Eric and Allie's story

By Bree Shirvell, DNAinfo Creative

Expecting their third child, New Yorkers Eric and Allison Boester wanted to find a home to suit their growing family. They found they could create that home on the Upper West Side by combining two apartments and a studio into one. They had an architect already but needed the right contractor for their home renovation project.

“I was looking at these different bids and I had no idea how to figure out what I needed to understand,” Eric Boester said.

It was in the middle of the contractor bidding process that Eric was introduced to Fraser Patterson, CEO of Manhattan start-up Bolster, which connects homeowners with architects and general contractors. The company’s renovation platform gives homeowners all the professionals, advice and budgeting tools they need to do a major home renovation in the most time and cost efficient way possible – including financially guaranteeing their professional’s results. To date in New York City, renovation projects done through Bolster’s platform have been delivered 98.7 percent on time and 99.3 percent on budget.

Bolster also uses a data-driven algorithm to give consumers, like Eric and Allison, a cost estimate. “Bolster has created a very transparent bidding process,” Eric said.

Similar to a traditional bid, the cost estimate is a fast, accurate way of knowing the cost of a renovation before hiring a professional. The way the process begins is simple: New Yorkers considering a major renovation contact Bolster and within days a Bolster specialist and handpicked team of professionals meet at the owner’s home and produce a free cost estimate.

“I was able to understand the true costs, and how I could control them. The clarity gave us comfort about the process,” Eric said.

The free report includes a minimum and maximum range for the cost of the project and details items such as design, approvals and permits, rough construction and labor costs and the costs of fixtures, finishes and appliances and more. Bolster’s model is designed to take as much of the pain out of the home renovation process as possible, so homeowners have a clearer picture of the costs and time investment before having to spend on professional fees like architects.

The company’s web platform also allows homeowners to track their project’s progress. According to Eric, their Bolster Professional's bid wasn’t the lowest but was very close, and the transparency of the process sold he and his wife.

No home renovation project is without its hiccups, and Eric and Allison ran into a big one when the walls were broken through between the apartments and there was a chance they wouldn’t be able to join the units the way they intended while still being compliant. Their Bolster contractor handled everything, from going back to the building with adjustments to keeping the project on schedule.

“It was a stressful time for us, but it was wonderful to have a company like Bolster that provided the oversight,” Eric said.

In the end, it was all worth it for Eric and Allison. As planned, six months after the project began, the now family of five moved into their new 1,970-square feet, 4-bedroom apartment.

Why you'll love renovating with Bolster

  Know the Cost of Your Project Upfront

  Proven Architects & Contractors

  Complete Control of Your Budget

  Savings From Start to Finish

  Everything in One Place

✔  Financially Guaranteed Performances

  Expert Support Staff




"When we tell our renovation story to our friends and family, they're amazed"

- Adam Braim, Bolster Customer, Brooklyn




The Smart Choice

From sophisticated homeowners to high-end architects, those in the know choose Bolster

"When we tell our home renovation story to friends and family, they're amazed."  Adam & Kat, Owners

Jessica headshot grey.jpg

"I feel supported and able to deliver great work more efficiently when I work with Bolster."  Jessica Wetters, Bolster Architect


"Bolster frees up all parties involved in the renovation process to focus on creating beautiful work."  David Yum, Bolster Architect


Frequently Asked Questions

See full list of FAQs

What is Bolster? ...

Bolster is the smart way to do a major home renovation. Our soup to nuts renovation platform gives you all the professionals, advice and budgeting tools you need to do any kind of big home renovation project in the most time and cost-efficient way possible.

How does Bolster make money? ...

Bolster is 100% free for owners and paid for by our member professionals. Our architect’s and general contractor’s charge their usual market rates to owners and pay Bolster a success fee from every project. This fee helps Bolster design, build and maintain our platform for professionals to win more projects and deliver them successfully. In turn, owners who renovate with Bolster save on average $59,000 for every $100,000 of budgeted cost.

Do I need a project manager? ...

No. Every Bolster project is allocated a Specialist who helps ensure your project is ushered through the Bolster Process as efficiently as possible. Bolster Architects and General Contractors have their own project managers and the quality of our professionals, resources, tools, information and process that make up our platform together avoid the need for an additional project manager.

Can I choose my own architect? ...

Yes. On design and build projects you can select a Bolster Architect or engage your own architect and we'll provide you with the most suitable Bolster General Contractor.

Do your professionals only work with Bolster? ...

No. The volume and quality of projects our profesionals deliver through Bolster coupled with the benefits of our model (e.g. an 81% win rate vs. an industry average of 25%) see them working mostly on Bolster projects however all remain free to work on their own projects.

How long have you been in business? ...

5 years. Bolster was founded in New York City by industry experts in 2012. Our professionals have since succesfully completed over $150M of home renovations.

How long will my renovation take? ...

Allow 6 to 12 months from start to finish. On design and build projects you can expect the design process to take between 3 to 6 months depending on complexity and approvals. The construction phase on Bolster projects typically ranges from 3 to 6 months depending upon the scope of work involved.

How much will my renovation cost? ...

It depends. Square footage, quality, complexity and location all play a part. In 2016 in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the min / max / average price per square foot costs to renovate with Bolster were:

Gut Renovations: $223 / $468 / $368.
Apt. Combinations: $414 / $452 / $446.
Rooftop Terraces: $253 / $533 / $381.
Luxury Kitchens: $274 / $548 / $325.
Luxury Millwork: 184 / $240 / $205.

Get your FREE Cost Estimate.