PMI did a focus group with its millennial workforce to further its research in how to best design apartments for the young tech workforce who may have roommates. PMI is under production with a four bedroom apartment designed for roommates in Silver Lake. The five main take away critiques and improvements from PMI’s millennials are outlined below.
1. Neat versus messy. A big problem is who does what chores and when. It is the old Odd Fellow problem. Oscar may not mind the unit being messy with the plates unwashed, while Felix may want the unit always to be neat. One solution to this would be mandatory maid service once a week and incorporate cost in the rent. Most likely, landlords will need the roommates to continue to settle this one among themselves.
2. Whose stuff is in the refrigerator? Roommates have food storage problems. Whether it be in a designated cabinet or shelf in the refrigerator, this is a hot button topic. Clear boundaries need to be expressed, because food can become a health issue if not taken care of. Sometimes, a roommate may borrow some food without asking, leave their food in the refrigerator past the expiration date, or carry their mess into the refrigerator. Sharing space in a refrigerator can be a tricky situation, which is why Millennials expressed a desire for separate refrigerators.
3. Whose bathroom is the guest bathroom? Why is my roommate in the bathroom exactly when I need it? It’s just a simple fact – someone’s bathroom is going to be used by guests when they come over. In most instances, it will be the bathroom that is separate from the bedroom. Because roommates share bathrooms, there are potential scheduling conflicts that arise as well. To avoid these scheduling conflicts, roommates may have to coordinate with each other in the mornings before work or school. There also might be some competition in who will wake up first in order to get first access to the bathroom. To avoid this headache, PMI is designing its four bedroom property so that each bedroom will have its own bathroom.
4. If your friends are over, where do I go with my friends? Roommates sometimes have friends over at the same time. As a result, multiple distinct social rooms are recommended. One group can use the living room while the other group can use the patio, kitchen, or den area.
5. The walls are too thin. This problem stems from roommates being able to overhear conversations or noise from adjacent rooms. The decades old solution was to provide double master units where the rooms are separated by other rooms (living, kitchen, bathroom). Another solution could be the use of Quiet Rock or double drywall on the demising wall.
As with any roommate situation, each apartment with roommates is different and can have their own set of unique problems. However, PMI is focused on solving these five major issues that were prevalent in their focus group study.