New York City is one of the most iconic places in the United States. It also has one of the country’s most expensive housing markets, with rental prices going beyond the country’s median rate. Buying is even more expensive, with prices upwards of a million dollars in the city proper. Despite this and the rise of other costs of living in the city, it still remains one of the most attractive urban centers in the country. Furthermore, the current rates in the city can work out well for existing homeowners, since New York real estate has been recorded to rise in value by an average of 4.25% annually according to NeighborhoodScout. New Yorkers often shell out millions for renovations and home improvement projects not only to keep up with trends, but also to further raise the value of their homes. This has allowed general contractors to flourish in the city, but not all firms are ready to build according to the city’s clientele’s discerning tastes and the city’s strict regulations.
Great general contractors are prepared to work in New York’s high-pressure environment. They are able to work through strict regulations and under the oversight of co-op boards and special permits. Our article has two lists. The first list the top contractors in the top ten neighborhoods of New York City. The second is a list of the top three contractors focusing on homes in specific range of values: more than $6 million, between $2 million and $6 million, and less than $2 million. They were evaluated based on their portfolio, their awards, and their features in the glossy pages of prestigious industry magazines.
Each for the Top 10 Neighborhood
Upper East Side – Fanuka
59-49 56th Ave., Maspeth, NY 11378
Fanuka is a leader in interior remodeling in Manhattan. Founded by Stephen Fanuka, the firm benefits from its “Contractor to the Stars” celebrity status, having served clients like Tina Fey, Beyonce, and Bruce Willis. Its portfolio is rich with high-end interior improvements; it specializes in transforming old homes into luxurious retreats for the elite clientele of the city. The firm and its principal became household names after Fanuka starred in his own television show, Million Dollar Contractor. The show ran for six seasons on the DIY Network, and featured remodeling projects in the upscale neighborhoods of New York.
Among Fanuka’s best work is a $9.5 million apartment in Sutton Place, which has turned heads for its stunning townhouse-like design. The five-level unit features a 500-square foot outdoor deck, a double-height living room, and floor to ceiling windows and doors. The home is bedecked with high-end furnishings, like cedar cabinetry, infinity bathtubs, and an ethanol milk glass fireplace in the outdoor area.
Battery Park City/ Lower Manhattan – Knockout Renovation
810 2nd Ave., New York, NY 10017
Knockout Renovation is an award-winning design-build remodeling firm with a strong foundation in design, project management, and craftsmanship. It is headed by founder and general manager Keith Steier, who honed his craft through several years of building for diplomats and celebrities in New York City. The firm has flourished since its establishment in 1992. It has received accolades from Remodeling Magazine and the Chrysalis Awards, and had its work featured on The Rachael Ray Show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and in The New York Times, Remodeling Magazine, and Kitchen and Bath Design Magazine.
The firm’s portfolio is rich with modern revamps of old apartments and condominiums. The firm is very versatile, with projects ranging from traditional to contemporary design styles. It has mastered this by catering exclusively to residential clients, and has completed thousands of remodeling projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Lincoln Square – MyHome Design & Remodeling
353 W 48th St., New York, NY 10036
MyHome Design & Remodeling is a prolific full-service design and remodeling firm serving New York City. Behind its successful operations is the firm’s founder, Yoel Piotraut, who works closely with industry professionals to build every client’s dream home. The firm is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and has been featured in The New York Times, Apartment Therapy, and Brick Underground.
The firm is an expert in transforming old homes into modern domiciles. In the featured home, MyHome Design & Remodeling updated the space by installing white shaker cabinets, hardwood floors, and red brick masonry as accent walls. A modern fireplace warms the living room, while globe pendant lights hang from the ceilings for lighting. The firm used an open layout design to make the home airier and more spacious.
SoHo/TriBeCa – Best & Company
44-61 11th St. 3F, Long Island City, NY 11101
Best & Company is a full-service general contracting and construction management firm serving New York City. Its experience spans from building and renovating classic and traditional residences to updating spaces into contemporary or industrial loft-types. It has managed to grow its portfolio by collaborating with some of New York’s well-respected designers, helping it earn features from high-profile magazines like Vogue, Gotham, Architectural Digest, and Luxe Interiors + Design.
Damon Liss, the owner of Damon Liss Design, entrusted Best & Company to carry out his designs for his family’s 2,400 square foot condo in TriBeCa. Collaborating with the client, the firm worked on the gut renovation of the space, which features an eclectic mix of contemporary and vintage styles. A highlight of the home is the central living space, which is divided into subareas. It is dominated by a library space, for which Best & Company built a custom millwork bookshelf, lined with cut pile mohair.
Midtown South – Aerial Design-Build
122 E 57th St. Suite 4R, New York, NY 10022
Julie Kelley and Rupila Sethi co-founded Aerial Design-Build in 1997. Together, they have decades of combined experience in business, design, and construction, which has helped their company become one of the best boutique design-build firms in New York City. For over two decades, the firm has gained the trust and loyalty of its clients, allowing it to operate mainly on a referral basis. It has also been recognized as one of the Best Contractors in New York by the NY Magazine in its Fall 2017 and Winter 2018 issues.
Aerial Design-Build is also no stranger to some of the city’s most high-end addresses. The featured work, located in the Midtown South’s Gramercy Park, was designed for celebrity fashion designer Derek Lam. The three-bedroom and three-and-a-half-bath space cost $4.8 million before renovations. To spruce up the condo unit, the firm worked with the Neal Beckstedt Studio. Together they installed elegant pale washed oak cabinetry and wall panels. The home is now referred to as “The Treehouse,” since it overlooks a private green space for residents.
Turtle Bay/ Midtown East – Interior Management
405 E 50th St., New York, NY 10022
Interior Management has been beautifying homes in New York since 1981. For nearly four decades, the firm has worked in the city’s most upscale neighborhoods and has transformed some of its most prestigious addresses. Its projects have figured prominently in the pages of magazines like Elle Decor, Luxe Interiors + Design, and House Beautiful.
In Midtown East, the firm transformed an outdated space into a classy condo unit. Its living room features chic finishes like ceiling millwork, dark-stained wood flooring, and interior columns. The dominantly white space is made airier with wide windows. Interior Management also created a sleek space out of the kitchen, where it installed a grand waterfall kitchen island, as well as bespoke cabinetry for the clients.
Greenwich Village/West Village – West Village GC
454 W 50th St #3R, New York, NY 10019
Founded in 2001, West Village GC is recognized as one of the best design-build firms in New York City. The firm is headed by its founder James G. Mansfield, a British-born entrepreneur who has a knack for design and construction. With Mansfield at the helm, the firm has successfully completed over 400 projects in Manhattan as a Certified Luxury Builder. Some of its projects have been featured in Luxe Interiors + Design, Dwell, and Elle Decor.
The firm is behind the lavish remodel of an old printing factory in the Meatpacking District. The space was designed to highlight the clients’ extensive collection of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michael Basquiat paintings. West Village GC utilized colors and materials that will complement the art. The firm also kept some of the original detailing, like the iron beams, columns, and the century-old maple wood flooring. The result is a gallery-like living space that accentuates the clients’ personalities and love for the arts.
Brooklyn Heights – Hatchet Design-Build
628 Grand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Hatchet Design-Build is a full-service general contracting firm offering renovation and custom fabrication services. Its portfolio showcases its expertise in the contemporary design style, using mostly clean architectural lines, and monochromatic palettes that give spaces an open-space feel. The firm’s projects are regularly featured in design magazines like Architectural Digest, Interior Design Magazine, and Apartment Therapy.
An example of the firm’s best work is the gut renovation of a two-family townhouse in Prospect Heights. Built in 1901, the building required extensive work, especially on its stairs and fireplaces. Hatchet Design-Build restored most of these elements from the original building, and added custom cabinets, closets, and vanities for a more modern feel. The home is predominantly white, but was given personality through the detailed millwork and walnut flooring.
Park Slope – IA Construction Management
45 Main St. Suite #530, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Since its inception in 1976, IA Construction Management has been offering its general contracting and construction management services to clients in The Big Apple. Following the old master builder tradition, the firm is an expert in design and construction. It specializes in building and renovating townhouses, apartments, and landmark buildings. It has even worked on iconic homes like the Pfizer Mansion, which was originally built and owned by Charles Erhart, co-founder of the chemical giant. This project was widely covered by the media, and was featured in Curbed, The New York Times, and Remodelista.
Another important project in its portfolio is the full restoration of a Park Slope mansion, which was built in 1899. The project involved the restoration of original finishes. IA Construction Management paid attention to every minute detail—from the elegant woodwork to the elaborate interior cornices. The result is the successful revival of the century-old home, now fit for modern living.
Hudson Square – Gallery Kitchen & Bath
37-24 24th St. Suite #218, Long Island City, NY, 11101
Aaron Popowsky founded Gallery Kitchen & Bath in 2013 after 15 years in the home improvement industry. Combining his experience and his team of award-winning kitchen and bath designers, the firm is consistent in delivering outstanding renovation results to clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Its work as a full-service luxury remodeler has caught the attention of industry publications, including Realty Times and Brick Underground. It has also appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and on NBC.
Among Gallery Kitchen & Bath’s best work is the gut renovation of a landmarked home in Hudson Square. The 1826 townhome was converted into a contemporary minimalist space. Its kitchen features a luxurious waterfall kitchen island and sleek Italian-style cabinetry. The firm also renovated the cellar into an entertainment space that features a custom staircase and folding windows that open to an outdoor deck.
Top Three by Home Value
Home Value: $6 Million & Up
210 W 29th St., 8F, New York, NY 10001
Momentas is an up-and-coming high-end residential contractor that serves clients throughout New York City. Despite being one of the youngest contractors in this list, it has already served high-profile clients with multimillion-dollar projects. It has also completed projects that have been featured in Architectural Digest and Elle Decor.
The featured project was done in collaboration with Monique Gibson, a renowned interior designer in New York City. The project was done for Hollywood actress, Meg Ryan, who had a preference for a monochromatic palette for her Manhattan home. Momentas completely renovated the space, which involved the replacement of all finishes and millwork. The 4,100-square-foot property features floor-to-ceiling French doors, thirteen oversized windows, ebony wood flooring, and custom mosaic tile flooring. The property was last sold for $9.84 million in 2017, according to Elle Decor.
The Renovated Home
401 E 76th St., New York, NY 10021
Lee Stahl founded The Renovated Home in 1990 to offer design-build services to clients in upscale Manhattan. Over its 29-year existence, it has completed over 900 projects and has developed a reputation for expertise in design and planning. In 2015, the firm has caught the attention of some media outlets for earning a project after betting that it will be able to finish the project on time for $100,000.00 with the client. The firm has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Real Deal, and on CNN.
The featured project is an Upper West Side penthouse that was done in a contemporary style. One of the highlights of this project is the grand room that opens up to a balcony with a view of Manhattan. The space is predominantly white, contrasted only by the dark-stained wood floors and the custom modern fireplace that the firm installed on a corner wall. The oversized windows also provide the space with natural light and make the room more spacious and airy.
560 4th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11215
Founded in 1981, Scordio Construction is a luxury residential contractor that has built dream homes for clients in New York’s upscale metropolitan area. It was founded by Anthony Scordio, who works with seasoned designers and architects. Through these collaborations, the firm has built some of New York’s most beautiful homes, worthy of spreads in publications like Elle Decor, Luxe Interiors + Design, and Period Homes Magazine.
In Soho, the firm built an exquisite loft in collaboration with Kirk Lehman of AML Architecture. The property encompasses over 8,000 square feet of entirely bespoke interiors. Scordio Construction installed custom fabricated steel doors, windows, and skylights. The living room offers both unrivaled views of the historic Soho area through the six arched windows and warm winter nights through the two wood-burning fireplaces. The penthouse home is valued at $52,750,000.00 in its current listing on Zillow.
Home Value: Between $2 million to $5.99 million
39 W 37th St., New York, NY 10018
Founded in 1983 by Jim Hanley and Gerry Holbrook, Taconic Builders is known for its fine take on residential and commercial construction. With offices in New York, California, South Florida, and London, its brand of luxury home building has reached beyond the shores of the US. It has built some of the most luxurious homes in the high-end neighborhoods of its serviced areas and has been featured regularly in House Beautiful, Luxe Interiors + Design, and Architectural Digest.
Taconic Builders worked on an Upper West Side townhouse in collaboration with Steven Harris Architects. The project involved converting the space into an eclectic home, which plays with different patterns and colors throughout. The firm installed chevron hardwood floors, custom stairways, and elegant patterned carpets.
Aerial Design Build
122 E 57th St. Suite #4R, New York, NY 10022
Aerial Design Build is a boutique general contracting firm specializing in the design-build method. It is led by Julie Kelley and Rupila Sethi, who co-founded the business in 1997. Their combined work experience spans decades, helping the firm become one of the best contractors in the city. For two decades, it has earned the loyalty of its clients through exceptional results, allowing it to operate mainly on a referral basis.
In Hell’s Kitchen, the firm worked on a unit in the expensive condominium complex of The Sheffield. Aerial Design Build played with a mix of mid-century and contemporary aesthetics to revamp the space. The unit features hardwood floors, European-style cabinets, and custom shelving units. Its bathroom is also elegantly contemporary with the gray marble floor tiles and textured bath tiles.
145 Hudson St. Suite #203, New York, NY 10013
Agencie Group was established in 2007 by Sarrah Kahn and Andrés Ulises Cortés after decades of combined experience in the construction industry. For twelve years, the firm has been building various types of projects throughout New York and North America, and has already finished 300 projects valued beyond $500 million in total. With experts in architecture, engineering, and construction management in one office, the firm is able to offer complete general contracting services. Despite being a relatively young firm, its work has already been featured in Dwell, The New York Times, New York Magazines, and on NBC.
When award-winning HBO director Tricia Brock needed to renovate her Upper East Side co-op, she hired Agencie Group to revamp the space. The unit is situated in a pre-war building, and had a “dark and schizophrenic feel” before the firm worked on it. Agencie opened up the unit by reconfiguring the kitchen. The space, which followed an open layout, was divided through the use of dark gray wood and stained oak flooring. The new layout, plus the elegant marble backsplash and brass-trimmed pendant light, helped turn the space into a spacious and light-filled pied-à-terre.
Home Value: Under $2 million
MyHome Design + Remodeling
353 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036
Founded by Yoel Piotraut in 2001, MyHome Design + Remodeling is a full-service design and remodeling firm serving clients throughout New York City. The firm collaborates with industry professionals who are experts in their respective fields to deliver projects that meet every client’s expectation. By dedicating itself to the promise of fine work, it has established a reputation for excellent kitchen and bath remodels and complete renovations. It is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and has been featured in The New York Times, Apartment Therapy, and Brick Underground.
The firm’s portfolio showcases its knack for modern and contemporary design. An example is the full renovation of a condominium unit in the Upper West Side. The home was updated with white shaker cabinetry, stained hardwood floors, and brick masonry for the accent walls. The living room is anchored through the modern fireplace, while a globe pendant light hangs over the dining area. The firm used an open layout floor plan to add more surface area to an otherwise cramped space.
405 E 50th St., New York, NY 10022
Albert Martinez founded Interior Management in 1981 to fulfill his passion for building functional and aesthetically pleasing homes. Since its inception, the firm has completed hundreds of projects in collaboration with some renowned architects and interior designers. It has worked in New York’s upscale neighborhoods, and has also transformed some of its most prestigious addresses. The firm’s work has been featured in NYC&G, Luxe Interiors + Design, Elle Decor, and Architectural Digest.
Its portfolio shows the firm’s expert command of the modern and contemporary styles, but its work on the 825 Fifth Avenue home shines as an example of how to take cues from Victorian Homes. It features elegant finishes like custom millwork, arched doorways, and bespoke shelving units. The living room sports a green wallpaper, which complements the copper-toned fireplace and classic white cornices.
Paula McDonald Design Build & Interiors
27 W 20th St. 7F Suite #706, New York, NY 10011
Paula McDonald Design Build & Interiors is an award-winning residential full-service design-build firm. It was founded in 2008 by McDonald, whose design philosophy rests on elegant simplicity. Under her leadership, the firm specializes in complete gut renovations, custom residential work, and custom fabrication of cabinetry and furnishings. Its excellence has been recognized multiple times by Qualified Remodeler Magazine with the Master Design Award and the Chrysalis Award. Its work has been featured in Forbes, Luxe Interiors + Design, New York SPACES, and Metro Magazine.
Among its best work is the gut renovation of an apartment on the Upper East Side. The project entailed the conversion of the outdated space into a clean contemporary home for the clients. With wonderful views of Manhattan, the renovated space took advantage of the windows to welcome natural light into the living room. Paula McDonald revamped the expansive unit by using a seamless open layout, which created a more spacious atmosphere. The firm installed custom recessed lighting, high-end light fixtures, and sleek European cerused white oak floors to complete the update.