In a city where even basic comforts come at a steep cost, it’s no surprise that developers of new luxury condos and rentals are adding energy-saving, luxury items to their repertoire, as renters and buyers have raised their expectations.
A trend toward the holistic and eco-friendly has been well-documented, as more and more buildings gain LEED-certification and include energy-saving appliances and systems, as well as amenities that bend toward health and wellness.
One of the most recent examples is One Hudson Yards, where residents have filtered air running through the building, steam ovens instead of microwaves, and fitness amenities like salt plunge pools and a full basketball court.
Developer Ziel Feldman’s company HFZ, which is designing the Six Senses spa on 16th Street, is now looking at how they can make all their residential projects WELL certified buildings.
As that has taken hold, so has the baseline of expectations of what a building will provide. Before, (in rental buildings) it was the basics: refrigerator, microwave, oven, dishwasher, and if you’re lucky, a washer and dryer.
Now, luxury buildings are upping the ante. At the American Copper Buildings in Midtown East, a Nest thermostat comes with every apartment, allowing residents to control the temperature of their home from their phone. At 100 Norfolk on the Lower East Side, kitchens come with a built-in espresso machine. And at Pierhouse in Brooklyn, kitchens come with a built-in composter.
“We’ve had great feedback,” said Jodi Stasse of Citi Habitats, who has worked on the America Copper Buildings and Jackson Park in Long Island City. “People absolutely love it.”
Also included at the American Copper Buildings is a high-end kitchen appliance package by German design firm Miele. It includes two ovens: a traditional oven, along with a speed oven, which is a combination microwave/oven. “It’s just a really nice feature to find in a rental,” said Stasse. “It’s something which you wouldn’t typically find.”
Developers have become savvy at figuring out buyers and renters’ expectations for apartment features and amenities in new housing and development, said Stasse.
“They are very focused on making sure these rentals serve the lifestyle expectations,” she said. “I think that tech was a feature that can apply to all apartments.”
Many apartment designs now integrate kitchen appliances more seamlessly into the surrounding cabinets and apartment structure, giving it a cleaner look while using the space more efficiently.
Developers have also been incorporating better storage in closets, by including organizing systems within the closets.
And while the modern look will always be a go-to for developers and designers, the use of more natural materials has become more and more common, as it ties in to the green and eco-friendly movement.
“I think natural materials offer an interesting, beautiful, natural palette as a backdrop to everyone’s individual lifestyle,” said Stasse. Many designs now focus on creating spaces where a resident can feel removed from the chaos of city life.
“It can deliver a sense of serenity when you get there,” said Stasse. “That feeling is something that a lot of the new developments coming to market are going to introduce.”
Deb Rieders, who works in new development at the Corcoran Group, said color palettes tend to be a lot lighter now, and the style leans more toward a mid-century modern vibe married with a “rustic” feel.
“Certainly I think people do love more eco-friendly types of materials,” said Rieders. “Less lacquer, a more natural, matte feel.”
As the demand for more natural materials and health and wellness amenities grows, the design style that has become a natural fit for the trend won’t be on the outs anytime soon.
“Trends are trends: if they work they become really timeless. I think certain materials are timeless for many generations,” she said. “Mid-century modern is very approachable and practical. It’s spacious, holds a lot of things, can blend into the background. I don’t see it going out of fashion in the near future.”