2020 Cost Guide for a Home Remodel in Atlanta


The costs to remodel in Atlanta in 2020; including  kitchen, bath, and whole-home (plus outdoor budgets and permit tips!)

Atlanta home remodel costs 2020(Above) Remodel by Sweeten general contractor Kimberly in Atlanta. Photo: Tomas Espinoza.

There’s no denying Atlanta is a booming city. Between 2010 and 2018, Atlanta was the fourth-fastest growing city in the nation, adding a little less than 700,000 people and now sits at close to six million inhabitants. 

In other words, it’s a great time to put down roots in Atlanta—from restoring a bungalow in Decatur, adding to a classic Georgian-style home in Druid Hill, or remodeling a loft apartment in the Old Fourth Ward. Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their project, offers this guide detailing costs to remodel in Atlanta as a starting point. 

When embarking on a renovation, ‘How much will it cost?’ will likely be your first question. It’s notable in Atlanta that once a renovation budget reaches a couple $100,000s, building a new house instead becomes a major consideration. In this situation, you’ll need to factor in costs to tear down the existing structure and remove debris.

Read on for a breakdown of typical starting costs for remodeling across Atlanta, Georgia, focusing on five categories: full home, kitchen, bathroom, outdoor spaces, and permits.

  • Gut renovation: Starting at around $70$100 psf (per square foot)
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: Starting at $20,000$30,000
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: Starting at $35,000
  • High-end kitchen remodel: Starting at $65,000
  • Low-end bathroom remodel: Starting at $12,500$15,000
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: Starting at $20,000
  • High-end bathroom remodel and reconfiguration: Starting at $35,000+
  • Deck composite: $20,000 or $61 psf
  • Wood deck: $14,000 or $44 psf

How much an Atlanta home remodel costs per square foot

A total gut renovation in Atlanta that brings your home down to the studs and dresses it back up again with low-range finishes will likely start at around $70 to $100 psf, according to Atlanta-based Sweeten general contractor Dexter.

He recently worked on a renovation that redid everything except for the basement. “We renovated about 85 percent of this house,” said Dexter. It was a 1950s house that involved redoing the siding, repairing and polishing the original wood floors, remodeling two bathrooms with a custom shower in one and new tub in the other while adding gold-look faucets and an oversized kitchen island with a farmhouse sink. Because of the high-end finishes and custom elements, that renovation came in $120,000 for the end budget. 

Sweeten general contractor Kimberly is currently working on a 3,200 square foot farmhouse renovation. The budget is at $150,000, which includes renovating three bathrooms and expanding the fourth for a larger master suite and a kitchen remodel that includes custom kitchen cabinets and quartz countertops. “We will be making some smart choices to make it look brand spanking new without breaking the budget,” said Kimberly, adding that the owners were rolling their sleeves up to do some work themselves to reduce the budget. 

But still, Kimberly is about to start demolition on the project which will reveal if any rewiring is needed to bring the old building up to code. One issue common in Atlanta’s older homes is subpar work that might have been completed previously by an unlicensed contractor. “The budget could go as high as $225,000,” she said, bringing the farmhouse reno to about $75 psf.

Another factor that can have a big impact on a budget for an extensive renovation is the age of the house and whether it had lead paint or asbestos, according to Dexter. Anything built before 1978, could have lead paint in it. Anything built between the ‘30s and the end of the ‘80s could have asbestos. That’s why Dexter gets homes built in those time periods tested. If it comes back positive, the removal of lead or asbestos could add a few thousand dollars to your budget while pushing your timeline back.

Atlanta remodel costs 2020

How much an Atlanta kitchen remodel costs per square foot

The typical quote detailing costs to remodel a minor kitchen in Atlanta ranges between $20,000 to $30,000 for a 200-square-foot space which includes labor and rough materials such as drywall. This number doesn’t budge all that much because it is mostly calculated on installation rather than materials. In a lower-end kitchen remodel, it’s a good idea to keep lighting where it is while refreshing the fixtures, according to Sweeten expert Kimberly. For a mid to high-end budget, you should be able to change the location of lights.

Additional material costs include elements such as replacing cabinet fronts, a basic granite countertop, basic lighting, energy-efficient appliances, faucets, and resilient flooring. For example, you could go for a good value kitchen appliance package with a dishwasher, fridge, microwave, and oven for $3,500 from Home Depot. A similar package from high-end brands could set you back $20,000

Here’s a look at some mid- to high-range kitchen costs:

  • Mid-range kitchen: Expect the average mid-range kitchen renovation to come in around $175 psf or $35,000 for the Atlanta area. A 200-square-feet space would reveal laminate countertops, a 15-square-foot island, semi-custom wood cabinets, and a double stainless steel sink with a standard single-lever faucet. It also contained a built-in microwave, dishwasher, and custom lighting. Keeping your layout the same will be the biggest factor in keeping your budget down.
  • High-end kitchen renovations came in at around $325 psf or $65,000. A 200-square-foot kitchen would include custom cabinets, built-in sliding shelves, stone countertops, and imported tile backsplashes. The appliances were also kicked up a few notches to include a commercial-grade cooktop and vent hood as well as upscale faucets and a water filtration system.

Atlanta home remodeling, Atlanta bathroom remodel(Above) Remodels by Atlanta-based Sweeten contractor Dennis

How much an Atlanta bathroom remodel costs per square foot

For a typical bathroom quote, expect the cost to come in between $12,500 to $15,000. The budget focuses on installation and does not include some key materials. This gives renovators the freedom to shop for what they want while having greater autonomy over their project’s budget. This cost range does include a vanity with a basic granite top, toilet, and tub or shower. Homeowners can shop for finishes such as faucets, tiles, and mirrors. For a project with a lower budget, Dexter advised renovators to stick to tiles in the $2 psf range and faucets made from chrome or brushed nickel. 

Here’s a look at mid- to high-end bathroom budgets:

  • In the Atlanta area, the average cost of a mid-range kitchen remodel comes in about $20,000 or $571 psf. This range applies to a 35-square-feet space and installing a new porcelain-on-steel bathtub, ceramic tiles, and a recessed medicine cabinet with built-in lighting. A renovation of this level can add about $13,000 to a home’s value, which recoups close to 65 percent of the project’s cost, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs Value report. Not a bad investment.

A popular remodel is taking out the tubs to put in showers. Avoiding this and working with the layout that you have can easily shave off $4,000 in a bathroom budget. 

  • The average bathroom remodel cost in the upscale category starts at around $35,000. For this budget, you could expand your bathroom from 35 square feet to around 100 square feet and can play around with elements like a freestanding soaker tub and a shower with recessed shelves, a frameless glass enclosure, and body spray fixtures. You’re also likely to afford a double-sink and double-mirror vanity with custom draws and wall cabinets. In Kimberly’s experience, a high-end bathroom remodel typically involves using marble or quartz, replacing a rod and shower curtain with glass and adding elements like double shower heads.

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Costs for adding outdoor space in Atlanta

If you don’t mind a bit of humidity, an outdoor area can be used year-round (although, a fan and mosquito netting is a smart addition for summer). Add or renovate your deck or patio and it will be like adding another room to your home. 

  • The average price for a 320-square-foot deck made from composite is $20,000 or $61 psf, according to the Cost Vs Value report for 2020. Composite is a mix of wood and plastic, making it more durable to weather and termites than just wood. A project using this material will add about 60 percent of the cost back into your home’s value. If you do use wood, it will reduce your budget by more than 25 percent to $14,000 or $44 psf. A deck made with wood will add 70 percent of the project cost to your home’s value.

Consequently, the majority of Dexter’s clients go with a wood deck rather than composite. A recent client had him rebuild a deck and cover it with flyscreen. It was about 300 square feet and the job was done for a total of $20,000 or about $65 psf.  

Adding stone to a concrete slab for a patio will start at about $12 psf, according to Kimberly. If you want to add lighting and ceiling fans, then add another $5,000 to your budget for fixtures and wiring. An outdoor kitchen could range from $5,000 to $20,000. “In Atlanta, people plan spaces for entertaining purposes,” said Kimberly.

Permit costs in Atlanta

Building permit fees are often calculated by the square footage of your project, or by the overall budget cost. To see how your area’s permits are calculated, check with your local building department. Your general contractor will likely put an estimated amount in your initial budget before a final amount is calculated. “There’s no rule of thumb when it comes to the cost of permits,” said Sweeten contractor Dexter. “Some areas I can pull a permit for $50, but the same job in another county could cost $200.”

It isn’t just the cost of the actual permit that needs to go into the budget. Additionally, you also need to pay your contractors for the time it takes them to pull the permit. In some counties in Atlanta you can file electronically. Other counties, a contractor or architect will need to show up in person with paper plans, said Kimberly. A typical fee to have someone file your permits can range between $300 and $1,000.

The cost of building permits for the city of Atlanta, the area including and immediately surrounding the downtown area, is $7 per $1,000 for construction. Electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits also have their own fees, which start between $75 and $175 per project. Your general contractor will be familiar with the costs and will also be filing your building permits on your behalf. 

Permits vary greatly in different areas of Atlanta. Neighborhoods like John’s Creek and Alpharetta typically have more fees to consider. Permit fees are less expensive in Sugar Hill in Gwinnett County and Forsyth County.

To confirm a budget, a general contractor will want to see the site for a more accurate assessment of costs. Having your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” list paired with a realistic budget will have you on your way to your dream home. 

Remodeling your home in Atlanta? Sweeten can help!

Now that you know the costs to remodel in Atlanta, post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with vetted local general contractors to provide estimates for your remodel, plus we’ll support you throughout your project duration. Meet with your contractor to develop an accurate budget, and you’ll be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.

Remodeling an old house? Here’s what you should know from energy efficiency to layout changes.

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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A London Townhouse Remodel By Architectural Salvage Masters Retrouvius


“Reuse is not a design trend; it’s an attitude, a mindset, and a behavioral approach that isn’t just relevant today— it’s vital,” says Maria Speake. Back in the early 1990s in Glasgow, she and fellow architecture student Adam Hills watched historic buildings being demolished. “The madness of this process wasn’t just about unnecessary waste, it disregarded the common sense that used to underpin construction: valuing materials and craft.”

In response, the couple founded Retrouvius, their now 26-year-old London-based salvage company, that all this time has been leading by example. “In the simplest terms, we rescue materials, furniture, lighting and fixtures, and continue their life,” they write. “Increasingly, we understand our mission as something more fundamental: to enable and inspire reuse, not just as a design preference but as a way of life.”

Adam oversees the reclamation side of the business, and Maria runs the in-house design studio, applying rescued components to inventive remodels  (House & Garden UK named her designer of the year in 2019). A recent project that caught our eye is this Georgian townhouse in Notting Hill. It belongs to a successful costume designer with a love of patinated surfaces, old wood, and peace and quiet. Maria and team transformed her quarters into “a country home in the city.”

Photography by Tom Fallon courtesy of Retrouvius.

Formerly a series of &#8
Above: Formerly a series of “boxy dark rooms,” the garden floor was opened up by relocating the stair to the back of the lounge, shown here. Other key moves: exposing (and repairing) the original beams and introducing a rescued 17th century stone fireplace.

“It was originally from Somerset,” says Maria of the mantel. “When we first got it—from a wonderful architectural salvage dealer called Marcus Olliff—I tried to put it in a house in Somerset, but our clients thought it was too raw, which is, of course, what we love about it.”

The house is located near Portobello Road—the costume designer bought her velvet-upholstered armchair on Goldborne Road, at the far end of the Portobello Market.
Above: The house is located near Portobello Road—the costume designer bought her velvet-upholstered armchair on Goldborne Road, at the far end of the Portobello Market.
The costumier loves living with old textiles, of course, but has an aversion to painted walls: as Maria puts it, &#8
Above: The costumier loves living with old textiles, of course, but has an aversion to painted walls: as Maria puts it, “she feels a deep sense of gloom about flat emulsion.” To give the surfaces depth and nuance, the rooms are painted with limewash from Bauwerk.
The paneled door in the back of the lounge leads to a tiny guest bath. &#8
Above: The paneled door in the back of the lounge leads to a tiny guest bath. “To distract from the scale, the walls here are covered in an old wallpaper, we think it’s 1920’s but it’s possibly 1940’s—it’s outrageously glamorous,” says Maria. “The door is clad in oxidized copper sheets with amazing color variations and texture. Adam salvaged these from a building in Soho.”
The lounge opens to the dining area and kitchen, which references the costumier&#8
Above: The lounge opens to the dining area and kitchen, which references the costumier’s grandmother’s kitchen in Italy. Reuse, Maria points out, starts at home: the dining table, and Wishbone chairs were already part of the place, as was the Falcon range (which originally stood where the stone fireplace is now).
The cabinets are faced with th century marquetry floorboards that came out of a building in Vienna. The backsplash is made of slices of onyx that Adam bought from a fireplace and sculpture restorer who was retiring.
Above: The cabinets are faced with 18th century marquetry floorboards that came out of a building in Vienna. The backsplash is made of slices of onyx that Adam bought from a fireplace and sculpture restorer who was retiring.
This end of the kitchen overlooks a new sunroom. The marquetry cabinet fronts have a light limewash finish &#8
Above: This end of the kitchen overlooks a new sunroom. The marquetry cabinet fronts have a light limewash finish “to keep them pale” and the rafters are treated with a fire retardant paint.
A tall refrigerator and two fridge drawers are built into the new back stair partition. The flooring throughout is a mix of the original pine boards—&#8
Above: A tall refrigerator and two fridge drawers are built into the new back stair partition. The flooring throughout is a mix of the original pine boards—”lifted for insulation and leveling purposes”—and reclaimed wood: “you’d be hard-pressed to work out which is which,” says Maria.
&#8
Above: “The old stair had that vibe of cramped servant’s stair,” says Maria. “The hierarchy of arrival and ease had to change.”

The interior window, she notes, is framed in copper and probably dates to the 1910s: “copper lights are a little more refined and urban than lead lights.”

The laundry, with it cupboards of reclaimed maple, is a &#8
Above: The laundry, with it cupboards of reclaimed maple, is a “wee temple to wood.”
The cupboards are inset with a band of sculptural antique Dutch cigar molds and custom vents. &#8
Above: The cupboards are inset with a band of sculptural antique Dutch cigar molds and custom vents. “One of the delights—and frustrations—of salvage is that we have a finite quantity of everything, so we always have to change and adapt, but it helps make projects unique” says Maria.
In one of the guest rooms, the bed is set in a nook paneled in reclaimed pine cheese boards (a longstanding Retrouvius speciality, these were used for maturing cheeses, hence the faint circular patterns, but, Maria assures, are odor free). The cutouts are small glass windows.
Above: In one of the guest rooms, the bed is set in a nook paneled in reclaimed pine cheese boards (a longstanding Retrouvius speciality, these were used for maturing cheeses, hence the faint circular patterns, but, Maria assures, are odor free). The cutouts are small glass windows.
The room has a built-in dresser and, just out of the photo, a compact sink from an old train car.
Above: The room has a built-in dresser and, just out of the photo, a compact sink from an old train car.
There&#8
Above: There’s a steam shower with cedar fittings and Moroccan-style tadelakt walls. Read about tadelelakt in Remodeling 101.
The basin is made from an old wood bread trough. The copper fixtures are from Waterworks.
Above: The basin is made from an old wood bread trough. The copper fixtures are from Waterworks.
The master bedroom has limewashed walls and original moldings. The rug is Swedish. Note the 30&#8
Above: The master bedroom has limewashed walls and original moldings. The rug is Swedish. Note the 1930’s glass door:  Maria says you can find designs like it on UK salvage website Salvo.
The room pairs two longstanding Remodelista favorites: the Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket and Ercol Stacking Chair (see also Updated Classics from Ercol).
Above: The room pairs two longstanding Remodelista favorites: the Moroccan Pom Pom Blanket and Ercol Stacking Chair (see also Updated Classics from Ercol).
Centuries and styles mix in the master bath. The tub was in the house, &#8
Above: Centuries and styles mix in the master bath. The tub was in the house, “so whoopie, perfect to be reused, albeit in a new location,” says Maria.
Antique sideboard as bathroom sink table, rRetrouvius design, London. Tom Fallon photo. Above: An antique English sideboard serves as a washstand. (“A great place to look for English furniture is the Decorative Collective website, says Maria.) The vintage enameled sink came out of the Retrouvius warehouse: “We were using it to clean teacups and old light fittings,” says Maria. “Our client used it to explain what she envisioned and we realized the basin had found its new owner.”Antique sideboard as bathroom sink table, rRetrouvius design, London. Tom Fallon photo.

Above: The zelliges tiles are from the Mosaic Factory : “they’re cut in a way that gives them a subtle geometric pattern.” To see more of Maria’s designs, go to Retrouvius; the company shop and showroom is in Kensal Green, London.

Some more projects that make artful use of vintage and found materials:



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2020 Cost Guide for a Home Remodel in Miami


The costs to expect for kitchen, bath, whole home, and outdoor remodeling in Miami (plus resale value and permit tips!)

modern home remodel in Miami

Whether you own a modern beach-side condo, an on-the-bay house, or a bungalow away from it all on a quiet street, the process of doing a remodel in Miami can be enjoyable—with a rewarding outcome. 

A budget is the start of any renovation, and every project is unique: from materials, adding value and lifestyle to your home, and working with the HOA. Sweeten, a free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their project, offers this cost guide to remodeling in Miami to provide a jumping-off point to get you on your way. 

Here’s a breakdown of typical starting costs across Miami, Florida, focusing on four categories: kitchen, bathroom, deck additions, and permits compiled from Sweeten general contractors and Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report:

  • Full home renovation: $100 – $250+ per square feet (psf)
  • Low-end kitchen remodel: starting at $150 psf or $15,000 (based on a 100-sq-ft space)
  • Mid-range kitchen remodel: $325 psf or $65,000 (based on a 200-sq-ft space)
  • High-end kitchen remodel:  $650 psf or $130,000 (based on a 200-sq-ft space)
  • Low-end bathroom remodel: starting at $300 psf
  • Mid-range bathroom remodel: $570 psf or $20,000 (based on a 35-sq-ft space)
  • High-end bathroom remodel: $630 psf or $63,000 (based on a 100-sq-ft space)
  • Basic wood deck addition: $40 psf or $13,000 (based on a 325-sq-ft space)
  • Concrete patio addition with roof, electrical, plumbing, and a cooking area: $50,000  

How much a home remodel in Miami costs per square feet

If you’re renovating a house in the Miami area, expect costs to range from $100 to $250+ psf with $175 psf as the middle range. If you’re aiming for a budget that is in the upper-middle range, Miami-based Sweeten general contractor Adrian said you can expect to pay over $200,000 or about $200 psf. However, several elements affect this, like square footage, the state of the original home, and how expensive your tastes are. “It has all to do with the finishes,” Adrian said. By finishes, he means the elements you can see such as tiles, faucets, and kitchen countertops. With materials, plan to add to the timeline for installation and materials and labor costs. Using higher-end finishes will push your budget upwards by at least $50,000, he said. 

The budget for renovating an apartment can be higher than house renovations. “If you’re doing a house, often you can work on the weekends,” said Adrian. In a condo, there are tight rules about when construction work can and can’t be done. These hours are put in place by the homeowners association (HOA) for each building. Often, this means only working within an eight-hour or so window Monday to Friday. This extends the timeline of a project, thus increasing the budget. HOAs might also charge a condo owner a fee to remodel their apartment. 

Disposing of trash adds to the cost of condo renovations. With a house, a general contractor can park a dumpster out the front. For condo remodels, general contractors will likely hire a separate contractor to come and lug construction trash away. This involves negotiating tight hallways and elevators as well as timeframes given by the HOA.  

How much a kitchen remodel in Miami costs per square foot

  • A kitchen renovation in the best value range can come in at as low as $15,000 for something that is around 100 square feet, according to Hancen, a Sweeten general contractor in Miami. To get a new kitchen at this price, it needs to be a rip-and-replace job, meaning a layout of the kitchen must stay the same with pipes and appliances remaining where they are.

Homeowners should look at materials like pre-made shaker-style cabinets and appliances from big-box stores like Home Depot. “I’ve also noticed a trend for concrete countertops,” said Hancen. “These can be cheaper than quartz, but they take more to maintain,” adding that a sealant needs to be applied annually. 

  • A mid-range kitchen remodel in Miami costs on average $65,000, according to the Cost Vs Value’s 2020 report from Remodeling magazine. This works out to $325 psf. Almost 60 percent of that cost is recouped in the value it adds to a home. The example kitchen the report gave was 200 square feet with laminate countertops, semi-custom wood cabinets, and a stainless steel sink with a standard single-lever faucet. It also contained a built-in microwave, dishwasher, and custom lighting. Other than the addition of a kitchen island, the layout, such as where the oven and dishwasher were installed, remained the same as the original design.

Sweeten general contractor Domenico, also servicing Miami, recently completed a kitchen renovation in this price range. It included a countertop made from Dekton, a stain-, scratch-, heat-, and UV-resistant material. The cabinets were custom with self-closing doors, which took $40,000 from the budget. The appliances were GE. 

  • High-end kitchen renovations in Miami came in at around $130,000, adding the same amount of value to a home’s resale value—60 percent—as a mid-range kitchen remodel, according to the report from Cost Vs Value. The example Remodeling gave of a 200 square foot kitchen came in at $650 psf. This included custom cabinets, built-in sliding shelves, stone countertops, and imported ceramic or glass tile backsplashes. The appliances were also upgraded, including a commercial-grade cooktop and vent hood, plus designer faucets and a water filtration system.

How much a bathroom remodel in Miami costs per square foot

  • At the low-end, expect a solid rip-and-replace bathroom with no behind-the-wall surprises to come in at $15,000. Contractor Hancen specializes in bathrooms for the Miami area. At a squeeze, a very basic 50-square-foot bathroom can be completed for $300 psf, he said. However, this is contingent on the layout staying the same and having no issues like leaks or mold discovered once the project begins. If you’re after this price, stick to a prefabricated vanity and ceramic tiles, which come out to about $2 psf. When it comes to faucets, toilets, and bathtubs, the brand American Standard is a good example of affordable, quality products. “These are the most well-priced materials I’ve seen and the most popular,” said Hancen.
  • The next step up is a mid-range bathroom renovation. The average cost for this type of bathroom remodel in Miami is about $20,000 and about $570 psf, according to the Cost Vs Value report. The example bathroom the report gave was a 5’ x 7’ space and involved installing a new porcelain-on-steel bathtub, ceramic tiles, and a lit and recessed medicine cabinet. A renovation in this vein can add about $11,000 to a home’s value.
  • There’s a large jump both in price, size, and outcome between an upscale and a mid-range bathroom renovation. The average price in this category is around $63,000, the Cost Vs Value report found. For this budget, you could expand your bathroom to around 100 square feet and can play around with elements like a freestanding soaker tub and a shower with recessed shelves, a frameless glass enclosure, and body spray fixtures. You’re also likely to afford a double sink and double-mirror vanity with custom drawers, and wall cabinets.

The cost of tiles can add up. On a recent project, Domenico’s client picked out a tile that had the appearance of wood and cost $20 psf. Another client wanted a wave pattern created out of tiles. “It was more difficult to install adding to the labor costs,” he said. “Occasionally, breakages happen, so that also needs to be covered.” 

The good news is this is an investment with about 60 percent of the budget added to your home’s sale price. 

Adding outdoor space to your home

In Florida, there is plenty of sun and envious weather to take advantage of by renovating or adding an outdoor space to your home. Many Miami residents will use these spaces as an additional living space and even kitchen. 

  • Recently, Sweeten contractor Adrian added a 900 square foot patio to a house that had a budget of $50,000. “It was essentially another room to the house without the walls,” he said. It had a tiled roof supported by four columns, which was necessary so the structure could withstand a powerful hurricane. The flooring was Cuban tiles and there were fans and lighting so electrical work was required. Adrian’s project is also around the average price of a major patio remodel in Miami. According to the Cost Vs Value report, over 50% of the budget will be recouped when your home is sold.
  • If you went for a simple wood deck addition minus a roof and electric and gas hookups, you could recoup close to 75 percent of the budget in the bump it gives to your home value. The average cost of this type of project is $13,000 or $40 psf in the Miami area, according to the Cost Vs Value report. For this price, you could get a 16′ x 20′ deck with a built-in bench and planter with stairs and railings.

Permit costs

The cost of permits, from a typical building permit to electrical, mechanical, and plumbing permits, are calculated in different ways. Some permit costs are calculated by square footage. Some are calculated by the value of a project so an exact figure can take some time to figure out. That’s why general contractor Adrian puts an estimate in the initial budget. For example, with a $250,000 renovation, he puts a budget placeholder of $1,500 for the main building permit with an additional $500 each for plumbing, electrical and mechanical, if the project requires it. 

Miami-Dade county covers a huge amount of land and almost three million people. Each city—such as Miami South and Miami Lakes—in the county has a building official who issues permits for projects located within that city’s jurisdiction. Residential permits typically take 30 business days to process. 

All of these numbers are a launchpad so you can begin creating an initial budget. Sweeten’s Renovation Checklist is a downloadable roadmap to organize all of the moving parts of a renovation. (Don’t forget to include your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”!)

Remodeling your home in Miami? Sweeten can help!

Post your project on Sweeten and we’ll match you with vetted local general contractors to provide estimates for your remodel in Miami, plus we’ll support you throughout your project duration. Meet with your contractor to develop an accurate budget, and you’ll be on your way to the home you’ve always wanted.

Renovating with aging-in-place in mind will prepare you for the future or if your home is multi-generational.

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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A Historic Brownstone Bath Remodel Stays True to Its Roots


On-trend? No. On point? Absolutely.

classic bathroom remodel in BrooklynProject: Bring a vintage pink-and-black bathroom into modern-day while keeping it classic.

Before: For Peggy and Jack, renovating the master bath in their circa late-1800s brownstone in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, was an easy decision: they had leaks in the bathroom that couldn’t be ignored anymore. They were nearing the end of their twins’, Cayley and Sam, college careers so they could refocus their financial commitments. The outdated pink-and-black tile and the oddly-placed shower also contributed to the necessary overhaul. They wanted to modernize their Brooklyn bathroom, but not load it with trendy design statements that’d be “out” in a few years. 

renovator portrait

Before bath remodel pink tileTheir brownstone is configured as an owner-occupied triplex and basement rental unit—and they have grand plans for the historic building in the future. “ We have a multigenerational plan for living in our house, so we aren’t concerned about short-term resale maximization,” says Peggy. “We wanted to stay true to the spirit and look of the classic brownstone style, but update the bathroom with a water-efficient toilet and fixtures.” 

After: “The idea was to have this renovation be fine for decades,” says Peggy. “We wanted something classic, electrical and plumbing up to code, and environmentally friendly but that would respect the aesthetic of our centenarian house.” Installing safety compliant features like easy tub access, grab bars, and non-slip flooring was also a priority. 


They posted their project on Sweetena free renovation platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, and found the right contractor for their Brooklyn bathroom renovation project. 

They originally planned to move the tub under the window, which had been done with their kids’ bathroom a few years ago.  “We like to take baths, and were motivated to expand floor space and have the window view when soaking,” said Peggy. “However, we realized that also meant we couldn’t have grab bars on a  window wall.” 

Their Sweeten contractor referred them to a designer, who then consulted on the space’s layout. The designer suggested leaving the tub in place and moving the toilet to make more space for a larger vanity. Good advice! The end result of the renovation is undeniable: “It’s clean, fresh, serene…and has no leaks!” The couple also used six inches of space behind the shower wall for building in double storage niches.

Bonus: They repurposed their hallway mirror for their bathroom, since it had the vintage feel they wanted. 

Style finds: Vanity: build.com. Hardware: Miele. Bathroom floor tile: Classic Tile. Paint: Benjamin Moore.

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Check out other small bathroom renovations here.

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



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An Indoor-Outdoor Kitchen Remodel in Melbourne


When we last checked in on Anna Pipkorn Skermer and Jane Kilpatrick of Pipkorn Kilpatrick, the Melbourne-based interior designers had just tackled their first big commission: an extraordinarily refined houseboat: see Lake Luxe, Scandi-Style.  Today, we’re spotlighting another nature-centric project of theirs: Kilpatrick’s own indoor-outdoor kitchen in a charmingly tiny Edwardian brick row house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.

To remake the quarters for Kilpatrick and her husband, the duo created a new “flow-through floor plan from front door to backyard,” ending in a clean-lined kitchen that’s fully open to the backyard. The front of the house was largely preserved. What had to be fully reconfigured was an existing north-facing addition out back: a clutch of small spaces ending in an awkward bath/laundry that was the sunniest room in the house. The laundry duo is now tucked out of sight, and a brick terrace and plantings have taken center stage off the large open kitchen. The remodel was completed 10 years ago and recently photographed to prepare the house for sale—Kilpatrick and her husband now have three young sons and need bigger quarters. We think this one looks hard to equal.

Photography courtesy of Pipkorn Kilpatrick.

The center of the house is a bright kitchen and dining area with custom bifold doors and a transom window that fully connects indoors to out. The shotgun hallway was created by flipping the position of the original hall. The charcoal paneled partition hides the fridge and laundry.
Above: The center of the house is a bright kitchen and dining area with custom bifold doors and a transom window that fully connects indoors to out. The shotgun hallway was created by flipping the position of the original hall. The charcoal paneled partition hides the fridge and laundry.

The house dates to the 1890s and brick salvaged from the remodel was reused to pave the new terrace. The plantings include an herbs garden in an old wooden crate.

A polished concrete floor adds to the indoor-outdoor vibe. The kitchen cabinets are a flat-pack design that Kilpatrick and her husband painted and assembled themselves—&#8
Above: A polished concrete floor adds to the indoor-outdoor vibe. The kitchen cabinets are a flat-pack design that Kilpatrick and her husband painted and assembled themselves—”we were on a tight budget”—and had their builder install. They’re finished with Carrara marble counters and Bosch appliances.

The small sink, Kilpatrick says, is scaled to the room: “it’s big enough to wash big pots and deep enough to hide dishes when doing a quick clean.”

Kilpatrick carefully stuck to a palette of whites and grays offset by warm wood tones. A frameless skylight over the kitchen further brightens the space.&#8
Above: Kilpatrick carefully stuck to a palette of whites and grays offset by warm wood tones. A frameless skylight over the kitchen further brightens the space.” Note the pantry/work area tucked off the kitchen—the fridge stands out of view opposite the desk.
The nook is used as a place to study and to charge phones.
Above: The nook is used as a place to study and to charge phones.
The partition is composed of readymade V-groove paneling. (See others example in A DIY Kitchen Overhaul for Under $500 and DIY Beadboard Ceilings, Before and After.)
Above: The partition is composed of readymade V-groove paneling. (See others example in A DIY Kitchen Overhaul for Under $500 and DIY Beadboard Ceilings, Before and After.)
The ash dining table is Hay&#8
Above: The ash dining table is Hay’s Ypperlig design from Ikea surrounded by Thonet’s classic Hoffman Side Chairs. The hanging lights are Nud Classic Black Lamp Holders.
A tall mirror enhances the sense of space and brings the garden into the room. The purple potted plant is a smoke bush.
Above: A tall mirror enhances the sense of space and brings the garden into the room. The purple potted plant is a smoke bush.
The little brick house retains its Edwardian crenellations and other period detailing—and now has a front-door view out to the garden.
Above: The little brick house retains its Edwardian crenellations and other period detailing—and now has a front-door view out to the garden.
The floor plan shows the new kitchen-dining setup and artfully relocated laundry and full bath (which had formerly occupied the back). &#8
Above: The floor plan shows the new kitchen-dining setup and artfully relocated laundry and full bath (which had formerly occupied the back). “We flipped the hall through to the kitchen so you could see the rear garden from the front of the house—and avoid walking diagonally through the living room,” says Kilpatrick.

Craving outdoor access? Here are three more remodels that connect kitchen to garden:



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7 Savvy Ideas to Maximize Your Small Kitchen Remodel


These small kitchen remodeling ideas will impress

Tuck in, hang above, pull-outs, swap around. These are small space solutions for the kitchen. Ingenuity for function and storage stand out when there’s a shortage of surface and square footage. Rather than rely on floor space, furniture that multitasks or rethinking placement can shed new light on ideas not thought of before. From built-in dish racks and breakfast bars to a pegboard à la Julia Childs, see how these Sweeten homeowners made their small kitchens feel grand. And for larger kitchens, you’ll have some great conversation starters!

kitchen

kitchen sink

Jo, a product designer, took a cue from Europe and used bamboo shelves as a drying rack to sit above the sink. (Another Sweeten homeowner did this too.) She had them sealed to prevent warping from wet dishes. What a great way to keep your dish-drying tidy and organized while saving space on the countertop.


kitchen

kitchen table

The size of their small corner kitchen didn’t stop Dianna and Todd from featuring their bar front-and-center of their 440-square-foot studio. A set of wall-hung shelves display the ingredients for a fun gathering.


dining nook

A lot of floor plan variations were sketched out to maximize Elizabeth and Martin’s 124-square-foot galley kitchen. A bar-height table held storage which also seated 4-5 people for a café-style feel. To minimize clutter on the kitchen countertop, a built-in paper towel holder was designed right into the cabinetry.


dishwasher drawerDesperate for more storage in her tiny kitchen, Mollie decided to get rid of her full-size dishwasher. In a stroke of genius, her Sweeten contractor designed a pull-out drawer that could conceal a much smaller unit. The swap also meant one less bulky appliance in sight.


kitchen bar

Paul’s galley kitchen was extremely small and had little working counter space. Not only did a swap of two appliances change the entire flow but there was enough room to build a 14″ ledge with a wraparound effect. Now, a convenient and useful spot to perch can be enjoyed for coffee or reading.


kitchensmall kitchen ideasDealing with limited counter space in their kitchen, Casey and Kumar added a pull-out cutting board to make prep simpler. It’s part of a custom, floor-to-ceiling built-in that spans the width of a wall filled with various-sized cabinet doors.


Brooklyn, New York City, renovation, remodel, kitchenBrooklyn, New York City, renovation, remodel, kitchenClever organization made working within 44 square feet possible in Sunghee and Joseph’s cook space. They focused on smart storage solutions, like the pegboard panel on the outside of a narrow pantry cabinet. It also doubles as a drying rack and permanent hanging spot.

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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For an East Hampton Beach House, A Simple Plan to Remodel


A second home welcomes with an open concept, child-friendly stairs, and new baths

The plan was all about the plan when Alex and Jennifer Figueroa bought this cedar-shingled beach house in East Hampton, Long Island, a little more than a year ago. The parents of two young boys, Alex, a banker, and Jennifer, a speech language pathologist, could see in the 2,500-square-foot home a perfect place for their sons, Hudson, 4, and Easton, 2, to run and play. The couple, both of whom live and work in New York City, would use the ’70s house as a weekend and vacation home, as well as a short-term rental property. 

They wanted to convert the chopped-up first floor to an open-plan living space, gut renovate the kitchen and bathrooms, and make the whole house a family-friendly place to relax. Posting their project on Sweeten, a renovation platform connecting homeowners with vetted general contractors, they quickly found a design/build firm that they wanted to hire. Here’s how they elevated a great shore house to make an ultimate getaway.

open concept kitchen

“After” photos by Lena Yaremenko for Sweeten

Guest blog post by homeowner Alex

We purchased the house and plowed into renovations immediately. With two young kids, we were anxious to get this beach-house dream going. We also knew it would make an excellent Airbnb and wanted to have the house ready to list before summer.

East Hampton family portrait

East Hampton exterior

Photo: Courtesy of homeowner

The house, which was built in 1979, had five bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. It needed a refresh. We wanted to give it an open, modern beach-house feel, and were looking to reconfigure the first floor to an open-plan concept, which would require not just knocking down a wall but removing essential, load-bearing beams.

We also knew we would need to work on the staircase, which looked dated and was not to code. It had a railing, but was essentially open, and unsafe since a kid could literally duck under it and fall through, or climb over. Since the stairway goes to the top floor, wrapping around to ascend nearly 2.5 stories, it was a definite safety hazard. We knew too, going in, that we’d have to do gut remodels of the kitchen and bathrooms, which had never been renovated.

We started on the first floor. Our Sweeten contractor had warned us that revising the floorplan would be the biggest part of the project, and it was. The kitchen, which was nestled in the house’s center, had a wall that contained a support beam. That essential wall, which separated it from the foyer, was the one we wanted to do away with. It took removing multiple load-bearing beams but that wall came down. From our contractor’s suggestion, we lowered the ceiling a few inches to conceal the perimeter beams making the ceiling entirely flush and with no seams.

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Now, the first floor is completely open and the space that was once three separate rooms—the kitchen, dining room, and den—is one continuous area. The change gives the home a much more open and airy feeling, letting the light filter through.

We felt so pleased with the merging of the rooms into one large space that we reinforced it in other ways. Instead of replacing the dated floor tile that we tore out of the kitchen with the large faux-concrete slabs we had purchased, we decided to do the entire ground floor in the same hardwood flooring. Our contractor urged us to consider this as it would give the downstairs a cohesive look. We’re glad we listened, as it looks sleek and seamless.

The install day for that island was really an exciting milestone. Our open plan now had a center.

The successful reconfiguration of the downstairs led us to the next big task: The staircase remodel. We had a good idea of how we wanted to approach it. Safety was the primary concern, but given that the stairs are a focal point as you enter the home, looks also mattered. We decided on wood-trimmed glass panels placed vertically to create a transparent enclosure, making the staircase safe while staying true to our goal of light and openness.

Before of stairs

East Hampton open concept kitchen

The kitchen came next. We felt excited about this part of the project. We love to cook and entertain, so our design included a large island that could be a gathering spot. We splurged on a wine fridge, quartz countertops, and an integrated refrigerator but otherwise kept the open kitchen fairly simple.

Our Sweeten contractor customized Ikea cabinets with walnut panel doors and adding a panel along the ceiling for a higher end look. We built out the big island with counter seating and a five-zone induction cooktop. The install day for that island was really an exciting milestone. Our open plan now had a center.

With the kitchen under control, we moved on to the bathrooms. We gave each one a different look, with a contrast of black marble and minimal white in the master, ocean-blue cabinetry and hex tile in the guest bath, and a console sink in the first-floor powder room. We’ve realized, now that the bathrooms are in use, that we are thrilled with the large-format porcelain slabs we chose for the master bath shower. The expansive, smooth surfaces with minimal grout lines give the room a clean look and are practical from a cleaning perspective. We love the result.

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Throughout the process, our Sweeten contractor was a reliable asset. He found a solution to every snag and never said no to a request. He was always available to answer questions and we felt at every step that his goal was to make us happy.

For us, the biggest challenge was distance. East Hampton is a two-hour drive from our home in Long Island City, so we had to manage our project from afar. On a lot of weekends we made same-day round-trips to check in on the work and gauge our progress. The payoff came when the finishes went in and months of planning materialized. The space came out exactly as we hoped it would and we are happy with the decisions we made.

All this, thanks to a very good plan.

Thank you, Alex and Jennifer, for sharing your home with us!

WATCH VIDEO:

LIVING SPACE RESOURCES: Wall paint in Bakery Box, #BL-W9: Behr. Fireplace mantle tile in Realta II: Cement Tile Shop. Custom glass doors: Crystalia Glass. Living room built-in cabinetry: custom millwork by Sweeten contractor. 

ENTRANCE/HALLWAY RESOURCES: Rhye wallpaper in hand foil: Custhom. Montara 28 .5” mirror: Serena & Lily.  Console: West Elm.  Closet Dove shelves in brushed chrome finish: California Closets.

STAIRCASE RESOURCES: STUDIOC WOW drop tiles on risers: Crossville Studios

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Cabinets customized by contractor: IKEA. Walnut panels: Semihandmade. Pental quartz countertops and backsplash: Avenza. KitchenAid microwave/oven: Build.com. Refrigerator/ freezer: Fisher & Paykel. KitchenAid wine refrigerator, KitchenAid dishwasher, Samsung induction 5 burner cooktop: Best Buy.  Meurice Chandelier: Jonathan Adler. Carlisle Metal counter stools: Threshold.

 MASTER BATHROOM RESOURCES: 4” Hexagon Fosso marble floor tile: Nemo Tile. Stone Calacatta black smooth porcelain wall tile: Florim. Kallista hardware: Build. GrohFlex Essence dual function thermostatic trim shower fixtures with control module: Grohe.  Crystalia glass shower doors: Custom by contractor.  Mason Apothecary single sink vanity: Pottery Barn.  Infinity rectangular wall mirror: CB2

GUEST BATHROOM RESOURCES: 4” hexagon Griglio Cielo marble floor tiles: Nemo Tile. Stone black smooth porcelain wall tile: Florim. Kallista hardware: Build.com. GrohFlex Essence dual function thermostatic trim shower fixtures with control module: Grohe. 60” Kendall blue bathroom vanity: Houzz. Infinity rectangular wall mirror: CB2.

SECOND FLOOR LANDING RESOURCES: 30-light chandelier: Lumens.

Remodeling in the Hamptons? Read our Hamptons home renovation cost guide to understand your budget.

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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A Galley Kitchen and Patio Remodel as One Extending Their Living Space


A family reenergizes their galley kitchen—and adds an extension!

light green galley kitchen

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Project: Turning a “grungy” and ill-organized kitchen into a sunny space for cooking and dining

Before: In 2001, Laura and Tim bought and moved into their first home—a 1929 brick townhouse in Rego Park, Queens. The single-family home measures 1,360 square feet on two floors, plus a finished basement. Having raised their family there—a 15-year old son and a college-aged daughter—the pair were finally ready to tackle some of the issues that had plagued their charming, but problematic, house. The kitchen was falling apart and had also suffered water damage from a leaking shower upstairs. The space needed new cabinets, flooring, and wall treatments. They had recently purchased new appliances but the rest of the space had gotten “old and grungy,” according to Laura.

homeowner in her newly remodeled kitchen

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They wanted to create a “comfy, modern kitchen that still matched the period feel in the rest of the house, while providing more storage and better flow.” The kitchen also had a drafty door to the patio, which they never used because of its impractical location. An interior designer friend, Suzy Leon of Suzy Leon Design, Ltd., made suggestions, and one thing led to another—taking the homeowners from a kitchen remodel to a full-blown extension project. Laura and Tim posted their project to Sweeten, and chose this Sweeten contractor to perform the work.

After: The old patio became part of the kitchen and dining space, and skylights were added in the new ceiling to bring in more light. The kitchen is now a beautifully organized and cheerful space for the family. Since it remained a galley layout, the homeowners chose simple textures and light colors to contrast a wide-plank dark wood floor with some grain and character. 

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The cabinets have Shaker-style fronts in a minty green, which “matches the feel of the old house but is also clean and modern at the same time.” A tall pantry cabinet opens to reveal a column of drawers for optimal food storage. The white quartz countertop lightens up the space, and an enormous sink means there’ll be enough room for even the largest pots. The oversized undercounter sink has an instant hot faucet, disposal, and stainless steel finish to match the appliances. At one end, a wine fridge provides extra space for beverages next to the refrigerator. 

“The kitchen came out beautifully! We love the new flow, the light, and the extra space.” Laura reports that the extension is a lovely addition to the house where guests naturally gravitate, and the skylights add light and fresh air. Moving the doorway between the dining room and kitchen improved the flow to the basement.

Due to the domino effect often seen in renovations, the basement also had to be brought up to code—with updates to the bathroom and boiler, as well as the removal of an illegal kitchen on that level. They also took the renovation as an opportunity to install mini-split systems in the whole house so that they would no longer have to deal with inefficient window units. The homeowners love their new space, and are also very satisfied about having addressed their long list of broken or less-than-perfect things in the house. 

Thank you, Laura and Tim, for sharing your home!

WATCH VIDEO:

Style Finds: Kitchen cabinets: custom. Cabinet paint in #466 Garden Path; interior paint in Chantilly Lace: Benjamin Moore. Schaub and Company Northport hardware in brushed bronze: Build.com. Flooring in Deerfield Beach: PID Floors. Prolific 33” sink: Kohler. Backsplash: 3×12 beveled subway tiles. White quartz slab countertops: Marble Systems. Sliding patio door: Andersen. Solar-powered “Fresh Air” skylights: Velux. Park Harbor Summerlake ceiling light fixture in antique brass: Build.com. Acrylic Tiffany counter stools, Parsons table (custom height): Room & Board.

If you’d like to get in on the DIY action, read what projects you can take on and what to leave to the pros.

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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An Epic Brooklyn Brownstone Remodel Gets a Modern Loft Feel


A couple’s own pied-à-terre in their townhouse is finally complete

Over a couple of years, Janet and Jerry, a couple from Long Island who bought a historic Crown Heights, Brooklyn brownstone, embarked on a bottom-to-top renovation. After remodeling two of the floors as rentals with Sweeten, (See blog posts for the third floor and garden level) we get the details on the final apartment, a project high point indeed as it marks the completion of the townhouse’s top floor and the pair’s own NYC pied-à-terre. 

The backstory: The duo knew when they closed on the circa 1910 building, a “bring your architect” purchase in need of a total gutting, that a big job lay ahead. Janet, president of the New York School of Design, and Jerry, a doctor, posted the project on Sweeten, a renovation platform connecting homeowners to vetted general contractors, and hired a Sweeten architect and a Sweeten contractor. Read how a neglected and cramped one-bedroom gives way to a space with a loft-like feeling.

brownstone remodel

“After” photos by Pixy Interiors for Sweeten

Blog post by homeowner Jerry as told to Sweeten

This is it. Our apartment. The pied-à-terre we’ve long waited to move into. We have a primary residence on Long Island, but we work in NYC and spend about half our time here. We decided to invest in a multi-family townhouse in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, rent the main units and keep the smaller, fourth-floor apartment for ourselves.

From the time we first saw the top-floor space, we knew it would be our nest. Like the other apartments, this one-bedroom unit needed work. It was dark and chopped up, the kitchen was a wreck and the bathroom was in disrepair. We started thinking about how to refresh the under 600-square-foot space and make it feel larger. Our goal was to create an open and airy studio. We planned to maximize natural light and use natural materials for an organic feel. 

Brooklyn homeowners

brownstone floor plan

In our project’s earlier phases, we’d worked to preserve the building’s architectural features. But in this unit, previous renovations had removed most original detail. Hardwood floors had been replaced with linoleum. Moldings that might have graced the overhead plaster were forgone for a drop ceiling. Only the window moldings and the fireplace remained. Given this situation, we felt free to rethink the space. We decided to use modern elements, bringing in Scandinavian style and Californian mid-century modernism as influences to the new interior.

These subtle architectural elements bring the space together while simultaneously differentiating the sleeping and living rooms. 

Our Sweeten architects worked closely with Janet to achieve several architectural changes. First, we moved the entrance from the fourth floor down to the third, making the stairway part of the apartment’s interior. This increased privacy and usable space, and also allowed us to increase the living room’s natural light with a skylight at the top of the stairs.

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Next, we exposed the living-room ceiling. Opening it to the original wooden beams provided for more vertical space and a lofty room. Initially, we were going to paint the wooden ceiling and exposed beams white. Our Sweeten contractor suggested the beams looked really good unpainted and unfinished. The adjacent sleeping area, however, would have a new lowered ceiling, and an archway. Together these subtle architectural elements bring the space together while simultaneously differentiating the sleeping and living rooms. 

A key facet of our design concept, the arch plays nicely with horizontal lines throughout the apartment, including the exposed beams and the long kitchen countertop. It also connects with a number of graceful curves, like the rounded mirror over the restored fireplace and the rounded lighting fixtures.

WATCH VIDEO: Janet and Jerry talk about the start of their renovation on NBC’s Open House NYC

With the ceiling beautified, we moved to the problematic floors, which were covered in vinyl and old carpeting. We wanted natural wood and after much searching, we chose white-oak flooring and planned to lay it in a custom herringbone, or chevron, pattern. Unfortunately, there was a long lead time for the wood to be custom cut (nearly two months, as the supplier told us that it would require shipping the planks to Europe), not to mention a high price. Just before going back to the drawing board, we found a pre-cut herringbone at half the price. It came out fantastic.

integrated kitchen cabinetry

Once the floors were down we were ready to build the kitchen. We wanted dark wood cabinets, and while we were planning, Ikea came out with a new style that not only looked great but pleased our budget! [See more money-saving ideas for your kitchen renovation.] We wanted countertops that would compliment the cabinets and wear well, and considered marble, granite, and a few synthetic materials, but ultimately chose soapstone for its durability and appearance. The veined black goes nicely with the apartment’s other dark features and looks fantastic as a backsplash.

To stay minimal, we hid appliances in cabinets; our washer/dryer combo, fridge, and pull-out freezer all fit under the counter. The pendant lights over the kitchen counter, the chandelier above the old fireplace, and the bedroom fixtures are simultaneously industrial, modern, casual, and polished.

In the bathroom, we managed another stunning redesign thanks to our Sweeten architects. The shower, a vertical space with a skylight, is flooded by day with natural sunlight, making it feel almost like it’s outside. One disappointment that turned out fine was with the stone floor tiles. We spent a lot of time picking them out, but after accepting our order, the supplier said that only one box of tile was available.

Our contractor solved the issue by taking a large slab of the same stone and custom cutting it into a single 3’x3’ shower base as well as a door saddle, and a stone shelf. We chose an in-wall toilet to maximize space.

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Having knocked down walls and invited light in every way imaginable, we felt successful in our visual opening of the space. We went even further by creating an outdoor area. The roof had formerly been inaccessible but we replaced a window with a glass door; it leads to a new roof deck with views of the neighborhood and Manhattan in the distance.

Through it all, we felt lucky to work with Sweeten, which connected us with both our architect and contractor and helped us troubleshoot on many occasions. The process came with so many rewards. While Janet says she most appreciated the design work and creative discussions, I’m just enjoying our apartment! It’s like staying in a nice hotel with a feeling of being home. The best of both worlds.

Thank you, Janet and Jerry, for sharing your entire home with us!

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Wall paint in Cotton Balls: Benjamin Moore. Poolesville European white oak flooring: PID. Chandelier above fireplace: Schoolhouse Electric. Theresa Rand coffee table: Menu Design Shop. Doorknobs: Omnia.

DINING AREA AND STAIRWAY RESOURCES: Hackney marble dining table, storage bench: CB2 Rattan cane chairs: Industry West.

BEDROOM RESOURCES: Ceiling light, sconce lights: Schoolhouse Electric. Mill C bedside table with laptop tray: CB2. Spindle Nightstand: Industry West. Airisto bench/side table in ash: Finnish Design Shop

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Paint in Cotton Balls: Benjamin Moore. VOXTORP kitchen cabinets and sink: IKEA. Ipanema Reserve countertops and backsplash: M Teixeira Soapstone. Faucet, #1959LF-BL: Delta . Undercounter refrigerator and freezer: Liebherr. Pendant lights: Schoolhouse Electric. All-in-one 2.3 cu. ft. front-load washer and electric ventless dryer: LG. Fellow Stagg Pour Over kettle: Williams Sonoma.

BATHROOM RESOURCES: 18″ x 18″ Marine Black Phyllite floor tiles: M Teixeira SoapstoneMatte white wall tiles 3”x9”: COLORI. Shower fixtures; Contemporary and Purist Line fittings: Kohler. Toilet: Duravit. GODMORGON vanity, ODENSVIK sink : IKEA. Faucet: Grohe. Hardware, lighting, towel bar, tissue holder, robe hook, Swedish utility rack: Schoolhouse Electric. Mirror: CB2. Waffle towels: Snowe.

ROOF DECK RESOURCES: Marvin Swinging French door. Automated shade: Shade Store.

Before you buy a townhouse, read our guide on buying and renovating a multi-story fixer upper.

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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A Mom and Daughter Remodel Their Forever Home


By cleverly using limited space, a first-time renovator nails it

When Martha, who works in preschool special education, first saw the Hamilton Heights co-op in upper Manhattan she would eventually buy, she passed because it needed a lot of work. She continued looking, searching for a permanent space to share with her daughter, Sofia, a 4th grader. But after a year and no luck, when her realtor encouraged her to take another look, a lightbulb went off. No longer daunted, Martha embraced the possibilities of the apartment’s pre-war flourishes, including 10-foot ceilings, french doors, and transom windows.

To transform the 700-square-foot apartment, Martha, a first-time renovator, posted the project on Sweeten, a free renovation platform connecting homeowners with vetted general contractors, chose her contractor and got down to business creating their home.

renovated kitchen gray cabinets, stainless steel sink

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

Guest blog post by Sweeten homeowner Martha

We were living in a great apartment nearby for four years. But after my divorce, I knew I needed to find something to purchase in order to control my housing costs. Since I’m a full-time, working, single parent, the more I can get my costs under control, the better off we’ll be in the long term. I had an amazing real estate agent who looked at places in my price range for a full year.

Living room and bedroom

The apartment I ended up buying was the first home I saw when I started my search! But it needed so much work that I automatically said no and we moved on. After my realtor encouraged me to take another look, I saw it with new eyes. I saw the potential in it, and not just the work that needed to be done.

One of the biggest challenges was that I had a tight timeline—I was paying rent along with a mortgage plus maintenance, and I couldn’t afford that for long. So I had to use only materials that were in stock. It was limiting, but I think we made do! I wanted to open things up and make a home that was cozy and colorful, that would reflect our personalities and be welcoming.

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The first few days during the demo were the best part of the process, because I could finally see what things were really going to look like.

The highest priority with the renovation was to cure the ugliness! The apartment hadn’t been touched since the ’70s. There was fake wood paneling in the hallways, old linoleum plunked down over the amazing original hardwood floors, and layers and layers of paint. The space was tight and there was a lot of wasted space in the kitchen that I wanted to find a way to utilize.

The first few days during the demo were the best part of the process, because I could finally see what things were really going to look like. I was most excited to take down the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It made all the difference in creating an open, warm area. Once we knocked that down, it gave us space for a table and chairs that we wouldn’t have otherwise. 

kitchen renovation-red hardware-stainless steel sink-gray cabinets

In the kitchen, we installed new custom cabinets, plus more cabinets next to the stove. I went for a 30-inch stainless-steel farmer’s sink, quartz countertops, and a new stove. My favorite thing in the whole house is the kitchen backsplash; I love that funky design.

My contractor really wanted me to lay a new floor on top of the old one. But I loved the color variation in the original wood so I insisted it stay. We kept all the original flooring, just refinished and stained.

The biggest challenge was that the apartment has zero closets. I didn’t have the budget to build them so we bought a couple of big wardrobes and a funky metal gym locker for a linen closet and made it work. At least we had more vertical space to work with because after we removed the dropped ceilings, we gained at least two feet!

gray bedroom-wood floors-french doors

I’m a first-time renovator, so I really needed someone who would listen, do good work, deliver on time, and stay within budget and I got all of that. My Sweeten contractor was great and I really had no headaches with my renovation, which is amazing! He was really communicative, and anytime something needed to be changed or wasn’t going to work according to plan, he explained everything to me. Then we worked towards solutions together, which was so helpful. It went as smoothly as one could ask for.

When you’re renovating, remember that there will inevitably be something or some things that don’t go according to your plan. Try to see the big picture and not freak out about the details.

I wanted our forever home to be a place of joy that you can see. Our home makes me feel free.

Thank you, Martha and Sofia, for sharing your new home with us!

WATCH VIDEO:

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Floor tiles, backsplash, lighting, paint: Home Depot. Cabinet hardware: Hobby Lobby. Faucet, fan: Wayfair.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Fan: Wayfair.

BEDROOM RESOURCES: Fan: Wayfair. Paint: Home Depot.

Sweeten founder and CEO weighs in on what to know before renovating a brownstone.

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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