Detailed Lobby Renovation

Well positioned to handle unique projects with meticulous attention to detail, the Dixon Projects team was tapped to renovate and modernize the lobby of a large residential building in Union Square, Manhattan. The lobby, which also functions as a fire escape for a number of floors, suffered from an outdated look. Working with a predetermined design concept and alongside an external architect hired by the building’s board, the Dixon team was tasked with streamlining the construction schedule and managing the execution of the project as a whole.

The challenge here was clear: Revitalize the outdated lobby with a brand-new tile design, while ensuring the entire space checked all the boxes in terms of fire regulations.




Project Management

Brand-New Tile Design

The greatest challenge for this lobby renovation revolved around the intricate design and installation of the tiles that would line both the walls and floors of the space. The desired tiles each featured unique grain detailing and needed to be arranged meticulously in order to fulfill the board’s vision for the design. Because the tile was ordered in slabs and precut off-site, the entire pattern had to be predetermined to fit perfectly like a puzzle.

Custom Details

Working with the building to select their preferred pattern, the team stenciled the floor and wall tile layouts to ensure the different grains and colors would match the desired look. In order to achieve this, the existing walls were demolished and leveled off prior to installation. The floors were also removed and the team used self-leveling cement to ensure an even surface.


The rear of the lobby featured two doors nearby the building’s elevators – one that gave way to a package room and the other providing access to the building’s stairwell. Here, the surrounding wall was entirely re-framed and then strip-and-skim coats of plaster were used to ensure everything was perfectly level.



The building requested that the doors themselves be as concealed as possible so as not to interfere with the flush tile design. As a result, the tile on the exterior of the doors was custom cut to continue the flow of the tile pattern found on the surrounding wall. However, because the tile was incredibly thin, the team installed stainless steel casings around the doors as an added layer of protection, which increased shock absorbency and improved resistance to chipping.


To meet fire regulations, each door was made self-closing and steel fire-rated. The package room now features double-sheet rock insulation to increase fire resistance and custom oak shelves for added storage.

In addition to the doors, the team had to address a pre-existing radiator that protruded from one of the walls. The team created a custom removable cover for the radiator, so it could effectively release hot air, while not interfering with the desired look. The grain of the tile for the air slits was meticulously designed to match the flush tile on the walls above.


To finish, custom moldings were added around the top of the space. Each molding was made out of fiberglass, which was specifically selected because of its non-combustible properties. Then, the moldings were covered in a fire-retardant paint to add yet another layer of fire protection. LED strips top off the moldings as a warm light accent.  



From advising on approvals and permitting with the DOB to save the building from fines and delays to executing the exact specifications provided by an external architect, the Dixon Projects team successfully managed this residential lobby renovation to create both, a complex, aesthetically pleasing design and a fire-resistant space for complete peace of mind.