I hired KBR Design & Build for my kitchen renovation. I discussed the job with three prospective contractors and ultimately went with KBR given the thorough description of their full service approach to renovation. I was sold! KBR capably managed the early administrative work, dealing with our NYC co-op and the department of buildings, supporting us to meet their lengthy requirements. They advised on budget, based on labor and material costs, and managed our expectations of project cost. When we finally got down to the real work of designing, gutting and re-building, Ally Lewis (designer) and Petar Krsikapa (project manager) were phenomenal to work with. They were everything I wanted in a contractor and more: responsive, attentive, patient, qualified and exceptional communicators. We were first time renovators, and they held our hands through design and technical decisions throughout the process. Everything went very smoothly, and even when there were minor hiccups (expected), Ally and Petar swiftly and transparently resolved them. When we started to reach our budget limit, both adapted to modifications that I proposed to ensure we would not go over budget. We now have the kitchen of our dreams, and I credit KBR Design & Build for this gift! The photos speak for themselves!
This project (1BR, 2bath) started off terrible with our first project manager: not present, misleading about work and pricing and provided no guidance or timeline on the steps towards completion, it set us back right from the start. After bringing this up to management, he was removed and we were assigned a new project manager to try and get us back on track (it is my understanding he is no longer with the company so you should have no issues here.) We were then assigned Jayani to manage, and after a few days of her wrapping her head around what was happening, things really started to take a turn for the positive. She laid out a time line and punch list for our entire project, as well as, set up weekly goals for us to meet and go over. She was at the site constantly and extremely responsive and dedicated to getting us back on track, which she did. If things we not going to be done as scheduled, which was very rare, she mentioned things up front and had a plan to get them corrected, but as I mentioned, we really started to see things getting completed and the project start coming together. She also seemed to have a very good working relationship with our head contractor, Andrew. I can not speak highly enough of Andrew. From the initial meeting you can tell he is experienced, talented and cares very much about the quality of his work. He provides suggestions, feedback and commentary about the work scope which I found extremely helpful – “this would work great, this might not look like you think” etc – he is very honest about what can be done and goes above and beyond to get things exactly as you want them. His day to day crew also does an A+ job: they showed up early! and kept a fairly clean work area which was critical as we were living in the space during the renovation. There was maybe one minor hiccup in terms of the construction (I would have even expected many of these) in which he contacted me and fixed immediately. There were times he and Jayani would face time me to get my opinion on a small detail in real time, before moving on, to make sure it was done to my liking. They really were all-stars. I am giving them a 5 star review even though the project had a bumpy start, it is only fair to assume if we had Jayani from the beginning we would have had no issues start to finish. The project was completed on time and the finish work is outstanding. I am confident if you have Jayani, Andrew and crew in your corner, you will be happy with the results. Also worth noting, Alex was in charge of all documents, paper work and dealing with my building management company in order to get the project moving. I don’t think I spoke to her once and I mean that in the best of ways! She handled everything seamlessly, I never had to intervene once. I was cc’d on all emails, but she had everything under control at all times. Hope this helps and good luck with your projects!
We just wrapped up an extensive full gut renovation in a 1,400 sq. ft. 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom condo in Brooklyn with KBR. This was a really complex project spanning over several months and costing close to $200k. We redid the floors, bathrooms, kitchen, appliances, and various other smaller pieces. I am a particularly detail oriented person, as is my wife. We came into the project with some specific ideas we wanted to implement but also needed a lot of guidance given the scope of work. KBR was recommended to us from a friend of ours who did a smaller renovation project after their apartment was flooded. Throughout the project, KBR performed exceptionally. We have very high standards and are pleased to say KBR did very well. Having had some experience in the real estate finance industry, I can safely say construction is very tough stuff, especially in the myriad world of NYC shared apartment buildings. We started with a very detailed proposal that we developed with Sara over the course of 6 months while we simultaneously negotiated and closed on our apartment. Sara is top notch and incredibly patient, communicative, knowledgeable and detail oriented – I have email chains with her with over 100 emails in one thread alone. Developing the scope of work for such a large project and budgeting for that was complex. I appreciated the design and construction being coordinated together as that helped to streamline some of the decision making. As I’m sure others do too, we did speak to some other firms on our project. From a price standpoint, KBR was by no means the cheapest option but it also wasn’t the most expensive proposal. However, this is a large investment into what is an even larger investment – your home and substantial portion of most people’s net worth. KBR did work with us for a little flexibility so I appreciate that constructive mindset. So we decided to invest with KBR and it proved to be a good decision. All the proposals are electronic in PDF format so it’s easy to track. Once we closed on the apartment and signed with KBR, we spent about a month or so on design. We worked with Giselle, who our friend had recommended. We did a bunch of onsites and talked A LOT over email and phone. We spent a lot of the design focus and time on our kitchen. Our kitchen was a nightmare to plan around given the existing construct, some limitations on space/plumbing and some very very complex ideas we had that we wanted to play out. I can say hands down Giselle is super creative and does not give compromise on putting in as much thought as possible into the inner workings of the design. We redid the kitchen cabinets, countertop, fixtures, sink, faucet, backsplash, everything basically. We did a ton of rev a shelf and creative drawers/pullouts/lazy susans to maximize the space – none of this was in the prior kitchen. but today as we live there it makes a massive difference. There is no way we would have thought about all these creative ideas and even when we were running into design restrictions, Giselle persevered through and pivoted around different solutions. To be clear, it all took time – a lot of that was us changing ideas around and adding more and more complexities and some of it was Giselle taking the time to research and develop ideas. We came into this project knowing that design will take time and often longer than planned so to us it was all an investment, not a problem like some silly people may assume. As you can see from the pictures, the kitchen is stunning and we receive a ton of compliments on it. What you don’t see is that it’s also very functional and that’s the genius inside. As it relates to design elements for other parts of the project, we certainly spent a lot of time on those things like floor selection, bathroom vanity selection, some extremely tricky plumbing, etc. I am just highlighting the kitchen as it was truly a masterpiece. Once we settled most points on the design, Alex helped us navigate the approval process through our board, as well as with some additional requirements the board had stemming from our project. Again, very helpful to have all this in one firm and have all the communication via email/calls that they did on our behalf. Once we got our approval and got to the construction phase, things really got exciting to see our designs take life. Our project manager Jayani was/is an absolute rock star. I can’t how many calls/emails/texts/in person meetings we did and I am sure we were 10x more demanding than most people. She’s a trooper, super super organized with notes/numbered email lists every few days (at least every week) and weekly Friday checkins onsite. She was basically the quarterback that coordinated delivery, contractors, our feedback, communication, etc. I cannot emphasize how incredible she was (and is cause we’re actually doing some more work that we just added on another project). I counted about a few hundred emails that we exchanged over the past few months. Both my wife and I have extremely busy work schedules and we travel constantly for work. This project just wouldn’t have happened without Jayani so we give her a ton of props for basically serving as our physical on site project quarterback and helping us execute this. She also helped remind us of our timeline and helped us stay fairly close to it despite us looking to drag it out given our desire to keep adding new things. The other person to call out is Andrew. He’s technically the lead project contractor but he’s a bit of a ninja who is very insightful into the inner workings of construction and materials. As I mentioned construction isn’t easy or straightforward. It’s coming up with innovative solutions, communicating well and executing diligently that make it manageable. He helped us navigate plumbing/pipes, electrical and infrastructure complexities and put in some great ideas to deliver a solid end product. Super smart guy and manages his crew tightly. Which brings me to the unsung heroes – all the contractors who came in and did very difficult physical work day in and day out. They were efficient, respectful, diligent and skillful in pulling the job together. Hats off to them. So overall to sum up a very long review – big project with many many moving pieces that was delivered successfully. Would hire again and actually just did as mentioned above – using them to do some work in our storage room, which should show our approval rating. Our recommendation: do your research on what you want from your project, have some views on colors/materials, be very communicative during the proposal development phase, invest time during the design phase, and work closely with the project manager and leads during execution. You’ll have a beautiful home like ours if you follow through!