Uncommon Areas Sprucing Up Shared Spaces

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.

Maintaining a property’s common areas is a major responsibility for a co-op or condo. A board will spend a large allotment of time, effort, and budget to ensure that all common areas are safe, attractive, and appealing to residents and visitors alike. Common areas vary from a simple lobby and mailroom to an elaborate clubhouse complex of swimming pools, meeting, exercise, and party rooms. Regardless of the size and scope of the common area, there will come a time when maintenance has done all that is possible, and it is time to redecorate.

Going Pro

Refreshing and redecorating usually occurs every five to ten years, when budgets will allow. A major challenge when redecorating is to strike a balance between current styles and upcoming trends. Knowing the difference between a trend and a fad is a job for a skilled and trained interior decorator. A professional interior design firm will make suggestions, prepare sample boards, and be prepared to talk price and return on investment with a design committee and/or board. A professional will be aware of the latest style changes and cutting edge products, and how those elements can be utilized and customized for a properties best advantage. The end result must be affordable and attractive to both residents and potential homeowners. A design that is easy to maintain is also extremely important. A property’s architecture may also help shape or define the direction a committee will ultimately choose for a decorating design.

Color, Lighting, & Design

John Willey of Willey Design LLC in New York City says common area interior design is more important now than ever. “I would say more than anything in the past decade it’s about making the lobby a huge selling point for new developments and creating an instant experience when you walk in,” he says. “Everybody is trying to one up the other in New York City. Everybody wants to shine. I’m seeing a lot of things like water features, waterfalls done in a very elegant way. I’m working on a project in Battery Park City right now that the architect David Rockwell designed. In the middle of the lobby is a gorgeous wrap-around spiral staircase and in the middle of it is a beautiful aquarium.”

Willey noted that New York City residents tend to be more “stressed” than apartment dwellers in other parts of the county so that could account for the spike in tranquil lobby designs.


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