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Category Archives: Resource Furniture

What I’ve Learned by “Right-Sizing” My life

As I mentioned in my last blog…(Change is Coming) I wrote about this new chapter Juan and I will be entering in the coming weeks. I will be “spilling the beans” soon…I promise!
In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I have learned over the last year and a half about living smaller, simpler and of course “right-sizing” our lives.
It started when Juan and I were thinking about moving into yet a larger home with only two dachshunds and a 31 year old parrot. Why did we need all that space? What were we trying to do? THEN…the economy took a turn for the worse which affected our business (Staffing).
I read two quotes that really hit me by Henry David Thoreau…. “Only have things of beauty or usefulness in your life”. Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”And this oneSell your clothes and your keep thoughts”. You always have your memories, but items get packed away and you only enjoy the memory.
This is what started this journey and has now taken new turns. Now, a quick view of what we’ve learned and when you see parts that are highlighted, they will take you to the blog I am referring to.
We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better and some of our happiest times were when Juan and I were first married, living in a small apartment. Since we did not have the challenge of cleaning and maintaining a large space, we had time to do fun things with each other.
I learned that you spend your life accumulating stuff to only do what???Pack it away! Take out and dust off your beautiful dinnerware/china…use the sterling enjoy these pieces; don’t hide them in a box to only use a few occasions.
We’ve learned that a garage sale can turn two people that were so worried about getting rid of stuff into two greedy, commissioned driven sales hounds. We’ve learned that bigger isn’t always better and all the wants” in the world will not make you a better person nor change your social status.
We learned that when moving into a small space, it’s hard to go to many of the furniture stores and find sleek, fun furniture to fit in tiny rooms. (Of course today more stores are embracing small space living) Seek out and find vintage or retro stores that sell mid century modern furniture. Great pieces that fit in the small spaces you are trying to furnish and decorate. However, we did learn that in a small space you have to live a lot closer to everyone and IKEA is also a great place to find loft style stuff!
We’ve learned that 900 square feet is a huge piece of living space for so many others. We’ve learned that Facebook has been an awesome way to reach out to old school friends and have the opportunity to stay in touch and learn about their lives/families….and in my case get back in touch with a dear friend who has found paradise in a small beautiful beach cottage on the coast.
We’ve learned that if you spend the extra time, and in some cases, a little extra cash, you can find great organizational bins, boxes, dividers etc to make living in a small space easier.
(This is more about me than Juan) I’ve learned that no matter how much technology you have or love to work with….sometimes going Old School is the best way to enjoy an evening of bar-b-que and the love of a soul mate.
I was amazed…as well as Juan at how so many people in the world have started thinking the way we do. AND….at a much earlier start in life. We’ve learned that there are so many people dedicating themselves to talk about green products, clean technologies and social responsibility and live a sustainable life.
We’ve learned to incorporate some of our treasured items that we stored away into storage organizers. And to look at a room at what you plan to use it 90% of the time…not 10%…and amazed that there are so many wonderful products out there that can transform one room into three rooms.
Juan and I have learned that riding our bicycles to close destinations verses driving your car make a much more enjoyable adventure. That you enjoy the scenery much more pedaling by than driving. That by bicycling to may of our destinations is a great mental break as well as exercise and save on the gas.
For me…one of the neatest (I know …I just wrote the word and thought neatest? Okay Brady Bunch)….yes, I said one of the neatest things this whole experience has done has brought me and Juan into a new direction and adventure. A beginning of a new business…doing something I have always been passionate about and enjoy doing 24/7.
Whether it’s bicycling, building this new start up adventure and getting the opportunity to meet people face to face across the southwest, Juan and I will continue to enjoy a simpler lifestyle, promote “right-size” living and promote “Mom and Pop” business across the Southwest.
The journey continues…..

 

Can your table do this???

Yes, it’s the holidays and time to gather around the table with family and friends. What? In your small space??? Just because you decided to “right-size” your life and downsize your square feet, doesn’t mean you can’t have a party. That is where cool functional/multi-purpose furniture comes in to play.
I don’t know about you…but we grew up in a very large home equipped with huge eat-in kitchen and a separate formal dining room. The cool thing was getting to eat in the formal dining room. I must admit… my mom and dad truly enjoyed to entertain and enjoyed eating in the formal room, however as we got older and our lives got busier…less time was spent in the separate dining room and more…much much more time in the eat in kitchen.
I’ve talked to a lot of people and when asked about growing up with a formal dining room….all agreed….they rarely ate in that room! (Another room that can be eliminated from your square footage)
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a nice area to sit down and enjoy your meals…do you need more than one?
Another point I would like to add is how many times in a year do you have a large crowd? The obvious times are during Thanksgiving, Christmas and possibly a momentous birthday. So the way to think about your space is to think what the function of your space needs to be 98% of the time THEN follow up with the leftover 2% of the time. I am guilty of doing this too. I found myself always looking to have extra rooms. You know…I need to set up my home office AND I need a separate room for guests. The occasional guest…let’s see…in 7+ years in my bigger house that would be 5 times having guests over. Yes, in the course of 7+ years!
All of us in general tend to think about the one time we might need the extra space or a certain item verses the other 364 days of the year.
So here’s a solution from my good friends at Resource Furniture when it comes to dining and having more than the typical 4-6 guests at your home. It looks like a regular console for the 98% of the time you need it. However, when it’s time to have 2, 4 or more guests???? This sleek piece with aluminum telescoping mechanism and FIVE extensions becomes a gorgeous dining table at an unbelievable 117” long!!!!
What is so great about this piece is you focus on the furniture on what it is supposed to be most of the time and when you need to host a large gathering, you have an instant table. With the five extensions, you have the ability to make the table any length. It also comes in other colors and finishes. So be sure to check out their web site @Resource Furniture.
If you think you are going to re-do a room… think about what the room will be the majority of time…not for “that one time”. Be creative with multipurpose furniture or if you have a knack for carpentry, look through magazines or online for ideas and build your unique piece.
Remember to focus on what you need the majority of the time and purchase or create a unique way to utilize your space when you are entertaining, having guests overnight or whatever purpose you might need for the few times!
 

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 )
 

Yard Sale Is Upon Us!

Well, we are prepared and ready for our yard sale tomorrow (Saturday). We’ve gathered, dusted off and cleaned our “vintage goodies” for our perspective buyers to “wheel and deal”!
I am excited due to the fact that we are eliminating more STUFF from our storage and home and will soon be ready to decorate our spare room.
All the exciting things and ideas we will have at our fingertips from such great resources out there like;
These are just a few of the resources out there that “small space dwellers” la la LOVE!  In future blogs I will continue new discussions about many of the products and services out there dedicated to small space living.
Wish me luck on the yard sale!

 

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.

 

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?
 
 
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