High-End Manhattan Renovation Guide

Written by Colleen Barry-Sleicher

Manhattan High End Residential Construction
by Colleen Barry-Sleicher

Manhattan High End Residential Construction Information for brownstone, apartment, condominium and coop owners and Building coop boards planning renovations in New York City's exclusive cooperative and condominium buildings and Brownstones


Brownstones have been a part of New York City sincerepparttar 1800’s. NYC cooperative and coop buildings are designated as either pre or post war buildings referencing WWII. Think of renovations in these buildings as dealing with squared off areas, whether it is a section of one floor or a vertical section of a building having more than one floor in a single residence.

Pre War Buildings

In Pre War buildings walls are made of gypsum block along with metal lath or steel studs. The floors and ceilings tend to be very thick.

Post War Buildings

Gypsum block was used in 1960’s buildings, plaster inrepparttar 100133 1970’s, and sheetrock up torepparttar 100134 present. These buildings are made up of plaster, cement and steel. Since theses materials are very dense and less flexible than prewar buildings they tend to transmit sound. Often soundproofing is needed under floors.

Difference in building materials

Many ofrepparttar 100135 luxury buildings in NYC were built prior to 1960. There have been many innovations in construction since. Metallurgy has contributed many new products in building and building maintenance. For example copper water pipe and Synthetic rubber. The use of lead or lead containing products is now prohibited. Paint may not be stripped with heat or dry sanding. Chemical strippers can be used becauserepparttar 100136 old paint does not go intorepparttar 100137 air. Plaster walls and ceilings will probably require a thin plaster layer (skim coat) to be applied to makerepparttar 100138 surface smooth. This will seal any lead containing paint layers in place. Asbestos was used in plaster, floor tile and many other products in buildings prior to 1979. Now, a certified removal company must perform any asbestos removal.


Property owners will be required to put in time duringrepparttar 100139 planning stage. It is important to research and feel comfortable withrepparttar 100140 designer. You must be onrepparttar 100141 same page or you will never getrepparttar 100142 look you want. When selecting a designer, keep in mind a project can grow beyondrepparttar 100143 skill level ofrepparttar 100144 designer. Interview several designers. Prior experience and knowledge will determine their suitability for any project. Any delay in selecting or approving layouts, drawings, work items or materials will cause delays that will cause more delays. One missing detail or purchase item may delay huge blocks of work.

Architects and Designers

Interior designers are trained in architectural design as well as soft goods selection. Often a design firm has Architectural designers working for them. Architects are more involved inrepparttar 100145 methods of construction. Aspects ofrepparttar 100146 project such as electrical device location and type, air conditioning, plumbing fixtures, walls and ceilings, architectural woodwork are of more interest torepparttar 100147 architect. The importance of good planning withrepparttar 100148 architect and designer influencesrepparttar 100149 project progress. For example,repparttar 100150 bathroom fixtures may have an impact on howrepparttar 100151 tile work is installed. Doorway dimensions will determinerepparttar 100152 light switch location.


All contractors performing work on a private NYC residence must be licensed byrepparttar 100153 NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) as a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC). Plumbers and Electricians are licensed byrepparttar 100154 NYC Department of Buildings. Architects are licensed byrepparttar 100155 State. Decorators and Interior designers are not required to be licensed.

Prepare a detailed plan of what you want accomplished before interviewing contractors. A complete project specification must be developed for a contractor to prepare a realistic estimate of time, materials and cost forrepparttar 100156 home improvement project. Do not changerepparttar 100157 plan as you speak to different contractors. You will not be getting an “apples to apples” quotation. The contractor withrepparttar 100158 higher price may be including an aspect ofrepparttar 100159 project you did not make clear to another contractor. Project specifications that are incomplete are a roadmap for disaster.

When choosing a contractorrepparttar 100160 homeowner should consider general knowledge, existing customer projects, references and reputation. The homeowner might consider usingrepparttar 100161 services of a contractor referral agency. The referral agency offersrepparttar 100162 homeowner a pool of contractors who have been screened and matched to a particular project. Selecting a contractor who is inexpensive, inexperienced and in over his head can only lead to disappointment.


There are two variables that determinerepparttar 100163 final cost of each project. “Core Work”, walls, floors, ceilings and everything that is behind these surfaces and “Finish Work”, moldings, trim, final skim plaster coat, marble, tile, and cabinetry. Quality ofrepparttar 100164 workmanship andrepparttar 100165 level of finish will vary between different contractors. Core Work, behindrepparttar 100166 scenes, construction cost are often similar from contractor to contractor. The cost ofrepparttar 100167 Finish Work will be determined by how much you are willing to spend andrepparttar 100168 skills ofrepparttar 100169 contractor performing this work. This finish work will haverepparttar 100170 widest variance in pricing and final appearance ofrepparttar 100171 renovation. Finish materials such as stone and woodworking will have quality price differences.

Decorating Frugally

Written by Rachel Paul

The trend these days is to discover extremely innovative ways to decorate interiors on a budget. The tips provided below are just a few ofrepparttar many ways one can inexpensively achieve a truly original look for a room.

Borders on a wall are an elegant way to changerepparttar 100132 look of a room. The easiest way to do this is to paint two parallel lines either at eye level or about a foot aboverepparttar 100133 floor. Deciding on what motifs or designs to paint or stencil between these two lines will depend entirely on whorepparttar 100134 occupants ofrepparttar 100135 room are. For example, if it is a child’s room then you could diprepparttar 100136 child’s hands in paint and make hand prints betweenrepparttar 100137 lines at regular intervals. I am yet to find a kid who doesn’t enjoy this activity thoroughly! Also, kids love to display their school art projects on their bedroom walls. Try hanging up these projects on their room walls and watch their eyes light up!

Another option for border design is block printing using vegetables or fruits. Capsicum, okra and apples when cut in half horizontally, dipped in paint and stamped ontorepparttar 100138 surface produce readymade floral designs. String beans can be used to print tiny leaf designs. Use your imagination to cut up a design on potatoes or carrots. Then use this as a homemade stencil to reproducerepparttar 100139 design.

Here is another great way to add design to your walls. Choose any old toy car or truck in your child’s toy basket, diprepparttar 100140 wheels intorepparttar 100141 paint and roll it alongrepparttar 100142 surface to create parallel lines; or you could zigzag them for a cute effect!

Step outside for a walk. Pick up a few leaves that appeal to you. Now diprepparttar 100143 leaf surface intorepparttar 100144 paint and press it ontorepparttar 100145 wall to create a naturally stenciled leaf design.

For a genuine work of art, try this. Dip an old toothbrush into paint. Holdrepparttar 100146 brush close torepparttar 100147 surface you would like to produce this effect on. Now pull backrepparttar 100148 bristles and release them gently so that a fine spray effect is produced onrepparttar 100149 desired surface. Test outrepparttar 100150 spray action on a piece of paper before trying it on a wall. Sponge painting is another surface painting method to create special effects inexpensively. Sponged-on designs actually let you personalize your space with minimum effort, cost and time. All you need is a plain wall, some cheap acrylic paint, a sponge and lots of enthusiasm! If you can’t affordrepparttar 100151 expensive sea sponges, then don’t fret yet, there is help. Just get any old/new sponge, randomly pinch out pieces so you get an uneven plucked out effect. Now hold this piece of ‘personal art’ comfortably in your hand and dip it intorepparttar 100152 paint. Then dabrepparttar 100153 paint-soaked portion onto a scrap of paper, just to getrepparttar 100154 excess paint out. Proceed to applyingrepparttar 100155 sponge ontorepparttar 100156 wall at regular intervals. Stand back and view your artwork before touching uprepparttar 100157 design. Have fun!

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