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Trends for 2012

I have seen a lot of talk from many sources about trends in furniture and living spaces. Yes!!!! Living small is the new BIG! (wink wink smiley face)

Here are some things to think about when you are looking to “right-size your life(looking to downsize your home etc) and how manufacturers are listening to the consumer needs.

Living/Dining rooms molded into one room with the kitchen seems to be what you see (obviously) in small spaces. So having the ability to hang out comfortably…eat in style or “chillaxin” (I know it’s really not a word but my nephews and nieces use it a lot) and gather around the “entertainment box” called a TV.
We have a very sleek 40 inch screen TV in our small space. We have it on top of a metal style console that has the ability to store our other equipment (blue ray player, music DVD’s plugs etc) neatly away. Trends for 2012 say that furniture companies are creating better/sleeker consoles to accommodate any size screen TV and different ways to place or hang on the unit itself. Trends state that hanging the TV on the wall will be fading….I find that hard to believe…we will see.
Sectional sofas are always growing and changing. Nowadays, manufactures are giving the consumers multiple options for the casual urban young shopper looking for a comfortable couch. The ability to create and add how many sectionals plus options to add a chaise on either side gives consumers countless ideas to place furniture in any challenging small or large space. Juan and I currently have a cool teak sofa and chair, however having the sectionals to create two small love seats facing one another or a sofa with chair on one side etc…would give me the option to change my space when I am having a party or just have the urge to make a change.

Bringing back a larger coffee table seems to be the style for 2012. If you were a kid growing up in the 60’s or 70’s, you remember the times you were able to take your dinner plate to the big coffee table so you could watch your favorite program…what a treat. Trends for 2012 say they are bringing back the larger more functional coffee table especially since family gatherings are more casual and small space living needs to have multiple eating options. 



Small triangle tables underneath for additional space

Juan and I have a cool mid century modern coffee table (shown above) that has four small additional tables underneath that can pull out and provide additional eating spaces for our guests or for when we want to hang out on the sofa!



Starts off as a coffee table
Resource Furniture (an awesome company) has wonderful options as well. One in particular gives you the ability to eat and work at a lower seating level PLUS bring the table up to you verses you having to lean down. Be sure you check out their website Resource Furniture for additional space saving furniture needs.
 

Now a great work space or additional dining option @Resource Furniture
Another type of trend many are speaking of is storage in or under beds. Not just for the kid’s room…but for the adults too! Juan and I did purchase a sleek bed from IKEA and enjoy having the ability to have four large drawers we can access easily. Many designers seem to be doing away with having so many chest of drawers in a bedroom. Making your bedroom a retreat with a possible writing/office space or a comfy chaise to read a good book are more popular options than trying to add drawers etc. What’s in for 2012 is the ability to store within a platform bed or other solutions that can go into a closet and have a beautiful bedroom retreat!





Well… based on the few articles I read….Juan and I have made many of the same choices in regards to “What’s Trendy” without even knowing it. Except for the sofa…maybe I should take Juan out this weekend for a little bit of furniture shopping. He’ll groan when I tell him. (wink wink smiley face).

Speaking of office space…I wrote a recent blog “How can I have an office in such a small space”, where I blogged about cool, sleeker furniture out there that is capable of making any room an office. There are great options available… from an office that can close up and become a beautiful piece of furniture, or a sleek desk that has the ability to hide in plain sight. Multi-purpose furniture…of course the advancement of technology where you can have wireless throughout your home and a plethora of options to make any room in your house a place to “get things done”!

 

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.

 

How can I have an office in such a small space?

People often ask how I could possibly office out of my 900 sq ft home (along with Juan) without bumping into one another. Well…I know people that live in 400 square feet and work out of their home. It can be done with a little imagination and creativity.
First off, one can make an office space virtually anywhere in a home. Even if you do not have a dedicated room for an office, you can grab a tiny piece of real estate in your home and make it your company domain! (wink wink smiley face) Especially with technology….computers, tablets and TV’s can be placed anywhere in a room. No more need to get that “cable guy” out to add another line on a wall.



LOFTWall



“Carving” out a space is easy….keeping it clean, organized and clutter free….well that can be a challenge at times especially in small spaces.
Today, we have manufactures that are dedicated to small space living and providing furniture that is multi-function and/or narrow to accommodate apartment style living. Here are some ideas that you should think about when creating your work space at home.
Dividing out your space….
Whether you have a small house, tiny cozy apartment or high rise loft, dividing a space to dedicate as an office is a great way to start. A great company called LOFTWall offers beautifully designed dividers for your home or office. Should you not have a room or four walls to surround you when working….how  about a LOFTWall divider to create your office environment and give you the feeling of a quiet space to accomplish your activities whether you are a stay-at-home OR working professional. For me…that ability to separate home life from work is helpful every time you need to “get to work” yet enjoy the comforts of home!



Murphy Desk Beds



 So you actually have an extra room OR you have some extra space…
For someone like me…I am always concerned about the ability to have overnight guests AND have space to work. However, how can I do both? The good people at Murphy Desk Beds can offer great solutions for your work/guests overnight needs!



Murphy Desk Beds



If you are searching for a twin, queen or king bed you will have numerous options plus a variety of finishes to accomplish those needs. A beautiful yet sturdy office desk by day and comfy cozy bed at night. Again for those wonderful people that have a 450 square foot home by the beach or some cool hip metro area….you can office during the day and have a place to sleep at night! A Murphy Desk Bed is a simple and cost effective solution that will have you set up in no time and ready to accomplish your 2012 goals!
Building furniture dedicated to small space living….
As I mentioned before in past blogs, more and more people are trying to simplify their lives and downsize their space. Juan and I made a decision to “right-size” our lives and find a space that works for us where we are not a slave to our home.
With a small space like we have, it didn’t make sense to bring in the Copenhagen square table that seats 8 people or the “Monster” of an office desk that would take up a room. We found many companies out there dedicated to small space living. IKEA, Crate and Barrel and CB2 are great places to seek out furniture to utilize in your tiny abode. (wink wink smile face)
Example here is from CB2. They have great options for desks that you can create a small working space anywhere in your home. Using furniture that is narrow, simple or even acrylic can give the illusion of more space. (With the acrylic, it is like having invisible furniture lol….I know I’m sorry)



CB2
Even these cool “table options” that can store your laptop easily or set up while watching your favorite TV shows….well there is no excuse now for getting out those emails or projects.



CB2



The great thing about building an office space in your small home is that you are not limited. AND….if yu are lucky to have a gifted carpenter like my Juan….well any design he sees at stores  or online he can copy and create for a lot less $$$$!
UPDATE: Juan and I have managed to clear more “STUFF” and clutter from our second room and have found a beautiful desk at IKEA as a start for our office. I will post the update next week.
If you have created a cool office space in your small space….I would love to see and share!

 

What to do…What to do…

Won these on eBay. What are they you ask???These are vintage punched tin bulb reflectors….I know…Cool huh! (I know you might be thinking I’m crazy, right?)

Well now what I am thinking is what I am going to make out of these cool piece of history. If you’ve been reading this blog you know I love to create things. During the holidays I had a hit with tin ornaments (check out this past blog about them) and so now I am thinking some sort of Christmas ornamentation!

I love Christmas and yes…it is January and I am already thinking about Christmas. The vintage stuff from the 60’s and 70’s I really la la love. I guess because it brings back such awesome memories for me as a child. But something I am looking for and I know it is from an earlier era….an aluminum Christmas tree! (happy happy joy joy face) Of course I’ll keep you posted.

For now….I am going to think about these vintage punched tin bulb reflectors and what they are going to become! I’ll keep ya posted (wink wink smiley face)

 

Urban Hobos- Cruising the neighborhood

Juan and I in simplifying or rather right-sizing our lives, have decided to ride our bikes as much as possible AND patron local small business owners.

You want to help the economy? Shop and visit your local neighborhood shops, restaurants and businesses. Small business owners are the key to boosting the economy not always BIG corporate America.

A favorite of Juan’s is Churn. It is right next to a wonderful eatery and awesome hangout, Windsor (same owners) and when you walk past the threshold you are walking back in time.

Remember, Zots, Pop Rocks, Jumbo Pixie Stix, Taffy and assortment of gum balls and jawbreakers??? Well they have it all.

Besides the “old school” candy, they have some awesome artisan ice cream. All you need is one scoop and you’re hooked. Do you remember the old wooden paddle style spoons you used to get as a kid for your ice cream? Well that’s how you eat at Churn.

They offer a great selection of cones including my favorite… A pretzel cone.

So if you live in the Phoenix metro area or planning to visit, check out Churn (www.churnaz.com)!

 

Top Hits for December

And the winner is…….

Wow… it seems like yesterday I was getting ready to put up the tree and plan for the holidays…

Now, all that is left is some sparkle left on the floor that my vacuum refuses to pick up and all the shelves and spots in my home where Christmas lived seem blank….(sigh)

Well, I have listed the top blogs for December and in case you might’ve missed one….here they are.

Urban Hobo Cookies-A Couple of Friends Helping Me Out!

Can your table do this???

Regrets; Juan’s Perspective

Urban-Hobos-Patron Your Local Neighborhood Haunts!

Recycling Your Christmas Tree

Juan and I are always interested in anything and everything you have to say! If you have a suggestion or have a home, furniture, art, food, organizational tricks/ideas….you’d like to share, we would love to hear about and post!

Here’s to a hearty, happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!

 

So…Started the New Year Off Breaking Any of Your Resolutions?

Happy New Year! Juan and I love this time of year…time to release the old and on with the new….wipe the slate clean….start fresh! Hold on…. how many of you started with the best intentions only to have “blown it” already. That’s okay each day is a new day and you can always start fresh, however maybe this time set more achievable goals.

Begin with the end in mind.-How many of you just make a list that states…”I want to be in a new small space” (sorry I am always thinking right-sizing)”I want to be skinny”, “I want to ….blah blah blah. Start with the end in mind. For example; if you want to own a house…think about the cost of a home you will afford as well as the down payment that will be needed and realistic mortgage you can afford. Once you have that amount in mind then you are able to work backwards to the present as to how much you will need to save on a monthly basis to have the down payment on a future home. If you have a wish for a larger home and the down payment is big, you might need to either A) Save more on a monthly basis or B) Make a goal for the first year to save “X” amount and the next year (or less) the rest….We could go on…but I believe you get the picture. Bottom line is that you start with the end result and work backwards. Whatever the goal is start with the end and work backwards. You might reassess and adjust your goals.

Set realistic goals.-Sometimes we get waaayyyy toooo ambitious when it comes to goals. For years that has always been my downfall. I have always battled with weight and I would make a goal to be a size 2 in six weeks. I am not a contestant on The Biggest Loser….so it makes more sense to set realistic goals that can be achieved than to get disappointed with lofty ones.

Start off small.-If you wish to add exercise into your regime, try to start off with small goals and mark dates/time lines to move to the next level. Start off with 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening…OR…taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking your car further and walking more. If you start small it is easier to stick with it. Many tri-athletes had a starting point when they first started training…the same should be for you.

Include time for self or just relax. – In our very busy lives, we tend to keep running until we collapse. Or burn the candle at both ends. Give time to rejuvenate…meditate…or try yoga. The say it’s a great stress release and can lower your blood pressure.

Think about giving back or volunteering as one of your resolutions.- Volunteer!!!What a great way to give back and another great way to lower your blood pressure and de-stress! Volunteering or giving of your time etc., is a great way to feel good about yourself and doing something positive for the community or for someone in need. However, do it for the right reasons

Now…start making your New Year’s resolution(s) with some of these tips in mind. I guarantee better outcome and results. Good Luck!

Cheers to an awesome 2012!

 

Urban Hobos-Brrr… A Little Chilly!!!!

Well, Juan and I are working from home today and decided to take a morning bike ride.

Living in Phoenix, our blood has thinned and when it comes to near freezing temperatures….we are “wusses”! (I checked spell check and it said it was right)

Wow! My toes feel like they are going to break off as we arrived at our destination. However, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to get on my bike and ride.

So it’s the “eve before Christmas eve”…I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday with family and friends and finished the mad rush of shopping.

Juan and I will warn up with another cup of “organic Ethiopian” and head back out in the chilly air.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..

 

Urban Hobo Cookies Are Here!

Well…it’s the holidays and for many this is “baking season”! You know….you get in that mood where you want to hang out in the kitchen with your cup of coffee and your recipe book and sort through delectable goodies from years and years ago. Recipes that have been passed down generation to generation. Amazing how some things have changed in how we mix or knead….and how “old school” is still the best way to prepare…especially when it comes to baking.

I LOVE to bake…always have. As a child I always found myself wanting to create some sort of themed cake or cookie creation for the holidays and it still rings true till this day. So much so that I have decided to branch out and create a simple yet tasty treat that can easily be shared with anyone on the go….Urban Hobo cookies”!

Why did we come up with the name Urban Hobo? Well in order to tell you about our name I should give you a little insight into Hobos. A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond. The term originated in the Western most likely Northwestern region of the US during the last decade of the 19th century (Wikipedia). Unlike “tramps”, who work only when they are forced to, and “bums”, who do not work at all, “hobos” are workers who wander.

Juan and I like the idea of a hobo as they were in a unique class of their own and also had a code of ethics that they followed. I will provide you a list of many that truly speak to Juan and I and what we are trying to do with this new line of products we will soon be selling. (I know shameless plug)

The “URBAN” part of our name speaks to our love of urban living….living small and living near the city or neighborhood where you have access to great restaurants, groceries, retail etc…the majority being small business owners which we need to patron as the small business owners are what will help our country grow and get back on track economically. So PLEASE….wherever you are located in the US…please visit and patron your local small business shops! (Okay so now I have created a public announcement)

So like the hobo…we have created delicious homemade goodies that will be delivered in a brindle pack to your door. (A brindle pack is where hobos carried all their worldly possessions)


cookies packed!


Here is a sampling of the hobo ethical code that the true hobo lived by. It truly speaks to me and Juan and what we would like to do with this new product line;

  • Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you
  • When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times
  • Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos
  • Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again
  • When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts
  • When jungling (jungle is a hobo camp site)in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you
  • Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling

We will announce our new website (coming soon!) where you will get a chance to view our line of wonderful tastey treats! 

Should you wish to order or have questions, please contact;
Shawn Smith
shawn@jmsogroup.com
480-215-2329

 

Regrets-Juan’s Perspective

I ran across this blog post the other day and found it very interesting. It deals with the regrets people have at the end of their lives. It’s interesting, because they are all things that we recognize earlier in our lives.
However, in our quests for success, survival or what not, we push these thoughts to the side until a later time as we count other needs as more immediate or important. As this blog points out, by the time we decide to focus on these issues it’s often too late.
I found the summarization of point #2 especially relevant given all that’s transpired in the economy these past few years.  Hopefully you’ll take something of value away from this article and take some time to reflect on your life, so that you don’t have any regrets.

 

REGRETS OF THE DYING
By Bronnie Ware
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Shawn’s comment: In reading the article above…not one time did you ever hear about “STUFF”. Bigger house, cars, status, things…I could go on. It has everything to do with love of family, friends and self. My Mom always said…”Don’t wish your life away by wanting to be older. As you age the years start coming faster and faster and before you know it, you are past your childhood, teenage and young adult years heading to retirement.” Enjoy each and every day! Right size your life!
 
 
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