Thursday, February 28, 2008

Small Space Folding Furniture


Folding furniture is not often pretty. It conjures up thoughts of grey metal, vinyl upholstery and pinched fingers.

Nils Frederking of Berlin is changing all of our past perceptions of folding furniture. His new pieces are both beautiful and durable. These pieces look like they could be used everyday. They are stylishly designed and fold for easy storage.

In small space living, dining is often a problem — this table could be easily stored away until needed. Having a dinner party? Not a problem, just pull the Klappstuhl F2 out of the closet and you have a dining table. Don’t need a full-sized table every day? Fold it up and put it away.

I’m not sure when these will be available for sale, but French furniture manufacturer Ligne Roset has them listed as key products for this years line-up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Small Space Loft


The Interlocking Loft is great example of lofty living in a small space. The space for this loft is far from spacious, but Kyu Sung Woo Architects were able to pack in a lot of living while retaining an open airy feel.

The space has a waved ceiling that, at its low point, is 11 feet 10 inches and in the high points is 12 feet 3 inches. This space did not allow for two full height levels, so the architects incorporated three separate half-height levels into the design. Tucked into the highest points of the ceiling are to separate sleeping areas joined by a catwalk. The architects used the area under the upper areas for closets and spaces not requiring full height.

The space truly interlocks perfectly. In one of sleeping areas there is a raised sleeping platform; the underside of which creates more headroom in the kitchen area.




is tricky device to classify. There are not many other devices that have the multifunction of Chumby.

Chumby is a small Wi-Fi compatible device with a 3.5 inch touch screen and a soft leather case. The Chumby is intended to replace your clock radio. But to call it a clock or radio would be so short sighted. It can be loaded with a number of widgets — the list grows daily.

There is no end to the multifunction goodness of Chumby. The Chumby can be a clock or an internet radio. It can track EBay auctions or display photos form your Flicker account.

The device sells for $179, which is the hardware break-even point for the manufacturers. It’s an unusual thing for a manufacturer to sell a product for no profit, but the intention is to make money by selling advertising on the Chumby units.

Chumby could fit well into your small space life — it’s little and has a multitude of uses.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sonrisa Furniture

Photo Credit Sonrisa Furniture

Sonrisa Furniture is a unique company that specializes in retro and industrial pieces. I stumbled on their site some time ago.

I first fell in love with their vintage steel office furniture — classic Mid-Century Modern pieces refinished beautifully. They have a great selection of vintage office desks, credenzas and chairs.

There is a great selection of industrial objects as well. I have always liked basket lockers as a functional all-purpose storage and organizing solution. I also very much appreciate the idea of restoring and reusing vintage pieces — it’s like recycling furniture.

I am glad they are on the other side of the country because I’m sure if I could actually go to their showroom it would wipe me out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thonet Chair Project


I have a pair of great bentwood Thonet chairs. The chairs were free — thanks mom. I intend to remove the original varnish, which is quite worn and chipping, sand and re-finish.

I am also going to have the seat and back pieces reupholstered, professionally. I am looking for any information on this chair model. Anyone out there know its name?


I have seen similar pieces for sale; there is a set of four on Ebay right now with a starting bid of $475. None of the others I have seen have the metal studs on the back that mine do. It sure looks like original factory work to me. I’m trying to decide weather to replace the studs when I have them reupholstered. Anyone have a clue as to the studs being original?

They both have the original tags on the bottom from the company and the only date is 1928 — if that helps at all. I can’t imagine they are that old.


Here is a sample of the wood with the varnish removed. I’ll update the project as soon as the weather permits me to do some additional work.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Small Space Camcorder


So camcorders are somewhat essential pieces of our digital lives. With You Tube being so prevalent, videos are powerful tool. The right video could direct millions of views to the site of its creator. We like to watch stuff — it’s true. However, having a camcorder with you everywhere is not always practical. Well now it can be.

There have been several variants of pocket-sized camcorders. The Flip Video by Pure Digital has clearly established itself as the market leader in the tiny camcorder market. These little wonders are not going to be used to film the new Indian Jones Movie — or anything of the kind — but for most casual users, they should fit the bill nicely.

The newest model, the Flip Video Ultra has been upgraded to include some nice features. There is a better quality LCD screen so you can see what you are filming. There is also a one-touch button to upload video straight to You Tube and AOL Video. The Ultra is also Mac compatible.

Its small size does have drawbacks. The Flip Video Ultra records in MPEG-4 — a more compressed video than the MPEG-2 format recorded by more full sized camcorders. The zoom is less than speculator and there is no expansion slot for additional memory.

For the $150 price tag, the Flip Video Ultra is a contender. It’s a great little camcorder for the not so technologically inclined. You mother or grandmother could be filming in no time.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Small House-To-Go

htg 2
Photo Credits Martin House-To-Go

Martin House-To-Go
has introduced their new 2008 model, The Fresh Start. It is similar to other portable small space living options we have covered, most notably The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s homes. However, there are several significant differences between the two. The Martin House-To-Go is larger — and get this — much less expensive.

The Fresh Start is being offered at a limited introductory price of $29,900 — really quite an amazing price. Compared to its contemporaries, it is quite a bit more bang for the buck.

The Fresh Start is designed to withstand the rigors of traveling on any road without the need of special permits. It is designed for an easy set up that requires only an extension cord and a garden hose. The Fresh Start can also be removed from its trailer and placed on a foundation for a more permanent solution.

The Fresh Start is all electric so no propane is required. The interior is all pine so there are no toxic fumes to worry about. It is insulated for extreme weather conditions. The Fresh Start even has spacious 11 ft. ceilings.

With a sleeping loft, full bath and kitchen, this portable home can serve as a weekend retreat or a full time residence. This new breed of portable housing is truly a marvel — I hope the trend catches on. The Fresh Start is another great small space living solution via Tiny House Blog.

Small Space Composting


Landfills are bad. According to the EPA, food waste is the number one least recycled material. It is unfortunate that food waste, although very easily biodegradable, is most often added to landfills. In landfills, plastic, water and continual packing prevent food waste from biodegrading for centuries. Now there is a better solution.

NatureMill is a company with the kind of social consciousness we love. Their product, The NatureMill, is a revolutionary item no home should be without. The Nature Mill swallows 120 pounds of organic waste per month. That is the equivalent to the food waste of an average family of five. It will take any organic waste — vegetables, coffee grounds, dairy or meat.

The NatureMill then gets to work by using hot composting to reduce your organic waste. It mixes you waste in just the right conditions using heat, airflow and moisture in its top chamber. The process eliminates odor, pathogens and any seed germination. The compost, as it breaks down, is transferred to a lower curing tray where it continues to compost.

Now I know what you are thinking — but this is not your grandfather’s composter. There is no odor — but just incase there is — a built in air filter that lasts several years. There are no bugs or worms. The end result is fine compost that can be used in your garden.

The Nature Mill can be used inside or outside. It is built to withstand the rigors of rain and snow. There is even a pet waste version. It is a great product with prices starting at only $299 and uses only 10 watts of power.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Small Space Living Library Stair

Photo Credits apartment therapy

If you have read our book page, you know we love books — in fact we have too many. The problem with storing books in a small space is, well, space. There is no easy solution — books just take up space.

Well Veronika and Sebastian, the owners of this London Apartment, have a very appealing solution. They had a staircase converted into a makeshift library. I have seen many architectural examples of shelves on stairs, stairs with built in drawers and other clever uses. I have never seen it taken quite to this extreme and none so perfect for small space living.

The resulting staircase structure is stunning. The stairs are steep, but if leading to a private room, a master bedroom in this case, then it’s more than expectable. I also like the way the staggered treads add visually to the piece. A great find via apartment therapy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lunar Eclipse, Small Space Astronomy


This week on Wednesday February 20th there will be a total lunar eclipse. The Eclipse will be visible in most of North America. Here, on in the east, the eclipse will be observable form 8:45 p.m. until 10:01 p.m. The next lunar eclipse will not be visible until December of 2010.

With the upcoming eclipse, I thought this was a good opportunity to talk about astronomy. I have always loved astronomy; it’s a wonderful hobby and a great family activity. I have owned several telescopes over the years, but have always coveted the Questar 3.5.

The Questar 3.5 has long been regarded as the finest small telescope in the world. It is a maksutov-cassegrain design — that’s fancy telescope-speak for using lenses and mirrors. The precision construction of this scope is amazing. The Questar 3.5 is machined from aluminum — it is a thing of beauty. The barrel of the scope is anodized and silk screened with a moon map and star chart — it is a striking and functional design. The entire package fits into a small leather case; it looks like something Hemmingway would have had on safari.

This is an heirloom quality scope produced since 1954, and they are still in use today. The new production models weigh in at $4,000. Not an inexpensive scope. The make and quality of this product insures that, with care, several generations could use and enjoy it.

Get out there and enjoy the eclipse — you don’t need a scope to see it. Astronomy is a great family activity; it’s fun and educational.

Update: Mid-Century Modern Roundup

Chair Set of Three A

There is another update to the Mid-Century Modern Roundup page. This time we added several of George Nelsons’ most famous designs. There is a sofa, a clock and a stylish desk. Jump on in and check it out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Small Space Pets: Cat Pod Bed


This is a creative new ideal for a cat bed. The Pod Bed offers a safe, cozy and elevating sanctuary for you feline. It is available in 6 designer colors, so one will certainly match your small space. It’s not a large piece and with its thin legs, the Pod Bed looks smaller than it actually is. It’s nice to find functional pieces of cat furniture that can be incorporated into a modern home without making it a cat lady house. A great find via decorate it darling.

Small Space Dining


Dining sets are one of the largest pieces of furniture, next to your bed, in most homes. Fitting a table with chairs large enough to entertain — but small enough to live with — is a delicate balance. I have seen several good space saving designs, but none as functional and stylish as Hans Olsen’s round tables.

These tables were designed in 1953. The design is as revenant now as it was then with no modern peer. These pieces are readily available on Ebay and from other Mid-century Modern furniture brokers. The asking price has been ever increasing in recent months due to the new found popularity of these sets.

The table is a simple, elegant round design with cutouts in the table skirt to accept the chair backs. The table and four chairs fit perfectly together to form one integrated piece when not in use. The chairs are three-legged triangular shaped pieces. This shape is required so the four pieces can fit together under the table like slices of pie. The design is simple and functional with an elegance that beguiles it diminutive size.

There is also a larger sized version that is essentially identical except for the chairs, which have four legs. This table was recently seen in the in the apartment of the winner of Apartment Therapy’s 2007 Smallest Coolest Apartment see the post here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Casulo Portable Furniture Solution

From this

To this

The Casulo is a standard Euro pallet sized box 80cm by 120cm that contains an entire room of furniture. It’s standard size makes shipping a breeze and no additional packing material is needed. Two people can easily carry the Casulo.

The Casulo includes an armoire, a desk, an adjustable stool, a bookcase, bed with mattress and two additional stools. It takes around 10 minutes to assemble each piece and no tools are required. The entire package is used in the assembly so there is no waste.
The concept is striking to me — imagine the customizable options you could create with this system. This could be the perfect solution for small space dwellers everywhere.

The Casulo won the Abraham & David Roentgen Award in November 2007 for its “cleverness, finesse and qualitative realization of the idea”.

Meet George Nelson

Photo Credit Herman Miller Company

Our first Mid-Century Designer Bio has been posted on the Mid-Century Modern Roundup page. Some of Nelsons most famous designs will soon be added as well. Check it out.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Toxic Katrina Trailers

Today the CDC has reported that the air inside the trailers used to house displaced Hurricane Katrina victims contain toxic levels of formaldehyde. The levels inside the trailers can cause respiratory and other health problems.

Understanding fully the difficulties of housing such a large number of families — I’m I'm still left scratching my head. Hurricane Katrina hit the US in August of 2005. Why are people still living in trailers? This is baffling to me when there are a vast array of solutions to these housing dilemmas that are just not being utilized. Instead of adding to the chorus of voices criticizing the missteps of the past, I thought we would look at some of the options to improve the situation.


Brad Pitt and the Make it Right 9 project plans to build 150 homes in the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans. They are off to a great start with 78 of 150 homes financed. You can donate to this cause on the Make it Right website and remember it’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up. There are some great designer green homes going up in the 9th Ward. They are really quite innovative including being built on slightly elevated stilts to aid in future flood survival. Check them out.


I have touched on Katrina Cottages in a previous post, but they certainly warrant a more in-depth look here. The Katrina Cottage 1 at 308 square feet is far from being spacious. It is, however, a real permanent dwelling that can be built for $70,000. The cost of this original cottage is less than that of the toxic trailers. It was intended to be a very inexpensive, attainable structure that could be later attached to a larger home. The plan is a great solution to get people in homes and allow them the opportunity to add more space later. These cottages are also available in a verity of sizes from the original 308 square foot up to a fully accessible version at 1,182 square foot. I also like that you can buy the kits — some are just pre-cut lumber and others are panelized prefab structures or the plans. The best part is you can buy them at your local Lowe’s.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book Review: Modern Retro

Modern Retro

In keeping with our recent Mid-Century Modern theme I have posted a new book review. The book review for Modern Retro: Living With Mid-Century Modern Style is now up on the Book Reviews Page. Check it out and don’t forget to check out the Mid-Century Modern Furniture Roundup page.

The Mid-Century Modern Furniture Roundup Has Landed

Round Up Horiz new

Today we added a whole new page with six chairs we all wish we had. The Mid-Century Modern Roundup page will eventually be a resource for all things Mid-Century Modern. We will be adding more furniture, manufactures, designers and retailers.

Stay tuned for some great Mid-Century Modern action.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mid-Century Modern Furniture Roundup

I'm excited to say I’ve been working on my Mid-Century Modern Furniture Roundup. Look for it to land tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Small Space Folding Bike


Brompton Bicycles has been making its genius little folders for more than 30 years. These bikes fold down to a 10" x 24" x 32" package to facilitate easy storage.

The bikes fold and unfold quickly. They are not the lightest bikes; most models weigh around 25 pounds, but the weight denotes the quality of the build. The 16" wheels may look small, but offer performance similar to larger wheels — they have more strength.

Bike riding is all around good. It’s good for you and good for the environment. Anything that makes biking easier gets kudos from me. An easy to stow bike could be just the thing you need.

Small Space Coach House

btf 1
Photo Credits Scape Architects

Scape Architects of London have nailed small. Their renovation of a tiny 648 square foot coach house brings a big feel to a truly tiny home.

The home is tucked away in a mews just minutes away from the bustle of London. A mews house is a type of stable with living quarters not unlike coach houses here in America. With space a premium in London, most of these small structures have been converted into living quarters.

The home is a 2 story structure just 18 by 18 feet. The home was fully renovated inside and out. There are huge windows that give the space natural light and an open feel, despite its tiny footprint. Every inch of the home was utilized so there is abundant storage with cabinets specially designed for Brompton folders — see next post.

This is another great example of people making the most of very little space.

Small Space Library


I love books — all kinds of books. In a small home, books can become quite impractical. I have always dreamed of having a real library.

In lieu of a real full-sized library the Lese+Lebe by Niles Holger Moormann is a great alternative. Described by Moormann as a locomotive dining car or a beach chair, the Lese+Lebe is just a great place to sit and read. It is a combination bookshelf and comfortable seat with pullout foot rests. It is an ingenious design with true multifunction. When seated, there are shelves that fold down to form a table area that is perfect for a tea and snack while reading. Any piece of furniture that packs this much storage space and looks this good is a winner in my book.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dwell Magazine


I read lots of magazines. I have several favorites and Dwell has been right there at the top of the list for years.

Dwell is a great magazine. Every month you can count on lush spreads of the very best in modern architecture. Dwell is so much more than just pretty houses. They are at the forefront of all things green. There are monthly product reviews, relevant interviews and did I mention the pretty houses?

The most current issue of Dwell, March 2008, has “Small Wonders Homes Under 1000 Square Feet” as the cover story. There are three fresh, new small spaces displayed. They range from the 912 square foot Zizmor Residence to the diminutive 205 square foot Boxhome. Pick it up and check them out.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the Dwell daily blog. It’s on my daily read list and — although not entirely about small space living — it contains a wealth of products and homes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Mini Valentine Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner — seven short days left. I thought I would help you guy’s stay out of trouble by steering you in the right direction.I have picked several Etsy items that I’m sure your valentine will love.


Sweetheart Candy Box Hat
By: Terry Graziano Hats

If your valentine is at all like mine, then she loves hats. This is a great hat. It can be worn in a multitude of ways so it’s like buying several hats in one. Terry Graziano Hats are very well made. The Sweetheart Candy Box Hat is constructed of lightweight wool and lined with silk. It even comes in it’s own hatbox!


Say Anything Note Card
By: Annie Cho

Valentine’s Day means Valentine Cards. This one by Annie Cho is perfect. I know my valentine and I enjoy 80’s movies and Say Anything is classic. I like the fact that this card has the simple Lloyd Dobler (john Cusack) image and nothing else. You are free to deliver any message you would like and Lloyd and his boom box are there to back you up.


Faceted 50’s Vintage Glass Button Ring
By: Mom O Matic’s AUTOMAT

You can never lose with jewelry on Valentine’s Day. This cherry red ring is made from a 50’s glass button. It’s adjustable so it will fit your valentine and it’s inexpensive so it will fit your budget.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Skeppshult Bikes

Photo Credits Skeppshult Bikes

Bikes are an ideal mode of transportation in the city, epically if you live in a bike-friendly city. Pittsburgh is a fairly bike-friendly as far as the infrastructure goes. There are paved bike trails everywhere, and bike lanes on many streets. The geography is slightly less bike-friendly — if you have ever been here, you know it’s a hilly bugger of a city. Despite the geography handicap, I continually see more and more people on bikes.

If you intend to make a real go of commuting on a bike or even using it for short jaunts, you need a good bike. When your bike is constantly breaking down or it is not tough enough to deal with the rigors of city life it makes biking a lot less fun.

Skeppshult has been producing classic bikes in Sweden for nearly 100 years. Bikes are far more prevalent in all of Europe than here in the US. I think these rugged handsome bikes have a good deal to do with that. Skeppshult Bikes are built to last. Their most popular model, the Nature, is the quintessential classic bicycle. There is just something romantic and enduring about the design of this bike.

As spring nears, get out there on your bike. If you can’t ride to work, take it to the corner store. Or just cruise about your neighborhood. Its great exercise and better for the environment than your car.


Tubelor Trashcan


We all have trash and we all shop. My wife and I always try to bring reusable bags when we shop for groceries. We still some how end up with a never-ending supply of plastic bags. I guess it’s the little things we buy — the un-planned shopping excursions.

The Tubelor Trashcan is the perfect mate for your plastic bag collection. It’s a simple design that provides a small trashcan and a colorful cover. Simply place your plastic shoping bag in the can and use the cover to hide the unsightly edges and handles. It’s an easy way to recycle plastic bags. Six designer colors are available, so it will be easy to match your decore.

Small Space Radio


I love the radio. As I have mentioned before I spend far more time listening to the radio than I do watching television.

Two years ago I received a PogoProducts Radio Your Way LX as a Christmas present. I cannot think of any product that I use with more frequency, no pun intended. It’s a fantastic little radio. It gets great reception; it is very small and it’s easy to use. The size is comparable to an iPod, just a smidge thicker but a bit lighter. In addition to the radio, it also functions as an MP3 player with a slightly less innovative interface than an iPod. The MP3’s are stored on SD cards or internal memory.

By far the best feature of the Radio Your Way LX is its ability to record. It can be programmed to record any radio show to its internal memory or SD card. You just program and let it catch your favorite show for you. The Radio Your Way LX is also capable of recording from an external microphone. The recordings are directly encoded to MP3 at bit rates of up to 256 Kbps, making perfect for bootlegging concerts, not that we condone that sort of activity.

If you need a small radio that’s big on features, you will love the Radio Your Way. I use mine every day and I’ve not been disappointed yet.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Eames Plywood Lounge Chair in Small Space Living Color


Herman Miller is now producing the original Eames Molded Plywood Lounge in seven new colors. The new pallet is being produced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Charles Eames’ birth, or is it to celebrate the color pallet of Small Space Living — you decide.

This chair has earned a permeate place in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. If it’s good enough for the MoMA, then it will likely be ok in your home.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Etsy Find of the Week: HiFi Speakers


Good speakers are a necessity. They don’t necessarily have to be huge to sound great, however looking good is always a plus.

Exeluxe sells these amazing Custom HiFi Speakers. They can be made for you in almost any color you choose. They look like vintage Fender guitar amps, but they are actually high quality home stereo speakers. They are constructed with high-quality Audax coaxials, 5 1/4" drivers plus 1"dome tweeter. The speaker dimensions are 11.5"x12.5"x7". At $295 they are not inexpensive, but not at all near the high end of audio equipment.

If you have read my previous Etsy posts you know that I’m a big advocate for buying hand made.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Small Space Renovation


Photo Credits Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

I Love this New York City apartment renovation. This is a great example of what a person can do in a limited space. The tiny studio apartment is just 400 square feet, but it has the feel of a much larger space.

Mark Robohm, a web designer and drummer, renovated the space. He took on some pretty daunting demolition tasks including removing a non-working fireplace. And he did it all while living in the space. One of my favorite aspects of this remodel is that Mark even saved and reused 2x4 framing studs and electrical wire.

There are many things to love about this renovation — the natural light is an outstanding feature. Mark installed a plastic translucent window between the bathroom and living area. This allows light form the bathroom window into the living area while retaining privacy. There is also a sleeping loft that is big enough to sleep in but small enough to be unobtrusive. The stainless steel countertops have a much higher end look than the $700 price tag would let on.

The single most incredible part of this remodel is the cost. The whole renovation — demolition included — was a meager $11,600. Amazing what you can do with your own hard work.

Read more about it here: Living in Dust: Gut Renovation on the Cheap.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Tiny Houses


Photo Credit

Needless to say at Small Space Living we have a real zeal for all things small. With our special focus on small living spaces, it would only be natural that we love tiny houses.

TinyHouses is a great web site with a compilation of photos of small houses from all over. There is also quite a nice gallery of artwork. However, it does leave me wanting more. I crave more information. Who lives in these houses? Some of the homes do have interior photos and descriptions, but others do not.

Anyway you look at it, TinyHouses has some great eye candy and is rich with ideas.

Friday, February 1, 2008

IKEA Hacker


Spawned by my recent Multi-Function Furniture post I feel the time is right to wade into the IKEA discussion.

IKEA, the friendly Swedish furniture giant — love them or hate them — offers a dazzling array of modern home furnishings at reasonable prices. I love going to IKEA. It is packed with almost everything you could ever want to furnish your home. They have all these cute little rooms staged with their products. It looks amazing. But then there’s the Q word — Quality. Well there it is.

To be fair, I have IKEA furniture in my home now — a bookshelf. It has functioned well for quite some time. I have also had several bad experiences with IKEA products. I could go on, but let’s just leave it at let the buyer beware — try it before you buy it. There are some real gems at IKEA and some real headaches as well.

Which brings me to IKEA Hacker. IKEA Hacker is a great blog that can help make your IKEA experience much more enriching. They post an assortment of idea for use and modification of IKEA stuff. They also show ideas for improving IKEA products.

A great example is the image above. It is a bamboo plywood sofa table made with legs from an IKEA IMFORS table.

Official Lunch Day

SSL Launch 200a

Well today is the day. Small Space Living is officially launched!

Look for updates everyday. We will scour the web, periodicals and the news to bring you the finest finds for your small space.

We are still looking of reciprocal linking opportunities. If you have a web site or blog and would like to participate, e-mail us from the about us page.