RSS

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.

Advertisements
 

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

 
 
%d bloggers like this: