Construction Budgets

Great design depends on an adequate construction budget. Construction costs  have experienced a paradigm shift since the pandemic. One to One Studio does not set construction costs; contractors must bid on the completed design. But since every contractor formats bids differently (making it difficult to compare apples to apples), we offer a standardized checklist so that bidding contractors simply have to fill in the numbers. 

The below estimates anticipate ONLY contractor labor and materials. These estimates DO NOT include design fees, furnishings, project management, board review services or permitting fees. 


Construction costs for a typically small NYC kitchen will fall in the $60-100K range, depending on the quality of the cabinets and other materials. 

On the low end, materials for a small but thoughtful kitchen might run about $25K. On the high end, that amount would not even cover the cost of appliances. 

What’s important is to choose a level of finish that's appropriate to your home. That means an Ikea kitchen may be the perfect solution to a starter apartment on a low floor, while a classic pre-war in a prime location merits a very high level of finishes.

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Bespoke cabinetry is one of the best investments to be made in a home; it creates a unique anchor in a room while addressing practical storage and display needs. We can refer  trusted craftspeople to build your cabinetry. Prices are too specific to each project to generalize, but a starting point for a custom  bookcase might be $15K, while a very small kitchen would budget $35K. 


Bathrooms, even though they are often the smallest rooms in the house, can be the most expensive per square foot. That's because they are the wet rooms of a home. They involve major plumbing, waterproofing and tile costs.

The typical New York City 5′ x 7′ bathroom renovation generally costs $40K—$55K, depending on materials and whether the tub is replaced by a shower.

Bath materials run from $8K on the budget end to upwards of $20K for better tile and plumbing fixtures.


There are many variables: Basically, a postwar apartment in good shape, with low ceilings, sheetrock walls, and simple moldings is much cheaper to paint than a pre-war apartment with high ceilings, damaged plaster, and lots of details. You can expect to pay, per room, $800—$1200 for the former, to upwards of $6000 for the latter, with every variation in between.


If you’re looking for the best VALUE, a gut renovation will provide the greatest payoff. If there are several areas you plan on changing, and you expect to keep the apartment for at least 4 years, getting it all done at once is your best bet. (Please scroll down for a related PRO TIP.)

The cost of renovating will only rise later on, and doing things piecemeal absolutely costs more. If you have to be inconvenienced, better to do it once and enjoy it longer. Plus, the larger jobs are more attractive to contractors, and more likely to attract better talent.

Since Covid, the prices we used to get for 1-bedrooms now apply to studios, and so on. 

For the level of finish that most homeowners will opt for, the gut renovation of a studio apartment now runs $350-450K. 

A one-bedroom apartment is likely to require a construction budget of about $400-500K; a Classic 6 now runs from $500-900K+. 

Naturally, it’s possible to spend much (much) more, and there are many renovations in this city that run well over $1 million. 

We are not holding our breath for a return to pre-pandemic pricing any time soon: While the rest of the country might experience a reset in the event of an economic downturn, NYC renovation trades have historically been the last to fall and the first to rebound. 

Are there any other renovation costs to consider? Yes. Please click here. 

PRO TIP: What IS a gut renovation?

One of the biggest miscalculations first-time renovators make is not admitting they are doing a gut renovation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this exact statement: “It’s not like we’re doing a gut renovation or anything; we’re just redoing the bathroom and kitchen, fixing up the floors and painting.” 

Guess what? That’s what a gut renovation is.

Those tasks necessarily precipitate updating the lighting and electric plan and then re-plastering. It is the most logical time to rework a bad layout, and change out heavily-painted-over doors and moldings

Don't back into a gut renovation one addition at at time. It's much better to anticipate the full scope and set aside the right budget before demolition begins.

“Knowledgeable, willing to make suggestions, work with contractors,

understanding of budget constraints.” – Sally

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