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Category Archives: beach homes

The move is on!!!!

We’ve been spending the last several weeks getting rid of more STUFF and revamping our furnishings. We are getting ready for our next chapter …our road to adventure…our move to Texas.

It’s exciting because it has been quite some time since I lived in my hometown AND Juan as never lived in this part of the country. Juan LOVES the Southwest and has enjoyed our trips to Texas and New Mexico….he is a big lover of history and has always been fascinated with Billy the Kid.

I do have mixed emotions as I am leaving many of my family members whom I love so much! However, we are not far from one another and a quick hop on a plane or even a drive…will get us together quickly!

We are looking forward to trying new things and taking chances! I’m all about taking chances right now…or even a calculated risk. Life is too short and I do not wish to look back with regrets. If I fail miserably, well at least I had fun trying and learned how “NOT” to do something that way again. (wink wink smiley face)

Much different from last year, Juan and I are managing our STUFF much better, we are not ready to argue due to too much STUFF (yup word of the day), we are much more organized than ever before AND the best part is I am sitting here blogging while Juan is packing up the kitchen how cool is that! (smiley face, giggle now laughing and snort)

So join us this week for the Smith’s family move…..

 

Trends for 2012

I have seen a lot of talk from many sources about trends in furniture and living spaces. Yes!!!! Living small is the new BIG! (wink wink smiley face)

Here are some things to think about when you are looking to “right-size your life(looking to downsize your home etc) and how manufacturers are listening to the consumer needs.

Living/Dining rooms molded into one room with the kitchen seems to be what you see (obviously) in small spaces. So having the ability to hang out comfortably…eat in style or “chillaxin” (I know it’s really not a word but my nephews and nieces use it a lot) and gather around the “entertainment box” called a TV.
We have a very sleek 40 inch screen TV in our small space. We have it on top of a metal style console that has the ability to store our other equipment (blue ray player, music DVD’s plugs etc) neatly away. Trends for 2012 say that furniture companies are creating better/sleeker consoles to accommodate any size screen TV and different ways to place or hang on the unit itself. Trends state that hanging the TV on the wall will be fading….I find that hard to believe…we will see.
Sectional sofas are always growing and changing. Nowadays, manufactures are giving the consumers multiple options for the casual urban young shopper looking for a comfortable couch. The ability to create and add how many sectionals plus options to add a chaise on either side gives consumers countless ideas to place furniture in any challenging small or large space. Juan and I currently have a cool teak sofa and chair, however having the sectionals to create two small love seats facing one another or a sofa with chair on one side etc…would give me the option to change my space when I am having a party or just have the urge to make a change.

Bringing back a larger coffee table seems to be the style for 2012. If you were a kid growing up in the 60’s or 70’s, you remember the times you were able to take your dinner plate to the big coffee table so you could watch your favorite program…what a treat. Trends for 2012 say they are bringing back the larger more functional coffee table especially since family gatherings are more casual and small space living needs to have multiple eating options. 



Small triangle tables underneath for additional space

Juan and I have a cool mid century modern coffee table (shown above) that has four small additional tables underneath that can pull out and provide additional eating spaces for our guests or for when we want to hang out on the sofa!



Starts off as a coffee table
Resource Furniture (an awesome company) has wonderful options as well. One in particular gives you the ability to eat and work at a lower seating level PLUS bring the table up to you verses you having to lean down. Be sure you check out their website Resource Furniture for additional space saving furniture needs.
 

Now a great work space or additional dining option @Resource Furniture
Another type of trend many are speaking of is storage in or under beds. Not just for the kid’s room…but for the adults too! Juan and I did purchase a sleek bed from IKEA and enjoy having the ability to have four large drawers we can access easily. Many designers seem to be doing away with having so many chest of drawers in a bedroom. Making your bedroom a retreat with a possible writing/office space or a comfy chaise to read a good book are more popular options than trying to add drawers etc. What’s in for 2012 is the ability to store within a platform bed or other solutions that can go into a closet and have a beautiful bedroom retreat!





Well… based on the few articles I read….Juan and I have made many of the same choices in regards to “What’s Trendy” without even knowing it. Except for the sofa…maybe I should take Juan out this weekend for a little bit of furniture shopping. He’ll groan when I tell him. (wink wink smiley face).

Speaking of office space…I wrote a recent blog “How can I have an office in such a small space”, where I blogged about cool, sleeker furniture out there that is capable of making any room an office. There are great options available… from an office that can close up and become a beautiful piece of furniture, or a sleek desk that has the ability to hide in plain sight. Multi-purpose furniture…of course the advancement of technology where you can have wireless throughout your home and a plethora of options to make any room in your house a place to “get things done”!

 

Upcoming Artist Equals Cool Furniture

Thinking back on the past…I LOVE the 1960’s and 1970’s style furniture. It had such style and “swankiness” about it. One piece I remember well is a “sweater chest” my father had. It had two sliding doors that opened up and had adjustable shelves for your cool sweaters. I loved when he would open up the sliding door and reveal what super cool style sweater he was pulling out for the day.

I feel at times that we have lost the art of “swankines” when it comes to furniture. Sometimes I feel we are just trying to get the basics accomplished…”Yup, this can hold a lot of stuff!” and call it good.
However, now there are wonderful new artist out that there that are trying to combine small space living, multi-purpose furniture and art all in one…and here is a great piece of furniture created by Edward Taylor that I keep seeing in FX The Business of Design, ICON, AnOffice Magazine, and most recently in Design Milk.

He calls it “The Show Off and it truly is a show piece. What a great way to combine some fun and organization plus “swankiness” in a beautiful piece of furniture. On his website it states…Iit’s quite unlike anything you’ll have ever seen before. What it represents is a new breed of furniture – one that refuses to comply with convention, or adhere to tradition – in order to give you, the user, exactly what you want.
Constructed from oak, walnut, laminate and ply, the Show-off provides the missing link between formal and informal clothing storage. Most at home in the hallway yet able to adapt to any given context, the Show-off is no ordinary cabinet. (taken from his website)

I have to admit…the main storage piece reminds me a lot of my father’s sweater chest….That right there had my attention. Yet the addition of the “tree style” stand really adds some fun and uniqueness to the piece.

I think this is a cool piece that would look great in any room! Be sure you check out his website.

 

Micro Kitchens & Baths

Micro Kitchens & Baths
Cool company based in the UK (I believe) called Kitchoo! (Cute name)They focus on compact kitchen and bathroom designs. You must check out their website (Kitchoo) to see a full line of products based on your “micro-space” needs.
This truly opens up anyone’s idea of small space living. ESPECIALLY… if your desire is to have an ocean view on the west coast or a posh pad in Manhattan….these micro kitchens and baths are a great addition to any size living space, even 135 square foot apartment.
They offer great color options to meet all your small space designer needs!
 

Myth # 1… My place is too small to entertain!

Tis the season to entertain. You live in a small space (right size living) and you feel you do not have the ability to invite family, friends or colleagues to enjoy some great food…a little wine and fun.

So not true! If you are organized and have your small space in order… It’s easy, manageable and can be stress free.

I will be preparing Thanksgiving for Juan and I as well as my mom and her friend. I’m not worried and it’s not about stressing myself out…it’s my holiday too and I want to enjoy.

When you walk in the main area… It’s a long narrow rectangle space.  So… not a lot of counter space to place covered dishes or hot plates, etc. I have seating inside and outside, however outside is not quite ready. Simple yet not formal seating…narrow area to sit and hang out….no problemo!

I try to create intimate areas for people to hang out and enjoy without creating a huge roadblock of the narrow walkway through the house. The patio is a great place to have cold beverages on ice as well as glasses etc and place to have people enjoy and hang out.

In the living area is a great place to have horsderves and another area to have people mingle and enjoying while you are doing the finishing touches in dinner. What is so great in being in a small space, you stay connected to everyone.

So back to Thanksgiving dinner…

Me… I’m always thinking out of the box! Tradition dining with different thought process about how we go about doing it.

Thinking about Thanksgiving Day and trying to prepare a hot and delicious meal for all to enjoy is all about timing. Cook the stuffing and prepare the turkey. Then you have to boil potatoes…gotta have some greens. The rolls…where are the rolls to bake?…pumpkin pie from scratch??? Oh and then the homemade gravy…and all needs to be ready and hot all at once without drying out or burning what is already cooked. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Now the way I do this will probably not be an option or desire for you, but I find this way easier on me and then I can enjoy like everyone else.

I started thinking about the meal and the best part of Thanksgiving for me is leftovers. So I took this idea and worked it to my advantage. Why not prepare dinner a day early? (I know you think I’m nuts about now)
I’m typically home on Wednesday and by then I’ve been to the store and hopefully got everything I need.  (Juan can always make a run if I forgot something). There’s no stress as I start cooking the stuffing and prepare the turkey. I enjoy some wine as I boil some potatoes and decide to get all my dishes and dinnerware ready for tomorrow. I continue preparing additional dishes if needed and get the table ready for a party.

Basically I prepare pretty much all of the dinner or the majority of it so that on Thanksgiving Day I’ll be ready, happy and stress free to enjoy my meal with my family. By doing this, I do not have the extra dishes around where I don’t have room…I’m able to heat in my ceramic ware and place on the kitchen granite countertops.

I’m able to reheat the turkey and stuffing…heat and add additional cream to mashed garlic potatoes, prepare the rolls and everything will be hot and ready at ONCE!

You probably think I’m crazy or weird but for me…I’m able to enjoy Thanksgiving morning with a bike ride some coffee and Juan. Enjoy a relaxing rest of morning adding final touches to my table. Have my meal heating while guests arrive and have everything hot and ready at once when everyone gathers around the table for grace.

I enjoy entertaining and I enjoy having people over to my small space…this works for me and I truly enjoy cooking and baking. I’m forever trying to do things easier and better each time…you might think of something different, if so…you should share and I would be happy to post!

Right size living has made me and Juan much better at eliminating the clutter or STUFF…keeping organized and in their place and enjoying a simpler lifestyle.

So why not cook ahead of time and enjoy the “meal/leftovers” on Thanksgiving Day.

 

Happy 1 Year Anniversary

I can’t believe it…time has gone by so quickly. This time last year we were busy building our IKEA bed and finally moving in to our 900 square feet of happiness!

However, it was a HUGE transition for us which we embraced with all the gusto of school kids at recess (I know… picture it). We were throwing out STUFF, donating STUFF, garage selling STUFF and “craigslisting” STUFF! (I know, not a real word, work with me)

We couldn’t be happier…so much so that we question our thought process of going even smaller. Not that I am wishing to start the whole moving scenario again….just thinking if we could manage a smaller space and I am confident we can.

Things we’ve learned along the way this past year

1. When you think you’ve eliminated enough things, go back again and eliminate more. It’s important to really think about the amount of furniture you are going to have, clothes, dishware etc.

2. Rethink furniture! If you have the large overstuffed sofa with the huge arms, this may not be the best piece to add in your small space. Seek out mid century modern furniture through vintage stores or Craigslist as well as stores/manufactures that specializes in small space living such as IKEA, Resource Furniture, Desk Murphy Beds etc.

3. Eliminate three sets of “whatever”. You do not need three sets of dishes, 8 styles of stemware, 12 packs of utensils or huge multiples of anything. Use the good dishes…keep them… enjoy them. Don’t leave them covered up to use once in awhile…use them NOW. Time flies very quickly and the next thing you know you will be handing them down still unused to the next relative.

4. Go back to step 1. I am sure there are some things you need to go back and get rid of…go ahead do it!

5. Utilize and invest in storage solutions! I highly recommend taking the time and either building or purchasing all kinds of storage solutions for your small space. It is amazing how easy it makes managing the space on a daily basis. I purchased dividers at IKEA for our large drawers that are under the bed. They help keep my “unmentionables” (My Mom’s fluffy way of saying bras and underwear) as well as socks, pantyhose, trouser socks and scarves…easy to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Other storage ideas such as containers for many of your food items such as flour, sugar, brown sugar etc. Place them in beautiful containers on the counter which can free up space in cabinets. I could go on with all the storage ideas; bottom line is that organizing your “STUFF” is essential in a small space living.

6. Multi-purpose furniture. Living in a small space, you do not have the ability to have a craft room, an office space and guest bedroom should relatives/friends come into town. Purchase or create multi-purpose furniture that will assist you in making three rooms in one! Sources like Resource Furniture, Murphy Desk Beds, LOFTwalls etc

7. Keep It Simple! For me, I like it clean and simple at home. I love seeing the beautiful wood of the furniture and simple furniture. I do not like having a ton of “knick-knacks” everywhere, tons of paintings…lots of STUFF everywhere. Remember you have to clean all that stuff often so keep it simple.

8. Always check in with Step 1. If you have spent time in your new small space and find there are things you THOUGHT you were going to use and did not, maybe it’s time to let go.

There seems to be some sort of “pack-rat” in all of us. So many of our parents and grandparents did with so little and now our generation is about accumulating and gaining more and more STUFF in our lives. It’s time to lessen the burden and get back to enjoying life and enjoying a simpler lifestyle.
Happy 1 year anniversary in our 900 square foot home.

P.S. Juan says that a great alternative to a missing spare bedroom…is called a hotel.

 

The love of Craigslist!

I have learned to LOVE Craigslist! I can sit on the couch with my iPad and search till my heart’s content. It is great to see midcentury modern “anything” and vintage Christmas stuff too. Now I know I am in a small space and I am not rushing out to buy more STUFF! However, there are times I find great things for great deals. For small space living, you can find mid century modern furniture and other great items that will fit in a smaller house. I’ve seen a lot of IKEA as well as CB2 (It is the more modern side of Crate & Barrel).



Front view



From our recent posts…we are cleaning out and “re-purposing” our spare room and we’ve decided to make it an office/workspace dedicated to working from home and also managing our art supplies for our other business ventures! With that in mind, we are letting go of this cool mid century modern office desk. It is too small for us to utilize and we are looking for a table that is narrow in depth and extra long in width. 
Hopefully, Juan and I will be able to show you our finished workspace in a few short weeks. In the meantime, if you are in Arizona and have a need for a beautiful walnut mid century desk….it’s ready to go to a new home!
I really enjoy creating new spaces that add a lot of organization and function to a room. Everything has a spot. Easy to manage and easy to keep clean is my motto. I am constantly thinking about ways I can declutter or make better use of items I currently own. Sometimes it’s thinking outside the box and reinventing something (like my cash drawer into a cool bead divider) that makes it funstional.
By the way….what have you found on Craigslist or other venues such as garage/yard sales, vintage shops etc. Would love to see and be happy to share your latest finds and organization ideas in your small space.





 

Juan says….”Our house is too big”

Yup! That is what he said…Our 900 square foot home is too big! We have too much space…too much room…too much stuff! Are you kidding me??!!! I said surprisingly (There is no wink wink smiley face here).
Okay… I must admit that this was after spending some time in the redesigned area of IKEA. They have created these cool spaces within the walls of the store. If you haven’t been there lately, they have produced small space living spaces within the store. A true dose of reality of living in a 375sqft…405sqft and the one that Juan fell in love with…a 212 square foot home. They built a 212 sqft home complete with kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living space. The space provided all the elements you needed, just add your own clothing, linens and toiletries…and you are home!

So you think to yourself, is it possible to live love in such a small space? Juan does! Heck he’s at the beach in this 212 square foot casita of fun! (Wink wink smiley face) Again I ask the question…how much space do you really need? AND…for each person out there it will be different.


Kitchen of 212 sqft home



View through living space to kitchen

My goal is not to try and convert everyone to teeny tiny house living. Just take some time and really think about how much space you and your family truly need in a home? For me and Juan, we could go smaller than 900 square feet. However, I would want some extra outdoor living space to add to our square footage.
On the walls throughout the small space living, they had great words of wisdom I wanted to share with you.

“Limited space creates unlimited creativity”
“Don’t give up your dreams.Just shrink them”
“Sharing a small space means to show love and respect, to compromise and transform.”
“When you have half the space you need, make sure you double the function.”

They had several sayings like these throughout the store and I really loved the ones that I listed above. I truly believe that if you live in a small space, organization is very important…it makes small space living manageable. Purchasing or creating storage solutions as well as dividers and other organizational tools will make small space living easy and fun!  (Yes I said it….fun)

IKEA is the “one stop shop in a big blue and yellow box with all the right-size furniture, décor and tools to make your small space living F-U-N! Fun!

I love IKEA and remember… sign up for their membership. You might receive a free frozen yogurt!
 

This “Small Space” Living Stuff Is Catching On….Or Rather Is On!



My orange vintage patio chair

 There is a huge trend where living small is going BIG! (I know I know trying to be funny and clever with my wording) Anyway…it’s true. I continue to research on the subject of small space living and finding so many people embracing it. Not just “Middle Class America”…architects, developers, custome home builders…the list goeas on.

First off… back in the 1950’s the average size of a home was less than 1000 square feet.  Fast forward to the early 2000’s the average size grew a little over 2,300 square feet….a big climb over 50+years.
According to the American Institute of Architects, floor plans and lots continue to decrease (over the last couple of years) due to people wanting less maintenance and less worry. I am originally from Texas…everything is big there. You own a BIG house, you have BIG land, and you have BIG Texas hair! (wink wink smiley face!) You are also brought up with the idea that having and owning BIG means living well. You are successful…you are prosperous…you are someone people need to know.
It is great to see this trend of small space living and what I have termed “right-sizing” your life really catching on. However, I am a late bloomer on this subject and as my desire to learn more about living in small spaces, I have found so many people (experts at small space living) who have been doing this for quite some time. One person in particular is Sarah Susanka, FAIA. Sarah is an acclaimed architect and truly “gets” small space living. This is nothing new to her as she wrote a book called The Not So Big House back in the late 1990’s. She states “Not So Big doesn’t necessarily mean small. It means not as big as you thought you needed, but designed and built to perfectly suit the way you live”. That’s how I feel about the term “right sizing”…it’s not about downsizing or losing everything but right sizing to adjust to you and your family needs.
Sara is working on a project in Libertyville, IL called the Not So Big Showhouse being built on School Street in Libertyville, IL.  This taken from the School Street Libertyville website;
SchoolStreet Homes is defying national housing trends by bringing high-quality, architecturally designed homes to the marketplace at value driven prices. In just one year, 24 of 26 homes have been purchased by eager buyers. The Front Porch Revival homes blend almost seamlessly with the neighborhood’s existing turn-of-the-century homes — along with a historic school that will be transformed into 15 urban lofts. Each design offers a tailored floor plan with classic architectural style including American Craftsman and Bungalow. SchoolStreet Homes is connected to Libertyville’s vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown and just blocks from a commuter rail train station”.
Yes, the Showhouse Sarah created is a much larger home (2,450 sq. ft.) actually…the house I sold was smaller than this yet I moved to an even smaller space which is our current 900 sq. ft. home, however they are creating other smaller sized homes including the 15 urban lofts that will be in the historic school building. Some of the lofts will start at 710 sq. ft.  up to 3,100 sq ft (the penthouse). I would want the 700 sq ft -850 sq. ft. myself! The goal is to connect the neighborhood with the community, you must check it out.
Our friends from Resource Furniture are also involved in providing furniture in the Not So Big Showhouse. I will follow up with another blog about the furniture being used …..Stay Tuned!
Final thoughts… I like to live in 1000 sq. ft. or less… for me and Juan this is perfect. I do not think I would like to go smaller than 700 sq. ft. however, some of you might relish in the challenge. For others, you could never think of living in 900 sq. ft. However, I would ask you to take on a challenge. On a weekly basis, check mark how many times you come into a certain room and the length of time in there. You may be surprised with the results. Just a thought! (wink wink )
 

We’re Just Urban Hobos



Juan’s bike

 Several years ago, Juan and I got into bicycling. I found that when I’m on a bike it doesn’t feel like exercise. I can get on and go for hours.

For me….. one of the few things in life that can bring such wonderful memories of being a kid is getting on my bike. The world moves at a slower pace. It’s about you motoring the pedals and zipping through the neighborhoods listening to the surroundings, smelling the fresh air, feeling the breeze on your face….being free.

My bike

As Juan and I embark on almost a year of downsizing right-sizing our lives, we are learning to enjoy the simpler things in life. Since I recently posted mine and Juan’s perspective on becoming a one car family… what greater joy for us to embrace our bicycling and making it a part of our daily lives NOT just for exercise but a way of life.

We thought it would be fun to incorporate our bicycling into our blog to show you that living in a small space….right-sizing our lives and living a simpler lifestyle might get you thinking about what’s more important for you and your family. Not asking you to give up on the finer things in life (I have not given up on style, designer anything and my love of clothing) but to eliminate any excess you may have. Remember what I always go back to…. keep the things that are beautiful and you hold dear to you and use them. Use the nice dishes…use the silverware….use the fine furniture….enjoy your things.

I will add updates on our rides and how we incorporate bicycling into our daily lives. Today, we headed out for a ride to get some breakfast. The weather was perfect and we had an opportunity to see some frightening things along the way….

Boo

Beware all who enter!!!
Mwahh Haa Haaaaa (Must repeat in a scary voice)
I hope you will enjoy my quest for living in a small space, enjoying a simpler lifestyle and incorporating bicycling into our daily lives! In the meantime….I will enjoy my cup of coffee.


 
 
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