Here’s how much it costs to renovate a 2 bedroom 1.5 bath postwar co-op on the Upper East Side

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The owners of this East 60s postwar co-op, a brother and sister who recently bought the apartment for the brother to live in and as a family investment, decided that the 1,400-square-foot, 9th-floor corner unit would benefit from a refresh to its 70s-era kitchen and dated bathrooms.  Their renovation budget was a relatively modest (for New York City) $150,000.

In February, they approached Bolster. They wanted to dedicate the bulk of their budget to the full renovation of the kitchen, the master bathroom and hallway half-bath.

The biggest challenge with this project was trying to maximize the client’s modest budget while both ensuring the essential big-ticket items meet the client’s requirements and protecting the surrounding building and the flooring they had recently installed.

Bolster contractor Aaron Borenstein supplied the winning bid at $94 per square foot—totaling $131,894--which is at the affordable end of the typical price range for such projects.  (Click here to view the bid in detail.) The relatively modest budget for the renovation reflects a standard Bolster calls “low-high”; that is, a high-quality finish with plenty of attention to details, which includes materials that are more affordable than those available at the mid-high or high-high range.

Below, Borenstein and Bolster Founder and CEO Fraser Patterson explain the nuts and bolts of this project and give some tips on determining the right budget for your renovation.

Value-engineering the kitchen and bathroom to stay on budget  

“We showed the owners ways to bring the cost down to where they needed to be,” Borenstein says.

For instance, many bathroom renovations involve installing new tile in the bathtub area as well as four feet around bathroom walls. In this case, the owners opted to tile the wet walls in the shower area only, which cost $5,900 and allows them to save on both labor and materials.

The existing kitchen (last renovated in the 80s) will be demolished ($3,000).

“For this job, the homeowners picked out cabinetry, appliances and countertops that will bring their space up to date but don’t break the bank,” Borenstein says. This includes modestly priced cabinets ($3,500 for semi-custom ice white shaker cabinets from Fabuwood, and $6,200 for installation), granite countertops ($2,000 for materials; $2,400 for installation), and new, but not necessarily designer, appliances ($2,500 for materials; $3,400 for installation.)

Other revamps to the kitchen space include new porcelain or ceramic tile flooring ($3,100) and replacing old Shaker style panels that separate the dining room from the kitchen with a new door opening ($650).

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