How To Make Your Doorman Happy

If you live in a doorman building, you probably start thinking about your annual gift for the doorman a few weeks before the holidays are upon you. And while everyone loves a few extra bucks in their wallet, there are other ways you can make your doorman happy – and not just at the holidays.

Imagine standing at a podium for hours on end where there’s little or no heat in the winter, little or no ventilation in the summer, lots of people asking you to do things for them such as hailing cabs or welcoming their guests. Not to mention having to deal with mountains of e-commerce deliveries, dry cleaning, and groceries every day.

It’s a wonder your doorman can be as cheery as he is.

Want to do something that will make your doorman happy beyond an envelope filled with cash? Here’s something to consider: today there is a myriad of innovative ways you can have his doorman desk updated to make which allows him to work more efficiently and be more comfortable.

I’m a residential building lobby interior designer in New York City. When my firm begins a new lobby renovation project, one of the first jobs we tackle is the doorman desk. I’m proud to say we’ve have become very adept at creating innovative ways to improve this area, and there is a multitude of tools in our toolbox that makes it happen.

6 Ways to Improve Your Building’s Doorman Desk & Make Your Doorman Happy

1. Change Its Location

You may not realize how many times a day your doorman must leave his desk – often to retrieve packages. It’s hard on him and not safe because your lobby is unattended when he steps away. The doorman desk should be easily accessible to all the areas he’s responsible for.

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For example, if part of his job is to greet visitors at the door, his desk should be right near the entryway. “Duh.” you may say. But you may be surprised how doorman desks are positioned at the rear of the lobby.

2. Solve The Overwhelming Package Problem

Receiving, storing, and retrieving packages, is a major headache for your doorman today, mainly if you live in an older building. If he has to go down a hall and around a corner to retrieve a package, he’s not at his desk and hasn’t a clue who is coming in the door. (It takes only a split-second for a bad guy to sneak in, right?)

We perform some pretty amazing problem-solving in this area, I must admit. One way is by carving out storage rooms where none existed before (even in older buildings. And creating cabinets and closets positioned where the doorman doesn’t have even to leave the desk to access all the stuff he’s in charge of. This is one area where having a keen understanding of building construction comes in handy.

3. Provide A Place for Everything

Think of all the tasks your doorman has to perform every day: sign for mail and packages, hold keys for tenants, receive dry cleaning, rescue orphaned mittens, etc. He needs a place to store everything he needs, and you want a clean-looking, uncluttered desk when he greets your guests. And it makes your doorman happy when he doesn’t have to shuffle around to find an item for a person who’s in a hurry.

Drawers, vertical envelope cubbies, and cabinet space with shelving are some of the doorman desk features we install. With a clutter-free desk and a place for everything, your doorman’s stress level goes way down. (Note: we also install under-counter lighting because a little bit of light makes a big difference).

4. Give Him A Clear View Of Everything

Your doorman is not just the keeper of the front door of your building, he’s responsible for everything that goes on in the lobby. We position doorman desks so with a clear view of the entire lobby, including the entryway. The result is a safer and more efficiently-run building.

5. Provide Enough Space for New Technology

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Our clients demand the most up-to-date building management technology. However, it takes up a lot of space. You need a doorman desk large enough to accommodate it and still have enough surface space left open for him to do his job.

6. Don’t Force Him To Freeze In The Winter & Sweat In The Summer

Let’s face it – When a doorman is miserable, it shows. We think your doorman deserves to be as comfortable in the lobby as you are upstairs in your apartment. This requires vents to supply heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. You’ll make your doorman happy. And it’s so much nicer than having your guests be greeted by tacky fans and space heaters when they walk into the building.

So, this year give your doorman the gift that will make him more comfortable and his job less stressful – a redesigned doorman desk! (Sorry, this won’t replace your annual cash gift.)

Note: If your building has a doorwoman – she deserves to be happy, too!

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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6 Current Trends in Apartment Building Lobby Renovation

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As New York City changes, so do the wants and needs of its hundreds of thousands of apartment dwellers. In this blog, I introduce some of the current trends in apartment building lobby renovation and explain the thinking behind them. However, before I do that, let’s talk about what’s going on in residential architecture in the city today.

As you know, our metropolis is experiencing a tremendous building boom. New York has had building booms in the past, some of which resulted in spectacular iconic structures such as the Chrysler Building in the 20’s and Lever House in the 50’s. But, today’s building boom is characterized by glassy ultra-tall towers that are not shrines to business; they’re residential buildings meant to be lived in.

These glass towers sport incredible views and the kind of amenities city dwellers couldn’t imagine even a few years ago – such as state-of-the-art wellness centers, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, putting greens, automobile elevators, bocce courts, wait! Bocce courts? Yup!

What once represented affluence in the Big Apple was to own an apartment in a stately brick apartment building that was adorned with elegant architectural details and had walls as thick as a foot – at the “right” address. It’s a far cry from the buildings being erected today.

However, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of New Yorkers live in older brick apartment buildings and wouldn’t have it any other way. Myself included. No, we don’t have wellness centers, automobile elevators, putting greens, and certainly not bocce courts. We’re lucky if we have a package room large enough to hold the tonnage of Amazon boxes delivered every day.

What older buildings have is solid construction, thick walls, and prestigious addresses. And, residents have a significant stake in ensuring their property holds its value.

Therefore, many of the current trends in apartment building lobby renovation are in direct response to the need for older buildings to update their common spaces and compete with the new towers rising around them.

Let’s face it. Not everyone wants to live in a building with 100 floors. However, everyone wants their building to have the latest and the best of everything. As a New York City residential lobby and hallway interior designer, my firm is frequently chosen to update common spaces in older apartment buildings.

Here Are Six Current Trends in Apartment Building Lobby Renovation That We See Today.

1. Technology – Thanks to the Internet, your doorman desk and concierge station are now a virtual hub for everything that keeps your building running efficiently. It can be challenging to find a way to make these areas accommodate the equipment that goes along with this innovative technology. BuldingLink and other integrations such as Verizon Concierge enable a building’s personnel to send out mass communications to residents, create calendars and community events, monitor visitors, manage deliveries, and more. But, they require a lot more space than the old paper visitor book.

At the firm, we have become incredibly adept at expanding and reconfiguring existing doorman desks and concierge stations so the new technology will fit – all the while maintaining the integrity and style of the building and lobby.

It’s tricky, but we make it work.

2. Expanded Storage – Accepting and stowing away packages is a now a massive part of the responsibilities of your building’s staff. Sadly, most older buildings have little (or no) space where packages can be kept out of sight until owners claim them. Our new clients express how tired they are of seeing boxes stacked up in a corner, and they want something done about it – and fast.

Because we have a deep understanding of architecture and construction, storage problems are something we know how to tackle. We’ve carved out new storage spaces and expanded existing storage rooms where no solution was thought possible. We even know how to hide refrigerators to hold residents’ perishables until they can claim them.

Are we miracle workers? Yes! (Sometimes I’m even impressed by what my staff can do.)

3. Updated Entryways – First impressions start on the street. Entryway redesign is often part of a lobby rehab project. Outdated front doors can be replaced, new vestibule flooring can be laid, and outdoor awnings can be redone to create an atmosphere of welcome and luxury.

Some of our recent projects include the installation of electronic sliding entry doors and air-curtains that blow warm air at the entrance during frigid days.

4. More Space & More Light – Dark, stuffy lobbies are so passé, especially when compared to the soaring glass lobbies in newer buildings. We raise-up ceilings, reconfigure lighting, and devise innovative color schemes that create light and airy environments. There are many fantastic lighting options on the market today, and it’s amazing what can be accomplished by merely positioning fixtures in new places and at new angles.

5. Minimalism & Natural Materials – More and more our clients ask us to keep embellishment to a minimum. There’s a trend towards natural materials and a focus on texture as opposed to patterns. We use cerused natural woods, honed stone (or its porcelain counterparts), and select furniture with clear yet sensuous lines.

When done right, clean, spare design is effective even in an older building. That’s our specialty!

6. Cleanable & Durable Materials – Our clients make a significant investment in a new lobby, and they expect many years to go by before another renovation is required. They want cleanable and durable flooring, upholstery, and wallcoverings.

Today, our vendors offer a plethora of materials to choose from that are not only soil-resistant and strong, but gorgeous, too.

We tell our clients, “If you visualize it, we can find it!”

If you’re lucky (like I am!]) to live in a stately old apartment building – stop worrying about competing with the super tall glass tower on the next block. Current trends in apartment building lobby renovation can help preserve the value of your property.

You may not have a bocce court on the roof, but what you do have is irreplaceable.

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Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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