Design

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It's Those Drapes!

By Rebecca Fons

Allegedly, on his death bed and with his last breath, the great writer Oscar Wilde said, “This wallpaper is dreadful; one of us will have to go.” The quote conjures a mental picture: Wilde, pale and bedridden, propped up on massive Victorian pillows, surrounded by his dearest friends and loved ones. And on the walls, perhaps wallpaper with monochromatic flowers on it, or maybe wilting ferns (both popular at the time). Read More

What’s Your Style?

By Keith Loria

Renowned for its iconic skyline and masterfully-designed skyscrapers, New York City is also home to a number of new residential buildings that have become a part of modern-day Manhattan. Bringing life to a two-dimensional drawing of a building is something that every competent architect is trained to do, but it takes someone with a special vision to create a really iconic structure that enriches a city's landscape and helps shape its culture. Read More

Pets, Pools & Pilates

By Lisa Iannucci

Years ago, when you bought a co-op or condo apartment, you looked for a unit that had the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a perfectly-sized kitchen, and some great living space. For the longest time, that ideal combination was all an apartment needed to attract a buyer to a particular building or association. As property values increased, and as developers built more and more new multifamily developments however, they needed a way to draw homebuyers away from one building and over to theirs. And so began a battle of the multifamily Joneses. Building A had the state-of-the-art gym, so Building B added a gym and a movie screening room. Building C added all of that and then some, including a private personal trainer on-call at nearly any hour of the day. Read More

From Sand Lots to Play Dates

By Anne Childers

Sixty years ago, work and play were very different. A majority of women remained in the home, in both urban and suburban settings. The mostly male heads of households went off to work, and children went off to school and play. Since then, a lot has changed—and that includes how and where kids amuse themselves. While earlier generations might have rounded up the kids in the neighborhood for a (largely unsupervised) game of after school sandlot ball, the 1960s ushered in a more organized playing field—quite literally. Coinciding with the entry of more women into the regular workforce, extended school hours and after-school programs, Little Leagues, and other supervised sports programs provided kids with not just fun and exercise, but a structured form of child care. Read More

Going Green to Save Green

By Christy Smith-Sloman

These days, it seems like everybody is looking to 'go green.' The term is shorthand for a movement of environmental awareness that involves everything from the way architects design new buildings and homes to the ways co-ops, condos and HOAs recycle their waste. In other words, green means to help the environment by reducing the amount of energy you use. Read More

Design for All

By Lisa Iannucci

Of all the responsibilities that come with being a board member or manager of a residential building, few are as important as ensuring the safety of your residents. Making and clearly communicating emergency plans, marking entrance/egress points, posting evacuation routes, and conducting periodic fire and disaster drills are all crucial parts of the job. Read More

Floor Me

By Rebecca Fons

In New York City, people spend a lot of time looking around. Tourists gaze at the  skyscrapers, fashionistas window-shop and traders peruse the markets. But not  much thought is probably given to our homes and the floors beneath our feet.  Read More

Making New Things Old

By Greg Olear

 It's a sad fact that the artisans and craftspeople who created some of the most  beautiful, distinctive interior and exterior architectural elements for New  York's residential buildings are an endangered species. The proliferation of  sleek, glass-and-steel architecture, combined with the rising cost of materials  and labor have made the ornate, heavily-ornamented facades and interiors of  prewar buildings truly things of the past; now, the stonemasons, sculptors, and  other craftspeople are aging or gone, and fewer and fewer are taking up their  trades as demand for them has dwindled. Read More

Can You Hear Me Now?

By Keith Loria

 Walls are the only separation between you and your neighbors when you live in a  densely-populated area like Manhattan, and sometimes, it feels like privacy  goes out the window. People hear their next-door neighbors talking, footsteps  from above, or even music blaring through the walls. Sound transmission between  units is one of the biggest complaints among co-op and condo dwellers. Noise  can also come from ceilings, doors and windows, so living in a multifamily  building can take some getting used to. Read More

All is Illuminated

By Thomas Lisi

 Call it the Ikea-fication of America. It seems that more and more people are  getting interested in design, especially when it comes to their own home. In  decades past, household furniture and decorations didn't vary a whole lot.  Growing up in the twentieth century, odds are your friends' homes probably had  a pretty similar couch and coffee table as your own. Thanks to new technology  and an explosion of interest in retro styles, that has changed. Read More

It's Fun Being Green

By W.B. King

 It many circles it’s considered socially or politically correct to “go green” when embarking on new construction projects or updating an existing property.  Cost-saving initiatives include solar roofs, energy-efficient lighting and  appliances. With these inherent benefits, boards and managing agents are  expressing interest in all things green, which is in line with New York’s celebrated sustainable reputation. Read More

Enhancing the View

By Anne Childers

 The earliest windows were literally holes in walls—maybe covered by animal skins, if the owner was ambitious, or the weather was  chilly—and were useful only for allowing a little air and light into the living space.   Read More

Splish Splash

By Lisa Iannucci

 Whether indoors or out, few design elements are as dramatic and arresting as a  waterfall or fountain. According to the blog The Bowery Boys, the very first  decorative fountain in New York City was the City Hall fountain, unveiled on  October 14, 1842 during opening ceremonies for the Croton Aqueduct. The  fountain propelled water 50 feet into the air, and was a huge hit. Read More

The Grand Design

By Denton Tarver

 Whether you live in a towering mid-block high-rise or a sprawling suburban  development, landscaping not only helps a co-op, condo or HOA increase and  retain property values, but has a positive impact on residents themselves—beautiful, functional green spaces and plantings increase pride of ownership,  influence morale, and just generally make a place more pleasant to be in for  owners and visitors alike. And unless there happens to be a master gardener or  landscape architect on a building board or grounds committee, chances are that  the community's administrators will have to call upon a professional landscape  specialist to help make the most of their building's potential. Read More

Uncommon Areas

By Anne Childers

 Curb appeal provides that first impression, the attention-grabbing feature that  all condominium and co-op properties strive for. In New York City, curb appeal  usually starts with colorful flowers or planters out front that may reflect the  changing seasons. No matter how elaborate or simple the curb appeal may be, its  job is done at the curb. Once your outside is looking good, it may be time to  move the charm and ambiance indoors. Read More

Attractive Perks

By Danielle Braff

 You’ve got the perfect couple looking into buying a condo in your building. And they  love everything about the unit. Read More

Space, the final Frontier

By Steven Cutler

 Say your building has some extra, unused space—perhaps in the basement, or on the ground floor near the doorman’s station. What to do with it?   Read More

Residential Architecture in New York

By Greg Olear

 In 1906, the dashing and amply-mustachioed Stanford White was shot dead by one  Harry Kendall Thaw during a show at the Madison Square Roof Garden. Thaw was  the jealous husband of one of White’s old flames, and the press dubbed the resulting court appearance “The Trial of the Century.” A century later, the lurid details of the trial are largely forgotten—but what is notable about the incident is that the victim, one of the most  famous New Yorkers of the day, was an architect; it was White, in fact, who  designed the old Madison Square Garden. Read More

Not-so Common Areas

By Anthony Stoeckert

 Last November marked the completion of a two-year, $20 million renovation of the  lobby of the Empire State Building—a pretty hefty sum just to retrofit such a particular space. While the cost was  certainly of large proportions, it is not unusual nor unwise for buildings to  heavily invest in their lobbies. This space is the first impression guests and  potential homeowners receive and it expresses what kind of building residents  and visitors are walking into, both in style and in what kind of service  residents can expect. Read More

Capital vs. Cosmetic

By W.B. King

 Co-op, condo owners and board members understand certain truths; one is that  whether aesthetic, mechanical or otherwise, every building will require repair,  upgrades and improvements. Determining what is a capital project versus what is  a cosmetic project is often confusing and can cause significant problems when  determining budgets and project timelines.   Read More

Detecting Plumbing Problems

By Jonathan Barnes

 Of all the modern conveniences we take for granted, perhaps none is as essential  as indoor plumbing. By carrying fresh water into our homes and taking waste  water away, the pipes in our buildings are a little-noticed and well-engineered  system that almost magically distances us from our not-too-distant urban past.  But when plumbing fails, we almost immediately notice how much we depend upon  it. Read More

Don't Forget to Look Up

By Keith Loria

 A residential building’s roof is its first line of defense against whatever the skies throw at it. Left  untreated, roof problems can proliferate and cause thousands of dollars in  damages to residents’ property, as well as the building itself. When it comes to the literal roof  over your head, “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” is definitely not the attitude to take—particularly once winter's bad weather has passed and left potential damage in  its wake. Read More

Do-It-Yourself, or Call a Pro?

By Liz Lent

 These days, the urge to save a few dollars here and there may be inspiring the  creatively inclined to try their hand at home renovation. Before picking up the  paint brush or tearing up that carpeting however, it may be worth it to consult  a professional designer or architect. With myriad building codes, board rules  and the unknown risks that lie within each load-bearing wall or decades-old  bundle of wires, the D-I-Y approach can get tricky for even the handiest  homeowner. Read More

A Gem of a Gym

By Steven Cutler

 Like any major project in a co-op or condominium, installing a gym is made up of  two separate yet equally important parts: The brass tacks of planning and  executing the project, and the politics of running it through the board and  residents. Read More

Green at Home

By Lisa Iannucci

 Gone are the days when living green meant dwelling in a geodesic dome-house in  the woods somewhere with a sofa and love seat made out of tree stumps. Today,  living green doesn’t look much different than traditional interior design—even if the environment can tell the difference. Even luxury high rise buildings  and urban co-op and condo owners have upgraded their living spaces with greener  materials and products. Read More

If You Build It...

By Greg Olear

 Whether you're talking about an individual unit owner's renovation project or a  major capital improvement that affects the whole building, chances are that  there will be an architect involved at some point, to a greater or lesser  degree. Sometimes this person will interact mostly with the board and  management, sometimes with just the individual resident, sometimes with a  board-appointed design committee, and sometimes with all of the above. Read More

The Cooperator's 24th Annual Co-op & Condo Expo

By Hannah Fons

 Since its launch in 1987, The Cooperator's annual Co-op & Condo Expo has become a fixture on the business calendar of vendors, service  providers, board members, building staff members and residents all over the  tri-state area. Each year, they all converge under one roof to learn about new  products and technologies, exchange information, network and improve how their  buildings and businesses are run. Read More

Terra Firma

By Alexandra Wolf

Used, abused, walked all over"Life is tough for flooring. That's why it's so important to plan wisely when the time comes to redo your floors. Given how quickly a poor floor will have to be redone, the right choice is much more than an aesthetic decision - it's also a real investment. On the bright side, a well-chosen, expertly installed floor should yield years of beautiful wear with the proper care. Read More

From the Drawing Board to the Bedroom

By Lisa Iannucci

In little Italy, architect Adam Kuchner, of Kuchner Studios, is putting the finishing touches on 23 premier high-end condominium apartments. Read More

Granting Access for Repairs & Improvements

By Peter G. Goodman & Brian C. Lavin

 Like all property owners in New York City, cooperative and condominium boards  and their managing agents are sometimes presented with a problem which, while  not unique, is perhaps more pressing here than elsewhere: with land so  developed, it is sometimes impossible to build, repair or improve your own  property without accessing your neighbor’s. If your neighbor is unwilling to grant you access, what is your remedy? Read More

The New Federal Lead Paint Rule

By Joshua Sarett

On April 22, 2010 the federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) new “Renovation, Repair, & Painting Rule” for lead based paint will take effect. The new rule requires owners to follow  lead-safe work practices when disturbing a painted surface via sanding,  demolition, renovation, repair, and other means in pre-1978 or “target” housing as well as facilities occupied by children. Read More

Secrets of Successful Committees

By Hillary Pember

 Being on a committee is not always an easy task. In fact, sometimes it can be  downright frustrating. A three-month commitment can stretch into six months;  meetings can go on forever; committee members may drift off topic; and  precious, limited time can be hijacked by strong personalities. After a while,  the old saw about too many cooks spoiling the broth starts to feel all too  true. Read More

Sharing Spaces

By Jonathan Barnes

 For the residents of a co-op or condo building, the building's lobby and common  areas function much as a front porch or entry hall might in a single-family  home; they're a spot to meet guests, get mail and packages, or to stop and chat  with friends and neighbors. At least that's the idea. A successful common area’s style, comfort level and accessibility meets the needs and expectations of  building residents; one that doesn't meet the mark is likely to be underused by  residents—and maybe even avoided entirely.   Read More

Design Trends

By Lisa Iannucci

 Newsflash: many New York and New Jersey interior designers and decorators are  busy with projects and clients; remodeling jobs are moving forward and boards  and homeowners are spending money again. This might sound crazy, considering  that the economy isn’t out of the weeds by a long shot and boards and homeowners alike have sharply  reined in their spending in recent years, especially on non-essential home  projects. But according to design industry professionals, projects are indeed  moving forward—the question is, how? Read More

The Deciders

By Raanan Geberer

 Architecture that liberates the space, light and air” … “Natural beauty in Fort Greene” … “Sophisticated style, fabulous kitchens, fabulous bathrooms” … “The convergence of fine living and fine lifestyle.” Read More

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