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Category Archives: mid centrury modern

"Now This Is Some Amazing Furniture!"

Have you ever played with one of those wooden puzzles? You know the ones that might be shaped like a cube or box and there are intricate wooden pieces that you have to figure how they connect to create the original shape? What was so cool about them were the beautiful colored woods so smooth and the challenges of figuring out where they go!

Take that same amazing talent of a puzzle and create furniture! What do you get??? Claudio Sibille! Claudio is a Uruguayan industrial designer who graduated from IUB (Instituto Universitario Bios) in 2009. He is known and recognized for creating beautiful and unique furniture for small spaces. (From his website)
It is amazing to see this simple “sideboard” looking piece of furniture and watch how it transforms into a desk, two chairs and a file cabinet.

I love the attention to detail where the backs of the chairs has the same pull handles so when placed back into the cabinet it lines up as if there are multiple drawers.

His expertise is furniture and more specifically how to create furniture that is fully functional in limited spaces.
Claudio has been recognized and selected in furniture design contests and you can see why he will be someone we will see more and more of in the future.

Be sure you check out his website….awesome pieces and other neat furniture ideas.

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You never know what adventure the ride will bring….

An Urban Hobo Adventure

When we set out his morning, we stopped at the gate to decide where we wanted to ride? More to the point, it was a debate over who had the best coffee. Initially I had wanted to pick some place new. A place that might afford us a change in scenery. Ultimately we agreed on one of our usual hangouts (Einstein’s Bagels) because we love their coffee. We did however, decide to explore a new route.
A few minutes into the ride we had to pull over because I wanted to get a picture of my bike. Actually, my new kickstand. (It’s funny how excited I get over a new piece of equipment.) 


Treat #1. The first leg of our trip had us riding directly towards Camelback mountain. The “Praying Monk” was looming larger and larger as we continued on our Easterly course. We rode almost to the base of the mountain. In all my years here in Phoenix, I’ve never been this close to the Monk.
I thought the next leg of our trek was going to be  bit boring as we were riding down the sidewalk, next to the main street. Not too much excitement here. At the first stop-light, Shawn made another route suggestion and had us cut through the Chase parking lot at 44th street and Camelback (a gorgeous Mid-Century Modern  building.) We’ve ridden past here a thousand times and admired the architecture. Today, since it was Sunday,  we were rode on the actual customer sidewalk. Treat #2, a naked lady! Well, a statue of one anyway. There are several statue’s surrounding the perimeter of the bank. I’d never noticed them before. 
You see the most wonderful things from the seat of a bike!

A short time later, we reached our coffee stop. 



Over breakfast we planned out the return route. We were pretty sure where the road would take us, but had never driven/ridden this particular stretch. As we were riding along, enjoying the scenery  we pulled up short! Treat #3. We discovered the coolest statue I’ve ever seen. A life-sized horse made out of every imaginable salvaged item. The individual pieces were not very big, but together they formed the horse. There was even a fresh hay bale! We spent a considerable amount of time examining the statue from all sides. It was fascinating!



Back on the bikes and we continued on our way. Shawn’s guess was correct. We ended up at the intersection of Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard. Treat#4. We stopped off at the Barry Goldwater memorial. It’s pretty cool.
Back on the bikes and heading for home. We had a very fun ride along Lincoln Drive, up and down the hills. What started out to be a routine ride for coffee, turned into a great adventure. An unexpected ART ride! By throwing the planning out the window and looking for any route but the usual, we were treated to some very cool surprises. This was by far the most fun ride we’ve taken in a long time. It just goes to show that you never know what adventure the ride will bring. 
 

Bicycling In Search Of Small Space Living

Juan and I are quickly approaching 1 year since we made the plunge to downsize… get rid of STUFF and simplify our lives. It has been met with challenges…from people who thought we were crazy and from ourselves trying to wrap our minds around living in a small space and getting rid of excess baggage.
However, if we had to do it all over again…we would in a heartbeat. We have had a wonderful opportunity getting to meet great people that have plunged into small space living and enjoying a simpler lifestyle. We are experiencing learning about great companies out there that build small spaces or furniture to fit in those studio style spaces.

So here’s to enjoying the simpler lifestyle and creating beautiful living spaces (I know, my favorite “word of the day” is spaces).



My home at Patio 71



Since we love to spend the weekends riding our bicycles, we decided that we should seek out some cool spaces more “multi-living” style. Of course we live at a great place (Patio 71) that once were apartments built in 1970 and a couple of years ago, were rescued and brought back to their beauty and now are condos. What we liked about the place we live in is we were not looking for the typical condo/apartment style living where there are 100’s of the same apartments slapped together. B-O-R-I-N-G!! We wanted an older structure as we knew apartment homes were built with great architecture detail not “cookie cutter” style. We also wanted to be more urban to be able to walk or ride our bicycle to local shops, restaurants and other independent businesses. So today we wanted to share a couple of other Multi-housing mid-century beauties that make a joy to come home.
So hop on your bicycle and take a ride with me. 
The Cascades “modern 60’s” style check out the architecture design in the building! They have great floor plans from studio to 2 bedroom 2 bath at 1,243 square feet!



Close-up of design



The details in design of this structure is so cool! And they have kept up this look and fell throughout the complex.



Entrance, The Arc Lofts & Apartments




The Arc Lofts and Apartments are right across from The Cascades. Not as many units but they have updated them as well with three levels of modern 60’s fun.



Courtyard of The Arc. small community feel!
It’s three stories of apartments and these are rentals as well. A small complex with what appears to be a beautiful area to meet with other neighbors!



Looking out to the street of Three Fountains

Another great architect of midcentury modern design is Al Beadle AND I la-la love two multi-housing buildings he designed…Three Fountains and The Boardwalk.

Patios out back-Three Fountains



Very simple front entrance-Three Fountains

Although there are times when one may come up for rent, these are condo/townhomes. People like me search out these places as they have beautiful clean lines and great bones. (Wow with my flowery words, I should be on HGTV! Wink wink smiley face)



Entrance-The Boardwalk



The Boardwalk



What a great entrance at The Boardwalk-Look…for rent!



Walkway-The Boardwalk



Triplex living



So if you think by downsizing you have to settle for some “cookie cutter cardboard construction” Multi-housing unit…think again. Across the US there are great older style units you should consider if you are truly looking to downsize. Start by researching your area for stories on homes or buildings that are going through renovations, seek out the older style apartment homes where there are 70 units or less in the group. This brings a much smaller community feel.
 If you want a standalone home (ever think of duplex or triplex living?)….check out the historic areas… great place to meet people that have the same passion as you and are also a great source of information on the area and what you are seeking. Of course realtors that specialize in small space living or historic area knowledge is a great source too.



My “swanky” living room



So every day I enjoy coming home to my small space. I have enjoyed decorating with some great midcentury modern furniture and it makes me happy how much easier managing this space is, more time for FUN! Of course due to my style and taste in furniture, my brother keeps telling me that I should have a beehive hair-do mixing a martini and Juan wearing a smoking jacket! LOL…
I live in the Phoenix metro area… I would love to hear from you and share the beautiful small spaces/multi-housing that have recaptured their beauty (love the mid-century modern stuff) in your area.
 

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.

 

Simpler Life… Bicycle Style!

Simpler Life… Bicycle Style!
Some of you know what a complete nut I am about bicycles and bicycling. Well, I love it. I wish I had the super svelte figure to go with it but alas…this 40+ year old does not! However, I love getting on any style of bicycle and going for long rides. Juan and I have done 60 mile treks riding our single speeds (for those unfamiliar…this is a bicycle with only ONE gear!)
Since we wanted to make this big change in reducing clutter and STUFF…we also wanted to live a simpler life where we live in a more urbanized community where it is easy to walk or bicycle to a favorite destination. And where we live….we couldn’t be happier and enjoy that every chance we get. (When it isn’t 110+ degrees outside). We were so excited this weekend as it hit only a high of 99 degrees! For us this is Fall weather…almost jacket weather  (I’m kidding)….so we decided to embark on a bicycle ride through some of the mid century modern neighborhoods with great little homes.
Our destination today was Northwood off 12th Street and north of Glendale. It is an area where Juan grew up AND his elementary school, Simis Elementary, is right nearby. These are “Haver Homes” a wonderful midcentury architect. Ralph Haver was a modern architect working in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, from 1945 until the early 1980s. Haver is best known for his Mid-Century Modern Haver Homes, affordable tract housing executed in a contemporary modern style. These Haver homes are prized by designers and do-it-yourselfers alike as modest and modern spaces to renovate.
There are many of these treasured homes that couples are purchasing AND bringing back to their original beautiful style they were 50+ years ago. What I love about the Ralph Haver Homes is many of them are not huge homes… small square footage and such style.
So join me as we cruise through this neighborhood and Juan’s enjoy a trip down memory lane of where he grew up!



Very clean lines…sorry picture with my iphone



Haver home brought back to it’s original beauty



LOVE the decorative block!



Original Ad for Princess Homes Northwood courtesy of Modern Phoenix



This one has a great little front patio.



Very simple style with the slat fence to give a private area for relaxing



Closer view



Juan checking out his old elementary school…



As I mentioned, the original Ad I found comes from a wonderful person here in the Phoenix area that has dedicated herself to knowing, understanding, cataloging etc….midcentury homes. Her name is Allison King. King started the Modern Phoenix website in summer of 2003 as a quick-reference method to catalogue midcentury neighborhoods. Since then, her site has exploded with research, reporting and activism opportunities, resulting in an annual home tour and Modern Phoenix Week featuring educational and entertainment events. So whether you are a Phoenician or fan of midcentury modern homes, I encourage you to check out her website. She also has a facebook page called Modern Phoenix
I guess I should invest in a good camera for next time!

 

Thinking “Small Space” At a Very Early Age

At 16 years old, what were you thinking about? Seriously…what was on your mind? Was college? Having a home? Having no mortgage? Not me! I was enjoying the fruits and labor of Mom and Dad “officially” being able to drive legally. (Okay, I used to sneak the car out at night when my parents were out for dinner or out of town and yes…I had no license).

All I was thinking about was the fun I was having driving, friends and family fun…the latest fashion and cool stuff I could buy. Yes, high school was mixed in there but to me that was fun! Loved school and I made good grades but I will be honest with you, I was NOT thinking about my immediate future which was just around the corner as in college…let along buying or having a house in the future.

The other day, I came across the coolest group of people and their website *Fair Companies. *faircompanies is a free resource to help you act responsibly, an independent website with information and tools on sustainability. They have great resources and videos that really meet my passion, small spaces. Kirsten Dirksen along with Nicolas Boullas have dedicated themselves to talk about green products, ethical consumption, clean technologies, social responsibility, ethical investment, and related topics. (Taken directly from their website)

I encourage you to visit their website and see what people are doing out there to live a smaller, simpler and mindful life.

In the meantime….please check out this video created by *faircompanies about Austin Hay who is 16 years old and building his future home.

 

Sometimes the simplest things in life….Are “Old School”

It’s kinda funny as I look back on this year and the changes we have made. This time a year ago we were in the beginning stages of discussion about what we are doing? Why are we doing it? And what are we going to gain from it? My “real role” is running a staffing and consulting firm. We place people across the US in all levels and all departments. (A shameless plug, Kellen James).

As I digress, Juan and I have talked with countless Managers, Hiring Authorities and people looking to make a move and there seems to be a common goal ever since this economy took a dive…A need for a simpler life….A need for quality time with family and friends as that is what is most important.

Going back to my original thought (I know Juan says I have three or four conversations going at once), it was a huge undertaking getting ourselves situated in a much smaller space. Yet, we are so much happier now than when we were in a larger home. I am not a slave to my house/pool/yard. It is like living in a vacation home! (No not as cool as Ileana’s beach house/Previous blog article) But…it’s close.

We find ourselves enjoying our home, hanging out with friends and family here. We enjoy creating cool bar-b-que dishes and sitting at our kitchen table with a cup of coffee and just chatting. We can step outside (when it is not 114+ degrees) and get on our bikes and cruise the canal trail or walk to several neighborhood haunts and enjoy wonderful cuisine of all kinds.

We have an urban space which is very new to me and this area has 71 of these cute 900 sqft “bungalow style homes. There is a sense of great friendship and community here much more than when I was up in the “burbs” where everyone waves but drives right into their garage and shuts the door behind them never to see them until the following morning. We get together as a community for impromptu “happy hour” celebrate a birthday or hang out at the clubhouse to watch a game. It’s truly a community of friendship.

If this is the cost of downsizing and moving to the city?….I wished I did it years ago. So now I will sit with Juan, drink a nice cool “Arnold Palmer” and enjoy “Old School Style” listening to records on my 1962 Fisher Electra Stereo.

A small “taste” of what I am enjoying! Cheers!

 
 
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