Curating a "Live-Work-Play" Experience Through Flexible Design

By Felicia Hyde Principal & Lifestyle Studio Director, H. Hendy Associates | January 26, 2020

The "live-work-play" lifestyle is a growing priority for modern consumers. Renters and travelers alike are in search of accommodation that offers a personalized and all-encompassing experience. In fact, 83% of consumers today are willing to trade in unit-square space for custom amenities and communal spaces that offer a built-in community. As a result, architects and developers are responding with designs inspired by the local history and culture. These properties are infused with multifunctional spaces to provide renters with access to their everyday needs – all under one roof.

While the growing demand for flexible design is transforming many industries, it's a concept that's revolutionized multifamily communities nationwide. With the goal to create a well-rounded experience and sense of community for renters, developers have evolved their approach to incorporate mixed-use design strategies, elements and spaces.

Here's a look at the key drivers behind this trend, opportune spaces for multifunctional design and best practices for creating multipurpose environments that result in innovative designs and deliver optimal return on investment.

Drivers of Multifunctional Design

According to the National Association of Realtors, multifamily units are shrinking as developers face a growing demand for studios and one-bedroom apartments. The average apartment size in the U.S has decreased by 10% – and in dense cities like New York and San Francisco – the minimum square footage per unit is as small as 220 square feet. Consequently, developers are rededicating square footage to communal areas and designing easily transformable spaces to ensure residents have access to more customized experiences and amenity spaces.

The Heritage Apartments include a large corridor that doubles as a communal lounge and meeting space for residents to work, connect and socialize.

Research shows that the focus on multifunctional design also is a result of consumers' shifting demands. This includes baby boomers and empty nesters relocating from suburban, family-friendly neighborhoods to urban developments in search of apartment living that's choc-full of amenities and boasts a strong sense of community. The National Multifamily Housing Council reported that by 2030 this demographic will demand 4.6 million new apartments as they look for living environments with less commitment and maintenance and more opportunities to engage in the local community.

Another driver behind this trend is renters desire for affordable luxury living. With apartment units downsizing and cost of rent rising year-over-year, consumers are opting for accommodation with access to luxury amenities and spaces. Multifamily designers are responding by incorporating multifunctional spaces including shared dining rooms with high-end decor that doubles as meeting and conference spaces and community kitchens complete with state-of-the-art appliances that also can be used for private dinner parties.

For example, in designing the clubroom and chef's kitchen at Broadstone Vilara in Laguna Niguel, architecture firm H. Hendy Associates (Hendy) incorporated adjustable design elements and furniture that enable residents to modify the environment for different uses. Featuring a roller counter space, residents can adjust the kitchen size to accommodate larger groups for events such as cooking classes and demonstrations. The clubroom and kitchen also feature large garage doors allowing tenants to enjoy an alfresco dining experience or create an indoor-outdoor space for special events.

Designed to provide renters with flexible and luxury amenity spaces, Vantis Apartments features a large pool deck with lounge and dining areas that can be divided into smaller spaces for multiple uses.

Key Multipurpose Spaces

Rooftop Decks and Green Space. To provide guests and residents with a true live-work-play experience, consider designing open areas such as outdoor green space and rooftop decks to be multifunctional. Successful multiuse areas feature a thoughtful layout, furniture and technology that allows residents to easily flow from one space to the next.

For example, the rooftop deck at Broadstone Vilara features an open lawn area including a furnished lounge space, garden and varied seating arrangements for gatherings of all sizes. The outdoor space also provides users with Wi-Fi access and charging stations creating a highly functional environment for remote working. The deck and lawn also double as an event space for wine tasting, popup shops, concerts in the park and more and is home to a fitness center complete with indoor-outdoor areas for instructor-led workout classes, personal training and stretching.

Lobby Spaces and Clubrooms. When designing communal spaces, consider the needs, habits and desires of your target demographic and leverage this intel to inform how the space can be designed for multiple purposes. The key to creating flexible spaces is balancing the larger layout with intimate, quiet areas and nooks for privacy and focused activities. Communal spaces – like clubrooms and lobby areas – can also be designed to naturally transform with the use of adaptable design elements such as lighting, furniture and decor.

The clubroom at Broadstone North Park features flexible design elements including double-sided open booths, garage doors and glass partitions – creating a highly-functional three-in-one community space.

The clubroom at Broadstone North Park in San Diego is an example of a successful and highly flexible environment comprised of three communal spaces in one room. In designing this space, the team at Hendy had to consider how to imagine a room that's multifunctional that's designed in a way that feels open and fluid. To deliver on this, the team incorporated active spaces like a game area with a shuffleboard and passive spaces including multiple dining nooks and a kitchenette and lounge for intimate gatherings. To separate each area without creating barriers, the team incorporated doubled-sided open booths and garage doors to promote an open, multifunctional space.

Pool Decks and Lounges. Known for attracting residents and travelers alike, pool decks and outdoor lounge areas are key opportunities to create flexible but luxury amenity spaces. These areas can be designed to easily transform from a lounge area by day to a private entertainment space by night. For example, the pool deck at Vantis Apartments in Aliso Viejo features a two-story volume lounge seating area comprised of four cabanas partitioned by decorative wood paneling. Each cabana can be rented for private events and includes comfortable seating, intimate space and beautiful decor for residents hosting friends and family.

The clubroom at Brio Apartment Homes provides renters with affordable luxury living and can be used for multiple purposes, including an upscale kitchen and lounge space.

Design Strategies and Best Practices

To create successful multipurpose spaces that deliver on consumer demands and provide optimal ROI for owners and developers, there are key design strategies and practices hoteliers should consider. These include:

1. Conduct Demographic Research

To unearth the specific type of multipurpose spaces needed, hoteliers should conduct in-depth demographic research to identify which amenities and community spaces travelers desire. This intel can be gathered by conducting focus groups or deploying online surveys to better understand what draws travelers and residents to the area, what they hope to see and do while visiting and what the enjoy most about the culture. Hotel developers also should take into consideration feedback from property managers to understand what communal spaces are and aren't being used. This insight also can be found by conducting post-occupancy evaluations with travelers and local visitors.

2. Tell a Story

The key to imagining successful multifunctional spaces is weaving the history, art and culture of the surrounding area into the environment. Hoteliers must think carefully about the communal areas that work well together in order to create spaces that tell a story and build a cohesive community. What makes your brand and region unique should be infused, not only in the decor, but through multiple dimensional and voluminous spaces balanced with intimate areas. This juxtaposition creates a unique atmosphere that visitors will want to explore and learn more about as they flow from space to space.

A hotel that seamlessly delivers on this concept is the Citizen Hotel located in the heart of downtown Sacramento, California. Where roaring '20s style meets 21st century grace, the Citizen Hotel allows guests to immerse themselves into a different experience as they go from one space to the next.

The Autograph Collection hotel is composed of classic stylings from early 1900s architect George Sell and decor inspired by the 20th Century U.S. political scene. The hotel is known for its eye-catching and multifunctional lobby space featuring a two-story voluminous lounge area that doubles as a library room. The walls are lined from floor-to-ceiling with law books and the room features nooks for reading or playing chess. The space balances open seating with private areas allowing guests to use the space for socializing, reading or working.

3. Keep Spaces Flexible

Multipurpose areas should be easily transformable to let residents and guests use the space for other purposes without any heavy lifting. It's also important to consider how these communal spaces will function at various times of day and throughout the year and make the furnishings adaptable for all. Key design elements should include lightweight and reconfigurable furniture such as rolling tables and chairs, retractable walls, glass partitions and drapery. These versatile design elements allow multifamily owners and hoteliers to deliver on multiple consumers demands. It also provides renters and visitors with extreme personalization as they have the power to adapt spaces to meet their individual needs.

4. Unique, Synergistic Spaces

Flexible design not only creates opportunities for efficiency and cost-savings. It also enables developers to realize synergies and solutions that results in innovative spaces. Examples include:

Corridors to Venues

Common areas such as corridors, hallways and passageways are now being designed to function as galleries, bars, speakeasys and more. For example, when designing Heritage Apartments, Hendy converted a large hallway into a unique lounge area for residents to connect and socialize. A main passageway for residents and formerly a large empty space, the design team saw this as an opportunity to create an area for residents to enjoy. The corridor now features comfortable seating and includes access to a courtyard.

DIY and Maker Spaces

As the DIY generation continues to grow, "maker" spaces are on the rise. This includes dedicated space, materials, and even training for creating goods. Think knitting, welding, gardening, bike repair and more - the possibilities are endless. Multifamily developers have turned common areas such as lobbies, clubrooms and coworking spaces into synergistic spaces for art, writing and music. These spaces also double as venues where residents can watch musicians, poets and comedians perform.

Benefits of Adaptable Design

Flexible design is the future of real estate. According to JLL, versatile spaces and the co-working sector has emerged as the primary growth driver in the market. By designing spaces that are fluid, business owners and operators can mitigate the unforeseen costs of underutilized space. For hoteliers, cost savings also comes in the opportunity to create fewer amenity spaces that can be used in a multitude of ways.

Not only does multifunctional design provide cost-savings, but it also delivers on shifting consumers demands. Modern renters and travelers alike are in search of accommodation that provides a built-in community. These fluid spaces provide residents with more opportunities to experience the local culture and engage in community offerings all at the same place. In fact, a study by the National Association of Realtors found that 78% of U.S. adults prefer to live in "work-live-play" communities as these environments provide the convenience, connection and sense of community they desire.

Remember, the key to creating successful multipurpose spaces is doing your research. Leveraging insight from your target demographic and property owners can help to identity the amenity spaces consumers desire. This intel will allow developers to find synergies and opportunities for multifunctional design, and most importantly, multipurpose designs should feature amenity spaces that create a cohesive community and tell the story of your brand and the destination.

Ms. Hyde As Design Director of the Lifestyle Studio at H. Hendy Associates, Felicia Hyde brings 33 years of in-depth interior architecture experience to her client engagements. She is an award-winning interior architect, having won the prestigious CoreNet Global REmmy Award for her work on the Goodman Birtcher headquarters in Irvine, Calif., as well as top honors in the IIDA Calibre Award category of Leisure and Entertainment for the ICIS Apartment Homes in Glendale, Calif. Ms. Hyde is passionate about designing and creating memorable spaces that are indicative of her clients' vision and brand. Acknowledged by industry leaders and an honoree of multiple awards and recognition for her designs, Ms. Hyde has spent the past decade focusing on the ever-evolving multifamily world, applying her deep-rooted experience in corporate and residential interior design to create solutions that are stimulating and deliver on clients' business objectives. She draws inspiration from style trends not only in architecture but in fashion, nature and through her travels. Prior to H. Hendy Associates, Ms. Hyde served as senior designer at Gensler, Carrier Johnson +CULTURE, HOK, DSR Design, Inc. and Ridgway Associates. Hyde graduated from Woodbury University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and a minor in Business. She also earned an Associate of Arts degree in General Education and Fine Art from Pasadena City College. Felicia Hyde can be contacted at +1 949-851-3080 or fhyde@hhendy.com Please visit http://www.hhendy.com for more information. Extended Biography

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This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California notwithstanding any conflict of laws provisions. You and HotelExecutive agree that the venue for all legal disputes, controversies, actions of any kind arising under or related to this Agreement shall be San Francisco, California. You and HotelExecutive further agree that in case of any litigation regarding this Agreement, you irrevocably and unconditionally (i) consent to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and federal courts in the County of San Francisco, California for any litigation or dispute arising out of or relating to this Agreement, (ii) agree not to commence any litigation arising out of or relating to this Agreement except in the California Courts, (iii) agree not to plead or claim that such litigation brought therein has been brought in an inconvenient forum, and (iv) agree the California Courts represent the exclusive jurisdiction for all litigation relating to this Agreement.

11. MEMBERSHIP FEES

Hotel Business Review Subscriptions

If you choose to purchase a subscription, member subscription payments can be made in U.S. Dollars, as well as a variety of international currencies. Membership terms are Annual Recurring, and Monthly Recurring. The Annual Recurring subscription is an annual commitment and subscribers will be charged each consecutive billing cycle. Annual Recurring subscriptions can be cancelled after the first billing cycle and within 30-days of the billing date for a full refund. Monthly Recurring subscriptions are ongoing and subscribers will be charged each consecutive monthly billing cycle. Monthly Recurring subscriptions can be cancelled after the first month and within 7 days of the monthly billing cycle for a full refund.

12. PAYMENT AUTHORIZATION

Payment for the services provided to you in, at, through or in association with HotelExecutive may be made by automatic credit card, debit card, direct debit, bankwire or Paypal and other approved payment means offered in, at, through or in association with HotelExecutive, and you hereby authorize HotelExecutive and its agents to transact such payments on your behalf.

You hereby authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to charge your credit card to pay for your membership to HotelExecutive. You further authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to charge your credit card for any and all purchases of products, services in association with HotelExecutive. You agree to be personally liable for all charges incurred by you in association with your access or other use of any content provided by HotelExecutive or any third party in association with HotelExecutive. You acknowledge and agree that your liability for all such charges shall continue after termination of your access or any type of membership arrangement with HotelExecutive.

In the event that you have chosen to have your membership automatically rebilled, unless and until you notify HotelExecutive that you wish to cancel or terminate your membership to HotelExecutive, you hereby agree and authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to automatically renew your membership to HotelExecutive on a continuing basis and to charge your credit card (or other payment means you have selected) to pay for the ongoing cost of your membership. You hereby further authorize HotelExecutive's Internet Payment Service Provider to charge your credit card (or other approved payment means you have selected) for any and all purchases of products, services and entertainment provided to in, at, through or in association with HotelExecutive.

13. PRIVACY POLICY

The following is the Privacy Policy for HotelExecutive

We can be reached via telephone, email, or online at our contact page. When you visit our site we do not log any information regarding your domain or email address. Information Sharing: We do not share user information with any third parties other than via press release distribution as described below.

Hotel Newswire is a newswire service that distributes press releases on behalf of our users. If you decide to submit a press release for distribution through our system we will transmit your entire press release including any personal information therein contained to our media contacts and online distribution points including search engines. This is the only redistribution of your information that we engage in. Your submission of press releases through our system indicates consent with this policy. The information we collect during your registration process is used to notify users about updates to our service and inform users of any special events hosted by Hotel Newswire. This information is not shared with other organizations for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

Cookies: Our system requires the use of cookies to enable the user to log back into our website to access information from the newswire, without having to log in each time using the required username and password.

If you do not want to receive email from us in the future, please let us know by following instructions included in our communication with you. Users who supply us with telephone numbers online may receive telephone contact from us regarding their account, or informing them of new products and services available on the HotelExecutive website. If you do not wish to receive such telephone calls, please edit your account and remove your phone number from your account profile. This can be done from your user account menu.

Ad Servers: We do not partner with or have any relationship with any ad server companies. From time to time, we may use customer information for new uses not previously disclosed in our privacy notice. If our information practices change at any time, we will post the policy changes to our website to notify you of these changes and provide you with the ability to opt out of these new uses. If you are concerned about how your information is used, you should check back at our website periodically.

Upon request we provide site visitors with access to all information (including proprietary information) that we maintain about them. Users can access this information by logging in to their account.

Security: We always use industry-standard encryption technologies while transferring and receiving user data exchanged with our site. We have appropriate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of information that we have collected from you on our site. We do not store credit card information in our systems.

If you feel that this site is not following its stated information policy, you may contact us.

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.