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The Future of Amenity Spaces

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.

Social amenities are high on residents list of expectations including convenient package delivery and pick up; 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.

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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.
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