now that the house is done, I am so thankful we splurged on what we wanted—replacing the windows, skim-coating, and repointing the brick; those are some of my favorite things in the house.

Thanks to Bellamy and Zak for sharing your beautiful and unique Brooklyn brownstone renovation story with us! Here’s how they renovated their new garden rental space on a budget.

SHOPPING GUIDE

FOYER RESOURCES: Merola floor tile: Home Depot.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Vega brushed brass blush-mount lamp: CB2.

GROUND FLOOR BATH RESOURCES: Merola hex black floor tile: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile: Home Depot. Devine Color Speckled Dot peel-and-stick wallpaper: Target. Delta Foundations shower fixtures: Home Depot. ENSEN faucet: IKEA. Black towel bar hardware: CB2. The Copper Factory doorknob: Overstock.com. Godmorgon/Odensvik vanity and sink: IKEA. Framed fog-free wall mirror: Home Depot. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com.

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Merola floor tile, FRC8TWED: Home Depot. Kitchen cabinets: Custom. Omnia cabinet knobs, 9153/18.3: Build.com. Drawer pulls: Custom. Quartz countertops, 1141: Caesarstone. Jeffrey Court Fresh White backsplash tile, 96012: Home Depot. Olde London apron-front farmhouse fireclay sink, OL33SG: Home Depot. Kenmore refrigerator, 70423: Sears. Bosch dishwasher, SHVM78W53N: Sears. Whirlpool self-cleaning double electric wall oven, WOD51EC0AS: Lowe’s. Kenmore slide-in gas cooktop, 34913: Sears.

MASTER BATH RESOURCES: Carrara marble hex mosaic floor tile, C33XH: MarbleOnline.com. Jeffrey Court Fresh White wall tile, 96012: Home Depot. Jeffrey Court Retro Octagon White Dot shower floor tile, 96025: Home Depot. Towel bar and toilet paper holder: CB2. Delta Porter shower fixtures, 142984C-BN-A: Home Depot. Godmorgon/Odensvik sink and vanity, 291.852.39: IKEA. Vanity cabinet fronts: Semihandmade. Hinkley Lighting vanity light from Ainsley Collection, 56552PN: Build.com. Home Decorators Collection framed fog-free wall mirror, 81160: Home Depot.

PAINT RESOURCES: Trim paint in Totally Black, HDC-MD-04: Behr. Wall paint in Pure White, PPU18-06: Behr.

See the downstairs rental results from Bellamy and Zek’s Brooklyn brownstone renovation story!

Remodel the brownstone of your dreams with help from our guide on purchasing and renovating a townhouse.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



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Condo Remodeling Miami: Everything Your Need to Know


An outline from permits to building requirements for condo remodeling Miami

Are you considering condo remodeling in Miami? While renovating a condo is usually a more limited proposition than renovating a house, Sweeten offers guidelines on a few special considerations you’ll need to take into account. Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

A brand new condo remodeling Miami

City of Miami Building Permits 

First, you will need to obtain the proper city and building approvals before beginning your project. Sweeten contractor Sandra, who is based in Miami, tells us, “The typical process takes about 4-8 weeks for a mid-sized project. [Usually,] the office management has pretty much the same requirements as the city.” You must apply first to the city, and once the city approves the permit, the information is submitted to the management office for the condo. The most common permits needed in condo renovations are required for floor soundproofing, plumbing, electrical, and framing.

Building Requirements 

In addition to obtaining city permits, many new building projects must also meet new building requirements. You must usually meet and comply with regulations around work hours, rubbish removal, gas installation, and more. Here’s a list of everything you should be mindful of during your project:

1) Working hours

These are more limited than in a free-standing house. Typically, buildings will permit workers access between the hours of 9AM – 4PM (occasionally, until 5pm) on weekdays. This translates into shorter working hours. As a result, a condo renovation may take longer than that same project in a house.

2) Prepping common areas

Buildings will require workers to protect the common lobby, hallways, and elevators. This needs to be done on a daily basis. Just note, this can keep the GC from working on the actual project on any given day. 

3) Rubbish removal

As in all large buildings, trash removal presents a bigger obstacle than in a free-standing house. As Miami-based Sweeten contractor Adrian explains, due to the more protracted process, “the cost of removing the trash is much higher in a condo than in a single-family home.” Sweeten contractor Sandra concurs: “We spend a lot of time doing this and do it on a daily basis. That means we need to reserve the elevator every time we have to bring it down. We cannot use the building dumpster, so we need to put it in our truck and haul it away.” 

4) Altering the slab

Since even the oldest Miami condos date only back to the ‘50s and ‘60s, they are largely concrete structures. Sweeten contractor Sandra explains, “It is possible but very complex. We would need a structural engineer affidavit and structural plans.” Management will likely be strict about this aspect of the renovation. After all, Altering the slab can affect the building’s other units. Technically, it is possible to trench or drill to lay plumbing or electrical. However, you would need to prove that you will not compromise the integrity of the slab. Oftentimes, buildings will require “scanning” (via a professional vendor) of the area where the proposed alteration will occur. Sweeten contractor Adrian estimates that it usually costs approximately $600 to scan 100-200 square feet. 

5) Gas

Most Miami condos feature electric stoves and dryers. That said, gas stoves are becoming slightly more common in new luxury buildings. Our Sweeten contractors do not know of buildings that permit gas dryers. If your condo unit does not currently have a washer/dryer in-unit, there’s a 50/50 chance that it’ll be permitted. Again, this is up to your management company’s rules. 

6) Windows

Due to the seasonal hurricanes, building codes require impact windows. Luckily, this isn’t the responsibility of the individual renovator because windows are typically a building-wide project. 

7) Fees

Lastly, expect the management company to charge you a fee for renovating your condo. Just note, these fees are paid in addition to any permit and approval charges. These fees aren’t unique to Miami, this is standard in condos across the U.S.

Now, you should have a sense of what to look out for in your Miami condo renovation. All that’s left is to get started! Read up on how long it takes for a typical apartment remodel to complete.

 Have a good handle on your budget. Our Miami home renovation cost guide can get you on your way.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



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2020 Costs for Home Remodeling in Los Angeles


Sweeten’s 2020 cost guide to home remodeling in Los Angeles, including kitchen, bath, and whole-home (plus ADUs and permit tips!)

los angeles remodeling costs

(Above) Project by L.A. designer Haley Weidenbaum. Photo: Jillian Sipkins

Moving into a new house—or realizing your home hasn’t kept up with your lifestyle—can make renovation feel like a path to reinvention. Creating a budget for that planned remodel is unique to every project. The materials you choose, changes in layout, or moving plumbing or gas lines, all factor into the equation.

Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors offering support through project completion, has compiled a guide to remodeling costs in Los Angeles, California, focusing on five categories: kitchen, bathroom, an addition, ADUs, and permits.

Here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs compiled from Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report and Sweeten contractors.

  • Full home renovation: $100$400+ per square feet (psf)
  • Minor range kitchen remodel: $ $135 psf or $26,993 (based on a 200-sq-ft kitchen)
  • Major mid-range kitchen remodel: An average of $50,000 
  • Major upscale kitchen remodel: $100,000+
  • Minor bathroom remodel: $15,000$25,000 (based on a 35-sq-ft space)
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: $26,000$38,000 (based on a 35-sq-ft space)
  • High-end bathroom remodel: Starting at $55,000+
  • Mid-range master suite addition: $436 psf or $167,440 (based on a 24′ x 16′ space)
  • Upscale master suite addition: $532 psf or $340,894 (based on a 32′ x 20′ space)
  • Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU): Starting at $50,000 for a conversion and $125,000+ for ground-up construction.

Keep in mind that every professional contractor will want to have a detailed conversation with you. They will also inspect your home before developing an estimate specific to your needs and wants.

How much a Los Angeles remodel costs per square foot

It’s no secret that Los Angeles is one of the pricier areas in the United States when it comes to real estate. However, the housing stock in the area is fairly new. It won’t experience behind-the-wall issues that are often found in older structures. Kitchen and baths are the most popular renovations. Exterior upgrades and garage conversions are on the uptick to create additional living space.

On average, many Sweeten projects can range from $100 to $400+ psf. Typically, dry rooms (i.e., living rooms and bedrooms) are cheaper to renovate than wet rooms (i.e., kitchen and baths), and Sweeten contractor Brett estimates that while dry rooms are at the lower end of the range, the wet rooms are closer to $400 psf to start.

One thing to note: While Sweeten contractors attempt to explore all avenues to stay competitive, it is an industry that is affected by trade. The prices you’re quoted at any given time may not be the same six months or a year from now. Prices on labor and materials fluctuate and this will be reflected in your overall quote.

Bringing in a designer

We also checked in with L.A.-based interior designer Haley Weidenbaum on how interior designers calculate fees. She explains, “Typically for renovations projects, I will charge a flat fee. This is beneficial for both designer and client. It allows the designer to work more freely and offers more transparency between the designer and the client. However, it is important for both parties to agree on a scope of work. Everyone should be on the same page and understand what is included under this flat fee.”

How much a Los Angeles kitchen remodel costs per square foot

In 2020, California bans the running of new gas lines to any new construction which means no gas stoves. This move is essential in the lowering of the carbon footprint. Even though buildings with existing gas lines aren’t affected, be sure to check the latest codes. If you’re looking to renovate for resale, you don’t want to invest in appliances that aren’t in compliance. 

The logistics of storage and delivery make the cost of cabinets in L.A. less expensive than more densely populated urban areas. 

  • Minor kitchen: Sweeten kitchen remodels can start at $135 or from $26,993 up to $40,000 for 200 square feet. The finishes would be budget-friendly from retailers such as Home Depot. This budget includes budget finishes, laminate countertops, and mid-range sink and faucet finishes.
  • Mid-range kitchen: Sweeten has seen project costs come in at $50,000. At this budget, expect new stock or semi-custom cabinets, appliances, and manufactured or quartz countertops.

Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report puts a typical mid-range kitchen renovation at $ 389 psf or $77,767 total, as an average for Los Angeles. A 200-square-foot kitchen would include 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, semi-custom wooden cabinets, an island, and laminate countertops. It also includes custom lighting, resilient flooring, and paint.

  • High-end kitchen: Projects on the higher end of the scale can start at $100,000. A large part of that cost can be in custom cabinetry. Sweeten contractors Anna and Vahik estimates that a high-end renovation averages upwards of $100,000.

los angeles remodeling costs

How much a Los Angeles bathroom remodel costs per square foot

  • Low-end bathroom: A lower-end bathroom renovation at 35 square feet, including demo, plumbing work, and new finishes, starts at $15,000 and can reach $25,000, according to the Sweeten contractors. Bathrooms in this category typically lean on big-box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot to source the majority of materials.
  • Mid-range bathroom: A mid-range bathroom in Los Angeles will cost on average between $26,000 to $38,000. According to the Cost vs. Value, the cost is $740 to $1,086 psf for a 35-square-foot bathroom. All fixtures are replaced featuring solid-surface vanity and integrated sink, recessed medicine cabinet with light, ceramic tile floor, and a 30” x 60” tub.
  • High-end bathroom: The average cost Sweeten contractors report working on for upscale bathrooms start around $55,000. Remodeling’s Cost vs Value puts a high-end bathroom renovation and expansion at $76,973. This is based on a bathroom expanded from 35 to 100 square feet. It worked out to be $770 psf.

With that budget, clients are looking at faucets that can cost $2,000 per piece, marble flooring, custom vanities, built-in medicine cabinets, a rain shower, and top-of-the-line lighting fixtures. At times, those pricey finishing materials can amount to half the budget. Whether it is low-end or high-end, a good general contractor can work with a reasonable budget and strategize how clients can get what they want.

How much a Los Angeles master suite addition costs

  • Mid-range master suite addition: For approximately $436 psf or $167,440, you can build a 24’ x 16’ master suite including a walk-in closet, dressing area, freestanding tub, separate shower, and double vanity over an existing crawl space, according to Cost v. Value’s report. This pricing includes carpeting in the bedroom and tile on the bathroom floor, lighting throughout, and an exhaust fan.

A crawl space and a raised foundation make it “easier for the crew to crawl underneath the subfloor to access the rough connections. It becomes more challenging and expensive when working on a renovation with a house on a slab on grade. If fixtures are being relocated or saw cuts, trenching, and backfill are required, then these can add to the cost of the renovation,” says Brett.

  • Upscale master suite addition: For approximately $532 psf, or $340,894, it’s possible to create a 32’ x 20’ master suite with a separate sitting area and a large master bath, also over crawl space, according to the Cost v. Value’s report. This includes custom shelving and built-in storage, as well as a walk-in closet and dressing area with windows. The bath has everything that is included in a mid-range remodel, along with stone counters and a partitioned space for a toilet. The suite also features a wet bar with microwave, sink, and refrigerator for this budget range.

How much Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) cost

An ADU is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. They tend to be adjacent to a primary housing unit, and are usually much smaller than the average home. You can learn more about them here, as well as the numerous new laws passed in 2016 and 2019 that are encouraging their proliferation in California by making them faster, easier and more efficient to build.

Existing electrical and plumbing

Sweeten general contractors have worked on projects that range from about $50,000 to over $200,000, depending on whether they are conversions or ground-up constructions. There are numerous other factors that come into play. Importantly, what you have to work with is key–are you converting an existing structure that has electrical and/or plumbing? If so, it could be a relatively affordable proposition. Sweeten contractors Anna & Vahik tell us that in Los Angeles County, conversions average about $75,000  while ground-up constructions start at a range between $125,000 to $150,000.

Converting garages

Sweeten contractor Brett explains that the specifics of the job will cause a wide variance in the costs associated with bringing it to compliance. He said, “ I have been able to convert garages to ADUs from $58,000, which already had plumbing (sewer) and its own electrical service. I also did another job, which was an old garage, and to completely convert it cost about $196,000.” 

Costs for permits

The cost of permits changes from town to town in Los Angeles. However, typically the cost will be determined by your budget and require a bit of high school math to figure out.

According to Sweeten contractor Brett, this number varies between an estimated $750 to $2,500 depending on the specific scope of work for each project.

Sweeten contractors Anna and Vahik explains, “Permit costs vary for different neighborhoods. Average kitchen and bath remodels (“express permits”) with no structural changes or layout changes cost around $500 to $1,000. Bigger projects such as additions, remodels with structural changes, or exterior work that need plan changes start at $5,000 and can go up to $20,000 in cities like Santa Monica.”

These figures provide a jumping off point to estimate your potential home remodeling costs in Los Angeles. On the (more fun) planning side, Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist offers you a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a renovation including laying out your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.”

Renovating your home or an ADU in Los Angeles? Sweeten can help!

Post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with multiple vetted general contractors to provide estimates for your renovation. Sweeten also checks in with you until project completion. Just remember, sit down with your general contractor to develop an accurate budget and you’ll be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.



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Here’s How to Clean Up After A Major Renovation Project


Renovation cleaning tips to protect your home from particles and paint fumes, and your floors to furniture

home renovation clean up

As you prepare for a major renovation, you will be rightly focused on finding a great general contractor. Other items on the list include selecting materials and figuring out costs. With this long to-do list, it’s easy to overlook plans for site prep and protection. It can have a big effect on your home during and after the renovation. Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors offering support through project completion, outlines the ways to minimize mess and prevent damage with thorough site prep before work gets underway; plus tips to clean up after a renovation.

Discuss site prep and protection with your contractor

Contractors generally work with you on protecting the existing space. However, it’s mainly to prevent damage rather than block dirt and grime. That is to say, your floors shouldn’t be scratched or dented, but they may be dusty, streaky, or even sticky. They will need to be cleaned up after the fact. You’ll want to discuss with your contractor your expectations for cleanliness over the duration of the renovation. What services are included and for what price varies depending on the project and the contractor.

Decide whether to stay or go

Site prep is an important undertaking, especially for homeowners who are renovating just one part of their residence. It becomes even more important if you plan to continue living at home through the renovation. Staying put may cost more than clearing out completely. Extra time and effort go into set-up and tear-down each day. Crews must first lay paper, hang tarp, and add any other protective barriers. These all have to be taken down at the end of the work day in order for the owners to use their home at night.

For example, if you are renovating the kitchen and your only bathroom, your contractor will need to make sure you can maintain access to the facilities. You’ll also need a pathway to walk through to the rest of the apartment. On the other hand, a renovation in an unoccupied home allows the crew to leave the space in relative disarray at the end of the day. The next morning, they can pick up right where they left off. For this reason, whether or not you leave during the renovation is usually part of the initial conversation with your contractor to determine a project estimate.

Prep and protect your home, and seal the construction site

If you are undertaking anything other than a complete gut renovation, you can do the following to limit the disruption and minimize the mess:

  •  Cordon off the renovation zone by hanging heavy-duty tarp (at least 8 millimeters thick) from the ceiling down to the floor to create a seal. Apply masking tape across all sides of the tarp where it meets the ceiling, walls, and floor. Tension rods can also help hold up heavy tarps. Particles will fly through any and all gaps you leave, no matter how small. If you need a flap for entry and exit, consider applying an adhesive zipper to your tarp. Add a double layer if there will be a lot of sanding or if you know that dangerous particles will be released into the air.
  • Within the reno zone, protect anything that you’re keeping. Floors should be covered with construction paper (maybe even a double layer, as insurance against tearing). Cover window treatments or appliances with tarp (again, leaving no gaps).
  • If the reno zone is in the center of your home, consider laying continuous paper or tarp through all the high traffic areas. This will prevent dirt from tracking into the rest of the space.
  • Cover all furniture throughout the home (especially textile surfaces such as couches and beds) with a drop cloth or tarp.
  • Seal up closet doors by applying masking tape to the gaps between the doors and the floor. Nothing more annoying than having to wash all your dusty clothes because you forgot to do this. 

Clear the air

  • Vacuum, preferably with a HEPA (“high efficiency particulate air”) vacuum at the end of each work day—you can rent one or discuss getting one with your contractor. HEPA vacuums are able to trap much smaller particles than normal vacuums.
  • If you have one, run a HEPA air purifier on high 24/7, and change or wash the filters frequently since they will be working a lot harder than usual. If you don’t have one, consider renting a commercial-grade air scrubber for the duration of the renovation.
  • Open the windows! The more air circulates, the better. 

The costs of prevention are fairly minimal (with the exception of an air scrubber rental, which can run you several hundred dollars depending on how long you need it) but important to identify and account for upfront so that you and your team are on the same page about expectations. And even with excellent containment, you’ll most likely need a dedicated cleaning after the project is done. Read on for how to approach a deep post-construction clean. 

How to approach your post-reno deep clean

Unless you explicitly build it into your contract, extensive cleaning is typically not part of your contractor’s job. The industry standard is “broom-swept,” which usually involves vacuuming up larger bits of debris and then running a broom across the floor. Anything beyond this (including cleaning up common spaces such as hallways and elevators) will need to be specifically arranged, and will most likely incur additional costs that you’ll bear as the homeowner.

Renovation clean-up services

Whether you moved out or stayed put in your home during the renovation process, you’ll need to arrange for a deep post-construction clean up once that last drawer pull is attached and the final coat of paint applied. Homeowners can undertake the deep clean themselves or outsource it to one of the many companies that focus on this service. Thumbtack shared that the cost of a deep clean isn’t necessarily determined by the size of a space but by the level of effort. A 3-bed, 2,000-square-foot home costs $250 to clean on average, while a 1-bed apartment starts at $110. Post-construction cleans will cost more so you can expect to at least double these numbers for a deep, post-construction clean. 

Clean-up steps after renovating:

Usually, a post-construction clean up will include the following:

  • Sweep and vacuum all surfaces, including ceilings and walls
  • Sweep, mop, and disinfect floors
  • Vacuum all upholstery
  • Wipe down doors, knobs, baseboards, moldings, and hardware
  • Thorough wipe-down and sanitization of bathrooms and kitchens (including appliances, cabinets, and counters)
  • Dust, vacuum, and wipe-down of all window interiors including sills and frames
  • Dust all ducts, grates, vents, blinds, ceiling fans, and lighting fixtures
  • Clean all hardware hinges and handles, shelves, and cabinets
  • Clean inside all closets
  • Removal of all remaining trash and debris (although your contractor should have removed most of this as part of the contract)

If you’re trying to decide whether to tackle clean up after a renovation yourself or to outsource it to the experts, ask the following questions:

  • Do you have the energy and time?
  • How long will it take you?
  • Do you have any money left in the renovation budget you could put toward the clean? (Or better yet, build it in now if you haven’t started!).

Different circumstances will determine who does the job, but a thorough clean is crucial. All kinds of particles are released into the air during renovations, including various toxins, mold spores, silicates, and ultrafine dust that can damage your lungs. Freshly applied paints, lacquers, and primers also give off fumes. Given the possible dangers to your health, the hefty price tag for a proper clean may well be worth it!

Read about Sweeten homeowners who left their homes during their renovation—and those who stuck it out.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



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2020 How to Budget for a Full-Home Renovation in NYC


A guide on what you’ll get at different price ranges and the hidden costs

open living, dining, and kitchen

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

(Above) Erin + Chris’ full-home remodel

A good starting point to budget for a full-home remodel in NYC ranges from $100 to $200 per square foot (psf), according to general contractors from Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects.

These estimated costs per square foot are for the entire home (including materials) averaged across both “wet” spaces (baths and kitchens), as well as “dry” spaces (living rooms, bedrooms, offices, etc).

Here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs:

  • Full-home renovation in NYC: $100—$200 psf
    • Dry spaces: $30—$50 psf
    • Wet spaces: Baths start at $400 psf; kitchens start at $300 psf
  • Gut remodel with stock materials: $100—$200 psf
  • Non-gut remodel with stock materials: $100 psf
  • Gut remodel with customization: $200—$300 psf
  • Non-gut remodel with customization: $200 psf
  • Structural factors, extensive customization: $300 psf and up
  • Plumbing permits: up to $2,000 and as high as $5,000
  • Electrical permits: $900
  • Asbestos inspection: $500—$1,000

The cost for a gut renovation vs. a non-gut

When gut-renovating a whole home, the building’s current conditions, alteration requirements, spatial challenges, and range of material selections should be considered.

The term “gut renovation” is often used informally for any project where all of the visible surfaces in a room are replaced, but technically, in a gut renovation, interior walls are stripped down to the studs and framing or knocked out entirely.

A gut will start at the higher end of the $100 to $200 psf range, while a renovation in which you redo the space within the existing walls will be on the lower end. For example, in a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment, a renovation will come in around the $50,000 to $70,000 range, while a gut renovation will likely exceed $100,000.

The non-gut renovation may involve a new kitchen and bath, as well as refinishing flooring, replastering, and painting, plus upgrades in materials and finishes. The gut renovation will include the above as well as more extensive work such as replacing walls, installing new piping and wiring systems, moving doorways, and installing all new flooring.

NYC home renovation costs

Given that New York City apartments vary widely and can present unique challenges, a per-square-foot estimate is really a ballpark figure for you to get started. Here’s an overview:

Basic costs for a home renovation

When estimating price per square foot, the scope of work usually includes the following:

  • Basic demolition
  • Framing: the skeletal, load-bearing structure to which the interior walls and other systems are attached
  • Insulation and drywall
  • Wiring, including outlets and switches
  • Plumbing
  • Heating/cooling systems
  • All visible materials and fixtures in kitchens and baths (described below)

You’ll notice this doesn’t include appliances. Also, the choices you make in the visible materials—such as tile, flooring, millwork, paint, lighting fixtures, electronics, and other finishes—can significantly affect the price of your renovation.

At the $100 to $200 psf range, for example, materials are generally prefabricated or stock items and in finishes that are available at common retail outlets. Cabinets in this price range will usually be made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard). Tiling will run under $10 psf. Lighting will be standard but solid basics, while hardware can be as low as a few dollars apiece. You’ll be able to include solid wood floors, but they may be shorter and narrower planks made of less expensive woods. The work will be careful, clean, and well-installed at this level with higher quality labor and skillsets at the upper end of the range. 

Next, at $200 to $300 psf, there is some customization on details such as joints, millwork, and hardware. Cabinets in this price range are custom or semi-custom and can include built-ins. You’ll also see natural stone or desirable man-made countertops at this level, as well as solid, wide-planked hardwood flooring. Projects at this price point are not usually gut renovations, but rather remodels that focus on the space within the existing walls.

One thing to note: While Sweeten contractors attempt to explore all avenues to stay competitive, it is an industry that is affected by trade. The prices you’re quoted at any given time may not be the same six months or a year from now. Prices on labor and materials fluctuate and this will be reflected in your overall quote.

What you’ll get for $300 per square foot and higher

If you are paying $300 psf or above, chances are there may be factors like layout changes or structural work, such as combining apartments. Moving walls, adding staircases, shifting gas and plumbing, and electrical rewiring all contribute to a higher per-square-foot cost, as well as add to the behind-the-scenes expenditures (more on that below). Since pricing for kitchens and baths runs higher than other rooms, more of those equal a higher price per square foot. For example, renovating a 1,000-square-foot apartment that has three bathrooms will be more expensive than an apartment of the same size with just one bathroom.

At this level and beyond, you can expect to see more extensive customization, fine finishes, and luxurious materials such as handmade tile, exotic wood grains, natural stone, and bespoke millwork details that complement the home’s architecture. You might also see custom door casements and extensive lighting details at this level. There won’t be much in the way of off-the-shelf materials, and the workmanship should be top-notch. Renovations that hit all of these notes can easily run over $500 psf.

Budget for permits, design, and everything behind-the-scenes

1.) Design

Depending on your general contractor and your level of involvement in the project, you may also need/want professional design services. There are other scenarios in which an architect is required, including to apply for permits, navigate a complicated approval system, or meet insurance coverage requirements. Architects can charge a flat fee or a percentage of the total project. Another option is a design/build firm, which combines design and construction services within one fee and contract. In these cases, the firm’s principal is capable of both aspects of the job, or a dedicated designer is on staff or on retainer.

2.) Building and city requirements

If you live in a co-op or condo building, you’ll likely need to submit your plans—thus necessitating an architect—to your building’s board. Co-ops generally are stricter about renovations than condo buildings, though many condos are now adopting more stringent rules as well. Buildings have their own requirements; some may call for insurance coverage minimums. 

Some alteration agreements require a security deposit to cover the possible scope of damage and may also request you pay the fees incurred by the condo or co-op board to review and approve your plan. You may find that contractors who can afford to work in buildings with more extensive specifications tend to have higher operating costs in order to meet higher insurance requisites.

The NYC Department of Buildings requires that you obtain permits for many types of construction work, including plumbing, electrical, and various inspections depending on the existing and planned space. Permits can add up: an electrical permit can run close to $900, plumbing permits can cost up to $2,000 and as high as $5,000, and an asbestos inspection can be $500.

3.) Demolition and site prep

Depending on the state of the original space, you may need to do extensive preparatory work after demolition but before any installation can begin. Older apartments will almost always require stripping, leveling, and plastering. Uneven floors and walls must be leveled before cabinets can be hung, doors framed, or tiling installed. These costs are determined by the general contractor once they have a chance to examine your space.

4.) Overhead costs

In contrast to the costs attached to the visible material aspects of your renovation, pricing for the many “unseen” costs can be more difficult for the average homeowner to anticipate. While labor is a clear one, you should take into account that different forms of labor can be priced very differently. Wiring and plumbing work, for example, tends to be expensive. And over the past year, master plumbers and electricians have seen costs go up, “primarily due to the safety measures and certifications that have been imposed on these trades by the Department of Buildings,” said Sweeten general contractor Aaron.

Plumbing for each fixture generally runs between $1,500 to $2,000 a piece in New York City, so it will cost at least $5,000 for a licensed plumber to run new lines for a sink, toilet, and bathtub. In general contracting, skim coating, a technique that hides a wall’s uneven appearance and imperfections, and gives the smoothest surface possible, is the most expensive type of labor. In some cases, it can be more affordable to tear down old walls and put up new drywall.

Additionally, you should note that from the contractor’s perspective, “labor” on the budget proposal may include not only the hourly rate they pay their workers, but also insurance, license, and other overhead fees that keep their business running. (Contractors typically take home about 10-15 percent profit—for example, if they do $2 million worth of business this year, they are netting about $200k.) Insurances and other costs of running a business increase year over year, and while the costs are not passed 1:1 to the client, contractors must raise prices to maintain operations. Some show a specific line on the budget for profit/overhead, while others build it into other budget lines.

 WATCH VIDEO:

Tips on how to budget your renovation

Once you’ve accounted for each line item in your budget, allocate an additional 10 to 15 percent as a cushion. Projects can run over budget as a result of unforeseen circumstances, so it’s good to err on the safe side.

Many factors go into the per-square-foot estimates. If you’re trying to come up with a plan to match your budget, here are some tips from contractors and renovators:

Mix high and low: This refers to materials, which should be selected for maximum impact. You may choose a handmade tile for the kitchen backsplash while sticking to an off-the-shelf option for the second bath. Make a custom statement where it will really get noticed, and use standard materials where it won’t.

Don’t skimp on plumbing and electrical infrastructure: While these aspects probably won’t garner any compliments at your dinner party, you still need licensed and qualified experts for these jobs. If you don’t, there may be pricey problems to deal with in the long run.

Focus on kitchens and baths: Spend your money here! These rooms have the most resale value potential.

Consult experts upfront: If you are inclined to hire an architect or designer for a major transformation, getting them onboard early may help to save money on your project by mapping out a clear plan to avoid changes mid-stream. Set aside 15 to 20 percent of your budget for this professional. In general, hiring licensed professionals early is a cost-effective way to prevent insurance headaches later on by using their expertise to avoid mistakes which can lead to delays.

Not sure how to start your renovation? Click here for Sweeten’s six steps on planning your remodel and how to find a vetted general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten



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2020 Kitchen Renovation Costs in NYC


What you could spend on materials, labor, and permits for your kitchen remodel

banquette kitchen(Above) Jenn + Jon’s Upper East Side renovation

Dreaming of the kitchen you’ve always wanted is easy. To get there, having a roadmap of the elements you could encounter in a kitchen renovation in New York City will help you understand the decisions and behind-the-scenes costs. Here, Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, offers a kitchen renovation cost overview so you can create a space that you love and works perfectly for you.

From building requirements to permits and design, take a look at the overall averages for renovating a kitchen in NYC, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report based on remodels in 2019. These costs end up being higher for NYC than the national average.

  • Minor, mid-range kitchen renovation (meaning no layout changes and not moving plumbing or electrical): $29,522 
  • Major, mid-range renovation: $84,484 
  • Major, upscale renovation:  $166,408 

To get a sense of what budgets most Americans are working with nationally, the averages for kitchen remodels in 2019 was $23,452  for a minor, mid-range renovation, $68,490  for a major, mid-range project, and $135,547  for a major, upscale project.

Low to high-end costs for kitchen appliances and finishes 

Take a quick walk around any home appliance store, and you can start to get a feel for the obvious costs of a kitchen renovation. On the low end are items sourced from big-box stores like Home Depot, Walmart, or IKEA. Prices increase if you choose to use their interior boxes but upgrade or customize the function or style, such as the door fronts. The middle range covers quality, longer-lasting products, and on the high end are highly customized, luxury brands, or imported items.

How much materials for a kitchen remodel cost

The chart below shows a range of pricing for various fixtures, materials, and finishes from low-end, mid-range to high-end below:

  • Cabinets: Low-end – $130/linear foot, Mid-range – $1,000/linear foot, High-end – $2,000/linear foot
  • Appliance package: Low-end – $2,000, Mid-range – $5,000, High-end – $17,000$26,000
  • Vent hood: Low-end – $200, Mid-range – $500, High-end – $2,000 and higher
  • Countertops: Low-end – $5 per square foot (psf), Mid-range – $50 per square foot (psf), High-end – $100 per square foot (psf) and higher
  • Backsplash: Low-end – $3 psf, Mid-range – $15 psf, High-end – $35 psf and up
  • Flooring (tile): Low-end – $3 psf, Mid-range – $15 psf, High-end – $35 psf and up
  • Kitchen sink: Low-end – $150, Mid-range – $500, High-end – $2,000 and up
  • Cabinet hardware: Low-end – $5/piece, Mid-range – $30/piece, High-end – $300/piece
  • Lighting: Low-end – $50, Mid-range – $200/piece, High-end – $500/piece

kitchen renovation costs

A note about cabinetry: In high-end kitchens that feature custom millwork, the cabinetry often accounts for a high percentage of both materials and labor costs. Whether opting for minimalist, sleek cabinetry with concealed hardware, or decorative cabinetry with custom visual details, the starting point for basic custom cabinetry is $1,000 per linear foot. Many factors can affect this number—drawers are costlier than shelves, for example, and creative solutions such as Lazy Susans, pull-out pantries, specialized compartments, and soft-close hinges all add to the budget. The cost and finish options of kitchen cabinetry work are very similar to custom millwork and built-ins. 

Custom cabinets are not just for houses with lots of square footage; apartment owners with limited kitchen depth may also benefit by going custom. Cabinets with less depth can maximize tighter spaces, while more depth can accommodate larger tableware storage. These choices inherently require custom cabinet work because prefabricated cabinet options come in limited and fixed depth measurements. Read more about the difference between custom and prefab cabinets here.

Budget for permits, design, and everything behind-the-scenes

In contrast to the visible costs, here are some mostly unavoidable behind-the-scenes budget items to keep on your radar.

1. ) Building requirements

Building requirements can play a significant role in dictating design and budget needs for apartment owners. These requirements can range from insurance coverage minimums, which limit your ability to work with professionals who aren’t carrying high-value insurance policies, to alteration agreements that require anyone doing any work in the building to have far-reaching coverage for problems they may never encounter, like asbestos removal or collapse scenarios.

Contractors who can afford to work in buildings with more extensive requirements tend to have higher operating costs and can meet higher insurance requirements, more stringent debris removal expectations, limited noise and hours-of-work requirements, and stricter parking rules. While there is no exact figure on this, you may see this translate into higher rates overall for teams that can meet those demands.

2.) City permits

  • Plumbing services: $2,000$3,500 and higher
  • Plumbing permits: up to $2,000 and as high as $5,000 per permit
  • Electrical permits: $900
  • Asbestos inspection: $500$1,000

Plumbing services can cost $2,000 to $3,500+ and plumbing permits (required by the City’s Department of Buildings for any plumbing work that exceeds a minor repair or a direct swap of a similar fixture) can run up to $2,000 and as high as $5,000 per permit. Adding outlets or doing electrical work may call for an electrical permit, which can run close to $900. You may also need an asbestos inspection, depending on the building’s requirements and your plumbing plans, which can cost $500 to $1,000.

3.) Design

In the design stage, plan to collaborate with the experts you hire to create detailed drawings that account for all physical elements of the kitchen, including layout, plumbing, cabinetry and counter specs, lighting, and appliances. You should also select your backsplash, flooring, sink, and hardware during the design phase.

  • If you are considering major layout changes, such as removing walls, rerouting gas or plumbing lines, and rewiring electrical, you are looking at spending at least $32,000 for a basic kitchen gut. If you are considering this kind of transformative work, you’ll need architectural designs from a registered architect and to plan for the cost of permits, thorough building approvals, high insurance coverage requirements, and more involved management from a general contractor overseeing the project.
  • These “soft costs”—expenses critical to the success of the work but often invisible and unforeseen—can represent 15 to 35% of the renovation cost. Read more about layout changes here.

4.) Demolition and site prep

In the site prep stage, significant behind-the-scenes labor is needed to ensure that your kitchen renovation maintains its value over time. Old materials and fixtures need to be pulled out and disposed of—this can be complicated on busy city streets with limited parking. Almost without exception, and especially in old buildings, your contractor will need to strip the walls and flooring to frame and level, respectively, before the installation phase. This step is critical and labor-intensive—and can easily average $4,000

If your home is new or the sub-floor is concrete, leveling needs may be minimal, but otherwise, you probably need to account for floor-leveling and new wall sheetrock or intensive plastering before any surface work can get going.

Exposing the existing conditions inside walls during this leveling and framing step will also allow your contractor to address plumbing or electrical issues before you hook up a brand-new appliance. You may find it necessary to replace all horizontal plumbing work to the building’s “stack” (the main vertical lines that run throughout the building), and run new wiring to head off plumbing and electrical problems that you may have unwittingly inherited. 

Factor in costs that support the success and longevity of the work, including prep work to protect floors and valuables, which can add $600 to $900, and waterproofing steps, which can add $1,000. While these steps are labor- and cost-intensive, the work is critical for foundation alignment and infrastructure needed for the project, so consider them wise investments.

5.) Installation

Last, but certainly not least, is the install. It’s essential to note that high-quality materials are only as good as the installation—if hinges are not properly aligned on drawers or cabinets, or if the shelving is not completely level, these faults will not only prevent your kitchen from aging well, they will also affect the immediate aesthetics of your space. Appliances are often installed by the store where you made the purchase (as a built-in cost or an added delivery/installation fee), while countertop suppliers often also manage the installation of that product. If it is not provided as a built-in cost, installation is usually subsumed under the “general construction” or “labor” budget line and handled by your general contractor.

6.) Overhead costs

General contractors always factor in a percentage of the project to cover overhead costs, including insurances, administrative support, and the inevitable costs of growing a business. Sweeten contractors range from two-men crews to much larger entities that employ dozens of staff (including designers, project managers, millworkers and laborers, bookkeepers and operations staff). No matter the size of your contractor’s business, however, you will absorb some of the cost increases they bear from year to year, though not necessarily dollar for dollar.

Sweeten contractor Thomas explained that as a business grows, costs also go up. “Insurances increase yearly, and anything related to MEPs (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) has also increased a bit as these subcontractors—especially plumbers—have seen an increase in their costs.” This is because the rules have become more stringent and there needs to be “more eyes on the project.” Additionally, he mentions, “Buildings are being more stringent on their [insurance] requirements which cause us to keep up with those needs.”

While Sweeten contractors attempt to explore all avenues to stay competitive, it is an industry that is affected by trade. The prices you’re quoted at any given time may not be the same six months or a year from now. Prices on labor and materials fluctuate and this will be reflected in your overall quote. One thing to keep in mind: “Every project is different depending on the complexity of the project, type of client, which trades will be involved, and how easy or difficult it will be to work in the particular building,” said Sweeten contractor Aaron.

You have a fair amount of choice in deciding what to spend on some material aspects of a kitchen renovation, but some basic renovation costs and labor-intensive steps are instrumental to the work overall, no matter what you spend on materials. Having a good handle on the real costs involved will allow you to better align your budget, avoid surprises, and get you that much closer to your dream kitchen.

Find out how long a kitchen renovation takes—and what’s involved—in our step-by-step guide and process timeline.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



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Average Cost of Bathroom Renovation


What you could spend on materials, labor, and permits for your bathroom remodel

bathroom renovation cost nyc

“After” photos by Kate Glicksberg for Sweeten

(Above) Katherine + Gus’ bathroom renovation

With a steady flow of inspiring Pinterest boards and design blogs, it’s easy to reimagine how your dream bathroom can become your sanctuary. To get you there, Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, offers a roadmap of the elements you could encounter in a New York City bathroom renovation. From building requirements to permits and design, this guide will help nail down your scope and better align real costs with a realistic budget.

Take a look at the overall averages based on NYC remodels in 2019, according to Remodeling‘s Cost vs. Value Report. These costs end up being higher for NYC than the national average*.

  • Mid-range renovation: $29,585 
  • Upscale renovation: $88,523 

*National averages were $21,377  for a mid-range bathroom renovation and $67,106  for an upscale renovation.

Remodeling a bathroom all at once

While it can be tempting to apply à la carte prices to individual elements of the work, a full bathroom renovation is an integrated process that involves design, materials, installation, and plumbing. If your bathroom has one or two areas of concern, you might decide to swap out an individual fixture or two. You can replace a toilet or vanity or take on some limited retiling and pay solely for the cost of the new fixtures and the hours of installation work.

But it can be misleading to break up and price out each step: even if you are just redoing fixtures and tile work, you may find you need to replace the sheetrock on the wall and address issues behind the walls, such as old valves, ancient drain pipes, etc. A gut renovation allows you to plan more broadly, so you can get more done, in the right sequence, and more cost-effectively.

Low to high-end costs for bathroom materials and finishes

These are the visible parts of a bathroom renovation, and probably the aspect you’ve spent the most time thinking about. Take a look at the range of pricing for various fixtures, materials, and finishes in the chart below. On the low end, you’ll find items sourced from big-box stores like Home Depot, Walmart, or IKEA. Prices increase if you choose to use their interior boxes but upgrade or customize the function or style, such as the door fronts. On the high end are highly customized, handmade, or imported items.

How much materials for a bathroom remodel cost

  •       Wall and floor tile: Low-end – $3 per square foot (psf), Mid-range – $15 psf, High-end – $35 psf
  •       Sink: Low-end – $50, Mid-range – $150, High-end – $500 and up
  •       Vanity: Low-end – $250, Mid-range –  $1,000, High-end – $2,000 and up
  •       Sink and shower fixtures: Low-end – $40/fixture, Mid-range – $100/fixture, High-end – $350/fixture
  •       Bathtub: Low-end – $150, Mid-range – $600, High-end – $2,000 – $3,000
  •       Shower enclosure: Low-end – $350, Mid-range –  $1,000, High-end – $2,000
  •       Toilet: Low-end – $150, Mid-range – $400, High-end – $1,000 and up
  •       Medicine cabinet: Low-end – $50, Mid-range – $150, High-end – $500 and up
  •       Accessories (hooks, towel bar, paper towel holder): Low-end – $10/item, Mid-range – $50/item, High-end – $100  and up
  •       Lighting: Low-end – $25/fixture, Mid-range – $150/fixture, High-end – $300 and up
  •       Ceiling vent: Low-end – $50, Mid-range – $200, High-end – $500 and up
  •       Radiant floor heating: Low-end – $6 psf, Mid-range – $8 psf, High-end – $12 psf

kitchen renovation cost NYC

Budget for permits, design, and everything behind-the-scenes

In contrast to visible upgrades such as fixtures and finishes, there are some unavoidable behind-the-scenes investments to consider when creating an initial budget.

1.) Building requirements

For those in apartments, building requirements can play a significant role in dictating design and budget needs. These requirements can range from insurance coverage minimums, which limit your ability to work with professionals who aren’t carrying high-value insurance policies, to general alteration agreements that require anyone doing any work in the building to have far-reaching coverage for problems they may never encounter, like asbestos removal or collapse scenarios.

Sweeten contractor Thomas explained, “Buildings are becoming less flexible on their [insurance] requirements which cause us to raise prices to keep up with those needs.” The contractors who can afford to work in buildings with more extensive requirements tend to have higher operating costs and can meet higher insurance requirements, more stringent debris removal expectations, limited noise and hours-of-work requirements, and stricter parking rules. While there is no exact figure on this, you may see this translate into higher rates overall for teams that can meet those demands. 

2.) City permits

  • Plumbing services: $2,000 – $3,500 and higher
  • Plumbing permits: up to $2,000 and as high as $5,000 per permit
  • Electrical permits: $900
  • Asbestos inspection: $500 to $1,000

Tackling a bathroom remodel means planning for plumbing services and permits. Any plumbing work that exceeds a minor repair or a direct swap of a similar fixture requires a permit from the City’s Department of Buildings, which can run up to $2,000 and as high as $5,000 per permit. Plumbing is a specialized trade that often comes with hourly rates; expect to budget between $2,000 and $3,500 (or higher) for a full bathroom renovation.

If you’re adding outlets or doing electrical work, an electrical permit may be needed, which can run close to $900. You may also need an asbestos inspection, depending on the building requirements and your plumbing plans, which cost $500 to $1,000.

3.) Design

In the design stage, plan to collaborate with the experts you hire to produce detailed drawings that account for all physical elements of the bathroom. A schematic drawing is usually presented to the building board as part of the approval process, which needs to outline the locations of the major fixtures as well as specifications for the vanity and tub/shower, and lighting. If you plan to rework the layout or convert a bathtub to a shower or vice versa, you are automatically looking at a baseline cost of $25,000. This is because you’ll need to hire a registered architect to file a permit application certifying that the plan complies with applicable codes and laws. An architect or interior designer will typically charge 15 to 20 percent of the project’s construction costs for his or her fee.

4.) Demolition and site prep

In this stage, labor is needed to ensure that your bathroom renovation maintains its value over time. Old materials and fixtures need to be pulled out and disposed of, which can be complicated on busy city streets with limited parking. This difficulty will be reflected in the contractor’s rate. Almost without exception, your contractor may need to strip the walls and flooring to frame and level before any installation occurs. This behind-the-scenes step is critical and labor-intensive and can cost an average of $2,000

If your home is new or the sub-floor is concrete, leveling needs may be minimal, but otherwise, you probably need to account for floor leveling and new drywall or plastering before any surface work can get going.

Exposing the existing conditions inside walls during this leveling and framing step will also allow your contractor to address plumbing or electrical issues before you hook up a new plumbing fixture. You may find it necessary to replace all horizontal plumbing work to the building’s “stack” (the main vertical lines that run throughout the building), and run new wiring to head off plumbing and electrical problems that you may have unwittingly inherited. 

You’ll want to factor in costs that support the success and longevity of the work, including prep work to protect floors and valuables (which can add $600 to $900) and waterproofing steps (which can add $1,000). This is critical for the project’s foundation alignment and infrastructure.

5.) Installation

Installation is the final stage to incorporate all of the materials you’ve purchased. The craftsmanship involved in the installation of all the pieces varies in accordance with the size of your bathroom and the degree of customization you need to make all of the pieces fit.

As a rule of thumb, you can expect to spend 30 percent or less of your total project cost on visible materials, fixtures, and finishes, with the rest going to behind-the-scenes costs such as labor, permits, and fees.

6.) Overhead costs

General contractors always factor in a percentage of the project to cover overhead costs, including insurance, administrative support, and the inevitable costs of growing a business. Sweeten contractors range from two-men crews to much larger entities that employ dozens of staff (including designers, project managers, millworkers and laborers, bookkeepers and operations staff). No matter the size of your contractor’s business, however, you will absorb some of the cost increases they bear from year to year, though not necessarily dollar for dollar.

Sweeten contractor Aaron explained that in the last year, there have been specific increases of compliance, certificates and safety measures imposed on MEP subcontractors (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) by the Department of Buildings leading to higher costs. While Sweeten contractors attempt to explore all avenues to stay competitive, it is an industry that is affected by trade. The prices you’re quoted at any given time may not be the same six months or a year from now. Prices on labor and materials fluctuate and this will be reflected in your overall quote. 

You have a fair amount of choice in deciding what to spend on the material aspects of a bathroom renovation. Less obvious are the costs that are the backbone and labor of the work overall, no matter what you spend on materials. Having a good handle on the real costs involved will allow you to better align your budget, avoid surprises, and get you that much closer to your dream bathroom.

Find out how long a bathroom renovation takes—and what’s involved—in our step-by-step guide and process timeline.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.



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