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Navigating and Negotiating Renovations With Your Co-op Board

A renovation, much like life in general, is full of ups and downs. When approached in the right way and with proper professional support, these challenges can help us grow and evolve, ultimately yielding an extremely positive outcome.

Living in an iconic, global capital like New York City infuses daily life with energy, culture and flair. In exchange for this fast-paced lifestyle, most of us trade in our spacious suburban homes for smaller, more confined quarters. Renovating within condo and co-op buildings in NYC carries with it some extraordinarily unique challenges. And, much like childbirth, gives back so much in the form of rewards, as well.

One of my passions and superpowers as an interior designer is helping clients navigate and negotiate renovations with homeowner’s associations and co-op boards. We recently worked on a project with a grueling alterations approval process prescribed by the building’s co-op board.

While every project presents its own unique challenges when it comes to a renovations approval process, there are some common steps that apply to nearly every scenario:

  1. The first step is to always request a copy of the co-op’s alterations agreement package. I review this closely with my client to better understand exactly what’s required prior to submitting a first proposal.

  2. Next, I contact the building’s management office for any extra details that are essential to guarantee the success of our application. It is always good to establish a rapport with someone on the inside that can act as an advocate for you behind the scenes.

  3. Then we create a comprehensive “scope of work” to use when interviewing contractors - this strategy ensures that every contractor’s estimate is comparable so that you’re sure to select the right person or people for the job at hand.

  4. Next, create an alterations plan that will form part of both the alterations package and the contractor proposals - demolition, electrical, plumbing and all other structural changes can be outlined here, as well.

  5. Some boards even require cut specification sheets of all products to be installed – if this is the case, we work with you to select all materials and products PRIOR to submitting the package for final approval.

If all of this sounds confusing and complicated, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Renovations are stressful enough without worrying about any of the above. That’s what we’re here for. Hiring an interior designer helps smooth out the bumps in the process and lets you focus on creating your dream home. An experienced designer will ultimately save you money in the long run by eliminating errors and suggesting alternative solutions as inevitable issues arise.

Although this process may seem cumbersome, as a city dweller myself, I feel comfort with the knowledge that neighboring renovations must also execute quality renovations. Interested in learning more? Set up a renovation consultation today!



Julie and her team have a passion for creating beautiful, engaging and functional spaces, focusing on both the physical as well as the emotional well being of your environment. Click on the links below for package details:

A design collaboration done between client and designer done entirely o​nline. Purchase the package below, submit photos of the space and existing furnishings you like to see incorporated in the design and a sketch of the space with measurements.

Need some assistance in selecting paint finishes for your home? A design collaboration done between client and designer done entirely online. Purchase the package below, submit photos of the space and and fabrics.

Whether it is directing the flow of chi through the arrangement of furnishings, design or colors; Julie and her team can help you to create the spaces that support your vision of a balanced life, rich in the areas that matter to you.

There is no second chance to make a good first impression. When the time comes to sell or rent your home, ease the transition and maximize return by helping your home look its very best.

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