5 renovation ideas that will dramatically improve your quality of life this summer (with costs).

It’s finally feeling like summertime here in New York. And what better way to show off your tan lines than hosting rosé-fueled evenings and weekends with friends and family in your newly renovated summer sanctuary!

Here are 5 great renovation ideas to make this summer the best one yet:


An Invisible Swimming Pool

Known as "hidden" or "convertible" pools, this swimming pool technomagically appears from under the ground you are standing on. Sure the patio looks and behaves like a regular patio, but it's actually a raised platform that, with the push of a button, uses hydraulic pumps to lower itself into a swimming pool in just 90 seconds!

When done splashing around, you simply flip the switch and watch the floor of the pool rise up and drain the water beneath itself. Aside from the mesmerizing effect it has on your guests, this is a more kid-friendly, space-saving, lifestyle-enhancing, environment-loving option than your traditional swimming pool.

It is however pricier and requires more maintenance than a traditional pool. Learn more at Invisipools.


Rooftop Garden

If your an urban dweller, nothing beats coming in from the muggy mayhem below and heading up to your private rooftop garden. And given its becoming harder to build "out" in New York City, "up" is becoming more fashionable.

Rooftop garden projects typically require approval from your local authority due to ordinance rules so be sure to check-in with them first. It's also prudent to engage a professional early to help ensure your structure can withstand the weight and usage a rooftop garden demands.

You'll have to think about installing windbreaks too due to the increased winds up there and the installation of a water system, especially if you're going for lots of fauna.

The above project was managed and delivered beautifully by Bolster's Aaron Borenstein.


Tennis Court

If you've ever visited a friend who owns a tennis court, you know just how much fun it is spending the afternoon in a pair of shorts whacking a yellow ball around while trying to sip some Pimms. It's also a great spectator sport. 

When it comes to cost, maintenance and usability though, it's all about Asphalt vs. Post-Tensioned Concrete. Assuming we're talking regulation-sized courts, an asphalt court will set you back around $50,000-$75,000 depending upon the amount of excavation needed and any add-ons (e.g. fencing, spectator area, lighting etc.) while a post-tensioned concrete court will cost you around $100,000 to $150,000.

But know this: asphalt is prone to cracking more, which can be dangerous on the knees and elbows, and requires more maintenance than a concrete version so the upfront cost savings of asphalt can in fact turn into a cost center long term.

Game, set and match, Post-Tensioned Concrete.


Timber Deck Addition

The deck addition is a staple add-on for any home with suitable outdoor space. It's also fun to walk out of what used to be a window and straight onto your new deck! That never gets old.

Deck additions in New York typically help increase the value of a home and can return as much as 80% of their cost, which is all really dependent upon the choice of timber and scale of the project. Wood-plastic composite and PVC are pricier than real timber but have less maintenance cost and typically last longer. An aesthete will tell you it doesn't look or feel as nice but each to their own.

Assuming a standard 16 by 20 foot deck supported by 4x4 posts with no bells and whistles, your looking at spending $15,000 for pressure-treated wood with ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary, a water based wood preservative) and around $20,000 for composite. 

Still in the suburbs, if you were to add a built-in bench and planter along one 16-foot side, a railing system with decorative balusters, post caps, and lighting, then all in your looking at around $30K.

If you were doing the same project in NYC, expect to pay up to $37,000 based on what floor you live on and the size of the elevator (the bigger the better).

Check out our friends at Kleet Lumber and Richmond Hill Lumber for great deck products.



Outdoor Kitchen Space

If your going to swim outside, and play tennis outside, then heck you may as well cook outside. It also makes the food taste better and is getting easier and more affordable due to an increase in the availability of quality appliances such as barbecues, sinks and fridges.

Cost factors include the size of the desired area, how level the ground is (you don't want food rolling off your guest's plates), the quality of the appliances and the type of flooring you want installed.

Assuming a 300 square foot area, fairly level ground and installing good quality appliances and tile flooring (slate or porcelain) then expect this lifestyle-changing renovation to cost you around $30,000. If you start winterizing pipes, adding warming drawers, lighting, pergolas... then the costs can easily reach $50,000. 

! In case you were wondering, all costs presume hiring a professional general contractor like Bolster and delivering the work to a high standard of quality.