It was a rough renovation of a dilapidated unplanned studio apartment, into a narrow but legal one bedroom rental apartment. This gut renovation had its twists and turns, but perseverance prevailed to complete this makeover, creating a warm and cozy one bedroom, one bath, full kitchen apartment.
It’s hard to imaging an existing apartment as bad as this one was. The toilet was in a tiny closet making it impossible to sit down and use without keeping the door open and sitting sideways, the lavatory was doubling as the kitchen sink, and the ‘bedroom’ was essentially part of a hallway.
What I did first was make sense of the existing plumbing, as this apartment was part of 8 other occupied apartments in a Manhattan apartment building, and then devise a way to reorganize the programmatic elements in a way that made sense to create a warm and inviting rental apartment. Keeping the living room at the front of the building, the bedroom at the back, both allowing daylight to come into this long narrow space, and placing the new kitchen and full bath in the middle. Sounds easy right? Well we had to be sure of the required plumbing slopes and run a new line in the public hallway inside a new soffit without encroaching on existing emergency lighting, and have it slope just enough to connect with existing pipes to avoid significant intrusion and disruption of the existing tenants.
Despite some setbacks due to an experienced contractor, we persevered and completed the project. This apartment, along with another renovated apartment rented immediately, this one for $3000/month. Yes, $3000. That’s an extra income for the owner of $36,000/year, or $360,000 over a 10 year period which will afford them many more renovations in the future.
The added rental income will also help ensure the longevity of the two buildings these apartments were in, as there are needed repairs. We in fact replaced some old wood columns in the cellar which were rotted at the bottoms with new footings and columns that will last well into the future, ensuring the safety of tenants and the viability of the building.