NYC Apartment Renovation & Walkthrough, UES

by | Last updated Jan 5, 2024 | Apartment Renovations, Home Design, Interior Design

A lot of work goes into renovating an apartment in NYC. Along with all this work, many decisions and details to figure out. In this post, we will look at an apartment gut renovation we completed in Manhattan on the Upper East Side. We have a video walk-through for you to watch and a written breakdown of some key points.

I am Jorge Fontan, an architect in New York and owner of Manhattan-based architecture firm Fontan Architecture. At our office, we work on a variety of project types and sizes. One common project type we take on is apartment renovations. Many clients consider this process overwhelming. Let’s discuss some of the decisions one must make while designing an apartment renovation.


Manhattan Apartment Renovation Video Walkthrough


Renovation Quality and Budget

In this apartment, we designed a High-End Renovation. The renovation was over one million dollars for a 2,700-square-foot apartment. We worked with a top-of-the-line renovation contractor and purchased good-quality materials and products. 


Renovation Scope of Work

In this project, the client purchased two apartments side by side and hired us to combine and design the renovation. They wanted to redo everything, including reconfiguring the layout, renovating five bathrooms, and one kitchen, building a new laundry room and pantry, replacing HVAC units, new lighting, new floors, and basically new everything throughout.


Combining Two Apartments

The client originally owned one apartment, and the neighbor put their apartment up for sale. He decided to purchase this apartment and combine the two instead of moving. Apartment combinations are a common practice in NYC. We do lots of projects like this.

At first, our client wanted to put a door between the two apartments next to the kitchen to combine the units. I advised him to completely open the kitchen on both sides so that you walk through the kitchen and take advantage of all the natural light coming into the space. He agreed this was the better option, and the result was quite nice. We converted the other kitchen into a laundry room since it already had plumbing.

You can check out another post I wrote on How to Combine Apartments in NYC to learn more about the subject.

Open Kitchen Apartment

Open Kitchen Apartment


Kitchen Design and Renovation

The kitchen has a light and dark color theme. The appliances are stainless steel and black, the cabinets are graphite gray, and the countertops are white with gray veining. The kitchen has wall ovens which are quite popular for convenience and aesthetics. The cooktop is on the counter, with the sink and dishwasher between the two. There is also a peninsula with bar stool seating. The peninsula has a step up to achieve a higher counter height for the stools. Elevating the counter for bar stools is an option some people prefer.

One key point on the countertops is that although they may look like marble, they are not. These are porcelain countertops made to look like marble. People often use porcelain because real marble is porous and absorbs, making it more likely to discolor. Porcelain also comes in at a much lower price for the material. The installation cost on porcelain will be higher than marble, so you must balance those issues with material and labor prices.





This apartment has his and his bathrooms. There is one ensuite bathroom off of the primary bedroom and the second bathroom off the home office with very different designs to accommodate the tastes of each man.

This first one is made of marble look porcelain slabs. These are large format tiles that are made to look like marble. As we mentioned earlier when discussing the countertops, porcelain is a more affordable material, and marble is more likely to discolor over time. The clients were very concerned with durability, especially with three small children.

UES Bathroom Gut Renovation

UES Bathroom Gut Renovation


Second Bathroom

This bathroom is moodier with dark gray large format tiles. This bathroom uses a floating wood vanity to break up the darkness and add a little bit of warmth.

Modern Gray Bathroom in NYC

Modern Gray Bathroom in NYC


Children’s Bathroom

We had three bathrooms for the children that were all designed to be the same. Here is one of them.

In this bathroom, we used a light gray tile but an alternating pattern between a smooth and textured tile. The pattern makes the bathroom less monolithic and more inviting. Sometimes an all-gray bathroom can be a bit cold. Adding texture with a 3D tile warms the feel of the space. We have another post on 3D Bathroom Tiles if you want to see more. 

UES Bathroom Reno

UES Bathroom Reno


Wide Plank Floors

If there is anywhere in an apartment renovation worth spending a little extra money on, it is on the floors.

I am a big fan of wide plank floors. These are 8″ wide plank white oak engineered wood floors. The wider plank 8″ floors adds a little bit to the cost but makes for a fantastic look.

NYC Apartment With Wide Plank Floors

NYC Apartment With Wide Plank Floors


Apartment Renovations

Apartment renovations have countless details to take into consideration. We reviewed just a few in this post, but I hope this helps you visualize some of those key decisions.


Thank You for Reading Our Blog Post on this Manhattan Apartment Gut Renovation.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to speak with an architect about a potential project, contact us at Fontan Architecture directly.


Contact Fontan Architecture

Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.