To repurpose your New York apartment or to relocate?

What is repurpose? It is an action to adapt something for use in a different purpose.

The big question is, how can a ‘cookie cutter’ apartment be adapted to your needs? Should you choose to renovate, when should you do it, how much will it cost, and will you have to move to a new space while you wait? After the apartment is repurposed, will it ultimately fit your lifestyle and needs for the future? Should you relocate instead of repurposing?

These questions have crossed our minds many times, because typically most New York apartments are designed with a generic approach to satisfy most clients, but not all apartments are capable of addressing all its user’s needs, and even if you find something close, some customization might be required to make it align with your way of life.

When to repurpose and why?

The answer to our question is implied in the definition of the word: re·pur·pose: is the process by which its existing value and characteristics of a space are transformed to create an alternative value and use, to adapt its users.

At EXD Architecture, we understand that limited space in cities requires sustainable modes of design and investment that include multilayered, multiuse and optimized spaces and resources

Victoria Benatar, CoFounder EXD Architecture
Repurpose of a kitchen in New York apartment by EXD Architecture
EXD Architecture project to repurpose a kitchen, living room, dining room and office

How can you access the value of your property?

The benefit of repurposing an existing apartment is to use what you already have and customize it to your specific needs and lifestyle.

  • A rule of thumb: Take the price you paid on your apartment and come up with a budget that you can afford for the remodel based on a 30% increased value on the property. If the property can in fact be sold in later years for this price, then you know it’s worth the cost to repurpose.
  • Consider the necessities of all the apartment’s occupants and dedicate areas to each of them over 24 hours, over the course of the next couple of years. Think about private and public spaces and how space needs to transform for their activities.
  • See if you can stay in another apartment in your building, or in a place close by during the length of the project and add that cost to the overall project budget. Typically, the overall budget for the repurpose will still be less then relocating to a larger, more expensive apartment.

We listen carefully to our clients either before they purchase a property or even when they are living in it, to understand their lifestyle and how they would like to live. Then we use this feedback to accommodate the space and transform it to create their homes

Victoria Benatar, CoFounder EXD Architecture.
Repurpose of combined apartments in New York by EXD Architecture
EXD Architecture project to repurpose combined apartments

What is the cost of relocating?

  • Closing Costs
  • Moving Costs
  • Increased monthly maintenance and taxes
  • Increased mortgage payment on larger apartment
  • This could be more of a headache and waste of time depending on the conditions of the relocation.

How can an architect help?

Before deciding to make a large investment into moving to a new location, you can ask yourself the above questions. Another wise step to take is to contact an architect to consult on the potential of your space.

Architects and interior designers are trained to see in the space what might not be obvious. They understand space, how to use all your square footage, and how it can be transformed to adjust to individual needs.

It may be wise to invest a little time and money hiring a designer, who can help you see the potential of your space by generating a schematic design exploring the spaces’ potential, prior making a big decision. This will be extremely helpful to determining the course of action.

Moving was not an option for us, we then decided to re-purpose our apartment, installing the EXD Architecture Single Wall Unit to create a studio apartment in the living room for my husband and I, and give the bedroom to our daughter. We saved not only the money required to get a larger apartment, but the time and money required to relocate

Michelle Cianfaglione, CoFounder EXD Architecture
Repurpose of one bedroom apartment to two bedroom in New York City
EXD Architecture project to repurpose a one bedroom apartment to two bedroom

Working as academics, registered architects and interior designers in NYC allows us to understand the complexity of human needs and what is missing from the living and work spaces

Victoria Benatar & Michelle Cianfaglione- CoFounders EXD Archiecture

Read the full details on how we can help to re-purpose your space with our Architecture and Interior Design services. Let us at EXD Architecture help you navigate your renovation with the services you may need, from concept to construction until completion including furnishing and finishes, we have the team to support you.


We love our work and appreciate the difference it can make to people’s lives. Join us in conversation, at Instagram, Facebook and exdarchitecture.com

Blog written by Victoria Benatar and Michelle Cianfaglione, co-founders of EXD Architecture.

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