New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide




How One Great Neck Co-op Renovated Its Lobby On Budget and Without a Fight

Tom Soter in Bricks & Bucks on May 23, 2012

Great Neck, Long Island, The Biair House

The Biair House

Photo by Ric Marder

May 23, 2012

Tilzer recalls that the biggest challenge was working with a tight budget that limited her options. Undaunted, she met with the committee, showing its members sketches of what she proposed and then samples of different fabrics from which they could choose. “I can’t praise Tina highly enough,” says Schurr. “She was easy to work with; she had no attitude, no ego, and offered wonderfully creative ideas.”

For the lobby, Tilzer bought some new furniture and had other pieces reupholstered. New carpet and molding were put in place as well. The hallways were retrofitted with energy-efficient bulbs, and mirrors were added that helped bring in more reflected light. “We needed to brighten it all up and make it look less clinical,” Tilzer notes. To that end, she added framed paintings on each floor. “I used classic neutrals and a restrained palette,” she explains, adding: “I wanted the shareholders in the building to feel good about coming home before they even opened their doors.”

Schurr asserts that even the contractor Tilzer employed was stellar: “They cleaned up very thoroughly at the end of each work day,” she says, “and they were very efficient, completing the job on time and on budget. It was all done within three to four weeks.”

Considering that lobby renovations can be among the most controversial agenda items at a co-op or condo, it’s no surprise that shareholder input was not solicited. What is surprising, however, is how the potential aesthetics arguments never even materialized. Says Schurr: “Everyone loves it. You think you’re entering the Ritz-Carlton.”


Great Neck, Long Island



6/29/11: $280,000

1/31/11: $415,000

10/21/10: $525,000


Estimated Market Value: $4,354,400

2012/13 Taxable Value: $41,789


Naomi Schurr, a longtime inhabitant of Long Island, always wanted to live at the Blair House. Not the official guest house of the president of the U.S., but the 42-unit Great Neck cooperative at 21 Chapel Place that she moved into four years ago.

“It is a very special place,” she says of the three-story building populated by everyone from young professionals to senior citizen retirees. “And the superintendent is just amazing. If you have to change a lightbulb he’s done it yesterday.” But it’s not the amenities that are the key attraction – a pleasant garden out back – “it’s the people,” she says. “Everyone around here is so nice.”

She adds that the same holds true for the “wonderful town of Great Neck,” which is within walking distance of the Blair House (so is the Long Island Railroad for those who need to make the half-hour commute to Manhattan). “Are you coming out to see the place?” Schurr asks a recent caller, adding: “Do you need a place to live? There’s a very nice two-bedroom that’s on the market.” Better snatch it up fast.



Cost: $130,000

  • Purchased new lobby furniture and reupholstered some existing pieces
  • Installed new carpet and moldings
  • Retrofitted hallways with energy-efficient lights and installed mirrors to reflect light


Tina Tilzer, Art & Interiors
Maimon Group, engineer
Naomi Schurr, board member, lobby committee chairwoman
Bob Einsidler, Einsidler Management Co., managing agent
Began in February and completed in March 2012.


Projects About Town researched by Kathryn Farrell

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