I am in the process of buying a 1400-square foot apartment in Brooklyn that is in dire need of a gut renovation. I'm talking, serious gut - walls out, new kitchen, new bathrooms, installing closets, etc.
How much should I expect to spend on an architect and/or designer? Do I even need them or is a great contractor enough?
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Depending on how you see it, you are asking either the right or the wrong person. First of all, a gut renovation of a 14000 square foot apartment is an expensive proposition and one that we would be hard pressed to put an exact number to. We are sure that there are some Brooklynites out there who have done it, who would better answer that question. If we were to guess, however, we'd say 100k at least.
As for hiring an architect or a designer, unless you are one yourself, on a job of this size you would want one for three reasons:
1. to provide design advice, troubleshoot and otherwise make sure that the space is smartly planned out
2. to provide sourcing for hard to find materials and help cut some costs by securing discounts
3. to keep an eye on the contractor and be the bad cop when necessary (not a fun job to do alone).
So, given all of this, we would highly recommend an architect/designer. Of course, this will cost you some more money, but we think you will be far happier with the outcome and therefore worth it. If you go it alone, prepare to turn this into your life's job for the next year.