Aug 10, 2023 6 min read

How long does it take to renovate in NYC?

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Eli Moyal
COO & Founder

Renovating an apartment or townhouse in New York City is a thrilling journey, offering the promise of a transformed living space tailored to your unique vision and lifestyle. As every renovation project is distinct, the timeline can vary significantly based on the size of the home, the scope of work involved, and the complexity of the project. While we can provide a general estimate based on common factors, it is essential to acknowledge that each project’s duration is unique.

Disclaimer: The timelines provided are general estimates and can vary based on individual circumstances and project complexities.

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Planning phase

Planning phase (4 to 20 weeks)

The planning stage is an important part of the renovation journey because of the numerous components involved. The timeline for planning depends on the scope of the project. For smaller and less complex renovation projects, such as a simple bathroom or kitchen remodel it can take 4-6 weeks. For a whole apartment renovation, the planning phase usually takes a few months. Large and highly complex projects, such as commercial renovations, historical property renovations, or major structural changes, may require a more extended planning phase which can take 4 months or more.

At Chapter, as a full-service design and build company, we take immense pride in efficiently streamlining the entire renovation process for our clients. During the planning phase, we cover the following essential aspects:

  • Project scope definition: The first step in estimating the duration of a renovation is understanding the project's scope. Renovations can range from simple cosmetic updates to extensive overhauls. That’s why it’s important to clearly define the objectives and goals of the renovation. This involves identifying what areas of the home will be renovated, what improvements or changes are desired, identifying the different stakeholders of the project, and any specific requirements or constraints.

  • Architectural drawings: Our team works with architects, engineers and expeditors on creating the necessary architectural drawings and engineering drawings which we then submit to both the building management companies and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB).

  • Permits and approvals: We identify and obtain all necessary permits or approvals from local authorities for your project. This is especially important in NYC, where strict regulations may apply to various types of renovations.

  • LPC approval process for landmarks: For historical landmarks, we seek approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission for the renovation for you. We take care of submitting your application and obtaining a COA.

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Design phase

Design phase (6 to 8 weeks)

The duration of the design phase in a renovation project can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the project, the size of the property, and the extent of changes required. On average, the design phase can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months. With Chapter, you get interior design services as part of the package. Our interior designers will bring your vision to life within your timeline and budget.
We include the following in the design phase:

  • Initial consultation: The process begins with an initial consultation between the client and our design team to discuss the project's scope, objectives, and budget. This helps establish a clear understanding of the client's needs and preferences.

  • Site assessment: A thorough inspection of the property is conducted to evaluate its existing conditions, identify any potential challenges, and understand its unique characteristics.

  • Concept development: The design team develops initial design concepts and ideas based on the client's requirements and the site's potential. These concepts may include floor plans, spatial layouts, and design themes.

  • Material selection: The selection of materials, finishes, fixtures is an essential part of the design phase. This includes choosing items such as flooring, cabinetry, countertops, lighting fixtures, and more.

  • 3D visualization: Utilizing advanced software, 3D models and visualizations are generated to help the client better understand how the renovation will look once completed.

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Build phase

Build phase (2 to 6 months)

The timeline for the build phase of a renovation depends on the grade of difficulty of the project, the size of the home, the scope of work involved and trade coordination. This phase involves the actual construction and implementation of the renovation plans after the design phase is completed. Our dedicated project manager ensures the whole operation runs smoothly and is completed within budget and timeline.
Depending on the type of project, this phase can include:

  • Demolition: The demolition phase, where the existing interior is gutted and removed, usually takes about 1 to 3 weeks, depending on the size of the home and the extent of demolition required.

  • Structural and mechanical work: If there are any structural changes or upgrades to electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, this phase can take approximately 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the complexity of the changes.

  • Framing and insulation: Creating new walls and adding insulation may take around 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the complexity of the floor plan and any specialized features.

  • Drywall and plastering: Installing drywall and applying plaster to create smooth surfaces for painting typically takes about 1 to 2 weeks.

  • Flooring installation: Installing new flooring materials, such as tiles, hardwood, or carpet, may take around 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the size of the apartment and the chosen flooring materials.

  • Cabinetry and fixtures: Installing custom cabinetry, fixtures and hardware can take approximately 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the complexity of the design and the number of items to be installed.

  • Painting and finishing: Painting walls, ceilings, and woodwork, as well as applying finishing touches, may take around 1 to 2 weeks.

  • Final touches and cleanup: The last details, such as hardware installation, final inspections, and thorough cleaning, can take about 1 to 2 weeks.

While each renovation project is unique, here are approximate timelines for common types of renovations:


  • Kitchen renovation: 6 to 12 weeks
  • Bathroom renovation: 4 to 8 weeks
  • Full apartment renovation: 2 to 6 months
  • Brownstone or townhouse renovation: 6 to 12 months
  • Condo/Co-op renovation: 3 to 6 months
  • Commercial space renovation: 2 to 6 months
  • Renovations in landmarked buildings: 6 months to 2 years
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Combined Apartment Renovation, Chelsea, NYC

It's important to note that these timeframes are general estimates and can vary based on the specific details of each renovation project. Delays can occur due to unforeseen issues, material availability, and coordination challenges. To get a more accurate timeline for your particular renovation, contact us and our team of experts would be happy to give you a personalized estimate.

Further information needed? Chapter renovation expert is here to help.