To quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” but in this case, the reverse is true.
When I started my design firm 26 years ago, the idea of a company specializing in designing common areas of residential properties was unheard of. But in the early 80’s, as rental buildings were converting into luxury cooperative apartment buildings, my firm grew very quickly.
It was a time of out with the old, tired, worn rental look and in with the newly-renovated, freshly-decorated, apartment-for-sale world. The designs were to reflect the surrounding neighborhoods: Gramercy Park, Greenwich Village, Carnegie Hill, the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. Building awnings began sporting names along with numbers to add cachet to the address.
Unused basement spaces were considered for amenities such as locked storage bins, gyms or playrooms.
Lighting fixtures in hallways went from circuline kitchen fixtures to more energy-efficient, sophisticated compact fluorescents.