December 21, 2018
One of the “home truths” we all learn—many of us, the hard way—is that renovations to our living spaces seldom go as planned. Not only are they pricey and prolonged, but, after the dust settles, undesirable aesthetics or shoddy construction can create misery (not to mention clashes with contractors and vendors).
However, the prime movers behind a new Brooklyn, New York-based company called Block Renovation are positioning it as the painless and penny-wise way to remodel.
And they do have experience providing premium products at relatively reasonable prices: Co-founders Koda Wang, former chief customer officer at Rent the Runway and COO at HuffPost; and Luke Sherwin, co-founder and former creative director of Casper, share an underlying belief that thoughtful use of technology can make high-end architectural details accessible to most homeowners.
Starting with bathrooms, Block is promising to tightly integrate “all the components of a renovation in a single, streamlined experience; so that getting a beautifully designed is an easier, faster, and anxiety-free process.”
Block launched on December 13 in the New York City metro area with the goal of providing transparently priced, all-inclusive packages that include architect-grade design, premium fixtures, and construction labor by experienced contractors.
“A renovation is one of the biggest, most expensive, time-intensive, and irreversible purchases you’re going to make in your life,” says Wang. “Customers deserve to have complete clarity of what they’re getting, how much it’s going to cost, and how much time it will take. This is why a modern company like Block needs to exist.”
Block works with vetted architects and licensed contractors to create premium bathroom renovation packages delivered for 25% less than the New York average. Block bathroom packages start at $15,000 and include design, drawings, raw materials, all fixtures, and construction labor.
Homeowners can browse available designs on the company website. They then will receive a free online cost estimate, along with the option to receive a sample box of materials to their home. After sending Block a few photos and a video of their existing space, homeowners receive a free video consultation with Block.
The company manages design, board approvals and pre-construction challenges. This simplified process is estimated to save homeowners an average of $10,000 for an equivalent renovation, three-to-six weeks in construction time, and approximately 40 hours of their own time that would otherwise be devoted to design decisions, procurement, project management, and contractor coordination.
The Block Renovation team collaborated with multiple veteran contractors and architects on flexible design systems that successfully adapt to 95% of bathroom layouts. Rather than constraining homeowners to fixed templates, the design systems allow for personalization of surfaces, fixtures, and even lighting quality. Key partners include Schiller Projects, Leong Leong Architects, and Kate Scott Studio.
“We are excited to partner with Block for this unique opportunity to reinvent the outdated construction method and better address homeowners’ needs while staying focused on high-level design,” says Aaron Schiller, principal and owner at Schiller Projects. “We’re providing greater access to architect-grade design with our combined expertise in built and graphic design, construction, strategy, and Block’s ability to increase consistency in demand by streamlining complex projects.”
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