X Values: Design Always Matters

12 June 2017     |     By
This is the second in a series about how our core values guide the way we design and manage our communities.

Design Thinking has reached ubiquity in the technology community, but tends to be conspicuously absent in a real estate industry that’s largely more concerned with glossy images and spreadsheets than human experiences. We’re different. Creating communities from the perspective of residents is part of our edge.

The process starts with asking “What will make this space useful and exciting?” Substance always followed by style, challenging typical first-impulses in search of a smile. That may mean a shower nook for easy shampoo access, shoe racks in a closet, foregoing a game room to create productive workspace, or simply placing outlets where you’re most likely need a phone charger or blow dryer. The small wins are easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

We hire amazing Interior Architects (don’t call them designers!) to sprinkle magic on our plans. But it’s the late-night, not always sober, sessions of pouring over sketches and rejecting standard practices that gets us to a happy start.

Travel helps too, searching for inspiration from cultures that evolved with different priorities and constraints. Our phones and Slack channels are loaded with pictures of stairs, furniture and lighting. We can talk wallpaper for days.

Then there are the mock up units. It’s like buying all the ingredients for a meal, hauling them to the dessert, cooking a test batch, then realizing any changes you make require a trek back to civilization where food has tripled in price. Major gut check. There’s always a few saves to be made though.

Some of our guidelines for anticipating actual human behavior are:

Units will always have:

  • Outlets and switches everywhere you need them
  • Noise-reducing walls, doors and closures
  • Bedrooms for at least a queen size bed
  • Kitchens with functional counter space
  • Bathrooms with ample counter space and water pressure
  • Refreshing air flow and high ceilings
  • Big closets with built-in storage
  • Overhead lighting with no dead zones
  • Tech that delivers convenience and comfort

Rent-by-bedroom units will always have:

  • Privacy where it matters
  • Furniture you’d be proud to say you picked
  • Kitchen supplies your parents would envy

Amenities will be:

  • Activated in every inch – no dead space
  • Crowded where you want and quiet where you need
  • Optimized until they get you out of your apartment
  • Blended multi-level and indoor-outdoor spaces

We can’t get everything right, but we’re committed to trying.

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