Snow, Salt, & Scent Design Preparing for Inclement Weather - and Moods

As winter approaches, we make changes to our environments for both aesthetic and practical reasons. With less sunlight, cooler temperatures, and messier weather, lobbies, hallways and other public areas require extra attention to keep them at their peak look and performance. In addition, this year, with the looming continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the right atmosphere is even more important for both the physical and mental health of co-op and condominium residents. 

Practical Considerations

Marilyn Sygrove, principal of Manhattan-based interior design firm Sygrove Associates Design Group, offers some ideas on how to tastefully prepare for rain and snow.  “The most obvious and conventional items to combat inclement weather in our buildings are bad-weather mats to keep floors clean and safe, and umbrellas and umbrella stands,” she says. These basic tools reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents inside lobbies, as well as keeping damaging salts and grime off our floors.

“Mats used correctly make for safe lobbies,” explains Sygrove. “Wet floors are a slippery hazard, but bad-weather mats are not intended to be down 100% of the time, except where there are insets in the vestibule. Good weather monitoring by staff will allow them to lay the mats down at the appropriate times.” 

“The good news is that there are a variety of mats to choose from,” says Sygrove, who suggests some factors to consider when choosing mats: “Nylon with both high and low textured patterns are the best type of mats to remove moisture, salt, and grit,” she says. “The higher pile dries your foot covering. Grit scrapes off and falls to the lower level pile. These mats can be vacuumed and hosed down - and from a design point of view, they can include your logo, addresses and sport interesting borders, and are available in a variety of colors”

Sidewalk Heating Elements

In addition to making a treacherous sidewalk surface melt away, there is no better way to preserve your lobby than installing a heating element under your sidewalk.  While widely used in luxury hotels in ski areas out West, the technology has not been widely adapted in New York City - at least not yet. That said, the number of luxury buildings installing them is increasing. “No need to shovel or use salts that are tracked inside your lobby,” says Sygrove. “Even developers of new residential buildings are looking at this as a building amenity. So why be left behind?”

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