Making the most of an unusual space
After struggling with inefficient office space, Keller Williams Realty Puget Sound decided to relocate.
The market center found a well-located modern building with great visibility and plenty of room to boost recruitment of additional sales associates. The angular shape of the building along with its stair-step architectural feature and open-air balconies along two sides of the space’s upper level required an innovative interior layout.
The realty company sought Office Planning Solutions’ guidance because of its expertise in making complicated spaces work as well as its reputation for designing office spaces that perfectly align with the Keller Williams business model.
Office Planning Solutions was challenged with taking advantage of natural light from exterior windows, making effective use of the building’s angles, and ensuring easy access to the balconies without losing usable floor space—all while sticking to a budget in a market where construction costs run high.
Office Planning Solutions’ design team strategically planned the space to make it a vibrant and effective work environment.
The town square/café and training room, along with an adjacent break room, were designed as parts of a collaborative common area intended to be the market center’s central activity hub. The town square/café was situated along the exterior windows of the second level to take advantage of views and to provide direct access to a large outdoor terrace for agents and staff to enjoy. Natural light could filter through to the training room located within the interior of the space.
We are thrilled with the overall layout and workflow the office creates for us. We have more real estate agents who are working more effectively.Dennis Ranch
The rest of the second floor included private and shared offices, assigned workstations, and administrative support workspace. Adding premium glass doors to several perimeter offices, some of which opened to private balconies, would have further brightened the second level; however, installing full-glass doors everywhere would be cost prohibitive.
Instead, the design team value-engineered the space by reserving glass doors and full-height tempered glass windows for public areas, such as for the client presentation rooms on the main level.
On the second level, the design team recommended mounting less costly, interior windows at 36 inches above the floor and locating them next to building-standard, solid-core doors at perimeter offices. The large windows visually opened the second level and allowed it to fill with abundant natural light. The windows also gave people a line of sight to exterior views and were a smart space-efficiency design element that would allow usable wall and floor space below each window to place desks, filing cabinets, or seating.
Using low-height partitions to enclose interior workstations would open the space further and allow natural light to flood in.
A separate entry to one of the non-private balconies on the far side of the office gave agents another way to access the outdoors and boosted the overall collaborative atmosphere.
Innovative design, return on investment
Office Planning Solutions’ design team met all of its client’s space planning needs while creating an office that reflects the Keller Williams brand identity. It designed a fresh, efficient space that comfortably includes a dozen more enclosed offices and additional workstations than the market center previously accommodated—and it kept design and construction costs within budget.
The market center enjoys the benefits of a bigger training room with common area access, multipurpose work areas, and efficient use of space.
The return on investment in the market center’s new contemporary office was apparent within a year of its move-in date. The business grew by 50 percent in number of sales associates, and it has since expanded into another 2,500 square feet of adjacent space.
“We are proud that the training room and town square/café are the focal point of our market center,” says Dennis Ranch, the market center’s operating principal.
“We are thrilled with the overall layout and workflow the office creates for us,” he says. “We have more real estate agents who are working more effectively.”
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