Design & Build: Why It’s The Best Method For Your NYC Apartment Renovation

Did you know there’s an option for remodeling that combines the best of interior design and architecture? It's called a design-and-build firm and it's how we operate at Gallery!

Design & Build: Why It’s The Best Method For Your NYC Apartment Renovation

Most people know the process of making updates to one’s home as renovation or remodeling, but there's more to the story than meets the eye. Enter design-and-build firms, which combine the communication between designers and builders under one roof.

Most people know the process of making updates to one’s home as renovation or remodeling. If building is involved, maybe you start thinking about architects. Did you know there’s actually another option? It combines the best of both worlds, and it’s what we are at Gallery: a design-and-build firm. 

Since it brings all aspects of a renovation under one roof, a design-and-build firm is often the ideal method for New York City apartment renovations, which tend to have many moving parts. 

Defining Design & Build

The design-and-build-firm model maintains responsibility for the entirety of a renovation project in one area. Put another way, a design-and-build firm includes both the designer and builder working for the same company. The benefit is immediate: no loss of information between the two. 

People often unwittingly work with a separate designer and architect, or a separate designer and architect and builder. With a design-and-build firm, three or four relationships become one. It’s instantly easier for a client to manage updates with one person instead of three. 

Another benefit to a design-and-build-firm is that it’s more manageable for one entity to plan a long-term budget in full beforehand, as all the coordination is already in-house. 


The improved project management is likely to reduce both overall costs and the timeline. At Gallery, we already don’t do change orders, unless a client has a specific, unavoidable request. This is how we make that possible. 

So Why Not Just An Architect?

An architect may be the better choice for certain types of building projects, but just as often those looking for an architect are unaware of design-and-build firms. 

A design-and-build firm includes an architect in-house, but you also get the added renovation benefits of experts in design, material selection, and paperwork that working with only an architect won’t provide.

Design & Build & Everything Else

A better way to put it might be that we’re a design-and-build-and-everything-else firm. 

At Gallery, we actually take the full-scale concept of design-and-build firm even further into our approach by taking care of the paperwork. We handle ALL the ancillary things that a construction project requires. In NYC specifically, that includes dealing with the management company and board of each apartment building and managing all of the purchasing, sourcing, deliveries, and other logistics around materials. 

Who takes care of returns if some damaged tiles arrive? Who shops for bathroom fixtures and returns with six different options and all their price ranges? Who files the permits to the Landmark Preservation Commission if the project is a historic, pre-war apartment building? When you work with Gallery, we do.

New York State of Mind

Being in New York adds instant wrinkles to any renovation project. That’s even more true with apartment buildings and their many floors and other occupants, or multiple projects in the same space, such as repainting and installing new floors and renovating an entire bathroom. We’re experts in dealing with all the city-centric elements to renovations, from the specific considerations in pre-war apartments – restoring millwork, removing asbestos, updating plumbing – to filing work orders with building management, handling the approval process with co-op or condo boards, and dealing with city institutions. You don’t need all that paperwork in your life. We do, though!


Serving the Project

If you’ve never renovated anything before, you probably don’t know that many renovation firms or design-and-build firms also act as showrooms. Many will sell their own materials and push those of preferred vendors.

At Gallery, we never do this. We are not loyal to any brands or vendors. That means our procurement is as limitless as the budget of any individual project. Local, online, or even internationally – if your dream home involves a specific tile imported from Spain or artisan crafted fixtures that are only produced by three people in the Mojave Desert, we put in all the legwork to get the materials that you’ve been picturing in your ideal space. 

Our lack of vendor loyalty also means we pass the trade discount along to our clients. In that regard, another benefit to clients is the ability to feel more at ease with the process due to the increased transparency of costs. 

New York City apartment renovations are a beast of their own, with a precise skill set to match. Whether your renovation is a pre-war brownstone, a midcentury co-op, or a loft in SoHo, our expertise as a design-and-build firm is unmatched. Contact us to find out more about how truly all-inclusive the renovation process can be!