Coop / Condo Lobby Redesign? 5 Surefire Ways to Avoid Disaster

If you own a coop / condo in New York City, you may have been in this situation. At your recent board meeting, a majority of the owners complained (again) that your lobby is not functional and looks so atrocious that it’s actually hurting the value of everyone’s most valuable asset – their apartments!

But even the thought of how to go about tackling a lobby project gives the board the heebie-jeebies! I understand the trepidation. After all, redesigning a lobby (often including hallways, elevator cabs, the mailroom, and more) seems like a monumental pain in the tush. But over the years, I’ve learned a multitude of tricks that I share with the board that make my projects go very smoothly. Here are my top five tips:

5 Tips To Keep Your Lobby Interior Design Project Running Smoothly

1. Keep Decorating Committee Numbers Small
The smaller the better. We suggest a committee size of no greater than a group of 7. The rule of thumb is the larger the group; the less chance for consensus and unity. Larger groups mean more chance for dissention and project delays. It has been proven that a like-minded smaller group is exceedingly more effective and productive.

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2. Issue A Design Related Survey
 A survey permits the opportunity for those residents who want to participate but cannot due to time constraints or the size of the committee to still be involved. Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in some fashion.  We feel strongly that this is a “good neighbor policy” to keep the project inclusive.

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3. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Most unrest and disasters can be avoided if the board issues regular updates announcing all aspects of the project along the way. Some examples are:

  • Top lobby designers are presently being identified and the interview process is about to begin.
  • The design firm has been hired and more information to follow.
  • There will be a “Meet The Designer Night” so mark your calendars!
  • Surveys will be available for all of you who wish to participate in the design process.
  • The project plans and specs are being prepared with an expected construction start date to be announced.

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4. A “Meet The Designer Night”
All residents deserve the opportunity to meet the selected designer. This gives a face to the project and allows the residents to ask questions, express their needs and opinions directly to the designer without being filtered by the board.

5. Present The Final Design In Advance
Have your design team present the FINAL design at a meeting for the residents. Often this is done at the annual meeting but a special meeting can be arranged. This gives residents the first hand opportunity to ask questions about the project, the logistics and how it will impact everyone’s lives.

Time and time again, we have found these 5 points to be critical to the emotional success of our projects. Can you afford to ignore them?

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