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Category Archives: furniture

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.

 

Who Says You Need Four Legs?

Came across an interesting designer….Caroline Gomez. She is a French designer who has created a collection of furniture that seems to be coming right out of the wall.
The group is called Contre and she has a desk or console, a small table or nightstand and a shelf.
Just by simple design, the pieces lean up against the wall and there is no need to attach unless your wall is not a flat surface. The tension of the piece leaning on the flat surface keeps it in place. Yes, by simple design!
She states “why do you need four legs when the piece is going to lean on the wall?
Be sure to check out her website, Caroline Gomez. I think I’ll have Juan look into this…he’s a pretty good carpenter…maybe he could create something similar…(wink wink smiley face)
 

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!
 

A Sideboard That Becomes So Much More!

Are you familiar with the game tetris? I used to play that game all the time. Thank God my iPhone has “an app for that”.  A puzzle where you have to connect different shaped “bricks” to create one consecutive line that will disappear if done correctly. If you don’t, the bricks stack up and you lose.
Well there is a wonderful “out of the box” thinker/artist…well I am sure he is much more than an artist, named Pedro who resides in Lisboa, Portugal who created this beautiful sideboard.
A great solution for a very small space such as a studio apartment or tiny loft. Another way to have “three solutions in one!”
Yes…the inspiration came from the tetris game. Checkout the photos and do you see the “cut-out” design? Very much like the bricks from the game? Yet, it is a wonderful space-saving piece of furniture for storage… THEN it can become a place to eat as two blocks pull out to become benches and a long slender “brick” becomes the table.
Think of the functionality. You can dine, work, store and enjoy this beautiful piece of art…yes, it is art…very clever yet functional (yes, function is my word of the day).
T@tris furniture Satisfying the most hidden sins“-Pedro Machado. More info on Pedro Machado…check out his gallery. Or you can email him directly, pedro@atipic.pt.
 

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 )
 

So You Are Now Minus A Garage…Now What?

When Juan and I decided to move into a smaller square foot home, we knew we were going to have to make some sacrifices and concentrate on the reason why we were doing this. One of the BIG BIG issues… A Garage. I know most men would whimper at the thought of eliminating the most precious room of the house (ask my middle brother). Even Juan was a little upset at first…heck I was too. It was great extra storage room. Yes, a place I could buy more STUFF and store it. However, there are truly great reasons for having a garage.
A place to keep your cars especially in the extreme heat of AZ
A great place for holiday storage (I know I am psycho about Christmas)
A place for those extra toys such as motorcycles, ATVs, and bicycles (Bicycles are the key for me and Juan)
A place to keep your tools for all the “Honey-Do’s” and carpentry work (Yes, Juan is very talented in that arena)
Let’s go back to the bicycles. When Juan and I made the decision to downsize, we each had five bicycles. Yes, I had five bikes and so did he. Why, you ask? Besides the LOVE of bicycles and bicycling….we had different bikes for different applications. (Mountain, Road, Touring or just Cruising)
So we decided that we truly needed to figure out the kind of riding we wanted to do and pare down to one bike a piece which is what we FINALLY did. Seriously it was just this past week that we did this. Even though we have been in the 900sqft home for months!
I’ve been asked on several occasions about storage and what were my thoughts about storing certain items especially bicycles. Many couples out there, like me, have been challenged with downsizing and losing the garage. What to do with bicycles that you still enjoy to ride but do not have the storage or garage space AND…do not wish to leave outside due to weather? Why can’t you integrate your bicycles with your décor? YOU CAN!
Our current set up in our spare room



Right now as Juan and I are still “editing” our spare room that will soon be an office/workspace/bedroom, we are creating a piece of artwork on the wall that is called our bicycles. Why not work it into your space? If you have a studio apartment, you can have a pulley system and have them hanging up high. Or you can do what we did and purchase a gravity rack that does not need to be bolted into the studs and hang a couple of bicycles.
HOWEVER, you can do one step better and purchase a beautiful bike shelf! Chris Brigham has created a beautiful bike shelf that, with simple instructions, you can mount on the wall and hang your bike. It is taking utilitarian one step further by making it useful yet beautiful and simplistic in design.
Chris spent his adult life as a Graphic Designer (Check out his website “About”) all along thinking about working with his hands. You see what an incredible and talented individual he is by visiting his website and checking out many of his designs. Chris had no formal training in furniture design, turned his garage into a woodshop and began building furniture. He taught himself and has built quite a successful business for himself (theknifeandsaw.com).  
Chris saw a need when visiting friends in San Francisco and NYC where storage is a challenge and where to put one’s bike. He saw a need for some “bike management” and created the bike shelf. It is easy-to-install (mount to wall studs) only leaving screw holes when gone (great for renters). It comes in walnut or ash and looks beautiful on the wall. You can add some books or other lightweight items (holds up to 40lbs) keeping more clutter out of the way.
Are you challenged with a couple of bikes in your small space…getting in the way? Do you find yourself moving your bike from one wall to the other to get it out of the way?  I would suggest you check out Chris’ Bike Shelf and get one…or two. What a great way to display your beautiful bike, add other accessories and have room to move around.

Chris Brigham can be reached at his website www.theknifeandsaw.com

 

Edit, Edit Edit and when you think you are done? Edit again!


To briefly update you….in my blog “Admit It! You Are A Proud Owner Of A Junk Drawer, Closet, Garage or in my case….a Room! I am looking to take this great precious space and turn it into a workable office and organized room. I am so excited as I have found so many options I can choose to help make this space become what I need it to be. From wonderful furniture like at Resource Furniture (PLEASE check out their site…some awesome space saving furniture) to other organized products dedicated to small spaces. In the coming weeks, I will spend some time on great resources and ideas you can utilize in your small space where you can live quite comfortably and enjoy a simpler lifestyle NOT be a slave to your home, mortgage, landscape, etc.

SO I am once again having a garage sale. Okay a carport sale as I do not have a garage anymore (wink wink smiley face). I am rounding up our little community and inviting other neighbors to join in for a weekend of “deals and steals”!

I truly thought that Juan and I were rid of the unnecessary STUFF alas we are not. Edit edit edit….constant editing of stuff and what’s important and cherished I should keep. I admit, at times as soon as I’ve cleaned up and organized an area….I start spending money to buy more STUFF! Figuring I have pared down too much…Nope…still too much stuff. Why am I saving this? Why not use the good dishes all the time, what am I waiting for? Enjoy these beautiful things.

Funny story…I’m sure I’ve mentioned in my past blogs.. In 2007 I lost the best friend and father a little girl (okay I am not so little anymore) could ever have. My Mom decided to downsize once again. Yes, she had a huge estate sale before and got rid of 40+ years of excess so she could move from a large detached home to a “Patio Home”. Now with her best man gone she decided once again to get rid of stuff and go smaller. She did a great job all by herself. I came over one day after the move and she had a chance to settle in. I brought over some sort of dessert and was trying to figure out which drawer she had placed her utensils. Surprised, I found the utensil drawer however it was not filled with the basic stainless steel stuff….it was her cherished sterling silver. I looked up and said “Mom, what the heck?…Your sterling is in here, why?” She looked at me “matter-of fact” and said “Mary Shawn, (yes, she likes to call me by my full name AND with a Southern accent) Why should I keep my beautiful sterling packed away in the closet waiting for a perfect dinner or event to use it. Every day I am here enjoying life is a perfect time to enjoy and use my sterling!” I could not agree more.

So is it time for an “Edit Session” at your house? Now’s the time before the holidays to have that yard/garage sale.

I’ll keep you posted as to the exact date.

 

Reason #3 Why We Love living In A Small Space…More Time For Living!

And A Little Bit OF History

This is what I love about living in a small space, simpler life and living more urban. We can get our chores done with ease…cleaning house, laundry etc and set out for some fun! With the weather being much more tolerable, (not two zip-codes past hell kind of weather we’ve been having), Juan and I can enjoy riding our bikes NOT just for exercise but our means for getting from here to there and everywhere. Case in point weekends! This is the time when Juan and I think of destinations we can head to on our bikes. We make it a goal to try and park the car Friday night and not get in until Monday morning heading in for work.

On Sunday, we headed down to the Willo District here in Phoenix AZ. This neighborhood is right in the middle of downtown Phoenix. This neighborhood reminds me a lot of where I grew up in El Paso TX.
There is such an array of homes… all different architectural styles! I believe building started in the early 1900’s and continued to build and grow up to WWII. In the 1920’s, many homes were built in the bungalow style. Then during the 1930’s, the Period Revival brought many more architectural styles such as Tudor Revival, Greek Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, American Colonial Revival, and Pueblo Revival. You also see some French Provincial and Monterey style.

The homes seemed to have gotten lost in downtown Phoenix as so much commercial building has “butted” up against these beautiful treasures. I read that in the 1980s’s, the residents of Willo lobbied for status as a special conservation district, achieving historic status and assuring that this gorgeous neighborhood with its myriad styles of homes will be preserved for future generations. (For more info, (http://www.willohistoricdistrict.com/)

They have an annual Home Tour, typically around the second week of February where you have an opportunity to tour many of these homes. It is great to visit with the owners and learn what they have done to restore the beauty of these homes and how much enjoyment these little homes bring them.

So I will end this blog with a short video montage (about 2 ½ minutes) of the homes we visited via our bicycles and iphone.

 

Follow Up To “Brings New Meaning To The Murphy Bed” Blog



I wanted to follow up with you regarding my blog last week on Resource Furniture. I have to tell you….they are a true example of customer service. I have had the privilege to communicate with many members of the team including Mariel ( I am sorry I did not get your last name), Lisa Blecker who is the Director of Marketing and truly gets the small space living and last but certainly not least Ron Barth the President of the company.

Everyone at Resource Furniture wish to express that no matter where you are located in the US they are able to accommodate any and all of your furniture needs. They crate everything in wooden crates and ensure it is delivered in perfect condition. People on the West Coast can purchase with ease. All you would need to do is email or call and Resource Furniture will provide you with all the attention and service you could ever need or want. I would encourage any one that is interested in learning more to please contact them directly, Resource Furniture.

One final note I will leave you comes from Ron Barth himself. To me it speaks volumes when Owners and Executive Leaders take such pride in their organization AND take the time to reach out to people. I’ve spoken about it before in past blogs and of course in my other side of life, staffing(People “geeks” blog). Customer Service seems to have fallen away. Customer service is no longer an expectation it is a “nice to have”. Have we gotten so busy in life, self absorbed, clueless or just don’t care about the people who wish to do business with us????

Anyway, I am including a small excerpt from Ron regarding his thoughts on customer service. So when it is time to think about converting your spare bedroom to a multipurpose room? Resource Furniture should be one of the top furniture companies to consider.

“Most people think money is the way to gauge the success of their business or interaction with a client. We think that the success is gauged by the client actually receiving the product and it being used to their full satisfaction and if possible, exceeding their expectations. Then we know we’ve done our job. Customer service is really everything and always will be. –Ron Barth, President Resource Furniture.
Now go by some fun space saving furniture! 🙂

 
 
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