Like a firm handshake or solid eye contact, certain things can turn first impressions into good impressions. For a building, the look of a lobby can make or break its reputation, both among residents and visitors. To catch an approving eye, nothing works better than welcoming, elegant common areas. Realizing this, the board of London Terrace, a 700-plus unit co-op occupying four towers along the corners of West 23rd and 24th Streets and Ninth and Tenth Avenues in Manhattan, decided to renovate the four lobbies and common areas.
After nearly 70 years, the London Terrace lobbies and common areas were ready for some cosmetic adjustments. "The lobbies had had a lot of patchwork renovations over the years," says board president Nancy Frawley. Previous repairs, though fulfilling their purpose at the time, had depleted the charm and elegance of the original 1920s lobbies.
Aside from the necessary adjustments needed to repair water damage and other degeneration that had taken place over the years, the board wanted to create a semi-uniform look among the four lobbies. "We really wanted to pull the lobbies together to make it look like one co-op rather than something that was just put together, "says Frawley. "We wanted a design that when you walked in, you knew it was London Terrace."
It was a board member’s chance meeting with Marilyn Sygrove, president and owner of Manhattan interior design firm Sygrove Associates, at a Cooperator event that led Sygrove to bid on the job. Her 13 years experience specializing in co-op and condo common areas paid off and she began work on the two-year project in 1997. Says Sygrove, "My goal as a designer is two-fold: to improve quality of life for the residents who live there, so that they have a nice place to come home to, and to increase the market value of the property by creating a tasteful, well-executed, thoughtful design and renovation."