A recent British survey found that the typical person spends an average of five years of their life in either their kitchen or their bathroom. That might not compare with the number of hours logged behind a desk or the wheel of a car, but it’s a significant chunk of time. With both time and space at a perpetual premium in New York City, homeowners seeking to maximize their enjoyment and comfort in these defining rooms really have their work cut out for them.
“Whether you are venturing into a new design or considering a renovation of your kitchen or bathroom, understand that this is not just any space that you want to make aesthetically pleasing, but [a space that] needs to be truly functional—as well meeting your budget guidelines,” says Catherine Daly, principal of Medford, New Jersey-based design firm Design East Inc.
“These two spaces have the greatest impact on future potential buyers and the value potential of the overall home price,” she says. According to Daly, “The overall return on your investment in these two rooms will be 90 to 100 percent.” In her line of work, clients frequently ask the same questions in terms of price, time, where to begin, in addition to considering what trends will really add “wow” factor to a room.
Embarking on a remodel is a significant undertaking, explains Steve Babus, a designer at New York Kitchen & Bath in Manhattan. “A lot of people coming from out of state do not realize that costs are 25 to 30 percent higher in New York, and there are other hidden costs, like permits.” He explains that said administrative costs alone can range from $250 to $1,000. Additionally, certain new buildings require isolated water shut-offs, water proofing and soundproofing, which can cost between $5,000 and $15,000 depending on various factors.
“Realtors will often not tell buyers about these fees and requirements. The information can be found by checking with the building management company and looking at the renovation application,” says Babus. Over the last 25 years, he says he has seen changes in the remodeling of co-ops and condominiums, especially with kitchens. “Everyone wants an open-floor plan, which for most co-ops with a small kitchen means the removal of walls or creating knee-walls with stool seating.”