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organizing, ideas, beautification, lobby, architect-on-demand, advice-without-strings

I have to admit. My work schedule is getting more demanding. In the spirit of multi-tasking, this blog has become a platform for client meeting prep. Thus, I’d like to share my process of organizing ideas for a potential project. It involves a beautification of a lobby, a roof deck with a pool, and a subterranean 2-level parking garage. The client is the homeowners association of a 24-unit condo complex in the foothills of Hollywood.

In a couple of weeks I am to present a proposal. I’ve inspected the site, snapped a few pictures, and made a few notes. Below is a working list of desirable improvements.

Two-story Lobby:

  • Way finding;
  • Utilizing the space under the staircase/a seating alcove;
  • Creating a sense of arrival;
  • Adding interest with lighting;
  • Updating emergency lighting;
  • Focusing on both horizontal & vertical surfaces;
  • Concealing wiring.

Next step is to come up with a concept. What can we do? How can this bland space make an impression and feel inviting? My how-toBOOK DIY Like an Architect describes in detail a way to start a project. Establishing a parti helps justify all of the decisions.

Thankfully, there’s a handy personal resource to turn to. I post articles of interest from design blogs on my allaDIYally Google + account every day. When organizing ideas, it serves as a hand-picked library of inspiration images. Once my attention is focused through mind mapping, I pick the appropriate ones to make a mood board for the clients (cover image).

I am organizing ideas — something is slowly emerging.

First and foremost, we need to give the space a sense of place. At this point, all the elements in the lobby exist independent of each other — doors, mailboxes, wall-to-wall mirror, and the staircase crowd the room instead of working together. We have to make them cooperate, not compete for attention.

One of the goals for the lobby beautification is letting the eye rest.

organizing ideas, beautification, lobby

I come across an article about bohemian décor and it resonates. What this lobby desperately needs is a sense of arrival. We can create ambiance by layering textures and mixing patterns. A timeless color palette will help with building dimension and warmth.

The stained limestone flooring feels dated, but it has to stay. However, we could introduce “islands” of new materials to camouflage the problem. Under the stair, for instance, we can incorporate a visually appealing stone accent runner out of decorative mosaic tile. It will define a seating area. A substantially scaled bench of polished stone will complete the vignette.

Right by the front door, we can add graphic interest with sculptural silhouettes of low maintenance succulents… What if we swathe an area with pebbles in which Cheryl Lerner can plant something truly spectacular?

Addressing the lobby is just the beginning, though. In the next week’s post, I will continue organizing ideas for the beautification of the rooftop pool deck and the garage. In the meantime, if you come across something that works with the concept of bohemian décor, please post a link in comments. I would appreciate it very much!


  • September 6, 2017


    I’ve entered many lobbies like this one. It usually takes me a minute or two to figure things out … sometimes I just turn around and leave the building. This lobby could certainly use some beautification!

    I love your idea of adding a garden by Cheryl Lerner!


    • Alla DIY Ally
      September 8, 2017

      We’re on the same page, Bob! Thank you for your comment!

  • Mia S Kazovsky
    September 10, 2017

    It will be a great lobby! Plus, I love the idea of multitasking. Treating your blog sort of as a journal!

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