As a clubhouse designer, I always enjoy sharing our substantive new approaches to clubhouse enhancements that improve the overall member experience, create a new or enhanced revenue opportunity and streamline operational efficiencies.
Over the past couple of years clubs have reached out to us to improve their competitive edge. Not merely related to neighboring club competition but more importantly to the sea of trending restaurants and bars we see popping up all over town. The best way to keep the members coming back to the club on a regular basis is to ensure your offerings are fresh and relevant. By simply rethinking the use and décor of an underperforming or under used space within your clubhouse to create a space that offers up a unique experience that is fresh, fun and with a unique vibe not typically experienced at most private clubs.
As a case study, let’s examine our recent creation at the Country Club of Darien in Darien, CT. We reimagined an underused and presumed dead space into a vibrant space that the members love and is sure to turn a quick ROI. When initially touring the club prior to developing our re-visioning studies for the clubhouse interiors as part of a major clubhouse expansion, we happened upon a small low ceiling space of about 400 square foot between their ballroom and the proposed new member dining venue. As we walked into the room the house committee chair at the time said given the size and low ceiling I guess all we can do is blow it up. I immediately looked to my partner and co-creative director Christina Romann and we knew exactly what to do: turn the low ceilinged 400 sq ft “catch all” space into a sexy cocktail lounge.
I am happy to report that post completion the club’s GM/COO Marc Possidento stated it is a jewel box of a space and has become the most popular cocktail lounge in Darien. Members love to show the space off to friends and members of several local competitive clubs.
The members make it their first and sometimes their last stop when dining at one of the club’s various dining venues, and on occasions when not dining at the club they will drop by for a drink before or after dinner. So given the distinct break in traditional club design, what makes this décor concept work? Simply put, it is fresh, unique and totally unexpected at a club.
As you begin to contemplate your next club renovation, the single most important takeaway from this article is that no matter what club improvement you may be considering, identify your core identity as a club and how you want to be distinguishable from the competition. Doing so will ensure each and every clubhouse enhancement will keep you ahead of the competition and relevant to needs and expectations of today’s ever-changing membership demographic. BR
Craig J. Smith, ASID is co-founding partner/co-creative director with C2 Limited Design Associates.He can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone (203) 259-2555. C2 Limited Design Associates is an award winning interior design and clubhouse styling firm with studios in Historic Fairfield Connecticut and Williamsburg Virginia. In 2016, C2 Limited Design Associates was named BoardRoom Magazine’s Interior Design Firm of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.