5th Avenue Reno: A Change in Plans


My family and I are in the design phase of renovating our 1,300-square-foot apartment as well as adding 500 square feet of living space on top of our existing apartment. (We could not join the apartment below with our apartment since the tenant is rent controlled.)

Before being bitten by the renovation bug, we thought about buying another property. We scoured many spaces in Clinton Hill, Fort Greene and Bed Stuy, but after consulting a financial advisor we opted out and opted into renovating and adding valuable square footage to our Park Slope property.

The design for our apartment features two levels of a glass curtain wall, an open 22-foot-high ceiling and lots of glass… OK, way too much glass. “Who’s going to clean all that glass?” was the first panic attack I had after sleeping on our final design decisions, quickly followed by maintance costs, heating and cooling issues. I also thought about dealing with the complexities of constructing this design as well as the issue of scale and balance of a 22-foot-high ceiling within a 1,300-square-foot space. It literally gave me nightmares. And after speaking with a few contractors, budget and time quickly became major concerns.

So what must one who needs more space do for her growing family? Move? Move in hopes of finding a budget-friendly home that needs no renovation? Highly unlikely, within our budget and requirements. And I certainly did not want to take many months or a couple of years finding that perfect property to buy at that perfect time. So we did as the saying goes: We headed back to the drawing board!

We all agree we need more space, we just don’t need all the glass and open air space. Len, our architect, and I redesigned the apartment to be a practical family home, with a touch of glamour that’s no longer too loud. I’m in love!

Above, gone are the days of the 22-foot-high ceiling, replaced by 500 square feet of space built on top of the building. We will still have glass, just not as much of it. Upstairs we will have twin sliding glass terrace doors on both sides of the addition. A smaller glass stair railing will replace the previous railing design. On the third floor, we will keep the open space, which combines living, dining and kitchen.

 

 

 

9 Comment

  • I read in disbelief your comment about not being able to take over your neighbor’s apartment because of rent control. If that apartment were owned by the occupant, would you have written that the occupant would not move because of property laws that said you can’t just take over their property? Surely anyone should just move out to make room for your growing family!

  • i don’t see how it makes sense to go through this huge expense to only build a 500 foot addition. you realize, in the end this addition will cost you more than a brownstone in bed-stuy, right? get rid of your financial advisor.. this is common sense stuff.

    by the way, it is REALLY obnoxious that you’ve had a dumpster on fifth avenue since the beginning of the summer.

  • Regarding the rent controlled tenant. My understanding is they own the building. It therefore makes sense to mention why they don’t take over more of the existing sqfs.

  • I’m not getting the outrage here. They own the house and need more space. The logical thing would be to take over the rental unit below, but they can’t because the tenant is rent controlled. It’s a simple statement of fact. You know folks, if these reno blogs bother you so much for whatever reason (envy?), maybe you should just skip them and save your blood pressure.

  • The plans look very intersting and I’m enjoying watching the progression. I hope the vitriol won’t discourage you from sharing as things go forward. Best of luck with the renovation.

  • I stand by what I wrote – it was not vitriol. I am also interested in seeing the development of the plans. I just noted that yes, some tenants have rights to live in their apartments.
    I did not assume that this was a single family house, due to its “5th Ave, Park Slope” designation, and due to the poster’s referring to renovating her “apartment” not her “house.”
    Being on 5th Ave., I assumed it was a coop or condo building, hence my comment. If they own the entire building, it was either a multi-family apartment building to begin with, or a single family long used as a multi-family. People who buy multi-family buildings know that they are buying commercial properties governed by laws.
    In multi-family properties, whether with rental tenants who come under rent regulations, coop shareholder-tenants, or condo owners, others, including some tenants, have rights to remain in their apartments.
    Some may consider this a bad thing, but other just recognize possessory rights of tenants for what they are, same as we recognize possessory rights of coop shareholder-tenants and condo owners to live where they do protected by law. If you want any of them to sell those rights to you, money, or in the case of regulated tenants, provision of another similar regulated rental, often suffices to remove them. And, if not, the potential for this is something a buyer should know going into the situation.

  • I stand by what I wrote – it was not vitriol. I am also interested in seeing the development of the plans. I just noted that yes, some tenants have rights to live in their apartments.
    I did not assume that this was a single family house, due to its “5th Ave, Park Slope” designation, and due to the poster’s referring to renovating her “apartment” not her “house.”
    Being on 5th Ave., I assumed it was a coop or condo building, hence my comment. If they own the entire building, it was either a multi-family apartment building to begin with, or a single family long used as a multi-family. People who buy multi-family buildings know that they are buying commercial properties governed by laws.
    In multi-family properties, whether with rental tenants who come under rent regulations, coop shareholder-tenants, or condo owners, others, including some tenants, have rights to remain in their apartments.
    Some may consider this a bad thing, but other just recognize possessory rights of tenants for what they are, same as we recognize possessory rights of coop shareholder-tenants and condo owners to live where they do protected by law. If you want any of them to sell those rights to you, money, or in the case of regulated tenants, provision of another similar regulated rental, often suffices to remove them. And, if not, the potential for this is something a buyer should know going into the situation.