Monday, March 31, 2008

Marais AC Chair


As spring approaches, I can’t help but think of sitting out on the patio listening to the sounds of the city.

I am thinking this year of upgrading our outdoor furniture; I’d like to adopt a French outdoor-café theme.

I have been eying Marais AC Chairs for some time. I love the chairs and the stools. There is something intriguing about these chairs. They somehow are able to simultaneously stir up feelings of an elegant classic French café and the rugged aesthetic of industrial furniture.

The chairs were designed in 1934 to be originally used on ships. They are crafted of sheet steel in varnished gunmetal grey. They are also available in powder-coated colors.

Marais AC Chairs are available this season from Pottery Barn with optional cushions.

They chairs are stackable, up to eight high, which makes them perfect for small spaces.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Small Space Pets: More Cat Products


I have a cat — if you are a regular reader, you know this. I have already introduced you Koneko, my cat.

We are always looking for quality cat products and furniture not made of cardboard carpet tubes. Enter Square Cat Habitat, a new manufacturer of modern bamboo cat furniture.

There are several pieces available; all made of renewable bamboo with removable / replaceable carpet inserts.

The Bastet is a freestanding shelf with scratch pads on each side and a carpeted top. The Buddha is a wall-mounted carped shelf that can be used as a window perch or staggered for a climbing play area. The Itch is modern minimalist wall mounted scratch pad.

All three pieces can be customized with wide array of carpet inserts to match your décor. These cat products that look like they are made in this century — once again encourage me and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Holyoke Cabin: Update


Way back in January we had a post about Paul Stankey’s Holyoke Cabin. This amazing creation is a small cabin created joining two shipping containers. The resulting structure is striking.

Ready Made Magazine has a piece about the cabin in its March issue. There is not much new information about the project, but it got me thinking about it again.

I also found this photo set on Flicker with some new shots of the site and project.

And I know the rules “thou shall not covet thy neighbors cabin”, but Paul is not really my neighbor so I guess that makes it ok.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Small Space Tools


Tools maketh the man, or woman. All right, so the tools will not make you, but they will make your life easier.

A decent basic tool kit is an essential household item. We very often need to hang a picture, remove a nail or measure something. Having the right tools makes everyday tasks much simpler. It is just as important to have these tools close at hand and organized makes these tasks less stressful

So just some tips for tool ownership…

First, have all the basics. Any good starter tool kit should come equipped with the following: Hammer, Pliers, Vice Grips, Wire Cutters/Side Cutters, Level, Pencil, assortment of Screws and Nails, Small Screw Driver Set and Utility knife.

If you were to add a power tool, a cordless drill with an assortment of bits would be a godsend. If you ever have to hang blinds/curtains or assemble an Ikea purchase, a cordless drill can save you time and effort.

Many tool sets come in a plastic cases made to hold only the tools included. Although these are great starter options, consider upgrading to a small toolbox so you can add the extras you occasionally need to purchase.

Whatever you have and what ever you keep it in, remember to keep it handy. In small space living this is usually easy, but having to run to a storage room for a screwdriver is time-consuming.

As a parting note, we are often capable of more than we think, but owning a toolbox does not make you a Bob Vila or Norm Abram. Know your limits and respect them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Small Space Cabin Architecture For The Masses


It’s nice to see relevant architecture available to the masses. Very often striking architecture comes at striking prices.

I have been watching the C3 Cabin for several years. Designed by Vandeventer + Carlander Architects, the C3 was originally designed as a weekend retreat for a couple in Washington State. In 2006 it won the AIA/Sunset Magazine Merit award. The plans were later made available at a cost of $2,000.

Making plans available for mass production is a significant step for an architectural firm. Selling plans for structures carries with it considerable liabilities and expense, which are passed along in the purchase price.

So why am I talking about a several year old design? For several reasons, not the least of which is a price drop of the plans to $850. This is a fantastic price for an award winning design.

The cabin is a perfect illustration of small space living with big style. The foot print of the cabin results in an interior square footage of 352 on the fist floor with an additional 128 in the loft. The interior is designed with the kitchen and bath on the first caped by the sleeping loft.

The design of the cottage encompassed three primary goals. First, to provide the space required for an extend stay cabin with a minimal footprint. Second, provide a quality of space and abundant natural light not typically found in a structure of this size. And third, the structure needed to allow for simplicity of construction and maintenance. The C3 hits a home run all three points.

The cabins exterior is constructed of low cost fiber cement and metal panels. These materials have a low initial cost and minimal long-term maintenance.

The cabin has that light airy look and feel of a well-designed space. The natural light and interior height trick one into believing the C3 is a far more spacious structure.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stairs in Small Spaces


Stairs are hard. Not walking up or down them, but rather integrating them into a small floor plan. Our home has a unique set up with the stairs floating in the center of our home. There are no walls around the stairs on the first floor, which makes that level seem bigger than that of similar homes.

Floating or not, they very much limit the area around them. It is our intention to move the stairs back against the wall to open up more precious floor space. If it were one set of stairs it would be easy, but we also need the basement, second floor and attic. I suppose when the time is right we will consult an architect.

I do however find myself looking at the many available stair options on the internet. I am constantly looking for that perfect stair and how it could integrate into our home.

The picture at the top of the post is an industrial indoor or outdoor aluminum alternating-tread unit that I have been seeing everywhere. It is in projects in several books I own and I remember seeing it in no less than four magazine spreads lately. If I lived in an ultra slick bachelor pad, I’d consider slapping it on every floor. The wife would never go for it and I’m sure after one slip I’d hate it too.

I do come across cool stairs very often and here is a gallery of my favorites. Have a great stairs in your home? I’d love to see them — send it my way.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

An Assortment of Valets to Simplify Your Life

Mark Wilson Valet

I’m the type of person that likes to have my clothes laid out in the morning. I frequently need to wake up at four-o-clock. I don’t like to count on my ability to grab the brown belt and not the black, or worse yet, insure my socks match when I’m only half awake.

I have considered my options and I want a butler. But after running the numbers, I’m not sure a manservant is in my future. That reality is oh so disappointing, but I will endeavor to persevere.

After reconsidering my options, more realistically this time, I think I may have to settle for a Danish valet. I know from English manservant to Danish valet is quite a step-down.

In all seriousness the valet is a very often-overlooked piece of furniture. I know what your thinking — small space living is cramped enough, and you want to add more furniture. In short, yes.

Small space living is all about organization that streamlines your living conditions. Used properly, a valet can serve several proposes. Most have a drawer or tray that can be used to store your wallet and keys. Once you make a habit of always placing the contents of your pockets in the same place, it makes life much simpler. A valet will also help to sharpen your creases and let the crumples out of your clothes.

There is a wide array of valet options available. Some are simple racks, others have small storage areas and still others are chairs with clothing racks and seats that open for storage. The price is also varied; you can buy a simple valet for $50 or a designer model for $6,000.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Mark Wilson produces a handsome valet in cherry, maple or walnut with bright nickel fittings and a faux ivory handle. It is the valet pictured at the top of this post.

Horchow Chair Valet

Horchow sells a wonderful valet chair — not for everyone’s décor, but it has a rugged classic look. The seat lifts for storage. I do like the chair valets as they provide a nice place to sit and tie your shoes.

Wegner valet chair

I also love the Wegner valet chair. This is a classic piece of Danish modern furniture. The sticker price of the new production version of this chair is likely to cause you to need a chair. It can be found used from time to time at around a third of the cost. It is a truly great design. The seat lifts to reveal additional storage, but the seat also becomes an additional hanger.

Valets are a unique piece of antiquity from a simpler time, and sometimes that can be very refreshing. And we could all use a bit more elegance in our lives. Now if I could just find a valet that also makes a perfect dry martini. Then I could feel better about not having the manservant.

Small Space Living: Personal Update, Google Love


I know. I know. Two personal updates in one seven-day period is a bit much. Having said that, I hit another personal milestone today.

Once a week, usually on the weekend, I head to Google and type “small space living”. I have been watching my accent starting about five pages back. So this week I officially hit the top ten. I am in fact number nine.

I also think it is important to note that this was done without paying for any insertion services. I’m number nine due to indexing and links. So a great big thanks to everyone who has linked Small Space Living, also a big thanks all of you who read, and comment.

I know number nine is not number one, but for a blog that went public on February 1, 2008, I’m happy with nine. I’ll brag more when I hit the top five…

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Small Space Waste Reduction: Filter For Good


I don’t know if you have seen the Brita ads with the person running on the treadmill. The short of it is “30 minutes on the treadmill, forever in a landfill”. You think it’s the person they are talking about, but then you realize it’s the plastic water bottle.

I’m beginning to realize just how dumb bottled water is. A few years ago Coca-Cola admitted that their Dasani Water was well water, from the tap no less. Filtered, over priced and bottled, but tap water nonetheless. In addition to paying too much for tap water, you get all the convenience of destroying the environment with plastic bottles. Bottles that either consume rescores through recycling or more frequently get buried in landfills.

Well Brita, along with Nalgene and Filter for Good, are trying to save you money and save your planet. It is really quite a simple premise — get yourself some reusable bottles and a water filter and it’s by-by middleman. You can bottle your own water. You will begin saving money very quickly. The bottles are cheap and you may even have one already — Nalgene bottles are everywhere. The Brita filters are quite reasonably priced — I’d wager less than the cost of one case of that fancy bottled tap water. I recommend the Brita Space saver it will fit better in your small space.

So you have the filter, the bottles and your tap water — now you’re in business. Just remember to thoroughly clean your bottles and you can save money, the environment and space all at the same time.


I bought a new Brita filter pitcher this weekend, the slim model. It was $12.00. Not a bad deal.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Small Space Integration: Hulger Old School Telephone


I miss the Telephone. You know, sitting on the floor in the kitchen playing with the spiral cord. Actually paying attention to your conversation because you could not walk through the house and multi-task your mind out. The weight of the receiver, the tactility of the phone — I miss Ma Bell.

Not that I hate cell phones, I do hate rude people on their cell phones. I also hate my cheap cordless phones at home— the batteries always seem to die all at the same time. One phone leaves me scampering for the other with the annoying beep-beep-beep of the dying battery.

I think Hulger may have solved my problem. More and more people are using their cell phone as their primary phone. Many people are even using Skype or other internet phones for their from-home calls. In the true interest of integration, Hulger is making it possible to use your pc, mac or cell at home with style and class.

Hulger produces a wide selection of tethered, old school phone cord, and Bluetooth receivers that adapt to your specific set up. Imagine coming home, plopping your cell in its charger and answering your calls on an old school receiver — oh to be fourteen again. I’m not sure kids will get this one, but we, the informed been there done that crowd, will enjoy the nostalgia. Who cares what the kids think.

Now if Hulger could just make me an acoustic coupler modem, you know the ones with the receiver sitting on the top, I’d be in nostalgic bliss.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Small Space Living: Personal Update


Yesterday I achieved an important personal milestone, my first post written for another blog, Furniture Fashion. I will be contributing articles on a regular weekly basis to their blog.

Furniture Fashion is an established blog reaching a large audience. In keeping with the trend toward smaller living, Furniture Fashion has added a section specifically dealing with the topic.

I am excited about having the opportunity of write for another blog. I have high hopes that the relationship will benefit both blogs.

Please hop on over to Furniture Fashion and check it out.

Small Space Espresso: The Atomic and La Sorrentina


love coffee, probably too much. I, at one time, had quite a serious espresso habit — often consuming eight to twelve shots most days. I have been able to wean myself off, ok not off, but down to a more acceptable level.

I have been looking at home espresso machines for some time. On many occasions, have come close to purchasing machines. Several factors have prevented me from buying. Not the least of which is the size and ugliness of many of the candidates. When I do find a machine that looks good, they are either too big or have bad reviews.

When I first came across the Atomic, I was impressed by it’s beauty. This machine is truly the perfect union of function and form. This machine was originally designed in the UK in the 1940’s. It looks like an object from the atomic age. It has a curved organic shape that fits much of the design of that era.

The machine is like many archetypes — simplistic in its design. It is essentially a small boiler that sits on a gas stove. Water inside the boiler becomes steam and is either directed through the filter group or the steam wand.

The Atomic can be purchased used, but they are highly collectible and sought after. There is also a new contemporary incarnation of the machine, La Sorrentina.

The La Sorrentina is very well made to the same specifications as the originals. No detail is left out; it has brass screws and bakelite knobs. This machine is constructed to last a lifetime. This may the perfect small space living espresso machine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Small Space Library: Amazon’s Kindle


Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device

I know what you’re thinking, e-books are dead — I though that too.

The Kindle was released in November 2007. It has been in the hands of consumers for a few months now, and the consensus is that it rocks. In fact it rocks so much, Amazon at the time of this post, is sold out.

The Kindle is a truly innovative electronic reader. Amazon packed in many of the features that prevented the success of its predecessors. An electronic reader can’t succeed if it’s hard to read and the Kindle’s electronic paper-paper display has covered. The screen really does look and read just like a paper book. There is no backlight, but books don’t have backlights either. The kindle can be read as easily in bright sunlight as it can by your bead-side lamp.

The selection of books alone available to the Kindle is staggering. At this time there are more than 100,000 books available, including 90 of 112 current New York Times Best Sellers. Also many of the nations top newspapers and top magazines are available for download.

Also more than 250 top blogs are updated daily. It’s important to note, at this point that Amazon has, obviously in error, neglected to add Small Space Living to this list. I’m sure this situation will be remedied as soon as Amazon comes to its senses.

The Kindle can hold 200 books and with the SD card slot that number can increase to infinity.

The battery needs to be charged every other day with average use.

It was a surprise to me to learn that the Kindle does not require a computer at all. All of the downloads and blog browsing is preformed through its free wireless connection. That’s right the wireless connection is free or included in the purchase price. You can also browse the Internet with the Kindle.

The Kindle also has a search engine/service called Kindle NowNow, it is powered by real humans. They research your question and get you answers in about 5 minutes.

All in all The Kindle packs a serious punch in its 10.3 oz package. I am excited to see how it continues to develop. I am also astounded at the possibility of having an entire library in one small paperback sized device. The Kindle really is an amazing small space book lover’s companion.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Small Space Folding Furniture: The Pick Chair


Folding chairs by and large have not changed much in the past fifty years. Studio Dror has a whole new angel on folding chairs that we think work perfectly for small space living.

The Pick Chair consist of wood veneer over a hinged metal frame. They look different from your average folding chair, but nothing too innovative, until you unfold them. Each chairs unfolds flat into a long piece of hanging art.

If the chairs were hanging on a wall you would never think they were anything more than art. Until you needed a seat — then you simple remove the art, fold the chair and sit down. Perfect for small space living — extra seating that hangs in plain sight as beautiful art when not in use.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Small Space Indoor Garden: AeroGarden


While visiting the Home and Garden Show on Saturday I stopped by the Harvest Moon Indoor Gardening Inc. booth. The first thing I noticed was the abundance lush green plants, a nice feat for March.

They were showing a wide assortment of horticultural lighting and hydroponics set-ups. The one thing that really stood out to me was the AeroGarden, see the photo at top.

I had previously seen the AeroGarden on the web, but never growing right in front of me. I was assured that they were indeed 23 days old, like the sign said. I was impressed by the construction, quality and over all ease of use of the unit.

If you are not familiar with the AeroGarden, it is a small-sized all-in-one hydroponic growing system. Perfect for growing herbs, vegetables or flowers right in your home. The unit has all the green thumbs you’ll need built in. It supports the plants and suspends the roots in the base where they receive the proper mixture of oxygen, water and nutrients. The upper portion of the AeroGarden contains the growing light, which easily rises as the plants spring to life. The unit can be set for the particular type plant you are growing. This little garden wonder even tells you when you need to add additional water or nutrient tablets.

If your looking for lush green in you small space, the AeroGarden may be just what you need. I currently grow herbs on a windowsill in my kitchen. With this unit I could move my cooking garden away from the natural light and brighten up another corner of my home.

Home and Garden Show Disappointment

David L.Lawrence Convention Center

Yesterday I spent hours walking around the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. I need to ruefully report that this is your father’s home and garden show. I was over all unimpressed with the show.

Now I have to admit it was not all bad. If you were looking for standard off the shelf products, this was the place to be. Also, there were a wide assortment of windows, HVAC, and other general remodeling options. I was some how expecting to see a larger selection of green building and alternative energy options.

There were at least three solar energy contractors, none of which had anything you could not have seen ten years ago. Newer models perhaps, but newer ideas — there were none. I believe of all the HVAC people, there was only one showing geo-thermal options. And no, a diesel generator is not exactly my ideal of “off the grid”.

Many contractors had alternative green products. There were flooring contractors with low emission refinishing chemical options, companies with higher quality insulation and more energy-efficient glass, but most of these options seemed like an after thought.

I could go on and on, I just had a higher expectation of a home show in the year 2008. The show was at the David Lawrence L. Convention Center, which when it opened in 2003 was the largest green building in the world.

The day was not all bleak — there were some shining stars. I did manage to find a few favorites in the crowd.

Construction Junction

Construction Junction was there. If you remember I did a post on them in January. They are our local architectural salvage and recycled building material non-profit retailer. Construction Junction always has great finds; it’s not just for people who are remolding or building. There is furniture and always something for everyone. They had these great tables made from reused lumber with tops made of hinged shutters. They are a great idea for a hall table or small desk.

Caruso Cabinet Manufacturing INC

Kitchen and cabinet contractors were plentiful. Most were the cookie cutter, slap me in a suburban subdivision, kitchens. One manufacture stood out — Caruso Cabinet Manufacturing INC. They exhibited several stunning kitchens. One was a great small space design. They did have larger displays also, but I loved the little guy.

ASID showcase

I also enjoyed the ASID showcase. It was a collection of rooms designed inspired by famous Pittsburghers. Included in this exhibit was an Andy Warhol kitchen, a bathroom for David L. Lawrence, and a green room for Rachel Carson. It was some pretty nice stuff. There was a loft living room with balcony designed for David Conrad that uses a great old wood shop workbench as a wine table. Good example of reuse meets high design.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Small Space Tokyo Apartment


How small is your apartment? I’m going to guess that it is slightly larger than these 82 square foot units designed by architect Kumiko Inui.

In Tokyo the average apartment is 774 square feet. With land for new construction in very limited supply, many smaller lots that had previously been over looked are more frequently being utilized. This apartment complex is one such structure.

The building is a feat of architectural design. The apartments may be small, but floor to ceiling windows let in natural light and provide expansive views. I can’t imagine much furniture in these spaces. Truly an example of small space living, this is the smallest apartment building I have ever seen.

Check out a video of the space here. Via Dwell Daily.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Toronto’s Tiny House


Talk about small space living — check out this 300 square foot house in Toronto. Apparently this house was for sale in January 2008; it’s off the MLS now so we’ll assume it sold. It was featured on several newscasts, Reuters and even shown on Ellen.

The house boasts the title of Smallest House in Toronto. It was on the market for $179,900. The house was sold the year before for $139,000, but has since been completely renovated.

It is a great example of a tiny home. There are many features packed into this 300 square foot package. There is a full sized bathroom, kitchen and even a washer and dryer. The bed is a Murphy bed that must be closed to open the back door of the house.

All in all it’s a lovely little home. It’s a perfect example of packing all the features of a larger home in a smaller package.

Also check out this news coverage.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Small Space Music: Vers 2X


Music is good; it’s the one thing I strongly suggest you fill you small space with. The trick is getting that big sound in a small package.

The 2X from Vers is the perfect small space sound companion. Let’s face it, we all have an iPod. Are you making the most of yours? If you have taken the time to load all of your music onto your iPod, why not use it.

The 2X is a great alternative to the plethora of plastic dock options out there. It is constructed from eco friendly renewable cherry. No other material sounds as warm and rich as wood. The unit has two three inch full-range speakers, which are powered by a twenty-watt per channel (peak) class-d amplifier. The 2X has dual base ports that help to pump even more base from the diminutive 11.5 x 5.6 x 5.6 package.

The unit is a truly environmental friendly product. The wood comes from sustainable cherry wood plantations. It is assembled without glue, using screws. It also comes packaged in a recycled paper package.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Multi-Function Furniture: Mag Table


Small space living means making the most of every resource you have. We have touched on multi-function furniture in the past and today we have another update.

The Mag Table by Offi is a functional and beautiful piece of furniture. Constructed of a single continuous piece of bent birch, walnut or white plywood. It works well as a bedside table or next to a sofa or chair. The table has a classic modern look and coordinates well in wide selection of decors. The table also has a bent area perfect for storing magazines.


So where’s the multi-function? The Mag Table can also stand on its end. In this position it can be uses as a higher accent table and it also works well as a laptop table.

The Mag is a great table with multiple uses and a slender modern look. If you are looking for a good multi-function table the Mag could be just what you need.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Etsy Find: Birch Plywood Lounge Chair


It’s been a little while since I posted an Etsy find. The recent resurgence in my coaster sales — about four set in as many days — has me looking at Etsy again.

This time I have for your viewing pleasure a lovely Scandinavian-influenced birch plywood lounge chair.

This chair made by Michaelarras is somewhat reminiscent of Knolls Armless Risom Lounge Chair. I actually like Michaelarras’s chair a bit better. The base makes it look a bit stronger than the Knoll. It sells for $400 on Etsy, roughly half of the Knoll chair. The chairs are custom made for you; so you can choose the webbing color.

You know how I feel about Etsy. Buy hand made, help an artist and often get quality, craftsmanship and value seldom seen in anything mass-produced.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Designer Posters


Check out these marvelous Mid-Century designer posters. The full post is on the Mid-Century Modern Roundup Page.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Beautiful Security


So this is not exactly a post pertaining to enriching you life in a small space. It is about a truly unique architectural security screen surrounding a school near my home — Martin Luther King Accelerated Learning Academy.

Sure this school has a fancy name for a Pittsburgh Public School, but I always thought it was a kind of bland looking building. More than bland, it almost looked like a military bunker or something. The building is dull concrete grey and brown brick. I’m not sure exactly when it was built, but it has strange sloping walls leading up to a flat area around the entire perimeter of the school. The whole thing was really unappealing, plain and hard. Not at all welcoming. I guess I should say that skateboarders love it, but I don’t think the feeling was mutual for me.

This past year Renaissance 3 Architects along with Technique Architectural Products installed security screens. The screens that — get this — were intended to “provide an appearance this is adequate for the school’s environment and block non affiliates from entering the property during non school hours”. Translation: look pretty and get rid of skate punks.

So I have to admit that in the daylight hours the screens look like more grey. They are made of galvanized steel panels. The panels upon closer inspection are pretty pleasant looking with patterns and shooting stars. In the night though, they really shine. A strip of color-shifting LED’s illuminate each of the panels. The color patterns are constantly changing. Each whole screen is sequenced so the colors change and flow around the entire building.

On a night like tonight with snow in the air it’s beautiful. And I wanted to share it with all of you.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Matroshka: A Compact Living Concept


Matroshka is one of the most amazing small space living solutions I have seen. The concept originated as a project at Mid Sweden University. Four Industrial Design students were instructed to find a solution for people living in compact spaces. Matroshka was their solution.

The Matroshka
is a raised workspace, a room within a room. The main volume of the system is a raised platform — a stage of sorts. The raised space is intended to be used is an office area.

In addition to the raised platform there, is a padded bench. The bench slides under the platform. This is the real beauty of thee system. The volume of the platform and the bench are used to nest an entire series of other furniture objects — there are two separate benches, a table and four stools. It is possible to accommodate up to twelve people with the pieces nested in Matroshka.

The pieces may also be arranged into a sleeping area including a full-sized bed. The number of possibilities with Matroshka seem almost limitless. This idea is sure to catch on — I hope these units are produced for sale soon. The Matroshka is one of the best small space living solutions I have seen so far.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Small Space Rugs

Photo Credits The Rug Company

There are many ways to add color and style to you small space life — classic furniture, interesting objects or fancy electronics. Whatever you decide to bring into your home should be the best you can afford. You don’t always have to spend loads of money, but buying classic items always pays off in the end. When you live in a small space, choosing items for you home is even more important. If you have to see something every day, you should love it.

I love these rugs. The Rug Company has some of the most beautiful enduring rug designs I have ever seen. They have classic woven rugs like those you could find in any high-end rug retailer. It is their contemporary and designer collections that really shine. These rugs are available in a wondrous array of patterns and colors. Styles change, home furnishings come and go, but well made rugs last generations.

The Rug Company does not mass-produce machine made rugs. Each of their amazing rugs are hand knotted in the traditional method using hand spun wool. These rugs will stand the test of time and remain stylish while doing so.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Small Space Pets: The Climber


So by now you all know I have a cat. And that I am always looking for cat related products that keep my home from looking like a “cat lady house”. I am delighted to announce the arrival of a new company that — not only designs innovative products for your cat — they also design them to be beautiful.

Cat Livin has an array of products that peaked my curiosity, but the product that really caught my eye was The Climber.

The Climber is remarkable! It is a patented spring-loaded, door-mounted cat tree. It attaches safely to any door and provides a perfect perch for your feline. But more than just a perch — your cat can scratch, exercise and play on The Climber.

Cat Livin really nailed it with The Climber. Not only does it look great while packing in a ton of functionality, it is perfect for small space living. It mounts to a door so no floor space is used and very little room is occupied. It is also very easy to move so you can change locations in your home and you can take it with you if you move.

If you have a cat and a small space, The Climber is the product for you and your cat. Cat Livin’s products are not just for small homes — products like The Climber are sure to be conversation pieces in any home. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mold Forms: Found Object Decorating


I Live in Pittsburgh. Regardless of Its current accomplishments or future direction, Pittsburgh will always be know for its industrial past. Even now, there are signs of this past everywhere — giant machines stand as silent monuments to their proud history. Rows of smoke stacks remind new developments of their sooty past. Everywhere you look there are reminders — many of the buildings are gone, but we all recall what stood in the now open spaces.

At one time, the steel mills were everywhere here; then they were gone. As they folded, there was a wealth of buildings and objects abandoned. These forms are some such objects. At one time there were shops at every mill that produced these forms and prototypes. They were used to create the molds into which steel was pored.

These particular items have been stored in a friend’s house for years. Having been involved in the dismantling of steel mills, he had the forethought to keep some of these items — which at that filled dumpsters. They were so black with soot I could have never guessed the wood could still possess the warm glow that it now displays.

To clean them, I did very little to the pieces seen here — I washed them with Murphy’s Oil Soap and that’s it. They were placed in my mantel to be photographed, but I will find some more permanent home for them soon. It is amazing how closely the wood resembles the patina of the pine floors in my 1860’s row house.

I will keep one or two around on display to remind me of where I from. I am glad these objects survived. It would be a shame to not display such beautiful objects.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Small Space Abod


The Abod is an amazing low-cost structure designed to give hope and homes to the masses. The architects at BSB Design have created this affordable, high-quality structure at a project cost of less than $1,500 per unit.

The Abod is intended to provide hosing options where large numbers of families lack homes of any kind. These structures are easily assembled; four people can easily construct one unit in a day with the provided hand tools. Joining two or more units together easily expands the Abod. The structures are permanent lasting twenty to thirty years, but can quickly dissembled for relocation.

These small units are very strong and can be built on slabs, but do not require elaborate foundations. They can be customized to allow for bathrooms and/or kitchens. Each Abod has a sleeping loft and despite its 120 square foot space they seem roomy.

It is always reassuring to see designers and architects serving people with their design — these structures could mean so much to so many. I hope the idea is fully realized and they go into mass production soon.

Small Space Living First Month Update


Somehow the first 30 days of Small Space Living are gone. All in all it was a good first 30 days. I am not the top rated blog on Technorati, yet, but all kidding aside February looked like this.

33 posts in 29 day (my goal was one a day)
3,460 unique visitors (about 119 per day)
7,006 page loads (241 per day)

This being my first attempt at the wonderful world of blogging, I feel encouraged by those numbers.

A few thanks are in order. Thanks to everyone who visited, and a huge thanks to everyone who commented on my posts. If you were one of the people who talked about Small Space Living on your blog or linked me — a great big thanks, it means a lot.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Small Space Cozy: Ray by Sikken


It’s cold today. The snow of the last two days is melting away and I can’t help thinking that March will be bringing us warmer weather. But today it’s still cold.

If you like a cozy fire when it’s cold outside, then Sikken has just the product for you. Before I loose you to the environmental ramifications of wood burning, let me say I’ll deal with that in a moment. The Ray is a real amazing piece — it can be used to heat your home with the added ambiance of a real fire. It cleanly burns wood with an efficiency rating of 83% by comparison a regular fireplace has an efficiency of around 10%. The Ray’s design is a clear nod to radiators of old, but its appearance also serves a purpose. The increased exterior surface area distributes heat so efficiently that it is safe to touch or even sit on.

The very best feature of the Ray is a small shelf, inside just above the fire chamber that can be used to, get this, cook pizza! Who does not love pizza? There is a line of accessory trays to facilitate baking. So you get heat, efficiency and wood-fired oven baked goodness all in one attractive petite stove.

The Ray by Sikken is a very viable green wood-burning stove. I know what your thinking — how can burning wood be environmentally friendly? Good question. Wood is still a very renewable resource. Proper forest management involves clearing dead wood. It is possible to buy ethically collected wood if you look, although it’s not always the cheapest. Wood is also much easier on the environment than collecting coal or natural gas. Burning wood produces carbon dioxide. But did you know that in Europe, where the Ray is made, wood-burning stoves cannot produce more carbon dioxide than wood left to rot in a forest? Its true that, with proper baffling and air control, European wood-burners are remarkable. Via Trendir.