About

Renovating NYC provides renovation consulting and project management services for those who seek high quality while maximizing their budget dollars. This website also provides helpful information, inspiration, and guidance for those who want to renovate or remodel their home or business in New York City. The site was started in 2011 as an effort to present the best professionals, products and projects in the New York City interior architecture, design and construction industry. Founder, managing editor, and experienced renovation professional R.J. (Julio) Díaz shares insider knowledge and discoveries of the best service providers in the industry, reports on the issues and challenges faced in planning and executing renovation projects and highlights products ideal for use in high-end renovations. Renovating NYC now offers renovation project consulting and management services for select clientele who seek an advocate to insure their projects are meet their time, quality, and cost goals.

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RJ (Julio) Díaz has established an excellent reputation as a construction executive in the NYC renovation and remodeling industry. Since 1995, he has collaborated with world class architects, designers, engineers and craftsmen to deliver high-end custom residential and commercial interiors in New York City as well as Chicago, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Honolulu. As a project manager and construction executive, RJ has coordinated over $300 million in construction work which include townhouse renovations, apartment remodeling work and luxury brand retail buildouts. His passion for the art of construction began when he first helped his father with small renovation projects around the house. After taking a mechanical drawing class in high school, he decided to pursue studies in architectural design and history. After graduating from Penn State University he joined Bauhaus Construction in 1995 as an assistant project manager and within a year was coordinating and supervising his own projects. Working with discerning clientele and many of the best designers and architects in the industry, RJ is known for delivering on high quality, team leadership and consistent communication. In 2000 he founded Integrative Construction Inc. (ICI), a general contracting and construction management firm focusing on high end residential and retail renovation interiors. In 2004, he joined Integrity Contracting Inc. (ICI) and further developed his skills as a project manager, refined his eye for craftsmanship and detail, and a thorough understanding of construction logistics and sequencing. He values and insists on a collaborative approach among all members of every project he leads. He is fluently bilingual (English/Spanish) and specializes in communication and logistics.

He is an advocate for clean water, education for underserved communities and the environment. He actively supports charity: water and Abriendo Mentes.

Other ventures include Industry Portage Co., Diaz Group International, and Pura Vida Sporting Club.

PROJECT HISTORY

Rooftop Addition (513 West 26th Street) at the High Line

Architect: Murdock Solon Architects

RJ Diaz produced this short video which was a study, using Google SketchUp, of the historical context and construction of this Rooftop Addition on 26th Street which overlooked the High Line.

Murdock Solon Architect Rooftop Additions New York City03-1170x1757

This high profile project was challenging due to the work involved in preparing the existing rooftop to receive the new structure.  The 4-story building contained gallery tenants which required measures to insure absolute waterproof conditions throughout the construction process.  The work involved the removal of asbestos from the roof, removal of  the entire roof including the wood joists, and the installation of a steel structure to support the additional floor.  The construction team managed to limit the amount of water that came into the building throughout the process to about a tablespoon. Victory.

513 West 26th Street Rooftop from the High Line-Nighttime

Photography by Steven Smith, Imaginare

Brooklyn Heights Lobby Renovation

Architect: Katz Architecture

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“In addition to sponge painted walls and quarry tile floors, the space was plagued with sub-standard lighting, problematic air conditioning, and an inadequate concierge desk. Another major difficulty was that the lobby was built on three levels. In other words, this place was all wet.
Katz set out to bring back some of the classic elegance of the original building without making it an Art Deco restoration. The old quarry tile floor has been replaced with contrasting custom-color terrazzo that continues up the staircase where a new custom nickel silver railing is offset by fumed oak panels.”

Friendshop Edit

Architect: Murdock Solon Architects

Friendshop Edit Murdock Solon Architect New York City Friendshop-3 Friendshop-editingsuite Friendshop-1-new

Murdock Solon Architects worked with the sound and video editing studio, Friendshop, to develop its new office space. The priority was to maximize the small amount of natural light available, as well as to work within the 10-foot-ceiling space. The low height required creativity to not only manage mechanical, plumbing, and electrical needs, but also the technical cables required for their production.

With a rectangular floor plan, MSA designed private office spaces along the perimeter with centralized communal spaces. The private offices were lined with glass walls to bring natural light to the center space. Custom white lacquered shelves were added for the display of each editor’s individuality, as well as to add additional privacy.

The central shared space utilizes eclectic mid-century modern furniture to divide the space, and a large kitchen island doubles as an informal conference table. A curved wall constructed of walnut louvers lit from behind further divides space while adding to the overall aesthetic.

Little Italy Townhouse Renovation and Addition

Architect: Jan Hird Pokorny Associates

230 Elizabeth Street Jan Hird Pokorny Architect Little Italy New York City Townhouse Renovation

230 Elizabeth Street is a four-story old-law tenement building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan built circa 1860. A private client hired Jan Hird Pokorny Associates to design appropriate rooftop and rear yard additions that will transform the building into an owner-occupied duplex apartment with two floor-through rental apartments. There is also a ground floor commercial space.

The structure was designed with green building strategies in mind, including using recycled materials and significantly reducing the amount of energy the building will use. Integrity Contracting was hired as the general contractor and RJ Diaz was the project executive from start to finish.

Effeti USA Showroom (645 West 27th Street, NYC)

Architect: Murdock Solon Architects

Murdock Solon Architects - Photography by Stephen Smith
Effeti USA is the US outpost for the luxury kitchen brand from Florence, Italy.  Like the brand itself, the showroom was built with exacting standards of detail and quality of materials.

382 Central Park West (The Olmsted) Lobby and Corridor Renovation

382CentralParkWest04

Architect: Carol Maryan Architects

This addition and renovation to the lobby and hallways of a 400+ unit building originally built in 1960 featured a new entry, updated landscaping, and recycled wall paneling original to the building.

4-Story Addition and Alteration (224 Mulberry Street, New York, NY)

Architect: Handel Architects LLP

This WOULD have been such an amazing project to work on. The plan was to put a four-story private residence (and later on, multiple residences) on top of  an existing three-story parking garage  in Little Italy.  The world-renowned Handel Architects and WSP Cantor Seinuk as the structural engineers, designed a jewel box that would sit on top of a vibration and noise isolation system over the garage. I commissioned, wrote, and produced this short video about my planning process to study the logistics of erecting the superstructure on a narrow street.  The developer than decided to sell the building and we were left out of the process as a result.

Townhouse Renovation (22 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY)

Architect: Michael Haverland Architect

Interior Design(Penthouse): Alan Tanksley, Inc.

Interior Design(Parlor): Eric Cohler Design

03“Brilliantly conceived by award-winning Manhattan architect Michael Haverland, this condominium penthouse overlooking Gramercy Park is a stunning convergence of prolific design and classic architectural elements. Newly constructed, this 3,621 square-foot home was carefully designed to capture exceptional light and views within a unique interior, assimilating a sensibility of a seamless indoor/outdoor connection throughout.Sited on the South side of Gramercy Park in an elegant Greek Revival-style townhouse circa 1865, this triplex home harmoniously incorporates flawless design with high-tech convenience. A private elevator opens onto this magnificent penthouse which graces the upper three floors of the building. Sun-drenched and sprawling, the residence boasts soaring ceilings, Italian travertine marble flooring, Mahogany paneling, and detailed millwork. A series of nine-foot windows framed in rich Mahogany perfectly showcases views of Gramercy Park. There is a graceful staircase connecting the three levels of the home and the flexible floor plan offers a canvas for creative ingenuity.The entertainment rooms include a double-height living room with fabulous views of Gramercy Park and the city skyline. It features a dramatic expanse of windows, beautiful walnut paneling, a built-in bar, and an impressive fireplace. Also on this level is a library that could easily serve a media room. A set of glass doors leads to an impressive private south-facing terrace.”

Other completed projects:

2015

GRAMERCY PARK APARTMENT RENOVATION ($1,200,000)

CHELSEA ARTS BUILDING ROOFTOP ADDITIONS ($3,500,000)

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS LOBBY RENOVATION ($1,200,000)

2014

CHELSEA ARTS BUILDING BASEMENT GALLERY ($550,000)

DAVIDSON FINE ARTS GALLERY ($300,000)

FRIENDSHOP [EDITING STUDIOS & OFFICES] ($260,000)

2013

18th STREET TOWNHOUSE ($1,800,000)

2011

382 CENTRAL PARK WEST LOBBY RENOVATION ($2,000,000)

ELIZABETH STREET TOWNHOUSE RENOVATION ($4,500,000)

GRAMERCY PARK TOWNHOUSE RENOVATION ($11,000,000)

2003

FULTON STREET 5-STORY CONVERSION ($500,000)

RIDGEWOOD, NJ HOME RENOVATION ($900,000)

2001

MAKE UP FOR EVER SoHo ($175,000)

BVLGARI Madison Avenue ($250,000)

UPPER WEST SIDE RESIDENCE ($200,000)

2000

JOHN LOBB ($450,000)

1999

ROBERTO CAVALLI ($1,300,000)

1998

BVLGARI at the FORUM SHOPS, LAS VEGAS ($1,200,000)

COMME DES GARCONS FLAGSHIP ($980,000)

1997

BULGARIA FIFTH AVENUE ($6,500,000)

BVLGARI MADISON AVENUE ($1,000,000)

1996

BVLGARI BEVERLY HILLS ($2,100,000)

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