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Category Archives: office

A Quick Update

In October, I posted a blog called “Cleaning up the Details”…about organization and how great it can be to purchase dividers or some type of organizational tools to utilize in helping small spaces be more manageable. ALSO…I talked about utilizing things in your house that can be used for storage that may be a part of your family history that you hate to give up and are just sitting in storage or somewhere collecting dust.

I decided to use a very old cash register drawer from Juan’s Grandparents who used to own a furniture store as an organizer for some of the art projects I am working (Shameless plug It’s Beginning To Look A lot Like Christmas).
Turned out pretty good! The teak oil soaked in and brought out the beautiful dark wood and now looks like a cool piece of “Organizational Art” for my workspace.
Are you utilizing heirlooms or found some cool way to organize your things with yard sale or antique store finds??? Please email me (info@the9hundred.com) your pictures and tell me about it! I would love to post your pictures and ideas and what you created!
 
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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

 

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.
 

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! 🙂

 

Brings New Meaning To The “Murphy Bed”

I know many think I am crazy but I have to admit…I La La La LOVE (as my nieces would say)our small space! However….could we go smaller???? Before I would say no way. My challenge has always been this…I want a second room that I can use as an office AND a workspace for arts & crafts AND should the occasional family member or friend comes to visit, a place to sleep. Yes, three rooms in one, but how??? How can you create such a space in a small environment yet not have the clutter of furniture? Well, I have the answer.

Meet Ron Barth (video below), President of Resource Furniture (http://www.resourcefurniture.com/), he brings new meaning to space saving furniture. As a kid, I always was amazed at the Murphy bed concept. How cool is that? A bed that I didn’t have to make and I could throw up into the wall! (wink wink smiley face) Resource Furniture has been around since 2000 and they have this great line of space saving furniture. It’s like “Transformers for adults”!

I’ve included a video that showcases this incredible furniture. I have to tell you, when I saw this I was amazed and yet fascinated on the details. The furniture itself is beautiful quality, the technical design is high end and incredible easy. Watch how they lift, turn and lower huge pieces of furniture with tips of their fingers. I went crazy, I looked up every video, went to their website, reached out to people that work there….I am crazy for this furniture!

For my East Coast readers (holler! Wink wink smiley face) you are in luck, they are located in NYC. They also have locations in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Hong Kong. I am writing at this moment to find out specifics for my West Coast readers (Yo!…sorry wink wink smiley face).

So now Juan and I are thinking, we can go smaller, we can move to the beach and live in a teeny tiny place and have this great space saving furniture for all out needs! Hmmmm gets me thinking.

Check out the video.

Now… are you amazed, like me, the beautiful craftsmanship AND how cool this furniture is? Share your thoughts?
 

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!

 

I thought 900 Square Feet Was Small….

Anyone here ever seen the show on HGTV, “Small Space, Big Style”? I LOVED that show! Juan and I never missed an episode. The show hasn’t been on for quite awhile however even back then, we were fascinated with what people were living in and enjoying a simpler life.

What it came down to was the essentials. Things people found most important to them in order to enjoy their space without feeling so cramped and crowded. I STILL struggle with “giving up” stuff. I can never have too many shoes, purses, accessories. But how do you store these items???

I guess if there are multiple people that are going to live in a small space you certainly BOTH have to agree to jump in with both feet. As I mentioned in prior blogs, it is very hard to “UN-condition” yourself to what you have grown to know all your life. Choosing to eliminate the extra “stuff” in your life and only keep the things you use regularly….well it is a very hard step to take and we are still learning and eliminating STILL!!! It’s a slow process however we are embracing it fully.

So, some things to consider….

  • Prepare to eliminate a lot of stuff! Only keep the things you will use regularly and don’t be afraid to use the silver, special glasses, the dishes you save for special occasions.
  • Think about multi-functional furniture (If you go really small…Office workspace becomes dining table)
  • Think about RV or Boats….If you were to live long-term on a boat or in an RV, think about the functionality of the spaces. Think about what you could possibly live with and/or without since you won’t be able to take it all and cram it in live with all that stuff.
  • If you have the opportunity to have a patio/deck/porch…any outdoor space, make sure you design an exterior room as part of your square footage. You might find you spend most of your time there. (Not always applicable if you live in extreme heat and humid climate OR extreme cold and wet) however, there will be times of the year you can and will enjoy the outdoor space.
I found this last week to give you an idea what someone will go through to have a Manhattan zip code. You thought 900 square feet is small? How about 78 square feet!!!!!
Next….Great places to find multi-function frurniture
 
 
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