Tag Archives: lobby renovation

INTERIOR DESIGN PROJECT KICK-OFF MEETING GOALS – How to start your project on the right foot

I find that the success of an interior design project; lobby, halls, facade, community room or private residence is closely tied into an overall “game plan”. So to call together all of the players before anyone lifts a hammer is crucial to the order of things leading to a smoothly orchestrated project.

Everything leading up to the start date should be put to bed; all of the design work completed, approved and competitively bid out. The selection of the general contractor and specialty subcontractors have been made, contracts signed, deposits  paid and the work schedule has been coordinated among all of the parties.

We always recommend having a “kick-off”meeting at the jobsite. The team should include the property manager, building superintendent, project liaison, designer and the contractors. This introduction and “bonding time” is essential to success. It is the perfect time to establish the chain of command and the communication flow.


  1. Establish spaces that workers can use to change their clothes, eat their lunch and use a bathroom facility.
  2. Familiarize the entire team with the existing conditions and discuss any challenges.  Walking through the project to review the logistics of moving residents, workers and materials in and out of the site safely on a daily basis is essential. For example, if a stone floor installation is part of the project scope, it is good for the Team to visualize the residents’ path during the course of the installation. Team generated solutions typically come out of this collaboration.
  3. Work hours – noisy and quiet work will be discussed and worked out within the work day schedule.workhours
  4. Deliveries – anticipated dates and who will receive them. This can get tricky. An example would be items not purchased by the contractors which can included decorative light fixtures or wall covering. Sorting out whether the contractors’ workers or building staff will be lugging in things like the hallway light fixtures or wall covering.
  5. Security – workers to sign-in and wear company t-shirts.Unknown
  6. Communications and notification for residents – the property manager and superintendent  will post information prior to all work in advance so that residents have notice.images-1
  7. Set up formal site meetings on a regular (weekly or every other week) to review work, problem solve, prepare “look ahead” notices for residents and generate meeting notes for attendees and others.
  8. Confirmations – all certificates of insurance are correct and current, work schedules, and target dates are still up to date.

After years of large lobby and hallway design projects under my belt, I know that anticipation can really pay off.

If you have any questions on how to organize your Interior Design Kick Off Meeting, please feel free to send me an email.

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7 Clues That It’s Time To Renovate Your Lobby

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!

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