Design Once, Build

The traditional renovation process is broken and hugely inefficient, so we've invented a better one.

Don't need an architect or have drawings already? 


Meet your team, learn the cost of your project

Following a brief phone call, your Bolster Specialist will hand-pick the best architect and contractor for your project and arrange a site visit. Shortly after you'll receive a Free Cost Estimate for your project.

✔  Quick call with Bolster Specialist

  Free consultation with architect & contractor

  Free Cost Estimate


Get the perfect design, the first time round

Your architect will present you with a detailed proposal and once activated*, work with you to develop your design while your contractor provides increasingly accurate cost information. 

✔  Standardized AIA design agreement

  Full design services

  All approvals and permits

  Stay in full control of your budget

  Get a design that fits your budget

* First payment made as per terms of design proposal


Get a fully itemized, detailed bid like no other

Once you’re happy with your final design, you'll receive your Bolster Bid consisting of everything you wish to have done fully itemized and priced and eligible for our On-Time & On-Budget Financial Guarantee. 

  Get a Final Bid that matches your design

  On-Time & On-Budget Financial Guarantee

  Sanitized bid to help you get like-for-like prices


Manage everything in one place

Following the signing of your fixed-price contract your contractor will mobilize their workforce. Once underway, all of your project's admin and payments will happen seamlessly through your dashboard. Once complete, your specialist will present you with your aftercare package.

  Fixed-Price contract

  Easily pay all professionals 

✔  Access all project and financial information

  Support from impartial construction professionals

Bolster home renovation app.png


Bolster vs. Traditional Design & Build

With a Bolster Architect and Contractor working together and following the Bolster process, design and build projects are consistently delivered faster and more cost-efficiently than traditional renovation projects. 


Design on budget

Traditional projects can see bids from contractors, whose prices reflect your architect's design, come in up to 103% over budget and require several painful revisions. Bolster Bids come back on average just 11% higher and require one revision.

  • 103%


  • 11%

    With Bolster

Build on budget

Traditional renovation projects experience average construction cost overruns of 59% when compared to a contractor's accepted bid. Bolster Professionals achieve an average construction cost overrun of just 0.7%. 

  • $159K


  • $100K

    With Bolster



Design & Build FAQ

See all FAQ.

What is design and build exactly? ...

Your Bolster Architect and Contractor work together as one team from the start and follow a recursive process to deliver your design, cost information and renovation project in the most time and cost-effective way possible.

When should I use it? ...

On striaght forward renovation projects or when you have a strict budget. If you are planning an extravagant multi-million dollar atestheticly driven project, its is typically better to follow the design-bid-build model (Bolster does not currently provide this).

What are the benefits? ...

The most experienced and thoroughly evaluated architects and contractors in NYC, reliable cost information before you spend on design, actionable cost insights as you spend on design, a design that fits your construction budget without the need for value engineering, a final construction bid that matches your design goals and your project delivered on time and on budget.

How does it work? ...

Your Bolster Specialist, Architect and Contractor will meet you at your home and provide you with a free consultation and Cost Estimate. To continue, you simply activate the design process then await your detailed design proposal and agreement. Your Architect will work with you to develop your design while your Contractor provides increasingly accurate cost information. Once you’re happy with your final design and construction bid, we prepare your fixed-price contract & Financial Guarantee and help ensure construction runs smoothly via our platform.

Can I choose my own architect? ...

Yes. If your recommended architect becomes Bolster-approved and works within our platform then you can engage your own architect and we'll provide you with the most suitable Bolster Contractor.

Can I work with an interior designer? ...

Yes. Bolster Architects and General Contractors can work seamlessly alongside your interior designer.

What do I get? ...

Throughout your design & build project with Bolster, you'll receive a free site visit from your Bolster Specialist, Architect and General Contractor; a free Cost estimate showing all design and build costs; a design proposal and contract with complete breakdown of all deliverables; a comprehensive and reliable final construction bid; all necessary permits and approvals; an industry-leading build agreement between you and your Contractor; a simple payments and change Order solution; easy access to all your up-to-date project and financial info and expert support on request.

How long will my project take? ...

Allow 6 to 12 months from start to finish. 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 project 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.

Architects fees typically range from 10% to 20% of your total project cost depending on skill and experience.

Get your FREE Cost Estimate.


Design & Build Case Study

Gut Renovation, Cobble Hill

What goes into an extensive renovation of an apartment in a historic New York building—and how much does it cost? Here's an in-depth look at one such project: the renovation of a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom co-op in a turn-of-the-century Cobble Hill limestone building.

The apartment owners, a young professional couple for whom this is their first home, wanted a gut-renovation of the master and hall bath, re-plastering of all walls, new flooring, and custom carpentry before they settled into their new digs.

Bolster Architect David Yum and Bolster Contractor Aaron Borenstein delivered the design and build project at a total cost of $223 per square foot, which included everything from materials to insurance to architect fees.

Read full case study