Happy New Year
I saw a hawk today. Not a big deal if I was taking a hike in the woods, but I was at a stoplight with a car full of Target loot, at a very busy intersection. I didn't just see the hawk flying around - she landed in a grassy area right next to my idling car and looked at up me like we were waiting for the green light together. I instinctively reached for my phone to take a picture of the hawk - but I somehow knew she would fly away if I did. So I didn't. And she stayed.
Of course the moment I parked the car in my driveway, I googled what hawks represent - because it's New Years Day and everything is poised for deeper meaning. And let me tell you, I hit the jackpot with my hawk sighting. Hawks are said to represent determination, focus, clarity, and power. Some say that if a hawk crosses my path, it represents bringing balance to my life. That I am being asked to slow down and allow the flow of life to catch up with where I'm heading. I was just heading home - but in a broader sense, that's a perfect January message for me to contemplate.
As a business owner, I am determined to build a company that lives up to my values and doesn't compromise them. As a leader, I am focused on creating a working environment that allows my team to thrive professionally, financially, as well as personally (the order of importance is up to them). As a fellow-traveler, I strive for clarity in all my relationships. As the President of Mood Interior Designs, I humbly embrace the power we hold (budgets, timelines, tour paths) when designing for our clients.
The symbolism of the hawk landing at a busy intersection with my car full of stuff is absolutely perfect. She gifted me pause. She carved out space in my busyness to wonder and be curious, to experience a connection with nature when I was surrounded by anything but.
I hope an unexpected something visits you the next time you are busy hurrying for no particular reason. And I hope you google its meaning, even if you don't believe in such things.
I had a moment with my teammate last week because a project came in that was so thrilling - we stared at each other via Zoom and giggled. She was my first hire when I started Mood - and a few years later, we still get ridiculously excited about the work we do.
I’m a business woman who believes in and subscribes to the ideology of abundance. Not the more mac-n-cheese and biscuits kind of abundance - although, yes please. I mean, as a leader with an abundance mindset I know, believe, and trust that there are enough new design projects, and new client opportunities to go around for everyone. Cue the eye-roll. I know. Scarcity is a much more familiar mindset to buy into because lack of resources, lack of time and money dominate our feeds, stirring up false evidence that appears real (FEAR). Interestingly enough abundance and scarcity have nothing to do with circumstances, each is an attitude that can be adopted.
On purpose, Mood has Gratitude Monday where each team member is given the opportunity to share what they are grateful for that day. On purpose, Mood gives 1% of gross revenue (not gross profit!) to charity. On purpose, Mood says yes to projects that may not always be profitable, but sometimes we value our client relationships more than the bottom line. As the President of Mood, I make a conscious decision to choose an attitude of abundance. So when more business, projects, and opportunities come our way - I am truly delighted to jump into a new conversation with both feet.
On this Gratitude Monday, I am grateful for the Mood family - our wickedly talented team and our fabulous clients!
If you’re a movie buff, you might feel it in the air — the surge of award season movies that tend to come out during the fall and winter months. Or maybe you’re more of a casual viewer, who savors cozy days spent catching up on your streaming to-watch list at home. Either way, it’s easy to see cinema’s impact on our daily lives — but what about on commercial interior design?
Yes, that’s right! For multifamily and student housing developers, your potential residents’ movie-viewing habits can certainly influence your design choices. Fortunately, you don’t need to guess about how to best attract your silver screen lovers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during the design stage.
Survey Potential Residents On Their Movie Habits
There’s something undeniably appealing about a home theater. After all, think about every great mansion you’ve ever seen in movies or TV shows — isn’t a home theater always part of the deal?
Chances are, a theater room is something that may interest your residents, too! Of course, when it comes to installing luxurious amenities, you don’t want to simply guess or assume what potential renters want. Put local insights to use and know exactly what renters in your area value most — and what they’re OK doing without, too. That kind of information isn’t easy to source on your own — but for Mood’s research team, it’s all part of the process. We can conduct local, custom-crafted surveys to determine what amenities are sure to “wow” in your area. Of course, if a movie room of some sort is on that list, there are a few ideas to consider next. (Fortunately, this is where the fun part begins!)
Must-Have Movie Room Features
Not every multifamily movie room or clubhouse theater will look the same. In fact, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to watch movies from home — so you’ll want to incorporate features that set your space apart from the basic living room setup! These might include:
What A Charlotte NC Interior Designer Has Learned About Working In The Country’s Fastest-Growing Cities
Charlotte. Austin. Raleigh/Durham. What do these metropolitan areas have in common? Well, there’s a lot — from their thriving arts scenes, to their Southern charm, to the delicious foodie offerings that abound in every direction.
But perhaps most importantly, these three enclaves are listed among U.S. News & World Report’s 25 Fastest-Growing Places in the Country — a ranking based on net migration (i.e., how many new people move to a given place in a five-year period). At Mood Interior Designs, we operate in these communities (and then some!), and have had the privilege of witnessing that growth firsthand.
Playing a part in local population booms isn’t just rewarding on a personal level — it’s taught us a lot, too! For multifamily developers and investors looking to harness growth in their own communities, here are a few key insights we’ve gained along the way.
Reflect The One-Of-A-Kind Landscape & Culture
The fastest-growing places tend to be among the most popular metro areas in their state — Austin is No. 1 in Texas, for example, while Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte are No. 1 and No. 2 in North Carolina, respectively. They’re also the kind of locales with enough name recognition to be known by city alone — no state clarifier needed. (Kind of like a one-name — or mononym — celebrity à la Beyoncé, Adele, Shakira, or Rihanna, right?)
All that is to say, these cities are rich in character — and that’s bound to be a large part of why so many people are moving in! As a multifamily or student housing developer, you can capitalize on local charm with subtle nods throughout your clubhouse and community. Showcase the local geography, if possible, with well-positioned pool views or picture windows. Reflect natural color schemes in your furniture and décor choices. Opt for wall hangings, coffee table books, and anything else that ties into the local je ne sais quoi — so when it comes time for tours, potential residents are left with a positive, one-of-a-kind impression of your space as part of the local *insert iconic city here* culture.
Stay On The Edge Of Local Trends & Preferences
When communities grow quickly, local trends tend to evolve just as fast! Custom research from Mood Interior Designs can help you stay on top of changing styles and preferences, so you know exactly how to entice today (and tomorrow)’s potential leasee.
Get To Know Your New Neighbors
It’s not enough to simply know your community is booming — ask yourself, who’s moving in? Are young professionals flocking to your area for a rising job market? Are families transplanting from a larger metropolitan hub nearby in search of something more suburban? These are just a few possible answers, of course, and most community booms will be fed by more than one source alone — hence, the boom! But by getting a better idea of the local population makeup, you’ll know how to serve and attract new residents — and when you’re a multifamily housing developer, that’s everything.
These fast-growing communities may have made the top rankings — but at Mood, we proudly offer our turnkey design services in metropolitan hubs across the country, too! Contact us today to see what we can do for your multifamily or student housing community. We can’t wait to work with you.
Raise your hand if you work where you live — or is it live where you work? We get confused sometimes, too! With the advent of the remote (or hybrid) workspace over the last two years, that line has been blurrier than ever. That isn’t to say working from the comfort of home is a bad thing, of course — for families, young professionals, and many more groups, a flexible workspace is more productive and conducive to a well-rounded lifestyle.
If you develop multifamily or student housing communities, the work-from-home (lovingly referred to as WFH) crowd is one you’ll want to keep in mind as you design your commercial clubhouse — because they’re on the move! According to a 2022 FlexJobs survey, nearly 65% of respondents cited the ability to work remotely as a factor that would make them consider moving. That makes sense — if you don’t need to live near a busy city center, you have some more options!
And of course, even those who do go to the office will likely still WFH from time to time — so it’s safe to assume that your clubhouse should have some kind of remote office setup. What does that look like, though? Here are a few places we love to look for inspiration.
Yes, really! Let’s take it back: two years ago, the celebrity interview changed forever. As opposed to only appearing in person on late-night or daytime talk shows, actors and musicians could suddenly video chat to the studio from their homes — their very beautifully designed homes, that is. Carefully crafted studies and workspaces that were previously relegated to the fodder of home design magazines, could now be witnessed by the world — and we took notes!
Of course, celebrity bookshelves and office backdrops aren’t the be-all, end-all of workspace inspo. Some of the furniture and accents they have may be too abstract (or downright expensive) to implement in a communal space. However, when you’re feeling uninspired by the countless clubhouse design ideas online, they can come in handy as a fun creative icebreaker.
Another great place to seek out inspiration? Your favorite hotel or luxury resort! Again, the idea isn’t to recreate what you see piece for piece — rather, it’s to get a sense of what “wows” corporate travelers, and imagine ways to recontextualize that feeling on a more practical scale. Gone are the days of the bare-bones business center with just a printer and a few functioning computers. Decorate! Make a splash — and a statement! (Or better yet, let a professional, passionate team like Mood do it for you.)
Modern workspaces and commercial clubhouses need to accommodate WFH employees on different schedules, with varying needs — some will need computers, others a spacious seating area to kick back and toss some ideas around. What else does that sound like to you?
If you said a university library, well — ding ding ding! We’re on the same page. Modern collegiate libraries and media centers do a great job of serving students of all different academic backgrounds, and the well-appointed WFH space should do the same for employees and self-employed remote workers.
Studies show that exposure to natural green and blue views (i.e., trees, grass, and water features) can help people feel calm, refreshed, and productive — all good traits for a thriving WFH space! Take a walk through a local park or visit an outdoor landmark to see what draws people to your unique environment — then, seek out ways to infuse your commercial clubhouse with that feeling (think gorgeous picture windows, plant life, or even seating options arranged in a natural, garden-inspired formation).
Ready to craft a commercial, WFH-friendly clubhouse design you and your residents can feel good about? Mood has you covered with everything from design, to local research, to FF&E procurement. Contact us today to get started!
The Foodie Generation Isn’t Slowing Down! Your Commercial Clubhouse Design Team Can Help You Meet Their Needs
From cronuts to avocado toast, it seems like there’s a new culinary trend every year — and with the advent of social media, it’s easier than ever to witness the rise and fall of a food fad. But while the actual dishes may wane over the years, the phenomenon that’s known as being a foodie isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to Google Trends, the term “foodie” — a handy self-descriptor for people whose hobby is cooking, dining, and discovering delicious new ingredients — hit an all-time high earlier this year.
Let’s face it: we’re hungry! Not just for straight-up sustenance, but for the layered experience that a delicious meal (or the making of) can bring to us and our loved ones. If you’re a multifamily or student housing developer, it’s important to recognize that your commercial clubhouse design shouldn’t just look beautiful — it should also provide a welcoming place for communities to gather and share in the foodie fun. Wondering how to do that? Mood Interior Designs has a few fun ideas to keep in mind. Just read on and dig in!
An outdoor kitchen and/or bar area is a natural pick for attracting the foodie crowd! Having access to a gorgeous, communal cooking space helps potential residents envision themselves truly living in your community — not just as renters of a single apartment unit. Even if your outdoor kitchen isn’t a full-service, gourmet space, you can still accommodate food prep and serving with features like a sink, countertops, or grill area.
Dining Room With A View
Pools, walking paths, and other outdoor features help residents enjoy nature from the comfort of home. Why not take things a step further by fashioning an outdoor dining room that invites them to kick back and soak in the view? Dining tables with various comfy seating options make your multifamily community feel even more livable — like an extension of your residents’ homes that they feel free to make their own!
Don’t Forget The Practical Touches!
Even the most beautiful outdoor dining space can be thwarted by what’s missing — poor lighting, insufficient seating, or even inadequate waste disposal options. These practical finishing touches seem small, but they can make a huge difference when it comes to achieve a fun and functional outdoor foodie haven.
On-Site Snack, Dining, & Coffee Options
If you really want to take things to the next level, consider providing on-site snack, dining, and/or coffee options for your residents! This may be especially wise for student housing communities — after all, parents like to know that their adult children have access to nutritious meals without venturing away from home. However, research suggests that it makes just as much for general multifamily communities, too! According to a 2021 report from Multi-Housing News, the pandemic seems to have “quickened” the trend of on-site food amenities. And it makes sense — when people started leaving their homes less, they sought out ways to enjoy being at home more! And the idea of dining out without really, well, dining out may be one trend that’s here to stay.
Mood proudly operates in a variety of foodie communities known for their delicious cultural scene, and we know that food is as much as an artistic consideration as a practical one. That is, you can entice residents by incorporating local foodie culture into your community’s design — think, beautiful clubhouse artwork that references local cuisine!
You can also instill a lively sense of culture in your multifamily community by hosting regular events like food truck visits — giving your residents more to savor from the comfort of home.
From initial design to FF&E procurement, our team is ready to help make your new property a foodie paradise when it comes time for lease-up! Plus, we can help conduct custom local research to determine the features your potential residents crave most in a community clubhouse environment. Get in touch today to learn more — we can’t wait to work with you.
More Than a Splash: What Features Do Renters Want In An Outdoor Poolscape? A Clubhouse Design Member Answers
There’s nothing more relaxing than a lazy day at the pool — floating on the surface and enjoying the sunshine or curled up under an umbrella with a stack of magazines you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Maybe add some barbecue or fruity, sparkling water — whatever suits your fancy!
If this sounds like your summer reality, you’re not alone. But for developers and investors of multifamily communities, that perfect pool day doesn’t happen by chance — in fact, planning for it can start when most people are stashing away their swimsuits and pool towels for the fall.
Here at Mood, our clubhouse design team knows that your community pool needs more than, well, a pool — it needs a place to gather. To unwind. Maybe to cook or dine with friends, too! Here’s a look at a few features renters love in their multifamily pool facilities, and how to make your community even more attractive.
Interestingly, one of the most popular features reported in an Apartments.com survey wasn’t actually an amenity, but a sort of safeguard. According to the site, “controlled amenity access” — think key card-enabled doors, or pools with gates — was desired by 85% of respondents. And it makes sense! Your outdoor living space should feel like an extension of your home, not something separate. Adding a level of security helps establish the space as not only safe but also a bit special.
A fitness room or gym in your clubhouse is a natural neighbor to your multifamily pool — but it’s not the only way to embrace an active lifestyle in your community! According to the 2021 Multifamily Amenities Survey, nearly 50% of respondents were interested in walking paths as an outdoor amenity. Sidewalks alone may do the job just fine — but tree-lined paths with several points of interest (like a community garden or art installation) can make your community feel like an immersive, resort-style experience.
The popularity of a communal outdoor kitchen jumped up nearly 10 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to the same survey. When delicious smells waft from your pool deck to the rest of the property, that can serve as a sort of invitation to the community to come outside and join in the outdoor fun!
Grills and fire pits remain one of the top amenities according to the survey, and it’s easy to see why! Even during the peak of summer, a toasty fire can provide much-needed comfort after a day in the water — plus, these installations are built to be gathered around, fostering community with ease.
Stylish Seating (& Lounging) Options
You know you need places for your residents to kick back and relax — but don’t feel the need to cover your entire poolscape in rows and rows of basic pool loungers. Comfy sofas with modular ottomans, hammocks, and cabanas are just a few fun ways to mix up your poolscape seating options.
Of course, national surveys can be super helpful when it comes to understanding trends in poolscape and clubhouse design — but when you want a closer look at your unique area’s preferences, Mood can help! Our team regularly conducts local research to gauge the most attractive amenities in your slice of the country — so you can trust that whatever we help you install (whether it’s a stylish new firepit or overhauled outdoor courtyard), it’s something that will serve you and your residents’ interests.
How to Create Spaces That Make Students *Want* To Go Back To School? The Commercial Interior Design Pros At Mood Have Some Ideas
Back-to-school season is my absolute favorite time of year! The hope of new is in the air - and I am a sucker for hope. My kids are far from Elmer’s Glue age but every year, I find myself buying new bottles of glue, along with markers and pencil erasers and colorful pocket folders! I just love a full backpack full of spiral notebooks, even in this age of technology. I end up donating most of what I buy but the spirit of new school supplies is just as exciting as waking up on Christmas morning - wondering what is inside those beautifully wrapped packages.
In cities across the county, student housing properties spent most of the summer preparing for their version of back-to-school season - the return of college students. They made spaces safe, clean, and equipped for all their studying needs. Property teams make spaces fun and community driven which gives students their best shot at the quintessential “college experience.”
If you’re in charge of updating or leasing up an on- or off-campus student housing facility, you know that you’re tasked with winning over prospective residents (and their parents, too!). A tall order but a fun one, too. Here are a few ideas inspired by student living spaces across the country!
Fun & Fitness
What matters most to students can vary greatly from area to area — therefore you may want to take advantage of custom-crafted Mood surveys, that can gauge interest for specific amenities in your unique location! However, there are some kinds of amenities that will tend to remain popular for students across the country — and fitness is one of them.
Alone, But Together
Student life is all about flexibility — and there’s a great way to achieve this in the seating options you choose for your on- or off-campus housing facility. Modular work or study pods give students a chance to focus when it’s time to focus but can just as easily be arranged in an open setup for when it’s time to relax or catch up with friends.
Don’t Forget the Practical Stuff, Too
By the time midterms roll around, many students start to get more closely acquainted with their study spaces. But that doesn’t necessarily have to mean pulling all-nighters in the library. Here are a few features that you can build into your student housing space to ensure they can easily hit the books without even leaving the property:
- Ample lighting and outlets! When laptops are involved, you can never have enough
- Modular seating options in community spaces
- White boards for working out tough problems (or doodles)
At Mood Interior Designs, we can’t wait to help you transform your student housing property — turning it into a place students love to return to, and parents can feel good about! This is a unique time in a person’s life — in the spirit of a hopeful new beginning, let’s make it special, starting from the place they call home.
The Dog Days Of Summer Are Here! How To Please Pup Parents With A Clubhouse Design Firm
Pup parents know the sight — the adorable image of your furry friend relaxing in the sunshine and indulging in one of life’s simplest pleasures. They might want a water break, or simply the chance to recharge before embarking upon their next zoomie run. Either way, it’s safe to say that dogs love the sunshine — and their parents love sharing it with them!
Fido may be on your mind more than usual now that we’re approaching the “dog days of summer” — the final, lingering stretch of warm weather before fall arrives. And if you’re opening or renovating a multifamily community or off-campus student housing, it’s important to understand today’s young pet parents — because there’s a lot of them. According to a 2016 Mintel survey featured in The Washington Post, 71% of men aged 18-34 had dogs, and 62% of women in the same age group did, too. 75% of respondents also said they were likely to “splurge” on their pets’ needs — and surely that applies to housing, right?
While simple grassy spaces and bare-bones dog parks might have sufficed for past generations of pooches, many of today’s dogs (or, rather, their owners) crave something a little more elaborate. Just like parents have always wanted playgrounds for their kids, pet parents want just as much enrichment for their four-legged little ones! Fortunately, an experienced clubhouse design firm can help make your multifamily or student community even more attractive to prospective residents. Just read on to see a few fun features worth considering.
Proud pet parents love to watch their dog climb, run, jump, and scoot their way through a complicated agility course — especially if it’s right in their backyard! Obstacle course features help keep dogs mentally and physically stimulated. A clever, function-minded use of space gives pet parents plenty of room to work out with their dog, even if you don’t have an enormous field to work with.
Hydration & Waste Stations
Other functional features — like a hydration station for H2O, or a handy pet waste receptacle — make your space even more accommodating to pooches and their parents.
A variety of landscapes — from a gentle slope or tunnel, to a flat, grassy relaxation zone — can help you make even more out of your community’s outdoor space. It also adds visual interest! Pet parents and non-pet parents alike can appreciate the focal point of a lively, verdant gathering spot.
Historically, pets and multifamily communities haven’t always seemed like the best bedfellows — and, true, dogs aren’t necessarily the cleanest members of the household. But with these features, you won’t just be attracting happy pet parents — you’ll be giving their four-legged friends room to roam and play somewhere other than their apartment! Talk about a win-win situation.
These ideas are fun to execute, especially if you’re a pet lover yourself — but don’t feel the need to do it alone! In fact, Mood Interior Designs can help you plan a pet-friendly outdoor space at every step of the way: from research to determine the best additions for your area, to designing and installing your pet wonderland! Just contact us today to learn more. We can’t wait to work with you.
What Is A “Third Place” — & How Can Your Raleigh Commercial Interior Design Firm Help You Nail It?
When you hear “third place,” your mind might jump to the Olympics, or, say, your elementary school spelling bee. But what if the term actually held the key to creating a successful multifamily or off-campus community people want to call home?
Sociology professor Ray Oldenburg coined the concept of a third place in 1989 — defining it as a place that isn’t home (the first place) or work (the second place) but is a “neutral ground” that promotes conversation as the main pastime. Other activities are more than welcome in these kinds of spaces, though — like sharing food, or playing games with friends!
The third place could be somewhere like a coffee shop or park — a place that’s easy to access and convene in, with a laidback, friendly atmosphere. (Now, you’re starting to realize why so many of your favorite sitcom friend groups regularly gather in a café, bar, or diner, right?)
While the concept of a third place has existed for more than three decades, it makes sense why you might be hearing more about it these days. With countless people working or studying from home over the past few years — and many of those remote arrangements continuing on a permanent or hybrid basis — many may feel like they’ve lost the built-in reason to visit their preferred third place, as they aren’t leaving home as often.
But there is an upside. If you are opening or remodeling a multifamily community or off-campus student complex, you have the unique opportunity of crafting a third place for your future residents! From amenity-packed community clubhouses, to vibrant outdoor gathering areas, third places don’t just serve as attractive perks for potential renters — they actively improve society, too.
So, what might go into a third place in your multifamily or student community? Here are just a few potential options to consider.
Comfy Sofas & Community Seating
From overstuffed sofas to breezy, resort-style hammocks, your third place — whether it be inside, outside, or both — should be appointed with fun, stylish furniture that invites residents to kick back and relax! As residents tour the property before potentially moving in, these features will prove that your multifamily community is just that — a community! — and not just a complex of individual apartments, where renters are limited to the amenities they have in their specific unit.
Let’s face it — we’re all kids at heart. Your third place is the perfect opportunity to give residents a chance to unwind and have some fun. This might mean anything from a movie theater, to a gaming room, to ping-pong table... you name it!
You’ve probably heard the expression about “leaving a light on” — aka, letting your loved ones know that you’re home and available to see them! The same idea applies to the community clubhouse. During operating hours, the right lighting can beckon residents in as they pass by or even get their mail — turning a seemingly mundane around-the-house errand into an opportunity for friends and laughter.
Signs Of Life
To give your third place that welcoming, lived-in quality even after the lease-up period, consider incorporating elements like houseplants, a community bulletin board, magazines, board games, and other small but impactful touches that remind residents: life is happening here, and you can be a part of it!
You can’t go wrong with a classic, cozy fireplace — or, outside, fire pit — to create a familiar vibe in your community clubhouse!
Layout, Layout, Layout
In real estate, they say that “location, location, location” is the most important factor — and while that definitely holds true in our experience, we’d also argue that “layout, layout, layout” is equally important when it comes to crafting a third place. As much as a community gathering space should be about big, welcoming furniture, it should also be arranged in a way that invites people to stop in and say “hi” to a friend, or to plop down for a conversation around a perfectly crafted seating nook.
Many otherwise lovely community clubhouses may inadvertently steer residents away from the so-called third place, simply due to awkwardly arranged furniture or other barriers (like the living space being tucked away at the end of a long hallway). Fortunately, Mood doesn’t just deal with staging your space with beautiful furniture — we also help you chart out the perfect floorplan for your unique property! One that effortlessly fosters that sense of belonging.
We hope that these ideas help you realize the power of a third place in your one-of-a-kind community. Now that you understand the importance — and opportunity! — of such a space, let Mood Interior Designs help you craft it. Our turnkey team of passionate design professionals can guide you through every step of the process, from conducting research on the most popular amenities in your area, to taking care of FF&E ourselves! Just contact us today to learn more.
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