Jason Carpenter in Bricks & Bucks
But, remarkably, the project was completed with hardly any controversy. Hacken is matter-of-fact about that, claiming it was simply a matter of preparation, communication and common sense.
The board prepared the shareholders by announcing the planned renovation at the annual meeting last year. Then, rather than have anyone feel left out and critical, the board co-opted potential complaints by offering residents a chance to help make aesthetic choices as part of the beautification committee. Frequent e-mail announcements and elevator notices during the job kept the residents informed and, by and large, supportive.
Most must have been pleased that something was being done. For years, everyone had talked about renovating the lobby and hallways. No wonder: With popcorn walls, dim lighting, and office carpet running up the sides of the elevators, the common areas were starting to show their age.
The board hired interior designer Tina Tilzer of Art & Interiors, feeling that her design style was in line with what it envisioned. "We visited another building Tina had done in Great Neck and we loved the feel and the attention to detail there. But we didn't know if we could afford it," Hacken says. "Tina showed us that she could bring it within our budget, and then it was just a matter of saying yes or no to her suggestions based on what style we were going for."
Working from the top down in both six-floor buildings, Tilzer's team renovated the hallways first, sandblasting the textured popcorn walls to start with a fresh palette. Then it was time to execute the design plan. New ceiling fixtures and wall sconces were added to bring a much brighter feel to the previously dim hallways.
The lobbies were next, with the centerpiece being new benches bracketed with sculptures of ironwork, providing a much-needed artistic flair to the entryways. But Tilzer says the art didn't trump the committee's practical concerns. "Security is a big issue in every building, so we made sure you could see through the sculpture work from the front desk to the areas beyond it," she says.
With a cost of approximately $330,000 for the renovation of the two buildings' lobbies and hallways, the board was able to fund the project entirely from the reserve funds.
Project started: January 2013
Project ended: July 2014
● Lobby and hallway renovation
● New carpets, wallpaper, and lighting
Maddy Hacken, board president
Tina Tilzer, designer, Art & Interiors
Estimated market value: $14,056,000
Assessed value: $6,004,270
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