The lobbies and hallways of residential buildings are not high-end private residential projects—yet they’re not back stairwells or utilities spaces either. They literally fall somewhere in between, and no matter how new or sophisticated the building itself is, or how lavishly constructed, by the very nature of architecture and construction, nothing is exactly straight or perfectly plumb. It’s a given on any project that almost all walls, floors and ceilings will be out of alignment—it is just a matter of how much. As interior designers, we are not hired to re-build the building. We are hired to enhance its appearance, which increases value for residents, as well as attracting prospective buyers.
Cost is the determining factor when commencing a design project. Anything can be done—for a price—but it’s the building that ultimately decides the value of all options. Regardless of the final cost, once a rehab design project on any existing building is finished, issues or questions may be raised about the end result—either of the design work itself, or its execution.
While questions and differences of opinion are inevitable whenever aesthetic decisions are being made, it is important for both boards and the residents to understand what is acceptable under the interior design industry’s Industry Standards, what is not, and what is above this standard and thus more costly. Our preliminary budget estimates are based on this Industry Standard, so a fundamental grasp of the basics can help boards and management determine if the work being done in their building—and the cost they’re paying—is indeed fair and up to professional scratch.
A typical project consists of stripping the existing wall covering and doing a standard wall preparation for the new treatment. The extent of preparation depends on whether the wall will be covered or simply painted. If the contractor can determine prior to the bid that the walls need further preparation or skim-coating (a process by which a new layer of plaster is applied and polished for a smooth, even finish) the board will be advised and will make this decision. A sample area can be done in advance for review.
When we specify a grasscloth type vinyl wall covering, we expect to see a paneling effect just as you would with the real thing. This is to be expected. It is the natural material look that we are hoping to achieve.