We all know how it feels. You’ve been living in your building for many years and you hardly notice the lobby on your way in and out. We hardly ever stop to think how it looks to our guests, and how it affects the value of our apartments.
A building’s lobby is one of the most valuable, and visible!, assets of the property. Its appearance and how well it functions is directly related to value to potential buyers. A beautiful apartment is one thing. But a beautiful apartment with a dark and dingy lobby is another. Even if you aren’t planning to sell right now, it’s important to take a look at your building’s lobby with fresh eyes every now and then.
I’ve been renovating and updating lobbies in luxury coop and condo buildings in New York for over 30 years. Here’s what to look for:
How do you know when it’s time to renovate your lobby?
1. Your poor doorman is running back and forth all day long: juggling the intercom, opening the doors, and accepting a ton of packages.
2. The furniture is so icky you dare not sit on it.
3. Incoming and outgoing packages sit on the floor with no place to go.
4. Stringy, half-dead plants (donated by some of the residents when they didn’t want to care for them anymore).
5. No options for getting to the elevator besides going up a flight of stairs. This can be dangerous (especially for older people) and a source of lawsuits.
6. Bikes and strollers parked in the corner.
7. Unclaimed mail stacked on the windowsills.
And those are just a few!
To make the daunting experience of a lobby renovation less painful, I advise my clients, (who are usually the condo or coop board) to be practical. Look at the functional issues first. These are the components of the lobby that can be improved right away to get long-term benefits for both you and the building staff. Here are just a few recommendations that can make a big difference:
- Position the doorman desk and package closet in proximity to the building’s entry door. This increases efficiency and security presence
- Install ADA compliant ramps or lifts to replace steps in your lobby
- Incorporate updated technology into the design of the doorman desk and mailroom such as BuildingLink. BuildingLink is an efficient web-based management system that brings convenience and organization to your life by tracking packages, submitting maintenance requests, etc. Check them out at BuildingLink !
- Install flooring that is low maintenance and meets slippage ratings.
- Employ low maintenance materials (keeps the staff from having to spend hours polishing).
- Use seating upholstered in commercially rated durable materials and in wear-forgiving colors and patterns. You want your furniture to look good for a long time. One great fabric I like to use is Crypton.
- High impact areas such as corners at elevators and mail rooms that are protected by materials that integrate seamlessly into the design.
- Area rugs placed in less trafficked areas should be cleaned and rotated periodically to extend their lives.
- Use a variety of lighting makes the lobby more intimate and interesting.
So, today as you walk through your lobby, take a few minutes to look at it with fresh eyes. If you’re ready to renovate…just do it!