As land is scarce (and pricy) and the need for density grows, multi-unit projects ranging from office condos to retail pads to apartments are gaining ground in the SoCal real estate environment. With the rise of these projects comes the need for well-designed common amenities that satisfy both tenant demands and appeal to the senses.
Last year, California-based interior and exterior design firm Straight Designs completed the renovation of The MIX at CTR City, which contains an upscale community of apartments and lofts in Anaheim, California, a representative of the firm reports. The firm designed a bevy of amenities including a state-of-the-art fitness center, a video game room, a clubhouse, and an above-ground pool deck with unique furnishings and patterns and a sparkling pool that is said to be the first in Orange County.
In a statement from the source, Straight Designs is quoted as saying that the pool deck was the “grand focal point of this entire project. It was created to replace a lifeless and unimaginative courtyard. This undertaking was the first for everyone involved. It was a marvelous experience to see it from demolition to completion. It has also become one of the key sales tools for the property to attract new residents. In addition, the pool deck has played a huge part of raising the property’s Yelp ratings from an average of one-star reviews to five-star reviews.”
SoCal Real Estate spoke with Straight Designs’ principal designer Solomon Mansoor about how The MIX represents the importance of well-designed amenities in multi-unit real estate projects and where this trend is heading.
SoCal Real Estate: How does The MIX demonstrate the importance of amenity design in multi-unit real estate?
Mansoor: With every project we work on, we want the client/prospect to be seduced by the idea of having a home to be so proud of, they can’t wait to tell the world. Amenities are just as, if not more, important to residents in multi-unit properties then their actual living spaces are. The Mix CTR City really exudes innovative and exciting design through the amenities that we worked on, such as the ground-up pool, the gym, the leasing center, and the clubhouse. These community spaces are crucial in the satisfaction of residents, and the Mix CTR City really showcases an eclectic mix of influences, based on the communities’ surroundings and the resident’s lifestyles — something that you have to take into consideration when designing community amenities.
Why is this type of design so important to these types of projects?
Taking into consideration various influences during the design process is only a minor aspect of the work. Since multi-unit properties have to accommodate a variety of individuals, the design and space need to connect emotionally with the residents and the wide variety of demographics that make up that target market. Providing a design aesthetic that connects on that level is the holy grail for us and for the work that we do. When considering design for multi-unit amenities such as those at the MIX CTR City, we take into consideration how each color, material, accessory, and furnishing will make residents feel on the inside and build off of that. For instance, spaces intended for fun, such as the pool and the clubhouse, need to exude that type of emotion in order for them to be beautiful and put-together environments for residents.
Any favorite amenities or design styles for these that you think are crucial for multi-unit properties?
Amenities in multi-unit projects can take many forms. Essentially, these are added comforts of a home that are included to make a living environment more enjoyable and comfortable. The palette can be endless. A lot of the time, we design by committee, so these amenities and their designs don’t necessarily have a “one size fits all” structure. There is no defined “style” — it’s visceral for us. The best idea at the moment will prevail, as you consider things such as environment, lifestyle, needs of residents, etc.
Where do you see the future of amenities in multi-unit real estate heading?
I think the increase in current and influential amenity design in multi-unit real estate will only continue to grow and expand in the future. With so many options for living and properties nowadays, especially in large cities such as Orange County, Los Angeles, etc., residents are really looking for fun, exciting, and feel-good environments to go home to every night, to spend their weekends at, to entertain, and more. Essentially, having well-designed amenities is a “make or break it” for potential residents now more than ever. The interior of your apartment is no longer the only deciding factor when moving to a new multi-unit property.