Banko Design is proud to announce that we are a NEWH TopID WINNER!
We’re humbled to have been nominated alongside such incredible designers and talent, and we’re honored to be a part of NEWH, an organization that champions education and students. Although we love receiving awards, it is not why we do what we do. We do it because of the people we design for!
Thank you for supporting our team!
Take a look at the projects we submitted to be considered for this award:
Banko Design’s Approach to the Leisure Hospitality Market
We’re leaving summer days and heading into fall getaways – and when vacationers book their next retreat, they’ll be thinking about what went right – and what went wrong – at their previous destination’s property. Travelers in this niche of the leisure hospitality market are seeking an extended stay, spending a week or weeks at a time at their vacation rental or timeshare. They’re looking for a “home away from home”, a place where they can relax and reset that also functionally fits their needs as a traveling family, a group of adventurers, or a pair of retirees. And, more recently, vacationers are actively choosing boutique-style experiences, preferring unique, authentic to the area, and culturally-enriching properties to the average hotel.
So, how do we design spaces that meet the needs of today’s travelers – functioning well, creating memorable experiences, and – as a result – booking out your vacation ownership properties?
Creating Experience Driven Design
When designing the interiors of vacation ownership and destination properties, Banko Design uses the “experience-driven” design approach. We thoughtfully craft the interior design of each project to enhance the memories guests make offsite. The location and the demographic visiting are the major keys to this approach.
The location drives the design style and material selections during our creative process. The surrounding landscape or culture of the city influences the color palettes, textures, decorative materials, and furniture that make up the space (including flooring, fabrics, lighting, tile, art, etc.). The guests feel like the interiors are an extension of what they’re experiencing outside of the property, fully immersing in them in an authentic, cultural experience. Plus, we ensure the durability of the materials and furniture match the climate of the area, selecting sturdy tile for sandy feet or warm fabrics for snowy nights.
Experience-driven design also considers the type of vacationer visiting your destination. Are you designing for families with young children? A group of thrill-seeking young adults? Retirees with accessibility concerns? Our design team customizes each space to the story of the people visiting each location.
Recently, we designed a hospitality project in Utah geared towards adventurers, pulling inspiration from the outdoorsy activities the mountainous area is known for. In Florida we designed a vacation ownership property for young families visiting the beach, ensuring all the materials could withstand the saltwater, sand, and rough play of excited children. And, we’re currently designing a property for the senior vacationer in Washington, focusing on the historic charm of the town as inspiration and creating a slower, more leisurely experience for them to enjoy.
A Space to Create Lifelong Memories
One of the reasons our team loves designing for the leisure hospitality market is because we’re forging spaces where lifelong memories are created. Our founder, Melissa Banko, remarked:
“My fondest memories as a kid were vacations with my family. We’d pack up the minivan and head to Florida for some quality, family time away from our day-to-day lives – it was magic! Memories are made with those you love – you just need a space that serves you well to house those memories. And that’s what we strive to create with hospitality design here at Banko Design.”
We use our personal experiences to design through the lens of a child experiencing a new adventure and as parents seeking fun, relaxation, and function. We carefully consider the needs and desires of all who invest in vacation rentals, vacation ownership properties, and the leisure hospitality industry.
Interior Design for the Leisure Hospitality Market
Banko Design works with some of the biggest hospitality brands in the world, strategically designing and customizing each project to fit our clients’ needs and the desires of the guests who will stay there. Our “resi-mmercial” design style creates a “home away from home” experience, creating spaces that feel residential while being built for the longevity and durability of commercial use.
Our interior designers consider the level of detail, comfortable proportions, and timeless aesthetic inspired by residential design to create relaxing, inviting destination spaces. We also design for the functionality and versatility of the space, getting creative with our FF&E specifications and selecting dual-use items (such as wall panels that look like art but function as storage). These creative solutions surprise and delight our guests, and we hope inspire them for their own homes!
We collaborate with our clients every step of the way, ensuring we meet your brand and company’s goals (and have fun while doing it!!). We’re proud that we get to design spaces that create magical “time away” for individuals and families all over the world while partnering with you in development and asset improvement.
Are you ready to hire an interior design firm for your next hospitality project? Banko Design’s team are experts at designing new-build vacation ownership properties and hospitality renovations. Reach out to us at email@example.com to get started!
In the past year, costs have continued to quickly rise in all areas of our economy – construction materials, home prices, typical commodities, you name it! In this month’s blog, we’re focusing on the impact that these rising construction costs and home prices have had on the multifamily industry and how we, as interior designers, can help.
STATE OF THE MULTIFAMILY MARKET
According to a recent Washington Post article, a whopping 214,000 housing units were completed in buildings of 50 units or more in 2021 (the highest number than any year on record!). What makes this number especially impressive is that this growth occurred despite a hellacious year for builders that consisted of a combination of factors – rapidly rising material costs, labor shortages, and, of course, inflation.
Despite these added challenges, the multifamily building sector is still thriving and showing no signs of stopping. In fact, multifamily rental demands may climb even higher due to the raised mortgage-interest rates that are dampening the consumer appetite for single-family homes.
So far, our multifamily clients have compensated for rising construction and labor costs by increasing rents, but we’re reaching a point where many markets in the Southeast are hitting a ceiling. Developers and owners are increasing rents to cover the costs but how much higher can they really go?
HOW TO DESIGN TO BEAT THE COMPETITION
So, the BIG question is how do we design a product that beats the property next door that was completed two years ago? We are creative and design outside the box to create a space on a budget that still feels and looks amazing! Creating efficient floor plans and programs along with amenities that speak to quality over quantity. We design innovative and flexible spaces that will stay competitive for years to come! Get the biggest bang for your buck by how we dress the spaces up. How do we afford the same tile as last year? We bundle specs, buy in quantity, and negotiate the best pricing through our in-house agency, Red Pen Procurement. Through Red Pen, we can leverage our partnerships with our trusted vendors that we have built strong relationships with to get the best pricing.
We must ban together now more than ever! It’s time to get creative, and no one does it better than Banko Design and Red Pen Procurement. Banko and Red Pen take ownership of the entire process. We save owners money and time by doing it with less hands and in less time. Between the two of us, we do – branding, interior design, FF&E specifications, FF&E and materials procurement, we OWN our warehouses, we inventory manage, we own and manage trucks, AND we install. It’s a one-stop shop! Who else can do all of that in one company structure?
WE CAN SAVE YOUR PRO FORMA!
Our clients are always looking for ways to deliver the best product at the best cost but even more so in the past couple of years. As we mentioned, raising rents is one solution, but another common option is value engineering. Unfortunately, value engineering a project has become the new normal as pro formas increasingly get thrown off by continued construction cost creep. Our clients are constantly telling us, “We’re getting hit with costs from all sides!” And we get it, but we’ll let you in on a little secret- you’re not going to regain a $3MM deal by eliminating the amenity carpet!
Candidly, as designers we get a little sensitive when this topic is broached not because we don’t want to help our clients navigate this process but because the value engineering conversation largely happens without an interior designer in the room. Unsurprisingly, the interiors and FF&E package are often the first big ticket items to get pulled apart, which is a shame because the interior aesthetics of an apartment building can be a HUGE differentiator and may be the key decision-making factor for a potential resident. We want to do right by our clients and that’s why we’re advocating for letting interiors to be part of this conversation. We’ve been able to save the day (and the pro forma!) while designing smart, sexy interiors on a budget!
We recognize that rising construction costs have led to multifamily rent increases that many would argue have been pushed to their max. So how can we, as designers and architects, help you in a market with rising construction costs? Spec smart, leverage partnerships, and be the PROJECT’s biggest advocate!
CONSTRUCTION OF TWO CLASSROOMS AT GBHS MBOUDA-BANOCK
The student population of Government Bilingual High School (GBHS) Mbouda-Banock in the Region of West Cameroon is currently about 3,000 students. Prior to the donations, these children were attending class in makeshift thatch huts.
With the help of our sponsors, CDVTA was able to build 2 structurally sound, concrete classroom buildings AND equipped them with 60 benches, 2 communal tables, 2 chairs, and 2 blackboards that will ensure at least 400 children can regularly attend classes in a safe and clean environment.
IMPROVED SANITATION At the neighboring school in Foumbot, 6,000 students (65% of which are girls) lack the necessary hygiene conditions, primarily bathrooms, hindering them from attending school. Because of the donations, CDVTA was able to construct a brand-new bathroom facility, containing 4 separated, indoor toilets. While this may not sound exciting, this helps to reduce infectious diseases among students, especially girls, AND incentivizes children to attend school!
ORGANIC FOOD PRODUCTION
CDVTA again used funds to empower and support small farming households by training over 200 farmers in the Boyo Division in organic crop production. This training will continue to alleviate the food insecurity within the region and provide sustaining change to the Boyo region.
A SPECIAL NOTE FROM FRANCIS NJUAKOM, DIRECTOR OF CDVTA CDVTA staff and volunteers would like to thank Banko Design Firm, IN2L, and their Friends and Business partners who have generously contributed to the completion and full realization of the water project, implementation, and other aspects of the project. God bless you all.
THANK YOU! We are thrilled to see the progress that our partners’ generosity has made in the villages of Northwest Cameroon. The donations have made a HUGE positive impact on the lives of disadvantaged children, women, and seniors. However, there is still so much more to be done! This year, CDVTA’s priority is to incentivize children to attend school by providing proper classrooms, supplies, and bathrooms for students and teachers.
3RD ANNUAL TELETHON To continue our support, we will be holding our 3rd Annual Telethon to raise funds for these CDVTA initiatives this fall! Follow us on social media to stay up to date with all of our community outreach efforts!
When we say we service the “boutique hospitality,” what do we mean?
What do we really mean when we say boutique hospitality? Easy – rhymes with “unique”. Boutique hospitality means custom design that personifies the surrounding location and appeals to an owner’s target guest. We want these hotels to be more than just a place to rest your head after a long day of traveling, exploring, or meetings, we design them to be a destination themselves! A hotel’s design should authentically reflect the city, culture, and community in which it’s built.
The biggest mistakes in hospitality design
Hospitality designers often make one big mistake when designing a hotel; they try to appeal to EVERYONE! This leaves the overall space feeling dull, unexciting, and typical. At times, traditional hotel design can even feel cold and impersonal with large lobbies, muted palettes, jarring lights, and oversized and overly contemporary furniture.
As a design firm that works with multiple large brands on a portfolio of work, we understand the value in standardizing certain finishes and, of course, specifying fabrics and furniture that maintain a high level of durability and cleanability. And, we are all about nailing the basics and working efficiently, but we don’t do “cookie-cutter.” Whether business or pleasure, most guests are travelling to a new place with the hope of having a new experience. They will want to enjoy the local cuisine, see the popular attractions, and have new experiences, so why shouldn’t their hotel be an extension of that? We pride ourselves on designing our projects so that the hotel feels like a seamless addition to its surroundings and is a place that guests look forward to returning to after a long day.
How does Banko Design design differently?
We believe that the industry is doing themselves a disservice in making all their brand hotels look the exact same! When a hotel is mass produced, it also looks and feels increasingly commercial (and not in a good way)! We pride ourselves on our resimercial design ethos, residential in look and feel but commercial in scale and durability. Our timeless resimercial approach to design appeals greatly to leisure markets, “homes away from home” (vacation ownership rentals), custom lobbies, and clubhouses.
There are a variety of factors that draw a visitor to a hotel – central location, amenities, price, cleanliness etc. With so many to choose from, it is the attention to detail that will draw visitors in and keep them coming back. Specifically, visitors are drawn to hotels that reflect the city they’re visiting. This is why our team believes that immersion trips are an important step to a well-rounded design. Our team travels to the location of the community to see all the city has to offer – restaurants, hotels, residential areas, major attractions, etc. We use this trip as blueprint of where to start with our design. Every project starts with this foundation, and we build the design from there, layering in inspiration from the location’s history, landscape, vernacular architecture, and the direction the location is going (not just what it’s been).
We believe that hospitality should feel warm and inviting, reflecting the service guests would like to experience. We create a sense of place and a level of intimacy in the lobbies and guestrooms by introducing rich colors, luxury finishes (that hold up), organic forms, and intentionally programmed spaces that feel appropriate no matter what level of property we’re designing for. Our team works closely with owners, developers, and brands to provide a design that targets their ideal guest.
As designers, we want to create a space that is a part of the overall destination experience for guests by creating a location-centric design, utilizing our expertise in the housing market to make the hotel feel luxurious yet comfortable, and taking a few risks here and there to make sure that your property stands out among the rest.
Do you need design help for your new build boutique hotel or perhaps your current property needs a refresh? We’d love to help! Reach out to us to chat by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
For the past two years, the hottest topic in commercial real estate continues to center around the meteoric rise of the active adult market. This vertical is attractive to both investors and renters for a number of reasons, but the design of these spaces continues to mystify those looking to develop in this space. Is it a multifamily or senior living product? And just how does design differ from other verticals?
In this month’s blog post, we’re discussing active adult design and how Banko Design is leading the charge in this vertical.
So far, 2022 has been an incredibly auspicious year for us. We’re incredibly blessed to continue to do exciting work with fantastic clients. At the time of this blog’s publication, active adult makes up a whopping 45% of the new design projects we’ve started in this calendar year! Wowza.
Does that make us “active adult experts?” You can be the judge of that. Read on to hear more about our experience in this emerging vertical.
HOW IS ACTIVE ADULT DIFFERENT?
Our whole ethos here at Banko Design is to borrow best practices from each of our housing verticals – senior living, multifamily, and boutique hospitality – and apply those to our “resimercially” designed projects. Active adult (or age restricted, or age targeted) design is no different. Active adult is an attractive niche for our clients because they can often get premium rents by offering resort style amenities and marketing their properties as being more “luxe/exclusive/hospitality focused/etc.” than traditional market rate multifamily housing in the surrounding area.
It’s not as easy as applying the right semantics, however. Developers are also attracting older residents by choosing sites that leverage adjacent healthcare resources and amenities. Instead of taking on the overhead to provide these services in-house as is required in a senior care community, active adult developments offer the freedom of “a la carte” healthcare service that allows residents to access only what they need in terms of medical care just minutes from the property. This keeps rent prices much lower than the same prospective resident would find at a CCRC.
Something else to consider is the food and beverage program expectations at a senior care community versus active adult. This may surprise some, but we typically do not recommend commercial kitchens in active adult communities. In fact, let’s also eliminate formal dining rooms. What does this mean for developers and operators? No expectations of a defined F&B program on site. Rejoice!
Active adult residents want to feel sexy and in control. They’re hosting a dinner party with other residents in the clubhouse’s catering kitchen. They’re making dinner for their grandkids in their unit. They’re ordering Uber Eats or going out on the town. You get the picture.
KEEPING THE “ACTIVE” IN ACTIVE ADULT
Forget what you’ve heard about the “adult child” being the decision maker. The prospective renter is most often leading the charge and their motivations run the gamut whether they want a change of scenery, are looking to be closer to family and grandkids, or are just completely over the demands of home ownership.
What we especially love about the Active Adult vertical is how social the residents tend to be. Based on our extensive research and insight from clients pursuing the space, we’ve taken a more laissez-faire approach to active adult design. We shape great spaces that encourage socialization and then let the residents fill in the blanks. We focus on promoting socialization through design especially among mature adults because it’s proven to help prevent cognitive decline, improve emotional wellbeing, and reduce stress, which in turn leads to longer and healthier lives.
We do this by paying extra attention to the programming of clubrooms to ensure they aren’t over- compartmentalized but still function seamlessly for a number of activities whether residents plan to entertain, co-work, or stay active. We ask ourselves how residents will move through and interact with the property over the course of a day. We look at how the interiors and exteriors talk to each other and then capitalize on opportunities to better engage with the outdoors. Ultimately, we want these spaces to feel more like a social club than anything else while still being mindful that the amenity footprint of Active Adult projects is often smaller (in order to capitalize on more premium real estate) than a traditional CCRC.
ACTIVE ADULT – HERE TO STAY?
If you can’t tell, we’re absolutely loving this vertical and the flexibility it offers for an age group we feel has been historically underserved. Do we worry that it has the potential to be overbuilt? Sure, but we are also hopeful that developers looking to build in this space – either as a one-off or as a portfolio of projects – do it the right way by selecting consultants that will help establish Active Adult projects an attractive market for years and decades to come.
We are so excited about the Active Adult projects we have in the works in all stages here at Banko Design and how this market continues to take shape. Do you have an Active Adult project you need expert help on? We’d love to hear about it. Reach out to us by emailing email@example.com!
Over the course of history, there have been major events that have changed the landscaped of real estate development, architecture, and design. We’ve seen recessions, rapid innovations in technology, changes in government policies, and most recently a pandemic. Eventually, these large-scale events alter the real estate market and all services associated with it! As we all know, the majority of the work force worked from home for the past 2 years, and some never stopped or will never go back into office full-time, resulting in many remote workers looking to redecorate their home office, signing up for co-working spaces, or moving to communities that fit their new work environment. SO, in this month’s blog, we’re discussing how the new “work from anywhere” lifestyle has affected multifamily amenity trends, and why we’re here for it!
WHY DOES BANKO LOVE CO-WORKING SPACES?
Since Melissa founded Banko Design 7 seven years ago, she has always been passionate about providing her employees with a flexible work schedule and the ability to work from anywhere. This goes for giving parents the ability to work remote when needing to take care of the kids, the ability to work around life’s appointments, and better flexibility with client office visits and onsite visits.
Why was this important to our founder? As a young, up and coming designer, Melissa worked for several large architecture and design firms. With egregious work hours and a young family, Melissa implored her employers for a more flexible work schedule. For the most part, the answer was “no” because occasional remote work was simply not the industry standard. So, when she started Banko Design, she immediately gave all employees laptops and offered flexible schedules, giving working moms, dog moms, and the ability to better fulfill their responsibilities at home and at work!
This is why Melissa provided a multitude of spaces within our studio for all types of work and workers like – small and large conference rooms with tricked out video conferencing equipment, a huge breakroom with bar seating, dining table seating, banquette seating, AND kids seating 😊, sample pin up and lay out space throughout the office, green room for recording social media content, living room seating, and a mother’s room with a private bathroom, fridge and rocking chair! Melissa believes that if she invests in her team and their needs, then they will in turn invest in Banko, and we can honestly, say, this investment has paid off! Giving our team the space and resources they need to collaborate has resulted in an unmatched culture and superior design!!
All that to say, our team clearly has experience in communal workspaces, giving us the ability to really crush this upcoming trend in multifamily!
HOW HAS THE NEED FOR WORK-FROM-HOME CHANGED MULTIFAMILY?
It’s no secret that the pandemic has left a lasting impact on how we design spaces, especially multifamily buildings. As new multifamily projects come through the door, it has become increasingly obvious that communal workspaces are the hot ticket item! The world is working differently! The traditional work life and schedule has significantly changed and ultimately created a need for spaces that have flexible use. Today, we see more people reveling in remote work with no intention of return to the traditional office or are looking for jobs that are fully remote. Another change is the amount of people that are now pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in 2020 alone, 4.3 million new business applications were filed. For perspective, that is 24% more than 2019. So how does this change how we design?
HOW ARE WE APPLYING WHAT WE KNOW TO DESIGNING COMMUNAL SPACES IN MULTIFAMILY?
NEWS FLASH! – The traditional office is no longer in one, centralized location! Teams can now work from quite literally ANYWHERE! Because of this, developers and owners are now requesting fully equipped communal workspaces in all of their multifamily projects. Gone are the days of a coffee maker, a printer, and a couple of tables. These communal workspaces require phone booths, office pods, multiple breakout spaces, conference rooms with TVs and high-quality cameras for virtual and in-person meetings, high speed WiFi and, of course, POWER EVERYWHERE!
Not only does this amenity require high technology but also high design! Banko Design is allocating the best square footage in the community with the best views because they want these areas to be the pinnacle of their property. We are applying specialty finishes, luxury FF&E, and creative design to make this amenity a highly used space that will lure new residents in and be utilized fully. Some are taking it a step farther and really leaning into the content creator generation. We are including areas for residents to record content like podcast and TikTok rooms, and they expect several instagrammable moments throughout for social media savvy residents. We want to create communal workspaces for remote or new entrepreneurs that need a quiet place with a great view and all the tools they need right within their own community!
The beauty of these spaces is that not only are they ideal for remote workers, but they can also be designed to be used for events, evening hangs, entertaining clients and coworkers, and so much more. The sky is the limit! Banko is providing a workspace with all of these elements for residents right within their communities!
If you’re looking for a design team with a passion for flexible work schedules AND a love (and know how) for great design, we’ve got great news for you! Banko Design is ready to take on your project! Interested in chatting with us? Reach out to our business development team at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Will you be at Marcus & Millichap Multifamily Southeast on March 31st in Atlanta, GA? If so, we’d love to meet up! Brittany and Steph will be there representing Banko Design. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
This past year was one of immense growth and learning, which is why for this month’s blog, we wanted to highlight our top 4 “aha” moments from our 2021 blogs and how we are translating those moments into 2022.
Last year, we installed over 50 projects in our respective verticals – senior living, multifamily, and hospitality. Needless to say, there were numerous hurdles we had to jump and skills we had to finesse to successfully complete these projects on time and within budget. This past year, we learned to master renovations, we championed senior-specific furniture, we furthered our knowledge around tech in the multifamily space, and we strengthened our belief in location-centric design in hospitality.
Aha Moment #1 – The Rise of Renovations: It’s Time For a Change!
“To ensure our success from the start, our teams form a calculated plan that clearly maps out how we’ll make the building look and feel cohesive AFTER the renovation.”
With the cost of building through the roof and the disruption of global supply chains this past year, new-build projects became increasingly more costly for developers. As our clients navigated the rising costs, Banko saw a rise in requests to renovate and refresh their existing, well-worn communities rather than building something new in this expensive market.
For us, 2021 reinforced the fact that renovations are drastically different than new-build projects. They are also often more challenging with tighter budgets and shorter timelines. We continued to find that creating a calculated plan was key to a successful project. In 2022, we will continue to use our thorough practice of taking inventory of existing FF&E, discussing the owner’s vision, and forming the budget for the project. With our full-service in-house procurement team that has significant buying power and two Banko-owned warehouses, we will continue to be able to control costs and finish within the timeline.
Aha Blog Moment #2 – Let’s Talk About Senior Living Furniture
“Furniture should be thoughtfully specified so that it works not only for the aging body but also for those in and outside of senior living communities. That’s why we’ve always built custom furniture for the communities we design.”
From its founding, Banko Design has taken pride in specializing in senior living design. We know that when choosing furniture for senior living communities, our ultimate goal is to provide a comfortable, practical, and beautiful space. To do this, we always consider the pitch of the seating options, the height of the furniture, the cleanability and durability and so much more.
Our experience in building custom furniture for the communities we have designed has shown us that not everyone has the ability to create pieces that are senior-friendly, practical AND beautiful. We knew there had to be a better solution, so we created one. This led to our collaboration with renowned furniture manufacturer, Fairfield Chair, to build a custom furniture line that is tailored to seniors’ unique needs. Our furniture line, launching Spring 2022, includes all senior-friendly design details along with classic yet beautiful designs that can be universally used from commercial to residential projects. We cannot wait to see our furniture line debuted in the communities we design!
Aha Blog Moment #3 – Multifamily Amenities and Services: The Contactless Age
“Today’s multifamily residents are savvy shoppers who gravitate toward a multifamily development largely due to the convenient amenities throughout the building.”
In 2021, technology continued to play an important role in the multifamily industry. This was seen in the increasing number of fully contactless communities due to limited interaction between residents and community staff. But, is this what residents really want? We often found that face to face interaction with community staff creates a sense of community for residents, which in turn, increases retention rates.
A question we are often asked is, “what are the latest and greatest trends in multifamily?” One trend we have seen an increase in popularity is the demand for tech-focused amenities and services. The challenge of providing these amenities in 2022 is going to be specifying technology features that will not become outdated too quickly. A few common amenities we believe will continue to be sought after are communal work areas, dog walking services, health and wellness centers, and rooftop bars and pools.
Aha Blog Moment #4 – Hospitality in Secondary Markets
“Unique experiences and one-of-a-kind discovery moments in hospitality design are more important than ever before.”
In the past few years, there has been an increase of residential booms in secondary markets or mid-size cities. Using this data, hotel developers and brands are deciding where to open their next property. The theory is that by tracking the rising home prices in these areas, you’ll find that it’s often an accurate indicator of where demand will follow for travel destinations. From a design perspective, Banko Design has always looked at residential trends when beginning a new project. Even though our projects have a commercial focus, our end user still wants their stay to feel comfortable like a home, authentic to their destination, and rooted in the fabric of the city.
We are confident there will continue to be a demand for boutique hospitality properties. With that, we will continue doing what we do best – helping our clients to tell the story of their property. We know that guests love to feel like they’ve experienced something special and exclusive. A well-designed boutique hotel in these secondary markets can do just that.
We are proud of everything we have accomplished in 2021 and all the opportunities that came our way. We learned a lot, and we are excited to see what the next year brings. Here’s to more wins and lessons learned in 2022!
For this month’s blog, we’re diving into a topic that we consider ourselves experts on! We’re discussing why senior living communities require specific furniture and what that furniture should look like.
It’s no secret that our bodies change as we age, yet somehow that fact is often forgotten when it comes to specifying furniture for our seniors. Furniture should be thoughtfully specified so that it works not only for the aging body but also for those in and outside of senior living communities.
So, What Does that Look Like?
There are several details that our designers take into consideration when specifying or building custom furniture for our senior living projects, whether they be new build or renovation.
For example, the pitch of the seating options must be perfect! As we age, we sit longer for meals and require more back support, so having the correct pitch is imperative. Similarly, as we age, our skin becomes thinner, so it is important to be mindful of sharp corners on tables, chairs, credenzas etc. and instead opt for smooth and rounded corners on furniture.
At Banko, we are big proponents for mixing soft goods at different scales and proportions in sitting or living rooms. Remember, not all bodies are built the same, so it does not make sense for all seating to be the exact same! For example, some seniors prefer a firmer back support, while others may desire a fully cushioned upholstered back. Want to give the people what they want? Give them options!
Other factors we’re conscious of include chair heights correlating with tabletop heights, ideal seat heights for those with mobility issues, thoughtfully programming sofas and chairs that allow for our seniors with equipment to travel throughout the room safely, and SO much more.
All of these considerations are based on providing a comfortable, practical, AND beautiful space for our seniors to thrive in!
Cleanability and Durability are the Name of the Game
From our experience in the senior living, hospitality, and multifamily verticals, we’ve found that senior living communities are not renovated as often as hospitality and multifamily. Knowing this, it makes it that much more important that we specify and build furniture that is sturdy and can stand the test of time AND 24/7 use! This means your senior living communities’ furniture must be easily cleanable and durable!
We have always been fully aware that the cleanability of a piece and its upholstery is key. Because of this, we specify commercial-grade fabrics that are wipeable and bleachable, and we include clean outs in seating, making it easier on caregivers and janitorial staff to clean. We also avoid transitions in pieces and/or materials, as they can cause food, dust, or just day to day grime to get stuck.
As for durability, we are sure to specify furniture frames that can withstand the abuse of walkers, wheelchairs and years of CONSTANT use. However, while senior living furniture needs to be durable, it shouldn’t be heavy. Certain seating can sometimes be cumbersome for seniors or their caregivers to move, so our team must be thoughtful in choosing or designing that furniture that will be sturdy for seniors to use to get up and down but also easy to move to simply sit or stand up. Having mobile furniture also gives staff the opportunity to reconfigure their space, as needed. This does NOT necessarily mean that we should just slap wheels on everything!
If you haven’t noticed by now, Banko Design is passionate about providing quality furniture for our seniors. Communities will often require large FF&E packages; however, if the budget cannot support both the quantity AND quality pieces that are necessary, Banko will cut quantity first. Of course, we have tons of options for different price points between great vendor partners and our significant buying power, but we don’t believe an unrealistic FF&E budget can be solved by low quality furniture. If we cut the quality and durability of the furniture, it is the staff and residents who suffer, and we can’t have that!
We Want it All, So We’re Building It Ourselves!
At Banko, we don’t settle. That’s why we’ve always built custom furniture for the communities we design. We believe it is of the utmost importance that our seniors get something that is beautiful, senior-friendly, cleanable, AND durable. That is why we are designing our very own furniture line!
Understanding that not everyone could or had the desire to build custom furniture, Banko began a conversation with renowned furniture manufacturer, Fairfield Chair, to create a line of furniture that is custom fitted to a senior’s needs. Melissa and her team included all of the previously mentioned design details such as appropriate arch support on seating options, cushioned arm rests, customizable casters, classic yet beautiful designs, and much more. We are ecstatic to have led the charge in making it easier for designers and owners alike to provide seniors with both practical and stunning furniture.
Our furniture line, A BD Collection for Fairfield, is debuting in 2022. We can’t wait to share it with the world and provide the furniture our seniors deserve!
Our team recently attended The Americas Lodging Investment Summit, also known as ALIS, where we networked with brands, developers, operators, and manufacturers and chatted about current trends in hospitality. At ALIS, we gained some insight into where hospitality development is headed, and we are excited!
It’s become clear to us that in the luxury sector, hotel developers and brands are increasingly evaluating where and when the residential booms are happening and using this data to decide where to open their next enterprise. Interestingly, these residential booms are primarily in “secondary” mid-size cities with sizable industry. We’re talking about cities like Park City, UT or Chattanooga, TN.
The theory is that by tracking the rising home prices in these areas, you’ll find that it’s often an accurate indicator of where demand will follow for travel destinations. With the rise of domestic tourism in the past year and travelers foregoing air travel for drivable destinations like in these secondary markets, this is becoming even more prevalent. So, for brands and developers who see themselves as being on the cutting edge, this is something to take note of!
You may be wondering, “what does this mean for design?” Well, Banko Design has always taken cues from residential trends when designing a new project. Even though our projects are commercially focused, our end user wants their experience to feel comfortable like a home. This holds true for boutique hotel guests who also expect that their stay will feel authentic to their destination. We’ve found that guests like when their hotel’s aesthetic is rooted in the fabric of the city that they’re visiting.
Unique experiences and one-of-a-kind discovery moments in hospitality design are more important than ever before. Reports show that even before the pandemic, boutique hotels received the majority of their business from domestic travelers. With domestic travel (especially to drivable destinations) on the rise due to vaccinations and loosening restrictions, there is a heightened demand for boutique properties that are in secondary markets. They allow guests the opportunity to find something “off the beaten path” and experience something new and unique. I think we can all agree that we love to feel like we’ve experienced something special that perhaps not everyone knows about. A well-designed boutique hotel in these secondary markets can check all of those boxes!
Our ethos is that a hotel’s design should authentically reflect the city, culture, and community in which it’s built. We pride ourselves on doing just that by providing hallmarks in the design details that relate to the city or people of the area. This could be a handrail detail that is similar to a prominent landmark in town, or a fabric pattern that highlights the state flower, or even a custom mural from a local artist. Our ultimate goal is to help owners tell the story for their property and its city through unique features and fantastic programming.
To keep it short and sweet, we believe we will begin to see an increase in hospitality development in secondary markets. And when it happens, we’ll be ready to design your hotel so that it will provide your guests with a personalized and luxurious experience.