As our world expands and evolves, the amenities in multi-family spaces must also advance to keep residents entertained, productive, and healthy. The way we live, and work has forever changed since the pandemic, and we must keep up with the new standard of multi-family living in conjunction with societal needs. Studies show that a whopping one in eight people in the United States are living in multi-family communities and the demand for these buildings has reached an all-time high.
According to projections from a study commissioned by the National Apartment Association (NAA) and National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), many cities, including our very own Washington, DC, will need over a half million new units built within the next 13 years. The team at Hartman Design Group is ready and eager to be part of the evolution of multi-family living.
Our Founder and CEO, Phyllis Hartman, is weighing in on what to expect from the future of amenities and what we are doing as a business to rise above the competition.
What changes are currently being implemented into multi-family amenity spaces that differ from those pre-pandemic, and how does this affect the interior and architectural design?
The lifestyle shift to remote work began prior to COVID and is now a solid sociological change. Residents expect that developers will provide convenient, comfortable, functional, beautiful, and healthy work area in the common spaces of apartment buildings. Some of the features include podcast and “Zoom” rooms, work lounges, conference rooms and communal tables-all with accessible power.
We are also designing outdoor spaces for remote working with covered pavilions and power. Work from anywhere and the blur of work and play is the way people live today.
A building that feels and is healthy is critical to residents, especially since COVID. Indoor air quality and a strong connection to nature has been proven to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. We achieve this through thoughtful material selections, views of nature, and open fenestration that allows the interior to fully connect to the exterior.
Come join our award-winning, highly respected, boutique commercial design firm with a 35-plus-year history and reputation for professionalism and quality!prepared food delivery and pick up locations; cold storage for grocery delivery; pet spas; bike storage. Residents value time over money and want every amenity that allows them to have more time for the things they love to do.
The multifamily apartment market generates a vigorous $173 billion in revenue from rental income in the U.S. according to National Apartment Association and National Multifamily Housing Council statistics for 2020. The U.S. Census Bureau reports this sector houses more than 43 million renters or 35% of all households nationwide. Such a competitive environment demands that apartment building owners provide quality housing along with truly innovative products, services, and amenities. According to Apartments.com, nearly 60% percent of respondents prefer to rent, since this provides them an opportunity to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle combined with convenient access to amenities.
As of 2020, there were approximately 73 million Americans aged 20 to 34 (the prime years for renting) according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and from it’s American Community Survey (ACS) in 2020, there were approximately 42 million households in the United States headed by individuals aged 55 and older. Of those 55 and older, many are empty nesters. Today’s Empty Nesters are healthier and more active than at any time in the past and many will opt to rent, preferring simple luxury living that comes without the burdens of homeownership.
In actuality, the amenities that both groups look for in a property are quite similar. Transcending age, today’s educated renter expects a multitude of amenities including fitness centers, business centers, dog walks, pet spas, socially-active lounges and lobbies, club rooms, game rooms, bike storage, and workshop, as well as great outdoor living spaces and swimming pools…all with an atmosphere that equals the quality of a fine hotel. So the idea is not to necessarily target a specific age group but to design for people of different generations with common interests.
Millennials, Generation Y, Generation-Xers and Empty Nesters alike have demonstrated that they prefer hanging out in groups and like to participate in social activities frequently. Yet people also want to feel comfortable spending time alone in public areas. Whether indoors or out, defined intimate spaces provide cozy areas for groups as well as for the resident who is solitary yet prefers a social setting. Regardless of age, amenities with options for both singles and groups create socially-active spaces that provide a sense of home and community.
The Avant at Reston Town Center, a project HDG completed a few years ago, demonstrated that a mixed-generational design approach is successful.
“The vision for the Avant, architecturally and operationally, was developed with a multi-demographic focus,” Rich Ellis from Boston Properties said. “Market studies and the Company’s experience in the Town Center told us that the project would attract a wide range of prospects, from young professionals to empty nesters to divorcees to corporate users seeking a home 5 nights a week. The goal was to create a community and building that made each of these groups feel comfortable while also tapping into their shared interests.”
Hartman Design is currently working on another multi-generational multifamily community, One University. In addition to an affordable senior independent living community, the complex has a market-rate family building and a student housing building (which HDG did not work on) as well.
Realizing that the mixed-generational trend in housing will continue into the future, at HDG, our design approach for residential buildings is creative, holistic and practical. Considering the needs of various age groups is important, yet finding the common thread allows for design that will bring generations together.
At Hartman Design Group, we take pride in delivering exceptional multifamily interior design solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can elevate your next project to new heights.
The Healing Power of Nature
There is a new-found appreciation for the therapeutic properties that plants and botanicals bring to the built environment. Spaces come alive with the introduction of floral patterns and greenery. Whether real or through imagery, a connection with nature supports our physical and emotional well-being. In Emma McGowan’s article in Bustle, Emma attests that plants, a green palette, images of foliage and views of nature enhance creative thinking, reduce anxiety, clear your head and make you more productive.
1800 Oak in Arlington, VA – Preserved Moss Wall at the renovated fitness center
Parc Meridian in Alexandria, VA – Connecting the interior to the natural grasslands on site
More than a trend, this lifestyle shift exemplifies our desire to embrace wellness where we work and live. In the design world, this movement is showing up in homes, restaurants, the common areas of multi-family apartments, and condominiums, and in the materials that we use to design interior spaces. The wall-covering, tile, and floor-covering industries are introducing natural scenes and botanical images in new and inventive ways, all supporting our desire to bring the outdoors in.
“Creating a sense of security is one of the underlying roots of all of my designs…In fact, the notion of feeling cocooned, protected, and pampered underlies my whole design ethos. And it is no crime to design with comfort in mind.” Timothy Corrigan, The New Elegance.
1800 Oak in Arlington, VA – Acoustically sound booths create intimacy within a social environment
The Signature in Reston, VA – A room within a room provides an intimate personal space for work or socializing
The desire for intimacy and personal comfort, especially in common and large-volume spaces, is well established. Rather than a trend, we see it as a lifestyle shift. Living and working in an urban environment can be lonely. By nature, we want to feel included, to be a part of a group. Finding your personal space in a coffee shop, a multi-family building, or at work fulfills the need to be with others and, at the same time, embraces our individual need to feel protected and secure. Whether co-working or relaxing, providing guests and residents with a place they can call their own creates comfort.
The demand to do more with less space is increasing. As land gets more expensive and the cost of construction continues to rise, multi-functional amenity spaces become increasingly important. Rather than compete in the amenities race, another road to success is to shrink the square footage dedicated to amenities and make every inch fully functional as well as visually stunning.
1800 Oak in Arlington, VA – Repositioning is the perfect opportunity to add functionality to every space. Featured are the ride-share lounges where a previously oversized vestibule dominated this lobby.
The Bartlett in Arlington, VA – The private residential connection between Commonwealth Joe Coffee Shop and The Bartlett lobby creates an energized vibe
Studies show that social interaction contributes to happiness. Active social spaces emanate a sense of community, create resident engagement, and positively affect resident retention. The “no one is home” lobbies of the past are a waste of space and create a negative first impression. Every nook and cranny can be programmed to provide an opportunity for residents and guests to find their personal space to work, play, and socialize. featuring a wrapping station for gifts and Amazon returns, the required mail and package rooms can be “experience centers.” If the building allows for a combined amenity/retail experience, a lobby that connects with a boutique grocery, wine bar, or coffee shop creates lots of energy and a great vibe.
Hand Crafted Materials
With our desire to connect to the natural environment, comes an exalted appreciation of authentic materials-especially those that have been handcrafted by artisans or by the “maker” within each of us.
When the textures, colors, and materials of nature are married to interior spaces, we are reminded of the gifts found in nature and the importance of sustaining these gifts for future generations. As interior designers, we have the unique opportunity and the obligation to use materials wisely, and creatively and to embrace talented artisans that contribute so much beauty to our built environment.
Today, people are more traveled than any generation in our past. The desire to see and experience other cultures is top of our bucket list. This is especially true of millennials, who are highly motivated to seek out new cultural experiences. Their technological skills make it easy to find that special place in the world that offers a true authentic encounter centered on local art, music, and ethos.
Travel expands our design aesthetic. Connecting with other cultures broadens our vision and view of the world. As our customers become more travel-savvy, the design profession is positioned to embrace the wanderlust trend by designing environments that recognize artists and artisans throughout the world. Furnishings, textiles, architectural materials, and lighting are just some of the ways that we can introduce multiculturalism into interiors.