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Pretty as a Picture: A New Age in Self-Storage Design

Self-storage design isn’t just evolving, it's entering a new age. Read how ISS is helping spread the word about fabulous designs and new materials as well as ways you can help us trample preconceived notions about what a self-storage facility should look like.

This week, we entered production on our annual design issue, a favorite for the Inside Self-Storage staff. Not only do we get to publish many pretty photos of lovely self-storage facilities, we also enjoy the opportunity to trample pre-conceived notions about what a storage property should look like.

Each week we report on new developments around the world. And each week there’s at least one or two projects that face opposition based on an outdated view of our industry. It can be disheartening because we know storage is so much more than just a square building and unit doors. However, the “Not In My Back Yard” folks blocking developments claim storage will attract crime, sport glaring lighting that will “shine into their windows,” cause traffic at all hours of the day and night, and are just plain ugly. And these sentiments aren’t just coming from residents and business owners who don’t want to see a storage property next door. Often, it comes from city staff and planning and council members, who still need to be educated on the industry and what it brings to a community.

While it’s true there are a number of older, first-generation properties that are in need of a makeover—and considered “ugly” by some standards—there are also hundreds of sites that easily rival any classy hotel or office complex. Sadly, when most people think “self-storage,” it’s the former rather than the latter.

That’s why it’s vital we showcase how self-storage design isn’t just evolving, but entering a new age. While many standbys remain in the creation of new sites—such as the “fortress” layout for a large, single-story property—new styles are also emerging. These include the creative use of vibrant colors beyond signage and doors, bigger offices designed with customers in mind, and architectural elements such as parapets and cupolas.

Today’s facilities are still inherently metal, but developers are also playing with new materials to create unique and long-lasting structures that definitely don’t scream “self-storage.” Creative lighting and open expanses of glass add appeal as well.

Even storage landscaping is undergoing a revitalization. Some properties sport rolling hills of lush grass or decorative pathways lined with beautiful flowers, while others create a statement with xeriscape landscaping.

In addition to our design issue, which hits subscribers’ mailboxes in mid-May, we also showcase these pioneering properties in our annual design image gallery. Right now, we’re looking for inspiring pictures for our 2017 campaign, which publishes on the ISS website at the end of May. We’re seeking high-resolution photos representing all aspects of a self-storage site: exteriors buildings, offices, retail areas, landscaping, interesting architectures, water elements and anything else that makes your property a standout. Care to share? Just shoot me an email ([email protected]) with your property pictures as well as the city, state and a caption. If you have large photos, I can provide you with an alternative to e-mailing them.

In the meantime, be sure to view the wonderful sites we spotlighted in our 2016 gallery as well as our 2015 interior gallery and another the same year showcasing exteriors. I promise you’ll be inspired and amazed.

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