New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Co-Op Building's Lobby Transformation Showcases Modern Upgrades and Package Storage

Lobby renovations need to make the most of the existing square footage — and of original, eye-pleasing design elements. 

Jonathan Baron
Jonathan Baron Design

The lobby at 170 E. 88th St., a five-story, 39-unit co-op built in 1980, was in need of some serious remodeling. The carpeting was dingy, the mailboxes were too small and it needed an expanded package storage area. “The main challenge was carving out space, since this is a very narrow lobby,” Baron says. The other challenge: When buildings install new mailboxes, the U.S. Postal Service requires them to put in 4C mailboxes, which are 7 inches deep by 15 inches wide, much larger than the existing 5-by-5-inch ones at the co-op. “These new mailboxes automatically come with a parcel locker for every 10 mailboxes,” he says. “To accommodate all this, we had to build out a cabinet wall where the mailboxes and lockers could be mounted by capturing room from the lobby space.”

Like many co-ops and condos, the building’s lobby was deluged by deliveries. Because there wasn’t enough space to carve out a dedicated package room, Baron installed a storage closet within the cabinet wall to the right of the mailboxes. To have the door blend seamlessly with the wall, Baron outfitted it with a disappearing handle that pops out when tapped. Keeping an “original, built-in look” was important. An existing bench was remodeled with the same stained wood as the wall, and a large mirror was left behind the bench to visually expand the width of the lobby. “And we created a whole new ambience by changing all the lobby’s recessed ceiling lights to energy-efficient LED lights,” Baron says.

The drab carpeting was replaced with porcelain tiles. “Lobby floors take a lot of abuse, and porcelain is both durable and easy to clean,” he explains. The tiles are smooth to the eye, but they have a slip-resistant texture that meets the safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. As for color, Baron chose a dark shade with a subtle pattern to match the overall visual palette of the building. 

To match the lobby renovation, the hallway also got a makeover. The floor was covered with commercial-grade broadloom carpet with a subtle gray pattern, which would help to hide soils and stains. The walls were covered with a commercial-grade, fire-rated wall covering in a lighter shade with a simple embossed pattern, and the doors and door frames were painted a darker shade of gray to hide dirt and smudges. “This isn’t a prewar building but a modern one,” Baron says. “The remodeling is in keeping with its contemporary aesthetic.”

Subscriber Login

Ask the Experts

learn more

Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

Professionals in some of the key fields of co-op and condo board governance and building management answer common questions in their areas of expertise

Source Guide

see the guide

Looking for a vendor?