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    Funeral Homes: The Need for Redesign

    Funeral homes naturally carry a heavily negative association as they are usually linked with the loss of a loved one. Battling this impression may mean taking a hard look at the design and layout of your funeral home from the perspective of a family member who is facing, what could be, one of the hardest and darkest days of their lives. What should funeral home design consider in order to dispel the unfavorable impression left on visitors? Research published in Cremation Solutions online takes a look at the areas that funeral home directors should scrutinize in the design of a more progressive funeral home.

    What is the first impression when entering your funeral home? Is it cold, sterile, or dated? Are the rooms open and airy or small and confining? What mood does the lighting set for mourners? Does the design allow for natural light or are the windows heavily draped? Is the seating comfortable for people of all ages? Is the décor out-of-style or classic? There are a number questions to consider when designing your funeral home.

    In coordination with results from researchers, our expert designers can make some suggestions, including:

    • Minimize the sense of confinement that many funeral homes portray with small, segmented rooms, low lighting, no access to natural light, and crowded seating areas. Instead, a redesign can create more airy and open rooms configured as living rooms where seating areas can accommodate groups for talking and mingling.
    • Incorporate outdoor areas where family members can get away and have quiet reflection when the weather permits.
    • Make visitors feel welcome with a well-lit and landscaped entryway. When possible, use colorful plantings and a hardscape design that allows for outdoor seating or pathways.
    • Get assistance from designing experts who can arrange lighting that balances mood and task lighting. Remove dated lighting fixtures and unnatural colored bulbs. Allow sunlight in where possible while still being mindful of privacy.
    • Take a hard look at the state of the walls around the funeral home. Dated wallpaper, paneling, and paint treatments should be redesigned. This is especially true if the paint is bubbling, peeling, or has water damage stains. A design consultant can help choose a color palette that will be appropriate and updated.
    • Décor, especially furnishing, drapery, and wall coverings, should be taken into account when attempting to create a peaceful and quiet place for family members. While this does not mean choosing all neutral tones, it does mean choosing furnishings that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. Many seniors have difficulty with plush sofas and lower chairs, so consider multiple options and décor choices that not only consider style but clientele as well.

    While funeral homes do have sadness forever associated with them, well-thought out design surroundings can go a long way towards making a difficult time just a little bit more bearable. Call DMS design for more funeral home design ideas and to set up an appointment with our team.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Impact on The Economy and Housing Market in the Amazon Headquarters Hunt

    Amazon, the e-commerce giant led by Jeff Bezos, announced at the beginning of this year that it has whittled the 238 cities that applied to bring the new Amazon headquarters to their zip code, down to 20 cities including Boston. By the end of 2018, Amazon will finally announce a location for its second headquarters, bringing the tech giant’s massive search for “HQ2” to a close. Top runners within that shortened list of 20 include several Northeast hubs where transportation, schools, and infrastructure could support this growing market. What potential impact does this long awaited decision have on the economy and housing market of the yet-to-be-named city? Let’s take a closer look.

    When Amazon first settled in Seattle, Washington in 1994, it transformed the city by employing over 40,000 tech workers and pumping an estimated $38 billion into the city. In what is now being called the “Amazon Effect,” the housing market in Seattle has seen a massive surge with needs not being met in the areas of workforce housing. The Seattle Times has reported that home prices in this area have increased by 76% causing an utter lack of housing that is affordable for the large company.

    The impact on the future HQ2 city will be similar in that Amazon is planning to inject $5 billion into the economy and create more than 50,000 jobs. According to the online site Bisnow, the jump in housing needs and lack of affordability could be faster and even more significant in the city that wins Amazon’s second headquarters due to the unprecedented number of employees it hopes to hire.

    One of the solutions to the strain on the housing market will be getting creative in designing and building affordable workforce housing in the areas surrounding Amazon’s HQ2 pick. Other tech companies like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn have come up with some creative ways to meet the demands of housing while still remaining within budget for workers. In an attempt to remedy the demand for workforce housing, Google built modular housing for 300 of its employees. Facebook tackled the problem by pledging to develop 1,500 units in Silicon Valley’s Menlo Park area — home to the Facebook campus, of which 15% will be designated workforce housing. LinkedIn, on the other hand, invested $10M to provide short-term loans to affordable housing developers to incentivize them to quickly purchase property and compete with other developments. What solutions to the demand for workforce housing will Boston come up with if chosen as the new Amazon headquarters? At the Executive Multi-Family Housing Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, DMS Design Principal and Owner, Dan Skolski, spoke about the need for modular housing in the age of the “Amazon Effect.” DMS design specializes in workforce housing and modular housing and will be keeping a close watch on the developments and what Amazon’s announcement could mean for our region’s housing market.

    Importance of Workforce Housing

    Have you ever seen the highway billboard signs noting that, “If you lived here, you’d be home now.” For many daily commuters who find themselves sitting in nightmare congestion, this sign may be validation that they should live closer to work. Unfortunately for many hardworking individuals and families this sign is merely wishful thinking due to the lack of workforce housing in the community where they are employed. During recent political addresses, both Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker discussed the issue of high end apartment buildings and condominium complexes dominating housing development and not enough affordable housing for the population that is considered moderate and medium income households. Let’s take a closer look at the workforce housing issue and why addressing it is critical to our region.

    Workforce housing can be described as housing that is affordable for households with an earned income that is sufficient to secure quality housing within a reasonable proximity to a workplace. If we crunch the numbers, this translates to housing costs no more than 30-40% of a person’s annual income. Workforce housing, therefore, is housing that is affordable to households earning 60-120% of an area’s median income. The people whom this impacts most are not typically thought of as the focus for affordable housing. A vast majority of the individuals in this population are gainfully employed in the industries such as: the service industry, tourism industry, emergency services workers (police and fire), teachers, senior citizens, and even nurses. The average incomes for many of these professions have been stagnant for the last 20 years while the median rents have set records and put quality housing out of reach for the workforce that is so vital to our economy.

    Mayor Walsh and Governor Baker have recognized that special housing programs need to be offered by local and state housing authorities and they have both indicated that they will approve funding for such programs. These programs are beneficial to not only the individuals it will serve, but also to the community at large. Research has shown that when workers live closer to their job, entire communities reap the benefits. For example, commute time decreases, traffic congestion is relieved, neighborhoods become more diverse, and businesses are able to attract and retain employees thus strengthening the economy of our region.

    While funding programs that support workforce housing is important, it is also critical for finance lenders, building owners, municipalities, and architects to work together on workforce housing projects. At DMS design we have extensive background dealing with the funding aspect of workforce housing. We understand the red tape and administrative paperwork associated with such projects and have comprehensive understanding and experience dealing with agencies including HUD and Massachusetts Housing Authorities. We work closely with owners and developers in the design process to make quality workforce housing a reality.

    Aging in Place

    When you envisioned your retirement, did you picture yourself reading a book on the beach on a tropical island or perhaps traveling the globe visiting all the places you have wanted to see your whole life? This may be the dream for some, but a large percentage of seniors have much cozier and simpler aspirations – to live at home where they put down roots for as long as possible. Let’s take a closer look at aging in place and how DMS design can help you achieve this. 

     

    According to a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over 65 want to remain living in their home during their “golden years.” For some, the reasoning is connected to the fact that they have family and lifetime friends living nearby, while for others, it is the emotional attachment to their home or the comfort of going to the same church, stores and restaurants. While for still others, there is a financial rationale that their home is paid for and their expenses will be small if they stay in the home that they own outright. Therefore, for emotional and financial reasons living in the home that they love and cherish has become the norm for seniors over 65.

     

    Eventually staying at home, for whatever reasons, evolves into something that the healthcare field calls “Aging in Place.” This terms generally refers to the choice to live in one’s own home which has been designed to attend to changing needs that could have previously required a healthcare environment. This option can provide levels of dignity, mobility, and freedom unparalleled in typical senior living environments. At DMS design we have a wide number of design projects that can help you remain independent in your home even if you have some medical and/or mobility issues. For example, if mobility or stairs are an issue, we can work around your current home floor plan to expand a first floor room into a Master Bedroom suite or install an elevator within the framework of your existing home. We can design kitchens and bathrooms so that they are more accessible. For family members who would like to be closer to their children while still remaining independent, in-law apartments might the answer. Let us know your unique situation and we can design a solution that will help you “Age in Place” with dignity and a sense of freedom.

     

    For more information on how DMS design can help you or a family member “Age in Place” call DMS design at 978-965-3470 or visit our website at DMS design to learn more.

     

    Recovering from a Flood or Fire

    Recovering from a disaster such as a fire or flood can seem insurmountable, both emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, few homeowners or business owners are prepared for the short- and long-term consequences, and are left to find a way to pick up the pieces. After the smoke has cleared or the water has receded, there are so many calls to make and steps to take to restore life to the way it once was.

    At DMS design, we specialize in fire and flood disaster reconstruction projects. We understand the rollercoaster that our clients are on and we use our proven expertise to put our clients at ease about the process, and ultimately, the finished product. We coordinate closely with our clients to prepare plans to restore and/or rebuild their home or business. We understand the time sensitive nature of this work and we stand by ready to assist.

    Repairing fire and/or flood damage takes careful work and attention to detail. Once family members and loved ones have safely escaped the disaster there is much to do. Here is a quick list of things to consider as you recover from the horrific event.

    • Have a safety assessment completed on the property before re-entering the area to gain access to anything that is salvageable.
    • Secure the business or apartment property with the help of fire professionals and security experts who know how to fence-off and secure properly.
    • Make necessary phone calls including: insurance company to get the ball rolling on a claim, credit companies and utility companies who are usually willing to work with clients to lower or defer payments until the crisis is over.
    • Schedule a Building Inspection and a Damage Assessment.
    • Schedule a cleanup crew.
    • Coordinate with a Restoration Provider and the professionals who have handled fire and flood disasters for years.

     

    If you or someone you know has been in a flood or fire, call DMS design at 978-965-3470 or visit our website at DMS design to learn more.

     

    Benefits of Branding your Company through Interior Design

    Most business owners understand the importance of using a consistent branding message when it comes to services and products. This is why it is not a surprise that so much time and effort is put into designing marketing materials, advertising strategies, logos, color schemes and signage. Recently, more savvy business leaders have also begun to take this branding a step further and make the link between brand identity and their physical workspace. Creating a clearly branded workspace environment through the architectural, layout, finishing materials, lighting, décor, and color choices can be extremely beneficial in many ways to reinforce and communicate your company’s brand. Let’s take a look at the benefits of branding your company through interior design.

    First, think about your work space. Does the design send a message about who you are as company and a brand? For example, a company that deals in eco-friendly products may want clients, employees, and vendors to enter an office that conveys that message through construction or design details including: recycled or reclaimed material, environmentally friendly lighting, energy choices, and décor. Another example is the highly branded Apple Corporation that designs both their headquarters and each individual Apple store to communicate that they are technologically advanced, modern, and innovative. What does your office say about your brand?

    How can environmental branding benefit your business?

    • A branded environment would help clients, employees, and management understand what your business stands for, whether it is hip and fresh, or established and traditional. Having everyone on the same page helps drive the mission of your business.
    • A design that takes your brand into consideration communicates not only your identity, but it also unifies the company culture.
    • Unique office designs set you apart from your competition and allow customers or clients to recognize your business and brand.
    • A branded environment allows for better morale in the office, and happier employees means better efficiency and productivity. It also means a higher retention rate.
    • By transforming a workspace, the layout, architecture, and décor can reinforce the personality of your business.

    Are you looking to set your company apart from the rest through architectural and interior designs? Contact DMS design at 978-965-3470 or visit our website at DMS design to learn more.