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Summer 2014

A Time of Transition 

What You Need to Know About Renovating (Before You Buy or Sell), Our Favorite New Coffee Shop (And Not Just Because We Built It)—and More

The Best Time to Start Planning Your Next Renovation? Right Now. 


For our clients, summer often signals a slowdown —a time to break away from work for a while and enjoy a change of scenery at the beach, lake, or a faraway dream destination. But for the general construction and construction management teams at Design Development, the all-too-fleeting weeks between mid-May and “Back to school!” number among the busiest and most productive of the year.


While homeowners are enjoying some well-deserved R & R, our general contracting and construction management teams are busy collaborating with interior designers, architects, artisans, tradesmen, and expert finishers and installers to bring your dream home to life, knowing that your vacation season is our prime time to complete labor-intensive renovations with minimal disruption to fellow building residents’ day-to-day lives.


Consulting with your contracting and design teams well in advance gives you ample time to schedule the professionals of your choice (before someone else books them) and to get the job done in the time-frame you envision, factoring in reasonable fabrication and delivery times for everything from appliances to custom cabinetry and millwork.


Just think: Plan it right, and next summer you may get to come home from your dream vacation to your dream home.

BUILDER’S NOTE: Want to monitor your project in real time, even while you’re off-site? No sweat. We make it possible for our clients to track their project’s progress every step of the way, via job-site web cams and detailed weekly progress reports. Just ask us. 

What You Need to Know About Renovation—

Before You Buy or Sell Your Home


Heading out to visit some open houses? Take the Wall Street Journal’s advice: Don’t forget the essentials: a smartphone with the StreetEasy app, a tape measure, a digital camera—oh, and….Design Development co-founder Chip Brian


Chip accompanied homebuyer Harriett Gordon—a recent retiree—to five apartments when she was hunting for a new home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “For each space we saw, Chip provided a sense of how much it would cost to design what I envisioned, factoring in not only the purchase price but also the projected cost of construction and decoration,” Ms. Gordon explained to design reporter Jen Renzi. Chip connected his client with an interior designer who shared her vision for a lighter, brighter space that felt modern without cutting itself off from the past, and together the team came up with a workable plan to renovate and decorate the 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom residence.


Before signing any real-estate purchase contract on the dotted line, Ms. Gordon had a realistic concept of the scope and type of renovations that would be required to make the apartment comfortable for her lifestyle—and her budget. And afterward…well, that’s where the general contracting and construction management team from Design Development stepped in to bring the multilayered concept to life—with details like custom-milled doors and trim, built-in bookshelves for Ms. Gordon's new home office/study/guest room, and an efficient new galley kitchen with a space-saving pocket door to connect it to the inviting new dining area. 


Thinking about making a move this year? Ms. Gordon’s philosophy of using one trusted team from start to finish could make sense for you, too. Call us for a consultation. 

Our Favorite New Coffee House—

And We’re Not Saying that Just Because We Built It


Sometimes all you really want is a great cup of coffee.  That was a frustratingly complicated order to fill in the Long Island City neighborhood in which Design Development’s offices and artisan millwork shops are located…until company founder Chip Brian, his wife, Nina Sisselman (right), and business partner Mike Daddio decided to open up a coffee shop right in the corner space of the industrial-era office building that houses our business teams. For Nina, the long-vacant space seemed the perfect location for a coffee house, as it's situated just a stone’s throw from our local park and playground, MoMA’s PS 1, The Cliffs rock climbing center, The Chain theatre, the Noguchi Museum, Socrates Scultpure Park, the East River waterfront, and historic Hunter’s Point, one of the most picturesque blocks of brownstones in New York City.


Working with the talented interior design team at Neue Atelier, a multifaceted design collaborative, Design Development’s general contracting teams worked with Nina, as creative director, to transform our office building’s vacant corner space into The Mill, an industrial-chic coffee shop where neighbors and visitors in this rapidly growing residential, business, and cultural district can satisfy their craving for superior coffee in comfort and style. 


The Mill offers its own custom blend of Brazilian coffees, plus a dark roast blend of coffees from Guatamala, Tanzania, and Sumatra, all drip brewed. In addition, there are espresso-based drinks, cold brew coffee, hot and iced teas, water, juices, and sodas. Nina worked with Jack’s Stir Brew and Amy’s Bread—local businesses with a loyal New York following—to develop The Mill’s exclusive line of baked goods and satisfying sandwiches on artisan bread. The offerings include an assortment of organic and vegan muffins, scones, cookies, and doughnuts (yes, the amazing Apple Cider Donuts and Banana Chocolate-Chip Loaf really are vegan-organic). 


Find our why The Mill has Long Island City—one of NYC’s fastest growing business, residential, and cultural neighborhoods—buzzing. 


Follow The Mill on Facebook. And stop by soon to say hello! 


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