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Meridian on First, Phase 2: Bringing Sophisticated Whimsy to the Navy Yard

Partnering with Paradigm Companies, the HDG design team dialed up “sophisticated whimsy” in this Washington, DC apartment building. Located in the diverse Navy Yard district, the interiors are inseparable from the active neighborhood scene.

Both spacious and inviting, the two-story lobby is designed to foster a sense of community while intimate nooks encourage informal gatherings. Artful screening elements are used to delineate zones without sacrificing a sense of openness. Throughout, multiple booths and pods provide private concentration havens, everything the modern-day nomadic worker might need.

And nestled in a sunny corner of the lobby is a maker room where the property hosts craft classes and wine tastings.

Residents and guests are drawn to the mezzanine coworking lounge by a glass, steel and wood staircase that overlooks the lobby. The cozy lounge atmosphere offers multiple opportunities for heads down work.

To seamlessly integrate the indoor and outdoor amenities the HDG team was tasked with design of both the indoor and outdoor amenities. Located on the penthouse level, the light filled, three-sided glass clubroom spotlights an indoor-outdoor bar, a floating gas fireplace and multiple seating arrangements.

 

Blending the interior and the exterior space, the expansive roof deck features a pool, multiple fire pits, outdoor coworking niches and, a shade pergola with day-bed swings. Views of the Washington, DC skyline are vast and draw the eye well beyond the confines of the site.

 

Developer/Contractor/Management: Paradigm Companies
Interior Design: Hartman Design Group
Do you have a project of in the pipeline in need of interior architecture and design? Contact Us to schedule a meet and greet today!

 

 

Remy Phase II is Open! (Berman Enterprises Partner to The Remy)

sofa, table, mezzanine area
Following the success of The Remy phase one, Hartman Design Group partnered with BCT Architects, LIVEbe Communities, and Berman Enterprises to complete The Remy II multifamily apartment building. Remy II rounds out the two-building community and creates a sense of place within walking distance of Amtrak’s New Carrollton station.
Playing off the transportation theme, this multi-family property was designed for the dreamer and the doer, for the person who craves the comfort of home and is ready at any moment to jump on a train to Washington, DC, or head north to work or play in Baltimore, Philadelphia or New York City.
The resulting community is a shared vision embraced by all. The interior design, with an emphasis on lifestyle and resident engagement, features double-height ceilings and views of the large, lush courtyard from every amenity. The spaces are designed to blur indoor and outdoor living. Biophilic design features are used throughout to benefit the residents with a connection to nature that positively impacts their mental and physical health.
Work and play anywhere is the theme at The Remy II. The interior is simultaneously generous and intimate. Maximizing natural light and establishing a sense of spaciousness, the open plan layout delineates the work/play zones using see-through shelving and screening elements. Supporting the “work from anywhere” trend, individual work pods provide residents their own personal “office away from office.” And with three distinct (and spread apart) kitchen/bar hospitality zones — from the main area coffee lounge and sports bar to the massive center communal kitchen, to the rooftop indoor/outdoor bar and grill areas, there are plenty of opportunities for communal dining and drinking.
There is truly something for everyone at The Remy II, and its award-winning lease-up pace reflects that!
Developer: Berman Enterprises
Interior Designer: Hartman Design Group
Architect: BCT Design Group
Construction: Chesapeake Contracting Group
Management Company: LIVEbe Communities
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Use Books as Interior Design Accessories

It’s #WorldBookDay and we can’t think of a more appropriate day to celebrate the inherent beauty and timeless role played by books as a design accessory. More than just paper, ink and words, books offer a sense of warmth and create a sense of comfort. Books add a certain alchemy if you will, a je ne sais quois and yes, we celebrate them, both for their utility as a design accessory and for the words and messages they hold within their covers.

Hartman Design Group uses books in our commercial interior design schemes for lobbies, co-working areas, reading nooks, models and other amenity spaces within the many multifamily, senior living community and other projects we design for. Whether hardcover or paperback, books can be a great way to add color, visual interest and texture to an otherwise bland area. Even more, they can serve as a centerpiece and to showcase your interests too. Here are a few our favorite tips when incorporating books in your interior design scheme:

Use books to reinforce a theme

Books can convey a consistent look and overall vision: Use books to reinforce a theme. If you have a room decked out in a nautical style, think sailing, marine animal and coastal living-themed books. If the area you are designing is airy and light with big windows showcasing the gardens, perhaps floral and garden-style books would fit. Books on the motion picture industry, musical instruments, and celebrity biographies would be great additions to any media room. You get the idea.

Interior design using a book in a mint green color referencing a garden and outdoor theme is strategically placed near a breezy window area to bring nature indoors.
Reinforce a theme: A model unit at Haven National Harbor, designed by Hartman Design Group featuring a book in a mint green color referencing a garden and outdoor theme is strategically placed near a breezy window area to bring nature indoors.

 

 

Use books to showcase your interests and personality

Show off your confidence and individuality by strategically placing books about your favorite subjects in an area lacking personality and warmth. A dog lover? A stamp collector? An oenophile? Set up a collection of books featuring your passions to serve not only as a point of interest but a great conversation starter.

Interior design - Shelves with books flat against the wall displayed as artwork but ready to pick up and read.
Designed by Hartman Design Group, The Easton’s co-working lounge window seating is accented by books as art.

Add depth to a room by choosing books covered in patterns or textures. There are a range of textural choices in covers, ranging from glossy, to intentionally textured, to matte. Printed covers can feature repeated geometric patterns, organic patterns or abstracts. Choose books featuring these characteristics to strategically complement or serve as a foil for a room lacking in texture or patterns.

Use books to add a pop of color

Infuse your space with color: Books come in all colors of the rainbow and provide a great way to reinforce your existing color scheme or add contrast and interest. Group like-colored books together for emphasis.

Use books in a bookshelf display

Create a bookshelf display with carefully selected bookends to stand books upright, or stack several on their sides, spine facing the room, pages to the wall, with a decorative item perched on top, such as a candle, small plant or small figurine as a vignette. On another area of the bookshelf, add framed photos, perched on easels, other plants, or vases to add more interest and variety. Repeat as necessary to create your own personal work of art.

bookshelves with a grouping of green books, white books and other accessories, along with a black bar
A grouping of lime green books near another grouping of white books to break up the expanse of wood from the bookshelves at The Signature Co-working space.

 

Use books as a centerpiece

Finally, there’s always the use of a single book or book grouping as a coffee table centerpiece. The size of the table will dictate your choice here. This can enhance any room.

So remember, if you are looking for a way to add contemporary yet timeless depth and interest, take a look at books.  And if you are looking for an experienced, award-winning commercial interior design firm for your next multifamily or senior living community project, contact Hartman Design Group.

The Future of Amenity Spaces

Reese Towers Lobby

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.

Designing Mixed Generational Multi-Family Buildings

 

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.

Lighting Your Way to Excellent Design

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Lighting is one of the most important elements to consider when designing any space, and this important tool is continually evolving. Meeting the requirements of the state, county and national regulations, as well as the electrical engineer’s energy model, necessitates the evaluation of our client’s needs on a grand scale.  This evaluation must balance many factors including budget, aesthetics and energy efficiency.

Though the first cost is still considerably more than conventional fluorescent and incandescent luminaires, LED lighting is the way to achieve both the low wattage requirements and the appealing effect. With this in mind, a realistic approach to the lighting budget is important. Considering that the savings over time will well outweigh the initial cost, LED lighting is an investment that pays off.

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Not only will the cost of electricity be substantially lower, the greatly reduced labor (to re-lamp) and bulb replacement expense quickly help to recoup the initial cash outlay. Additionally, when renovating a building, consider the many retrofits LED lamps on the market. There could be no need to replace light fixtures and Pepco rebates may well be applicable. Whether using retrofit lamps for a renovation or new construction, choosing the right color temperature and rendition is critical to setting the mood and obtaining the desired ambiance. For calm, relaxing spaces, consider using soft, warm lights with orange and yellow hues (2700K or warmer). For a room that is intended to be livelier, like a fitness center, a slightly cooler temperature (3000 or 3100K) is ideal. The color rendition of 80 or higher is recommended for the best color interpretation.

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To create the mood, many different types of lighting fixtures are required. Downlights provide general lighting and pooling of light on the floor, accent lighting is used for special features and art, while sconces and chandeliers are used for additional layering of light as well as decorative elements. The good news is that there are LED lamps for most fixture types today so you can easily achieve the look desired and contribute to the green initiative. If you’re working with an interior design firm, make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the mood you wish to create, the budget and required energy efficiency. Your interior designer will know the best way to utilize the natural light coming into the room, and how to properly support that light with general, task, accent, or a combination of all three types of lighting.

Q&A with Phyllis: Multi-Family Renovations Part II

Multi-Family Renovation: 4 Valuable Questions to Ask Your Team

In our last post, Phyllis shared her insight on a commonly asked question about multi-family renovations: “How much will it cost?” Once the design team has a clear understanding of the project restrictions & goals, they can begin to move forward with planning. Here’s more insight from Phyllis on other commonly asked questions about multi-family renovations.

Question 1: How will you incorporate design & lifestyle trends so that our property is competitive in the marketplace?

Due to social media, generational shifts, and market competition, we have found that design trends are rapidly accelerating. In the past, most owners would contemplate a repositioning when the property or previous renovation was 10 to 12 years old. Today’s residents and prospects shop the competition, are extremely informed and expect the very best for their money. Those properties that are beginning to show wear and suffer from an amenity shortage will most likely see a resident exodus and may have to drop rent pricing to compete. Today’s modern resident wants a lifestyle. As units get smaller, great amenities have become critical. They serve as an extension to the resident’s living space. Buildings that opened 5+ years ago are already behind in the trends. These buildings can be updated by transforming every available space to a resident amenity. Lobbies that were previously designed for visual impact can be turned into a socially active amenity by adding the right kind of furniture and creating intimate seating for groups and singles alike. Adding plug-and-play areas and communal tables will turn a dead lobby into space with a great, active vibe. In today’s rental market, we recommend an evaluation of the common areas after 3 to 4 years. If the design has a timeless appeal, a simple refresh (ie: pillows, accessories, art) may be all that is required. At 6 years, it will most likely be time to deeply evaluate the market trends, the competition, resident expectations, and condition of the finishes.

Question 2: When is the best time to start construction?

March through October is the prime leasing season. To avoid disruption during this time, it is ideal to plan the construction start for the end of October and completed by March or April of the following year.

Question 3: What does the renovation timeline look like?

Whether simple or comprehensive, any kind of refresh or renovation takes time. Every client wants to spend their renovation dollars wisely, so it is important to allow time for the design team to program, design, vet, and budget the renovation. If permits are required, additional time should be allotted. Even a furniture refresh takes time to plan, and in today’s furniture world, it could take from 12 to 16 weeks to procure. For example, HDG designed a renovation on the first floor of Gables Dupont Circle Apartments in Washington, DC. Even though the space was a mere 1,500 square feet, the planning, vetting, budgeting, coordination, permit drawings and construction all took one full year. Capture

Question 4: How to keep residents happy during a renovation?

  • Make it fun! Have the staff wear colorful hard hats.
  • Keep the residents informed of work schedules.
  • Have a kick-off construction party for the residents.
  • Plan for extra services during construction, like coffee and bagels in the morning, then cookies and tea in the afternoon.
  • Display finish boards and renderings to get the residents excited about their new home.

Q&A with Phyllis: Multi-Family Renovations Part I

Renovation Costs: How to Nail Your Renovation Budget

After over 28 years of business, we’ve found that many of our clients come to us in the beginning stages of a project with many questions about what a multi-family property renovation looks like. To give you a glimpse of our process we sat down with our Hartman Design Group president, Phyllis Hartman, to discuss some of the most commonly asked questions. This will be a multi-part series so stay tuned for part two!

Question 1: How much is the renovation going to cost?

Working within a budget when renovating a space or an entire building is usually the owner’s primary concern, meaning “how much will it cost” is usually the first question we are asked. In order to best help our clients set priorities, as well as create a realistic budget and project structure, our design team must first understand many aspects of the project, asking questions such as:

 

What is ownership expecting to achieve by renovating? For instance, is the building being repositioned from a C to a B, a B to an A, or is the goal to make the property the best B in the marketplace?

Will the renovation involve only finishes and furniture, or will spaces be re-arranged?

How old is the building and what is the current condition? A 5-year-old project may only need a quick furniture refresh, while others that are over 10 years or older may require a complete overhaul to remain competitive in the market.

Can the property compete in the current marketplace?

Are you losing residents or prospects? If so, try to determine if the condition of the interior is a factor. What is being said on social media about the property?

What is the schedule? An accelerated schedule can cost more than following a normal design and construction schedule.

Will the work be phased or completed at one time?  Phasing is usually more costly.

Will building operations need to move to another part of the building during the renovation? It is important to factor this into the budget.

Can the contractors and subs work in the building during normal business hours?

Will there be security concerns during the renovation that may require either additional staffing or cost?

 

In an effort to gain the highest return on investment, we encourage collaborative discussions to determine where the clients can best spend their money. Phasing the design and construction is a great way to spread the budget over several years, though it is important to consider that phasing does add to the total cost, and can be frustrating to residents and prospects. Living or working in a building that is in a state of perpetual construction can be difficult.

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The Meridian at Carlyle located in Alexandria, VA is an example of one of our projects that were finished in phases. Because the building was 12 years old when the repositioning began, the first priorities were the lobby and leasing spaces. The corridors have been phased over four years, and the clubroom was renovated two years after the lobby. This allowed the owner to spread the cost of the renovation over 5 to 6 years.