What to Consider When Doing a Brooklyn Brownstone Renovation

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Owning a brownstone in Brooklyn is owning a piece of New York history. These iconic buildings first made an appearance between the 1840s to the 1890s, and apart from their famous facade, their other noted exterior feature is the front stoop that gives the Brownstone an impressive appearance.

An average brownstone has six floors, with each floor having a specific function. They tend to have a narrow width but extend in length with an average of 20 ft across and 40 to 45 ft deep.

As with many homes of this era, they do need renovations from time to time, so if you’re the proud owner of a brownstone and you’re looking to renovate, there are several things you will need to consider.

The Costs

Brooklyn brownstone renovations can be quite expensive. Of course, this will largely depend on the last time renovations were completed, the quality of the work, and the extent of the changes you want to make. The average costs for renovating a Brooklyn Brownstone are:

  • Demolition & Removal: $10,000
  • Carpentry: $125,000 or more
  • Plumbing and electrical: $60,000 or more
  • Kitchen: Upwards of $25,000
  • Bathrooms: Upwards of $30,000
  • Miscellaneous Costs: $30,000 to $40,000

There are other considerations as well:

  • Adding a deck: $25,000 or more
  • Replacing the roof: $15,000 or more
  • Replacing windows: $20,000

What To Do With The Living Spaces

Like many homes of the brownstone era, the original floor plans left a lot to be desired. Living rooms and other social areas tended to be closed off, which can be off putting compared to today’s open-plan lifestyle but the latter can easily be achieved by knocking down walls and creating new spaces. Kitchens were also cramped and not planned very well so it’s not uncommon for homeowners to open up or extend this high-traffic space.

Wet Areas

When it comes to Brooklyn brownstone renovations, the kitchen and bathrooms are where a large chunk of your remodeling budget will go. Many of the original brownstone floorplans would not have had more than one or two bathrooms, and with multiple levels, this isn’t ideal for today’s lifestyle. If your brownstone only has a couple of bathrooms, you will undoubtedly need to add a couple more: a powder room on the main parlor floor for instance and at least one bathroom on each of the sleeping floors.

Permits and Other Considerations

As with most renovations, you will need all the necessary construction permits for your Brooklyn brownstone renovation, and all works will need to meet strict NYC codes. Most streets in Brooklyn that house Brownstones are tree-lined, so you will also need to ensure that all the construction materials that come in and out of your project do not disturb the neighbors or damage any of the trees.

Owning a Brooklyn brownstone is quite a feat, and the renovations must be done right. Create a clear budget and allow for unexpected expenses. Once you are done with the renovations, you’ll have a stunning home that will be the envy of everyone you know.

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