WATCH: What it’s like to renovate a NYC apartment

The Renovated Home’s Lee Stahl walks TRD through the process of revamping a luxury apartment

New York /
Apr.April 30, 2021 08:00 AM

Buying and renovating high-end real estate in Manhattan can be complicated.

Sky-high prices and persnickety co-op boards may scare off skittish buyers, and many agents and owners have struggled to get their listings noticed. And when it comes time to refurbish a place, less-than-ideal layouts and strict building rules can make the task seem overwhelming.

That’s where Lee Stahl, founder of the luxury renovation firm The Renovated Home, comes in.

“No matter what the apartment is, I’m looking to make sure that we don’t undervalue the renovation,” said Stahl. That means analyzing what can be done efficiently, what can wait for a new owner, or what can be cut out entirely to save money.

TRD spent a day with Stahl, who broke down his process in the three videos below.

“There’s a whole plethora of things that can make a project go easier or more difficult,” Stahl said. But those things might not be what you think. He explained how to plan a renovation — starting with getting a feel for the space. Stahl walks through homes looking for everything from cracks in the molding to how the windows are sealed to figure out what he’s working with. Stahl’s company is selective, working on only a few projects a year — and only on multimillion-dollar homes — but his process for analyzing a property moves quickly.

Once the plan is set, the construction process starts. Most renovations are “won in the first quarter” during the design process, Stahl says. Still, building out these renovations can be complicated, with tight urban spaces and strict building rules. In many high-end properties, construction can only happen between May and September, which gives builders a tight timeline to get a lot done. Stahl took us onto one of his construction sites to point out the challenges these renovations present.

For some, the renovation process might seem like too much to take on. But Stahl says that he wants to debunk the myth that renovations have to be hard.

“They are work, but they’re not harder than anything else if they’re done right,” he said.

Check out TRD’s YouTube page for more videos like this one.


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