NYC New York Townhouse Brownstone Renovation

The Townhouse Renovation : Considerations, Surprises, and Benefits


Shea Murdock, Kelly Solon and the team at Murdock Solon know a few things about brownstone renovations.  Between completed work and those in projects, they’ve got some valuable information to share.  Here, they point out what to consider, the possible surprises, and the benefits of a brownstone renovation, remodeling, or conversion project.


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.

For more information, take a look at some their past and current projects.

Contact Shea, Kelly, and the team here:

Murdock Solon Architects

New York CIty Location
508 W. 26th Street, Suite 5B
New York, NY 10001

tel. 212.929.3336


Other Suggested Reading:

Townhouse Turnaround by Constance Rosenblum, New York Times