Luxury Apartment Renovations in Manhattan: Budgets, Tips, and Planning

Luxury Apartment Renovations in Manhattan: Budgets, Tips, and Planning
Written by
Nick Chatzigeorgakis
Published on
June 2, 2024
Read time


Luxury apartment renovation in Manhattan requires careful planning and expertise to ensure your home blends style, functionality, and comfort. Whether you're aiming to elevate your living space or enhance property value, the key ingredients include setting a clear budget, adhering to a cohesive design style, and choosing the right professionals to handle the project.

Key Points at a Glance:1. Set a Clear Budget: Allocate funds wisely and prepare for unexpected costs.2. Establish Design Style: Start with a color scheme and style to ensure consistency.3. Plan Space Usage: Consider how each room will be used daily.4. Choose Experienced Professionals: Select a team with a proven track record in NYC apartment renovations.

Luxury apartment renovations involve more than just aesthetics; they require an integrated approach that combines design, engineering, and project management. Collaborating with experts who offer design included, use a proprietary management system, and provide a guaranteed completion date can streamline the process, making your renovation experience seamless.

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Planning Your Luxury Apartment Renovation

Design Style and Color Scheme

Before diving into your luxury apartment renovation, start with a clear vision. Establishing a design style and color scheme first can save you from a lot of headaches later. Think about what you want your apartment to feel like. Are you leaning towards a modern, minimalist look or a classic, timeless design?

By settling on a style and color scheme early, you can make sure that all the elements from flooring to furniture are cohesive. This prevents the space from feeling disjointed. As Jorge Fontan, a seasoned architect, advises: "Establish a style and color scheme you prefer first. That way, you can concentrate on the major themes and then choose complementary elements that will work well together."

Space Usage

How you plan to use your space is just as important as how it looks. Will you be working from home? Do you love to host dinner parties? Or maybe you need a child-friendly space?

Thinking ahead about how different spaces will be used can guide your design choices. For example, if you'll be working from home, you might need more electrical outlets and better lighting in your office area. If you love hosting, a spacious and well-equipped kitchen is a must.

By considering these factors, you can ensure your apartment matches both your style and functional needs.

Draw on Experience

Experience is invaluable when it comes to luxury apartment renovations. Each project is unique, and unexpected issues can arise. An experienced professional will know how to navigate these challenges.

Jorge Fontan emphasizes the importance of expertise: "Experience with areas like construction and coop-imposed building constraints can make all the difference in the world."

Integrated Approach

Luxury renovations require more than just an eye for design. They need an integrated approach that combines design, engineering, and project management. Working with a team that offers design included, uses a proprietary management system, and provides a guaranteed completion date can make your renovation process much smoother.

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By following these principles, you can transform your living space into the luxury apartment of your dreams.

Next, we'll delve into the key considerations for a successful renovation, such as tackling structural issues, space reconfiguration, and more.

Key Considerations for a Successful Renovation

When planning a luxury apartment renovation in Manhattan, there are several key factors to consider to ensure your project is successful. Let’s break them down:

Structural Issues

Before diving into design and decor, it's crucial to address any structural concerns. Issues like water damage, outdated electrical systems, or weak foundations can turn your dream renovation into a nightmare.

Tip: Always engage a licensed engineer to inspect the apartment before starting your renovation. This can save you from unexpected costs and delays.

Space Reconfiguration

Reconfiguring space can drastically improve the functionality and aesthetics of your apartment. However, this often involves significant costs, especially if structural changes are needed.

Tip: If the existing layout works for you, stick with it. This can save you time and money, and avoid the need for extensive approvals from building management.


The type of flooring you choose sets the tone for your entire apartment. High-quality wood floors, especially wide plank floors, add a touch of luxury and durability.

Case Study: Jorge Fontan, an architect in NYC, emphasizes the importance of wide plank floors. He used eight-inch wide plank wood floors in a recent Upper East Side project, which elevated the overall quality of the home.

Kitchen Overhaul

The kitchen is often the heart of the home and a key area in any renovation. A stone slab backsplash and custom cabinetry can make a significant impact.

Example: Using a marble slab backsplash can create an exquisite look with fewer seams compared to traditional tile backsplashes. Custom cabinets, like those with curved beveled details and brass finger pulls, add a unique touch of luxury.

Bathroom Renovation

Bathrooms are another critical area. Consider water-efficient fixtures and timeless tile designs to enhance both functionality and appeal.

Tip: Avoid major layout changes in the bathroom to keep costs down. Focus on high-quality materials and fixtures instead.

Custom Details

Custom details are what set a luxury renovation apart. These can include unique cabinetry, custom kitchen islands, and recessed baseboards.

Example: In one high-end Tribeca loft renovation, a custom kitchen island with a subtle step design around the countertop perimeter added a unique and tasteful touch.


Addressing structural issues, smart space reconfiguration, high-quality flooring, kitchen and bathroom overhauls, and custom details will ensure your luxury apartment renovation is a success. By focusing on these key areas, you can create a space that is both beautiful and functional.

Next, we'll explore budgeting for your luxury apartment renovation, including cost factors, high-end materials, and more.

Budgeting for Your Luxury Apartment Renovation

When planning a luxury apartment renovation in Manhattan, understanding your budget is crucial. Here are the key factors to consider:

Cost Factors

Hard Costs: These include materials and labor. Think about everything from flooring and cabinetry to appliances and fixtures. For example, a high-quality kitchen faucet alone might cost around $3,800.

Soft Costs: These cover architect fees, engineering services, permits, and more. Typically, soft costs account for 15%-20% of the total budget. For very special projects, this can go higher.

Contingency Budget: Always set aside an extra 10-20% for unexpected issues, especially in older buildings.

High-End Materials

Choosing the right materials can significantly impact your budget. For a high-end renovation, opt for:

Wide Plank Floors: These offer a luxurious look and feel. An eight-inch wide plank wood floor can transform your space.

Stone Slab Backsplash: Using a large marble slab in the kitchen reduces seams and elevates the overall aesthetic.

Recessed Baseboards: These provide a sleek, modern look and protect wall bottoms.

Custom Cabinetry

Custom cabinetry offers flexibility in design but comes at a higher cost. Not all custom cabinets are created equal. High-quality custom cabinets, like those made from white oak with brass finger pulls, can add a unique touch to your kitchen. Smaller shops often provide better craftsmanship and service.

Top-of-the-Line Appliances

Investing in top-quality appliances is essential. Brands like Gaggenau offer high-end wall ovens that are both stylish and functional. Good quality products are crucial for a luxury design.

Proprietary Management System

Intrabuild uses a proprietary management system to streamline the renovation process. This system helps in reducing delays and budget overruns, ensuring efficient labor use without compromising quality.

Design Included

Intrabuild offers design services as part of their package. This integrated approach ensures that all elements of your renovation are cohesive and well-planned from the start.

By focusing on these areas, you can ensure your luxury apartment renovation stays on budget while achieving the high-end look and functionality you desire.

Next, we'll dive into some practical tips and trends for your luxury renovation.

Luxury Renovation Tips and Trends

When planning a luxury apartment renovation, incorporating the latest tips and trends can make a significant difference in the final outcome. Here are some key elements to consider:

Wide Plank Floors

Wide plank floors add an immediate sense of luxury and elegance to any space. Unlike narrow planks, wide planks (often 8 inches or more) create a seamless, expansive look that enhances the overall aesthetic of your apartment. They work especially well in open floor plans, making the space look larger and more cohesive.

Example: Jorge Fontan, an architect in New York, emphasizes the importance of high-quality wood floors in luxury renovations. He often uses wide plank floors for their luxurious appearance and proportionate fit in spacious interiors.

Stone Slab Backsplash

A stone slab backsplash in the kitchen is a stunning choice for high-end renovations. Unlike traditional tile backsplashes, stone slabs have fewer seams, creating a sleek and uninterrupted look. Materials like marble or natural stone not only add beauty but are also durable and easy to clean.

Case Study: In one of Fontan Architecture's projects on the Upper East Side, a large marble slab was used as a backsplash. This choice minimized grout lines and added a touch of elegance, making the kitchen a central feature of the home.

Recessed Baseboards

Recessed baseboards are a modern and sleek option that adds a polished look to your apartment. Unlike traditional baseboards, recessed baseboards sit flush with the wall, creating a clean and minimalist appearance. Though more labor-intensive to install, they are worth the investment for a high-end finish.

Quote: "Recessed baseboards are optional for high-end residential projects but can be an excellent way to add a modern touch to your home." - Jorge Fontan

Textured Walls

Adding textured walls can bring depth and interest to your interiors. Options include textured plaster, specialty finishes, and even custom paneling. While more labor-intensive than simple paint, textured walls can make a significant impact.

Example: In a recent renovation, Fontan Architecture used textured plaster in the foyer to create an inviting and unique entryway. This deliberate irregularity added character and set the tone for the rest of the home.

Seamless Shower Niches

Seamless shower niches are a practical and stylish addition to luxury bathrooms. These niches are recessed into the wall and can be made from the same material as the surrounding tiles or slabs, creating a continuous and elegant look.

Fact: High-quality artisans can create seamless niches that blend perfectly with the wall, reducing grout lines and enhancing the bathroom's aesthetic appeal.

Design Included

At Intrabuild, we understand that the design phase is crucial for a successful luxury renovation. That’s why we include design services in our package. This integrated approach ensures that all elements of your renovation, from flooring to custom cabinetry, are cohesive and well-planned from the start.

By incorporating these tips and trends, you can ensure your luxury apartment renovation not only meets but exceeds your expectations. With a focus on quality materials and craftsmanship, your renovated space will be both stylish and functional.

Next, we'll explore how to manage your renovation project effectively, from choosing the right builder to navigating logistics and ensuring a guaranteed completion date.

Managing Your Renovation Project

Choosing the Right Builder

Selecting the right builder is crucial for a successful luxury apartment renovation. Look for a builder who understands high-end projects and has a track record of delivering quality work.

Jorge Fontan, a seasoned architect, advises, "Ignore all the salesy crap the contractors are going to tell you. Pick the person you believe will do the best job and that you feel you can trust."

Tips for selecting a builder:- Check reviews and references.- Ensure they have experience with similar projects.- Confirm they offer a guaranteed completion date.- Look for builders who use a proprietary management system to keep projects on track.

Project Management

Effective project management is key. Your builder should have a robust system in place to manage timelines, budgets, and quality control. Regular updates and progress reports can help keep you informed and involved.

Benefits of a proprietary management system:- Streamlined communication.- Efficient scheduling.- Real-time progress tracking.


Renovating in Manhattan comes with unique logistical challenges. From tight construction deadlines to coordinating multiple subcontractors, every detail matters.

Key logistical considerations:- Material procurement: Ensure materials are ordered well in advance to avoid delays.- Subcontractor coordination: Align schedules to prevent bottlenecks.- Inspections: Plan for city and building inspections to avoid last-minute surprises.

Owners Corporation and Strata By-laws

Before starting your renovation, you must get approval from your building's management. This can be a lengthy process, so start early.

Steps to navigate this process:- Submit detailed architectural plans.- Attend meetings with the Owners Corporation.- Be prepared for on-site inspections, especially for waterproofing and soundproofing.

Example: A building required an on-site inspection of waterproofing and soundproofing before approving a renovation that included adding a bathroom and a laundry closet.

Guaranteed Completion Date

A guaranteed completion date is a promise from your builder that the project will be finished by a specific date. This can provide peace of mind and help you plan your move-in or next steps.

Why it's important:- Helps manage expectations.- Reduces stress and uncertainty.- Ensures accountability from your builder.

By focusing on these aspects, you can manage your renovation project effectively and ensure it runs smoothly. Next, we'll answer some frequently asked questions about luxury apartment renovations.

Frequently Asked Questions about Luxury Apartment Renovations

What order should you renovate an apartment?

Renovating an apartment in the right order can save you time and money. Here's a simplified sequence to follow:

  1. Planning and Design: Start with a clear vision. Decide on your design style, color scheme, and how spaces will be used. This step includes getting necessary permits and approvals.
  2. Demolition: Remove old fixtures, flooring, and walls if necessary. This clears the way for new installations.
  3. Structural Changes: Address any major structural issues or reconfigure spaces. This might include moving walls or reinforcing beams.
  4. Plumbing and Electrical: Update or install new plumbing and electrical systems. It's easier to do this before walls and floors are finished.
  5. Flooring and Walls: Install new flooring and finish the walls. This can include painting, wallpapering, or adding textured finishes.
  6. Cabinetry and Fixtures: Install custom cabinets, high-end appliances, and other fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  7. Final Touches: Add finishing details like lighting, hardware, and decor.

What does fully renovated apartment mean?

A fully renovated apartment means that the space has been upgraded extensively. This typically includes:

  • New Flooring: High-quality materials like hardwood, stone, or luxury vinyl.
  • Updated Kitchen: Custom cabinetry, top-of-the-line appliances, and modern countertops.
  • Modern Bathrooms: New fixtures, seamless shower niches, and elegant finishes.
  • Improved Layout: Reconfigured spaces for better flow and functionality.
  • Enhanced Systems: Upgraded plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.

Essentially, a fully renovated apartment should feel brand new and meet modern standards of luxury and comfort.

How often should you renovate your apartment?

The frequency of renovations depends on several factors, including the quality of initial work and personal preferences. However, here are some general guidelines:

  • Cosmetic Updates: Every 5-10 years. This includes painting, updating decor, and minor fixes.
  • Kitchens and Bathrooms: Every 10-15 years. These areas see a lot of use and can benefit from modern upgrades.
  • Major Overhauls: Every 15-20 years. This can include structural changes, replacing flooring, and updating major systems.

Regular maintenance can extend the life of your renovations, so keep an eye on wear and tear and address issues promptly.

By understanding these common questions, you can better navigate your luxury apartment renovation journey. Next, we'll delve into some key considerations for a successful apartment renovation in NYC.


At Intrabuild, we pride ourselves on transforming luxury apartment renovation dreams into reality. Our commitment to exceptional customer service and quality workmanship sets us apart in Manhattan's competitive renovation landscape.

We understand that renovating a luxury apartment in New York City is no small feat. It requires meticulous planning, high-quality materials, and expert craftsmanship. That's why we offer a design-included approach, ensuring every aspect of your renovation is thoughtfully planned and executed. Our in-house design team collaborates closely with you to create a personalized, functional, and aesthetically pleasing space that reflects your unique style and needs.

To streamline the renovation process, we utilize a proprietary management system. This real-time project tracking tool enhances communication, reduces errors, and ensures a smooth workflow from start to finish. You'll always be informed about the progress of your renovation, giving you peace of mind and confidence that everything is on track.

One of our standout features is our guaranteed completion date. We understand the importance of timely delivery, especially in a bustling city like New York. Our commitment to finishing your project on time minimizes disruptions and allows you to plan your return to your newly renovated home with certainty.

In summary, choosing Intrabuild for your luxury apartment renovation means:

  • Exceptional customer service: We prioritize your needs and ensure a seamless renovation experience.
  • Quality workmanship: Our skilled professionals use the best materials and techniques to deliver superior results.
  • Unique Selling Proposition: Our design-included approach, proprietary management system, and guaranteed completion date make us the ideal partner for your renovation project.
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