Brownstone Renovations Since 1999
Following the article “Townhouse Turnaround” by Constance Rosenblum featured in The New York Times this month, Murdock Solon Architects would like to share similar projects that we have come to specialize in over the last 10 years; converting former three-family brownstones to sensitively updated, well-designed homes that serve the needs of growing families.
What to Consider
Brownstone conversions of this type face challenges that other residential projects do not in NYC. Although spared from going through the co-op or condo board approval for proposed renovations as an apartment in the city, they must file as an “Alteration Type 1” with the New York Building Department, which is required when a brownstone or other building changes its occupancy or use. An Alteration Type 2 is the more common and less complicated permit approval process, which is used when the renovation of a residential building does not necessitate a change in use or occupancy. Additional hurdles often include the removal of sprinklers, structural repairs, and updating antiquated electrical systems. The list is extensive, which is why it is a good idea to work with architects and engineers that have specific experience with this building type.
Be Ready for Surprises
Because many required repairs may not be apparent until after the property is purchased and the demolition complete, MSA always recommends to clients that a 15% additional contingency budget is planned for unforeseen conditions and to cover the expense of any “surprises.”
Enjoy the Benefits
However, every project has its unique challenges and opportunities. Brownstones offer many home owners the perfect combination of city living with suburban-size spaces, both indoor and out. Single-family brownstones provide a spacious oasis after a hectic workday at a Manhattan office, a backyard, and walkable access to a host of amenities, including A-list restaurants, placing the Brooklyn Brownstone firmly in urban territory.