The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the home—albeit in short intervals. We all have our own vision of the ultimate bathroom, from natural light and optimal storage space, to telephones, Jacuzzi baths and flat screen TVs. But until you’ve been through the process, it’s hard to get a handle on just what goes into a successful bathroom remodeling project.
New York City residents have more to consider when it comes to improving a bathroom than most renovators do. The list of product and designer options is much longer—but so is the approval process. You’ll need to consider the New York City Department of Buildings’ construction requirements and approvals, as well as the regulations and paperwork required by your co-op or condo. Gaining a solid understanding of the process before you begin your project can mean the difference between a trouble-free remodel and a major hassle.
Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither are bathrooms in multi-family buildings. In fact, there are plenty of apartment owners who will swear that between their co-op board and the city, the approval processes took centuries.
Before you get too attached to any one particular design or amenity, you need to find out what—if any—city or building guidelines, restrictions and necessary documents will govern your proposed renovation. The first step should be to get in contact with your managing agent to get a copy of your building’s alteration agreement.
“Every building is different, and sometimes there are very specific limitations or restrictions for buildings,” says Ethelind Coblin, a designer who opened her architecture firm in New York in 1989 and deals exclusively with residential projects.