We standardize and automate the process so your remodel, addition or custom home experience will be amazing

Designing and building an addition, remodel or custom home is a complicated process that involves one to two years of planning and then 45+ people to do the actual construction.

At New Avenue our qualified and proven local professionals can design and build your project.  We supplement the talented pros with a project management software that we built.  Combined, proven people and the best of class project management software makes the design/build process easier and fun.

Using our experience working with hundreds of clients and spent years perfecting the design/build process.   The features on our platform now provide the most efficient way to design and build any project. We’ve proven this on projects ranging from $50,000 to $2,500,000.

The following features in our system automatically includes the industry’s best practices in every project using New Avenue.

Goals & Ideas Questionnaire

Every project has a Goals & Ideas Questionnaire. You can spend 5 minutes or 30 minutes answering 30 questions.  These questions are based on countless client meetings, thousands of proposals, bids,changes.  By asking you the right questions at the start you can make faster and better decisions. This improves the efficiency of your entire team.



You can use your free project timeline to communicate with your team. When you receive a notification, you can reply by email and your message will automatically appear in your timeline. This keeps you, your spouse, your architect and your contractor on the same page.  This squashes headaches and mistakes before they happen.  As far as we’re concerned, it’s magic.

One Click Accept a Design Proposal

You can use our free budget tool to collect Design Proposals from architects.  Our team of proven and vetted architects are able to provide a proposal.  You can also invite your own architect.  Just tell them “I am using New Avenue to keep my budget organized”

A good Design Proposal will tell you the 20-30 steps required to design and permit your project.  It will also show you the estimated hours of work needed for each step.   To accept a Design Proposal you simply click “approve” and you automatically have a Design Agreement that insures your project follows the best practices in the industry.

Timesheet - Invoice

New Avenue’s invoicing system is the first system built to help owners keep their entire project organized.  With New Avenue your proposal, budget and your invoices are all in one standardized format.  There’s no need to try to reconcile a word document proposal with a list of hours worked.  To pay you simply click approve and that authorized New Avenue’s system to request payment from your bank so you can pay by direct deposit – the same way your employer probably pays you.

Sign up to see more example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

How Long To Build a Custom Home or Remodel a Home

We reviewed all of our completed projects and found the following timeframe for construction:

  • The maximum construction time was 13 months
  • The fastest build was four months (this was during the 2010 recession and everyone was ready to work at a moment’s notice) 
  • The average time to build a project is 8 months.

This includes projects that cost between $100,000 and $500,000. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 9.55.16 AM

Sign up to see more example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Cost of a custom home in Silicon Valley

We recently completed a bid for a 2,886 square foot custom home in Los Altos, CA.  This is the heart of Silicon Valley.

This is a just under $1,000,000 for just under 3,000 square feet.  That budget does not include the architecture, engineering and permitting which can be another $250,000.

You can review the full bid 2886 Los Altos Bid

The home was a small ranch home that is being torn down and rebuilt as a 3-bed, 4-bath plus an office.

An elevation, or the exterior view of the home:

Los Altos Elevation

An elevation of the front of the home: Los Altos Elevation 2

The first floor plan:

Los Altos Ground Floor Jpeg

The second floor master bedroom, master bath and office:

Second Floor Master Suite

A quick rendering to get a sense of the size and look – details are intentionally left out of this:

2,886 Square Foot Los Altos Home

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started


Cost of a remodel and restoration of a 100+ year old historic home in The San Francisco Bay Area

Our clients and their twin boys had outgrown their condo in San Francisco and need space and a lawn to play.

So they did what many young couples do…. they bought a fixer and spent two years remodeling it.  And the results are amazing!

In this story, our clients bought a 4,800 square foot 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom home that is 110 years old. The home needed extensive work as it had been 50+ years since it was last remodeled. They focused on sustainable products and maintaining original details such as the redwood found throughout the home while completely modernizing all the systems such as seismic, electrical, and plumbing.

They made a massive increase in the usable space in the home by converting the 4th floor attic to an 800 square foot office.

The project started in March of 2015 and finished spring of 2017.  The design, permitting and remodel was an even two years. Half of the time went to permitting.

The work was intense. A steel frame was inserted from the basement to the top of the roof and everything in between was dismantled and restored and replaced, or built new.

You can review the actual construction budget for the restoration in the link below.

4800 square feet of remodeling

Construction Budget 4,800 square foot restoration 1908_70 Lines

The finished photos are stunning!

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders
Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Heath Clock in Bay St Kitchen

Coffee nook
Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Copper Creek Builders

Bay St House

Copper Creek Builders

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Cost to build a large custom home (5,000 square foot 5 bed six bath)

This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build system.  Homeowners and contractors enter bids  in our system and send and receive payments for completed work.  Any changes are submitted by the contractor and approved by the owner before the budget changes.  This keeps your project budget transparent, fair and under control.   It’s like PayPal for remodeling and building.  We get a unique ability to collect the complete project costs.  We share these costs to help inform owners, architects and contractors. 

If an owner does not have a team in place, we have a network of proven architects and contractors who are committed to creating homes that make owners healthier, wealthier and happier. 

A custom home is often a once in a lifetime project.  A dream home that is custom designed, permitting and built within two hours of a major city is an entirely different project from a tract home or existing home.

This following budget is for a 5,000 square foot custom home.   This was architect designed and custom built.  The construction costs include every detail needed for the contractor to complete the home. Your project will certainly be different however costs for a home of this quality are comparable outside of any major metro area.


Here is a list of the almost 100 line items used to track the progress and pay for work as it is completed.

General Conditions Allowance

Mobilization $ 1,500.00

Sanitary Facilities $ 1,500.00

Dumpsters $ 6,500.00

Progress Cleaning $ 1,000.00

Final Cleaning $ 1,500.00

Project Supervison $ 25,000.00

Shop Drawings & Samples & Mock-Ups $ 4,000.00

Silt Fencing & Erosion Control $ 1,800.00

Sub- total $ 42,800.00

Site Work

Demolition $ 19,500.00

Excavation $ 18,000.00

Backfill & Drainage $ 17,000.00

Rough Grading $ 14,000.00

Rain Gardens $ 9,500.00

Utility Trenching $ 12,000.00 *

Road Cleaning $ 2,500.00

Driveway $ 18,680.00

Tree Clearing $ 1,000.00

Excavate for Retaining Walls and Propane Tank $ 5,000.00

sub-total $ 117,180.00

Concrete and Masonry

Concrete Foundation and Slab $ 55,200.00

Foundation Waterproofing $ 2,100.00

Boulder Wall and trench drain $ 25,000.00

Stone Veneer on Foundation $ 30,800.00

Chimney veneer $ 5,500.00

Front Entry Step $ 2,800.00

Polished Concrete Floor $ 5,000.00

Division 3- sub-total $ 126,400.00

Division 4- Metals

Structural Steel $ 2,500.00

Gutters $ 2,000.00

sub-total $ 4,500.00

Wood and Plastics

Framing Materials $ 55,000.00

Exterior Materials $ 30,000.00

Interior Materials $ 16,500.00

Framing Labor $ 80,000.00

Exterior Labor $ 45,000.00

Interior Labor $ 82,000.00

General Labor $ 8,000.00

Porch /Deck/Railings(allowance) $ 31,500.00

Outdoor Shower $ 3,500.00

sub-total $ 351,500.00


Anderson Windows and Exterior Doors $ 43,000.00

Garage Door- (allowance) $ 3,000.00 A

Interior Doors $ 6,500.00

sub-total $ 52,500.00

Thermal and Moisture

Insulation $ 28,000.00

Roof $ 23,600.00

Roof top Snow Melt $ 2,500.00

sub-total $ 54,100.00

Division 8- Finishes

Drywall $ 21,200.00

Exterior Painting $ 20,500.00

Interior Painting $ 28,000.00

Kitchen Counter(allowance) $ 8,500.00

Flooring- Wood $ 29,900.00 A $6.50 per sf for material

Tile Material (allowance) $ 11,000.00

Tile – Install, waterproof, setting(allowance) $ 18,500.00

sub -total $ 137,600.00


Kitchen Cabinet (allowance) $ 35,000.00

Bath Cabinets and Counters (allowance) $ 15,000.00

Master Walk-in Closet (allowance) $ 3,000.00

Closets and Shelving (allowance) $ 5,000.00

Bunk Beds and other Cabinets (allowance) $ 7,500.00

Fireplace Surrounds and Related (allowance) $ 3,500.00

Medicine Cabinets (allowance) $ 1,200.00

Stairs $ 19,500.00

Workbench $ 1,500.00

Balcony Rail $ 2,300.00

sub total $ 93,500.00


Door, Bath and Cabinet Hardware (allowance) $ 16,750.00

Plumbing Fixtures, Shower Glass and Mirrors(allowance)$ 25,000.00

sub-total $ 41,750.00


Appliances(allowance) $ 35,000.00

Generator – 22kw $ 8,500.00

Zero Clearance Fireplace Unit (allowance) $ 8,000.00

Appliance Install $ 3,500.00

sub-total $ 55,000.00


HVAC $ 55,000.00

Plumbing $ 29,000.00

Propane Tank $ 4,300.00

Gas Piping $ 1,200.00

HRV/ERV $ 4,000.00

sub-total $ 93,500.00


Electrical Service $ 5,900.00

Electrical Rough in $ 52,800.00

Electrical Fixtures (allowance) $ 20,000.00

Alarm Install (allowance) $ 2,000.00

TV, Data (allowance) $ 25,000.00

sub-total $ 105,700.00


Stone Paths $ 2,530.00

Soil/Seed (allowance) $ 12,000.00

Irrigation(allowance) $ 5,000.00

Stone Dock(allowance) $ 15,000.00

Shore Protection (allowance) $ 35,000.00

Stone Patio $ 5,750.00

Landscape Misc(allowance) $ 10,000.00

sub-total $ 85,280.00

Sub-total $ 1,361,310.00

GC Fee- $ 204,196.50

Total $ 1,565,506.50

No matter what you are considering, the New Avenue platform is the easiest way to get organized, get bids, hire a team and manage your project.

You can download the full budget in the New Avenue system format here: Country House Budget

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Permit costs and time to build a duplex, triplex or accessory dwelling

We get calls every week with people asking about adding another home to a single family home to create a duplex, or converting a garage behind a duplex to make a triplex, or just adding a small accessory dwelling.

Effectively, these are all the same from a design and building perspective.

The permit process varies quite dramatically and can take 6-12 months no matter which path you choose.

The one big cost impact is a duplex or triplex will incur new utility hook up fees of $15,000+. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of a 6 month permit process or a 12 month permit process.

This is very specific for Berkeley however most cities are very similar.

Here is a summary:

1) You own a single family home and want an accessory dwelling
– If you keep the design under the height limits and are willing to sign a deed restriction promising to owner-occupy one of the two units for eternity, then you can skip the planning permits with a “by right” planning approval. Then you get your buiding permit which is 5+ months.
– If you want a design that is over the height limit of 14′ then you can apply for an AUP planning permit which costs about $4,000 and takes 5+ months. Then you get your building permit, which is another 5+ months.

2) You own a single family home and want a duplex.
– If you are zoned for two units, then the city may allow this. The architect has to check at the planning desk.
– Planning will require a Use Permit that has neighbor review and takes about six months for the planning permits. Building permits will follow

3) You own a duplex and want to add a third unit:
– – Same as above. You might want to just make it a big addition to the duplex and keep it as two units or you might want to permit the 3rd unit. Again this requires the architect to visit the city.

In either case, the cost is about $6,000 for the Use Permit
Utility hookups come into play, so that is an additional ??? (I’d say $15,000 or more)
Building permits are the same as they are based on building costs.

Also check out the permit calculator: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/PermitFeeEstimator.aspx

Client Quotes and Referrals

We’ve been fortunate to receive a lot of nice feedback from the clients, architects and contractors that we work with.   We typically share this list when a potential client asks for a reference in order to verify a construction budget, construction schedule, building permit process or costs.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

Here are several references:

Our son, AJ joined our little family last Tuesday. Thank you for surrounding us with a strong team during all of this,it’s good to know that New Avenue, Mick and Robert have the house project under control while we’re ramping up on this whole parent project thing.

– Robert K (San Rafael Remodel, Addition, new master bathroom, seismic, 5/6/2015, 7 days after AJ’s arrival)

The very nice thing about working with you is that I don’t need to worry about the process and oversight, and vetting people to do the work.  That is a huge value for me. Our architect is a pleasure to work with.  He is very easy and has been responsive and flexible and understands what we’re looking for.  And he certainly knows his business and how to work with the City. So that’s great.

– Marian M (Berkeley master bedroom and master bathroom remodel, client note from 5/2015)

The architect is designing such a nice cottage that I might just move in myself and rent out the main house!

– Ellen H (Albany, CA  client, detached music studio, guest house, landscaping, new bathroom)

Having a fully integrated way of controlling correspondence along with billing is nonexistent… this is really great

– Miklos, General Contractor (Alameda historic restoration, Berkeley accessory dwelling, San Francisco Addition, San Francisco remodel, Oakland guest house, Berkeley addition, El Cerrito accessory dwelling)

“You are rendering a very valuable service to the families and communities for which we have great appreciation”

-Vijai Sharma, PhD, Oakland addition

“New Avenue allows us to focus on what we enjoy doing the most – designing for clients.”

-Patrick, architect 

“Working with New Ave has been such a great experience! From the beginning, New Ave and Paks Builder have been cohesive partners and we look forward to working on many future projects together!”

– Robert P – General Contractor

“You certainly make it waay better than business-as-usual.  No doubt.”

– Prasad, Client

“I’m tired of trolling Yelp and banging my head against the wall.  I just want someone to show up”

– Bryndis T

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

The Owner’s Perspective: The High Point and Low Point of Designing and Building a Custom Home Outside of New York City

“Designing and building a house is one of those few things I don’t think someone can really relate to and get their arms around until they actually go through it.”

– Our clients reaction as he breaks ground on his dream home.

We recently interviewed one of our project owners and asked for the high point and the low point of the designing and building their custom dream home.  Just like our post about the surprises this owner had along the way, he ignored our question and he came back with three high points and only one low point.

Again, that alone says something about designing and building a home!

This owner just broke ground on a custom home that is over $1 million in construction costs.

Here are the high points:
  • Appraisal Approval
  • Loving The Design Process
  • Adding a Laundry Chute just for fun
The only truly low point: 
  • Planning Board rejection
Here are the owners full responses:
Appraisal approval – We are financing our build and you get pre approved by the bank for an up to amount and then a month or two goes by until you submit your final signed contract w gc and all design docs – one appraisal company does their review and they come up w a number.  The loan is generally 75% LTV – the stress of all of your hard work, time, effort, resources all relying on one person at a company is extreme – this one person could kill or at a min postpone your dream that is almost about to become a reality.  Not to mention the mortgage process is clunky at best.  Getting that email with the number you need/want was final green light and our major high point.
Another high – falling in love and visualizing oneself living in your paper home.  designing a home is a process – ups and downs, decisions, compromises.  It’s building blocks – external schematics and aesthetics coupled with internal elevations, design, flow.  It comes together slowly, is tweaked often and ha if that nirvana moment of loving it is awesome.
Another high – figuring out a way to get a laundry chute in.
Low – planning board rejection.  Neighbors we trusted and supported our plans turning on these plans.  The resulting decision to redesign, sell or fight the neighbors wasn’t enjoyable or easy.  Learned a ton through this though.
Sign up here or contact us for additional information about this project including floor plans, costs, timeline or to use the New Avenue free project management system: Get Started

5 Biggest Surprises When Designing and Building a Custom Home in The Berkshires

We recently interviewed one of our project owners and asked for their top 5 surprises.  They came back with 6.  That alone says something about designing and building a home!

This owner just broke ground on a custom home that is over $1 million in construction costs.

So what were the top 5 surprises?
 1) Cost
2) The design process
3) The number of professionals needed
4) A Lack of anonymity in the community
5) Partner communication
6) Time commitment
Here are the unedited, and unvarnished responses:

1.Cost of building: We had zero experience and nothing really relatable other than planning a wedding” – even buying a house is tangible and there is a much smaller starting cost.

2. Architecture Design process: This is our dream house and we are hands on and want to be involved – It took many meetings and lots of houzz and Pinterest to eventually finalize our plans.  It’s a blank canvas and a piece of art, one could never put the pencil down.

3. Other professionals needed: with  architects, general contractors, engineers, landscape designers, interior designers,
Home automation, etc etc etc – you become your own mini GC coordinating all of these individual teams (like getting 5 or more different companies to all work together

4.Lack of anonymity:  There is a difference between the big city vs.  small town living. In the city I don’t care if my neighbor has $10,000 or $10 million remodel.  If they are good people and fun then we hang out with them.  In the small town you feel the judging much more. That makes it more challenging but it is also easier to navigate to who you ideally want to spend time with.

5. Partner: You need to have similar design ideas as your partner.  This is more important for us because we are both hands on and interested.   If my wife was into modern and I was into a rustic cabin then every decision would have been a challenge, debate, compromise.  It would have not worked well.

6. Personal time commitment: We didn’t realize how many hours of personal investment this would take.  From hiring architects until we walk in the door and then even after as we settle in and navigate to the best way to live in the space.  It is never ending so we need discipline. This is hard to manage with work, family and other commitments

Sign up here or contact us for additional information about this project including floor plans, costs, timeline or to use the New Avenue free project management system: Get Started