Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Small Space Pillow With a Pocket


So my wife found this, and I quite like it. As you know we have covered all sorts of items that have additional storage capabilities — here is another.

The PJ Pocket Pillow — say that three times fast — by Fawn & Forest is a great little pillow. The pillow comes printed with one of several very minimal designs: elephants, squirrels or lemons. It has a real Asian look to it and in fact it is based on Japanese anemone boxs that are traditionally used to house family heirlooms. The pillow actually has a secret — it has a pocket. It’s a great place to stash pjs, a small blanket, remotes or anything you would like to conceal.

The pillow’s Asian looks won me over right away and adds the functionality of helping you to keep your small space tidy.It’s a great find!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Small Space Summer Sport: Bocce


Sports are great! They are good for exercise, some get you outside and they usually involve friends. If you live in a small space the down side is the stuff — the sports “equipment” that in a space to use ratio is seldom worth having. I know we all say we are going to ride our bike every day, but more often than not it ends up in the storage unit.

The trick is finding sports gear that can be used often and takes up little space. Bocce, for example, is a great sport that requires very little equipment to play. You do need a bocce set. A Bocce set usually includes eight large balls of two or sometimes more colors and a small ball called the pallino.

Bocce can be played almost everywhere. Any grassy area will do, but other surfaces including dirt and beaches will also work. If you live in a city, there is a good chance that your local park will have bocce courts, especially if your city has a “little Italy”. Bocce can be played with two, four or eight people. You may have noticed that most sets come with balls of two different colors. The balls usually have varying designs, so they can be assigned to multiple players. The rules are easy — you can read them here. There are also a multitude of bocce sets available, a reasonable quality set can be purchased for $69.00 to $120.00 dollars.

A bocce set is a great thing to have. It takes up very little room — about the size of a bowling ball bag, and can make for some relaxing summer time friendly competition.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Small Space Birdhouse: The Roost


I like birds. I mean to say I like most birds. I’m not down with Alfred Hitchcock’s birds or my annoying neighbor that feeds every pigeon in the city, but for the most part birds are fine in my book.

When I was a child, my grandfather had a Purple Martin birdhouse. Each year when the birdhouse went back up, I thought the birds that returned were the same birds. I actually thought their name, as in family, name was the Martins.

Well, in the cit where I live now, there is no room for a Martin birdhouse and I doubt the martins would like my neighborhood. I think they were more country birds. There are a great many birds in the city and a small birdhouse is an easy way to help provide a safe nesting area.

The Roost by Hepper is a perfect city birdhouse. Its sleek aluminum design makes it stand out from ordinary birdhouses. The roost is durable, non heat-conductive and stylish. There are several vibrant colors and anodized aluminum is extremely durable. These small birdhouses are well thought out with vents and drains to make your tenants comfortable.

Birdhouses are a nice addition to any outdoor area and you could make friends with a bird family for life.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Small Space Radio: CC Radio Shortwave


I have been all over the fact that I listen to the radio all day. There is so much going on out there with radio right now — with satellite radio and HD digital radio. So what about good old fashion radio, shortwave?

I’m not sure that most people are even aware of shortwave radio, but it’s all over the world. It is possible to hear radio shows from all over the world. I am aware of Internet options for the BBC and the like, but shortwave has something romantically nostalgic about it.

A great starter radio for listening is the CC Radio-SW. If you are unfamiliar with C. Crane,, lets just say they are the source for radios and repair. They also make some high quality products, like the CC Radio-SW.

The CC Radio-SW is a super shortwave for starting your listening around the world experience. Loaded with all the bells and whistles, it makes for a very functional radio for around $150.

Shortwave radios are great fun; you will be surprised at the assortment of shows out there on the airwaves. It’s also a great way to listen to foreign languages if you are trying to pick one up.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Small Space Apartment: Optibo


In May I had two posts about Sandy Lam’s Spaceless balcony furniture. It is a system of furniture that collapses into the space beneath it so that you can use the space for a variety of purposes. I was thinking that it reminded me of something I had seen before. When I did some digging, I found it.

Although not exactly the same Optibo is a similar concept. Optibo is the product of Swedish ingenuity I think it’s a bit like a Swiss Army Knife apartment. Although Optibo has been around for several years, I thought it would be relevant here.

Optibo was a research project on future housing and multifunction furniture. The furniture in the apartment lowers into the floor via hydraulic stage equipment. Yes its hydraulics for your couch, well not exactly. The project basically created a dwelling in a 25 square meter apartment. By concealing furniture in the floor it created a space that could transform itself thereby utilizing the space very efficiently.

As far as I can tell, they are not selling the concept yet, but it is a very noteworthy small space.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Small Space Hydration: Lifesaver Bottle.


At one time I was quite into hiking. I would take off for weekends and just walk away from everything. But years and other factors have taken away my adventure edge.

I was always striving for lightweight gear to minimize what I needed to be haul. Hydration, as always, was a heavy or risky component to any long hike. The Holy Grail of hydration has forever been a self-contained filter container combination.

Well the Grail has been found. The Lifesaver Bottle by Lifesaver Systems is a remarkable piece of technology. This little wonder takes suspect water in one end and provides clean tasteless drinking water out the other end.

The Lifesaver removes all bacteria, parasites, fungi, and other microbiological waterborne pathogens. And it does it all without chemicals. To make the Lifesaver totally foolproof, it will also shut off the filtering cartridge when it can no longer function to prevent possible contamination.

Not inexpensive at near $400, but for hiking or as a disaster kit option it’s a great deal.

Even More Small Space Grillin’: Baja BBQ Firepack


So by now my love of all things grilled has been well established. I just enjoying grilling — at the cottage it is a integral part of my summer.

I have also covered the fact that I prefer the flavor of charcoal vs. gas grilling. I am aware of the arguments over the environmental impact of charcoal vs. gas, but I am still a charcoal man.

Having said that, if there is a way to lessen the environmental impact of using charcoal, I’m game. That’s where Lazzari comes in with their Baja bbq Firepack. A great deal of VOCs are released by the lighter fluid commonly used to start charcoal grills. The Baja bbq Firepack eliminates the use of lighter fluid. The pack is a 100% recycled biodegradable paper pack that holds 2 pounds of natural lump charcoal. The package is formed with an integrated chimney that stokes up perfect hot coals without the use of additional chemicals.

You simply light the bottom of the pack, slap it in your grill, and let the package burn away starting the coals.

I’m all about grilling, and simple greener grilling is definitely the way to go.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Small Space Stamps: Charles + Ray Eames


I just wanted to remind everyone to start getting in line now — think of the iPhone release in New York. What are you lining up for, some new object of lust from Apple? No, stamps!

Charles + Ray Eames stamps to be more precise; they are coming soon. The official Post Office release date is June 16, 2008. They are some truly lust worthy stamps and just thinking about them makes me want to write letters to everyone I know.

Then again, I’m not sure I actually want to mail these stamps. Maybe I will stick them around my house on my ordinary furniture and let it dream of greatness.

Small Space Floating Furniture: Cantilever Style


While doing some of my regular trolling of sites, this weekend I stumbled on an image of the cantilevered desk (pictured above).

It is a really fine piece of furniture. I love how the use of built in furniture allows for what is really quite a large piece of furniture without feeling large. The floating volume of the piece allows the room to appear more open and less cluttered.

Built in furniture is not inexpensive and good cabinetmakers are quite rare. However, the added home value of built in furniture can make it well worth the investment. Just remember to keep built-ins classic and clean so what ever it is, it will never look dated. This piece is a great example.

Eastvold Custom Woodworks created the desk. Check out their site for more of beautiful designs.

Via Mid-Century Modernist

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Small Space Living Classic Reborn: The Pretzel Chair


With my deep and abiding love of all things mid-century modern, I’m not sure I could let the weekend go without mentioning The Pretzel Chair.

The Pretzel Chair is one of George Nelson’s classic designs. It is a lovely gracefully bent wood chair. The chairs were produced from 1952 to the 1980’s. To commemorate what would be the 100th birthday of Nelson, Vitra is producing a limited edition of 1,000 chairs.

Such a handsome chair certainly deserved a resurrection, even if for only a brief time.