— Congratulations, you got new office space. After making do in space that you had outgrown years ago, you feel that you finally have the space to support your business goals and accommodate your short and long-term needs. FANTASTIC!
Your head is spinning with ideas and thoughts about how the office should be configured and while your enthusiasm in high, you also know that you’ll need a professional to help you with the space plan for the office.
Who best to d that plan– well, the landlord, right? Um, wrong, DEAD WRONG! Here’s why:
– Designing your space isn’t the landlord’s priority; renting the space to you is and they have already accomplished that. (It’s a done deal!)
— The process is as follows: the landlord will hire an architect to do the base drawings for their tenants so that they can ten obtain all of the necessary work permits for the construction that is required. You (the tenant)think that you are getting all of this for free but actually it is an (invisible)cost that has been built into your lease on an ongoing basis (even at renewal). (C’mon, you know that there is no such thing as a free lunch so why should this surprise you?!)
— A landlord won’t take the requisite time to learn about your business in-depth. The specific needs of the workers are not addressed and the end result might be space that does not support the actual workflow and requirements of the office staff. You might find yourself having to make do with the space that has been designed and who wants to have to make do in their new office space. Why should you have to settle for less than what you wanted/needed?
— This isn’t the landlord’s core business and they will not be thinking about the office technology, office efficiencies, etc.
THEY ARE WORKING WITH GENERALITIES AND NOT THE SPECIFICS OF YOUR UNIQUE BUSINESS.
NOW wouldn’t you agree that working with a space planner is a better option?:
— A space planner will take the time to assess your current business, observe your business in action and will not only ask you questions about your current situation but will probe for future needs as well.
— They’ll take the time to truly understand your vision and work with you to configure the layout to best support your goals, office operations and efficient workflow. They’ll interview your staff to get an accurate perspective on how the space will be “used” vs. how it “looks.”
— Their experience and understanding of what works and what doesn’t will help ensure that all of your requirements are met right from the ginning without the need to make corrections once the initial work is completed.
So sign your lease and break open a bottle of champagne and after that’s done hire a space planner so that the job gets done right the first time.
DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SPACE?
I know what you might be thinking. “Hire an interior designer? Heck, I can do it myself and save some money in the meantime.”
Really? Is that what you honestly think? Well I’d like to try and set the record straight!
Here are some things to think about when weighing your options:
• Regardless if whether you have a crystal clear idea of how you want your home to look or are totally clueless, an interior designer can help you conceptualize the space and put it all together. This might be your first home or frankly, even if it is your tenth, an experienced interior designer will have much more experience than you do and will ultimately save you from making design mistakes that will cost you time and money.
• Doing the space plan and decorating a home are very time intensive activities and an interior designer can cut that time by half and save you the time and stress that are usually associated with construction and searching for furniture and accessories. Their vast experience provides them with “insider” information enabling them to purchase exactly what you desire without the endless forays that you might have in order to locate the pieces that you want.
• The ability to identify the right color palette for a space is borne out of years of experience and an interior designer can help guide you towards making the best selection with acknowledgement of your personal preferences, light quality, room usage and more.
• Buying furniture that is actually well suited for the space is another facet of interior design that is best accomplished by a professional. Dimensions aside, the sofa that looks so perfect in the showroom just might not fit in the room for which it is intended. Save yourself the trauma of buying pieces that are simply wrong for the space.
• Designing a space takes coordination with vendors. Furniture, lighting, window treatments, cabling and more have to be managed and timed so that everything happens when it is supposed to happen. An interior designer will project manage the process so that you are not sitting in a home that has no furniture or lights.
Your home is quite probably one of your largest expenses. It is also the place that you return to after a tough day, the place where you spend a significant amount of “down-time.” You want it to be comfortable, commodious and beautiful.
That being said, working with an interior designer might just be the best decision that you can make.
As you know, I enjoy attending events at the Horticultural Society of New York. As I was listening to a recent lecture on garden design, I started thinking about what influences the design of a room. By design, I mean more than the superficial elements such as color, fabric and lighting. I’m thinking about the shape, size and layout of the room. Good design should be dictated by the function of both the room and the user!
Let’s think about the layout of a traditional center hall colonial style house. The center hall, or foyer, was designed to welcome friends and guests in a more formal time. It had good lighting and an easily accessible closet. The furniture was simple, yet elegant – usually a small table or cabinet topped with fresh flowers. Each room in the house served a specific purpose, even to the extent of allowing men and women to have separate after-dinner conversations!
Homes built before the 1960s offered layouts and rooms designed with a specific purpose in mind. As our lifestyles became more casual, home design became more open. No longer did we require (or desire) formal dining rooms, living rooms or libraries. However, we did want homes that allowed us to flow easily from room to room. We wanted to entertain and be able to chat with guests while working in the kitchen. We wanted to be able to see our kids playing in the family room while preparing dinner. Remember how many houses used to have family rooms or romper rooms in the basement?
Many remodels for both stand-alone houses or apartments focus on opening up available space and creating incremental functionality. An open space can be divided into unique living spaces using furniture, paint color, wall hangings or lighting. For example, an eating area may be adjacent to a living room, yet the arrangement of furniture clearly defines each space. Take a look at at a client’s NYC apartment (below left). You can see how the furniture layout clearly defines the living area versus the dining area. Or, see how we used color in the townhouse (below right) to highlight the dining room which opens to the foyer and the living room. (Click on the pictures to see additional perspectives on my website!).
Additionally, we see the addition of islands to kitchens (where space allows or is created). Why? Interestingly, most kitchens simply do not have enough counter space. By the time we place all of our gadgets (coffee maker, toaster, canisters, etc.) on the counters, we are left with little functional work space. The islands provide space for meal prep, kids’ projects and quick meals. All reflective of our current lifestyles.
How do you use your home or office space? The concept of function applies to both homes and offices. When I’m working with a client, the first questions I ask are related to how a space will be used. By understanding the client’s needs as related to function, lifestyle or personal need, I can create a space that provides the features most important to the client.
What spaces don’t meet your needs? What questions do you have about why rooms are designed the way they are? I’d like to address your questions in future blogs! Or, better yet, if you have an immediate problem, let’s have a consultation!