Our Floorplan

Our Floorplan
900 sq ft

About Me

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Call us crazy, nuts or temporary loss of senses. That's what they said....this is about the quiet quest to simplify our life! The process of eliminating the clutter and stress and taking back our freedom. Like many small business owners….we were hit hard due to the economy. We found ourselves rethinking the direction we were heading. Should we gamble and keep the big house and "stuff" because that's what everyone does or do we reexamine what is truly important in our lives? 9 Hundred Square feet is an open-ended journey in living “Smaller, Simpler and Stress-Free” lives!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

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.

Monday, September 26, 2011

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.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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.


Monday, September 19, 2011

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! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

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?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Admit It! You Are the Proud Owner Of A Junk Drawer, Closet, Garage Or Room!

Admit it! We all have one of these things….Junk drawer where all the coupon clippings get thrown in plus other odds and ends like thread, a broken stapler and an earring missing its mate. A closet crammed with clothes you can't wear or don't wear often, old cheerleading uniform (I know), a knitting project that is nowhere near completed or some strange "object de art" that was given to you by your  Mother-in law that is stored away until she visits (no, not me wink wink smiley face). The garage, a perfect place to stash stuff especially when guests are coming in to visit and you do not wish for them to see how much of a hoarder you are with all that stuff! Me…I have the ultimate…the best of them all…. A whole room dedicated to storage.

I’m cheering and screaming from the rafters… “My name is Shawn and I am STILL a holder of stuff!” Yep, that’s me. I own this title right down to the gold star. (wink wink smiley face)

I really do not wish to be honored with such a title; I really want a new one like...”My name is Shawn and I am the proud member of simplifying my life and stuff-less!” (I know there is no such word) however, that is how I would like to be remembered by.

So that is what I am doing, I am going to lay it out there and show you (via video) my second bedroom that is supposed to be an office workspace and is really a “semi” office workspace or should I say “kinda, sorta” office with a little workspace and lots of STUFF around.

My challenge is to get rid of the stuff in here and make it the room I want it to be in and enjoy. A beautiful space I utilize when working at home AND a workspace for other various projects in my life. Also, if possible a bedroom at times for future guests. So check out my video and let me know your thoughts. Do you have a challenge on your hands? Like drawers, or closets or rooms like me? If so, tell me about it and most importantly when do you plan to take that challenge on?


video

The story will continue.....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

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.