Designer for Hire

Et Cetera

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Congratulations to us…

3 Story headed up to Phoenix the other week to pick up our first award, from the Arizona Press Club. 3S’s Gillian Drummond won first place in arts reporting for non-metro publications (for which read the smaller guys!) We think that’s not bad for a magazine that’s barely eight months old. The accolade came for three features published in 2012: Eye Candy, Art, Willy Wonka Styleand Arizona is his middle name.

Oh the places she’ll go…….150 miles down – 3650 to go on a walk 4 courage


Official guest of the Chelon County Fire District 3 Leavenworth, WA

We launched Tucsonan Stacie Eichenger and her long walk for charity in our last issue, and we’re checking in with her every month for a walk 4 courage update.

Stacie is taking time off from her job at Civano Nursery to trek 3800 miles across America to raise money for Beads of Courage, an organization providing ‘arts-in-medicine’ supportive care for seriously ill kids.

Starting May 18th, she’s traveled from Seattle to Leavenworth, WA – the first 16 miles with Jean Baruch, founder of Beads of Courage, and then on her own. With her signature shaded shopping kart, she’s been mistaken for a purveyor of hot dogs, beer and ice cream; forged the snow and cold, making it through Stevens Pass; and engaged in stealth camping – not easy with a kart, canopy and stuffed animal (Courage tiger).

On arriving in picturesque Leavenworth, she was taken in by Chelon County Fire District 3, fed, housed and clothed (in firefighting gear). Next stop is Spokane 165 miles.

The luxury of a warm bed and good night’s sleep

You can sponsor Stacie by the mile, benefiting Beads of Courage (to date she’s raised $6500.) Follow Stacie on Facebook and on her blogDonate to Stacie directly for food, an occasional hot shower along the way, and other expenses she’ll incur on her eight-month journey.

Beads of Courage was founded in Tucson by Jean Baruch, who gained a PhD in Nursing at the University of Arizona. She came up with the idea for using beads as symbols of strength and support for seriously sick children, and grew the program from there. Find out more here.


splash Make a Splash

There’s fashion, food, live music, ‘electric’ colored cocktails, and all for a good cause, at Splash! at La Encantada. Participating restaurants include Acacia, North and Boca, and tickets are half-price for a limited time.

When: June 8, 6pm to 10pm.

Where: La Encantada at Skyline and Campbell, lower level courtyard

Tickets: $70 each or half-price for a limited time only. More info here.


Drink with the animals

zoo brew

Join Craft Tucson and Reid Park Zoo for Brew at the Zoo, with craft beer samples, pub-style food and live music. Participating breweries include Barrio Brewing, Borderland Brewing Company and Dragoon Brewing Company.

When: June 15, 2013

Where: Reid Park Zoo.

Price: $20 to $50 per person. More info here. 

A wee cruise

joe printmaker

A cruise? In Tucson? Why yes, and an artful one. Cruise the art galleries on 6th Street for one night only. “This is the last time to come hang out and have some bubbly until October. And you know we’ll be open late,” says Wee Gallery owner Tom Baumgartner, who goes on summer hiatus shortly after.

When: Saturday June 1, 6pm to 1opm.

Where: 6th Street, Tucson. Wee Gallery, currently showing the work of relief printmaker Joe Marshall (left), is at 439 N. 6th Avenue, Suite #171, inside OZMA Atelier. Call 360 6024 for details.


 Movies under the stars

Every Thursday night during the summer, Cinema La Placita screens classic films outside at the colorful laplacitavillagecrowd La Placita Village plaza in downtown Tucson. Join them at 7.30 pm for just $3 (includes popcorn).

Here’s the schedule for June: June 6 – Mata Hari (1931); June 13 – What’s Up Doc? (1972); June 20 – Philadelphia Story (1940); June 27 – Rear Window (1954). Want to suggest a movie? Write to them here. 

A lesson in underwear

Getting your undies right is the subject of wardrobe consultant Monica Negri’s next fashion workshop on June 30th. Learn about different brands, what to wear under what, and why lingerie is a woman’s “secret weapon”. For more on Monica, read our feature here. 
When: June 30, 11am-noon -ish

Where: Various locations

Guest Speaker: Katrina Anderson of Bravo Lingerie

Cost: $15 per class

More info: Pre-registration is required. Contact Monica at 615 6020, [email protected], or visit

Pleased to Meet You

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Jessica Schuman is the founder/owner of Kismet, a boutique that benefits Tucson’s at-need animals. Here she talks about her battle with her body clock, and straight-talking kids. By Samantha Cummings

Jessica Schuman

Photo by Samantha Cummings

Early bird or night owl? “It’s somewhat of an unfortunate thing but I’m both. I’m definitely a night owl by nature and early bird by nurture. So, I love to stay up when it seems like the rest of the world is sleeping. I feel like the rest of the world belongs to me and it’s a very creative time and I feel really connected. But, I also went from being a student my whole life to being a teacher, so my internal rhythm gets me up at the crack of dawn. So even if I go to bed at 4 in the morning, I’m up at 6. I actually one time calculated the difference between getting 6 hours of sleep and getting 8 hours of sleep a night and the two hour difference a night over the course of a year is actually 3 months more of sleep at 8 hours a night.”

Jessica Schuman

Photo by Samantha Cummings

Favorite accessory? “I have to say a cat. Of course I don’t consider animals accessories, I consider them to be family. But, I couldn’t imagine life without sharing my home with pets. I really notice a difference in my adult friends who grew up with pets as a part of their family from those who didn’t. It’s hard to put into words, but maybe some sense of empathy or a developed sense of compassion. It could be imagined, but I think it’s there.”

Favorite faux pas? “My favorite faux pas come from the mouths of children. I was a kindergarten teacher for 17 years and I was privy to their bits of wisdom. They just speak in one faux pas after another. They just reflect back to you who you are and really challenge you with the things they say.

“One time a child heard me lamenting that I had big black circles under my eyes and he came right up, interrupted the conversation, looked me in the face and said, ‘Actually, you have purply semi circles.’ I mean, that’s just what they do. It’s like, ‘Okay, tell it like it is!”

Who is your dream customer? “Well naturally my dream client is anybody who ends up becoming a wonderful volunteer for the non-profit organization, which happens now and then. I also really appreciate when customers say or share unexpected things about themselves, which is a new experience for me being a shopkeeper.

‘This man came in with a rag in his hand and a bottle of cleaner and he asked if we wanted our windows cleaned. So I explained to him that we were a young , small business, all volunteer and operated by a non-profit organization. We were pretty stretched right now, so no thank you. Then he inquired what we do, so I told him about our spay and neuter services. He reached into his pocket and said. ‘Well, let me give you some  money.’ And he put three dollars in our donation jar.”

Jessica Schuman

Photo by Samantha Cummings

If I weren’t a non-profit founder I would… “I would definitely still be teaching. It’s such a large part of my identity. If I hadn’t become a teacher or founded a nonprofit, I probably would have moved towards becoming a documentary videographer. Definitely photography and video were my first loves.”

If I could change one thing I would… “It’s a long list. I’m really hesitant to say this, because I think it’s really dark, but I would wish for a world where no living thing has to experience a sense of terror. When I witness something, hear about something in the media, or I know about the affairs of the world, I always try and put myself in that person’s place.

“Terror is different than fear. Fear can sometimes be a great motivator. But on a lighter note, I would wish that everyone feels a sense of hopefulness for the future and that they feel a sense that they can make some difference in the world and even more than that, they feel a responsibility to do so.”

Jessica Schuman is founder and executive director of the non-profit Tucson CARES, which assists in the spay and neuter of dozens of companion animals and community cats each month. Each sale from Kismet (meaning ‘destiny’ in Persian) benefits Tucson CARES.
Visit Kismet at 2627 E. Broadway Blvd. Tel: 520 207 9994. Open Wed, Thursday and Friday, noon to 6pm, Saturday noon to 5pm, and by appointment. Animal adoptions by appointment also. More info here.

Square Feet

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We take a peek inside a hot rental at the ultra cool Ice House Lofts. By Madeleine Boos

Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos

Where it is: The Ice House Lofts, 1001 E 17th St Tucson, AZ 85719

Listed by: The owner

The damage: $3000 per month

You’ll love it because: This 4200 square foot double unit is fully furnished and available for short- or long-term rental. There are four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a gated parking lot with four parking spaces (two of them covered). It’s ideal for entertaining, inside and out, with large private courtyard. On-site amenities include swimming pool and workout room. Mountain views too.

Here comes the but: While we’re not saying its overpriced, it’s still a cool $3000 a month down by the railroad tracks. But for that kind of square footage in an urban loft, it’s worth a look.

Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos


Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos

Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos

Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos








Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos


Square feet cool rental

Photo by Madeleine Boos




Contact the owner for more information at [email protected] To learn more about the Ice House Lofts visit Rob Paulus Architect.


My Space

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In the latest in our series on people and their favorite spaces, Tucson musician and singer Howe Gelb considers the time-traveling, solitary appeal of a business class airplane seat. By Gillian Drummond. Cover photo courtesy of American Airlines.




Photo courtesy of American Airlines

“I look forward to that space yet I don’t look forward to travel, so I think it has to do with the fact that it’s an appointed place where something unique happens. I consider it a primitive form of time travel. When you’re going overseas you’re eight or nine hours into the future by the time you land, and you come home and you’re going back into the past.

“Flying to Europe is always dramatic to the disposition and it crumples the body, especially as I’m aging. I fly just over 100,000 air miles a year, and so 95% to 99% of the time they upgrade me.


Photo by Jane Foecking

“Because it’s business class, the seat goes almost completely flat. They have a big duvet blanket thing and you can go into your dormant state as you travel through time. Most of the time I’m traveling alone. In my other spaces, you get torpedoed by your family, or pestered by appointments. Being on that plane is the only place where you don’t get a phone call. Sometimes I’ll work on a laptop, editing songs or just writing.

“There’s an art to not talking. I’m mostly with people who can afford to be in business class and I have nothing in common with them. Sometimes you get somebody who’s so excited because they’ve been upgraded, they just talk too much. It’s wasted conversation. It’s almost like nervous laughter.

“There is another peculiar thing that happens at 35,000 feet, and I am not sure of the exact physics, but I have discussed this with other touring ‘men’ who travel so high up. We tend to tear up watching movies up there – the same movie that would have no such effect on us down here on the ground. Why is that? My guess is that it has something to do with the tenuous means of existence up there. I mean we are sitting there ignoring the fact that we are soaring at 500 miles an hour almost five miles up from Planet Earth. We are more aware of the thread-like tether to our life… that when we allow a film to soak in, that story line has way more gravity, if you will, and tends to toy with our exaggerated motion of emotions up there.

“I’m a big believer in coincidence. The last time I flew, in February, I got sick before coming home so I had to postpone my flight. The day I traveled, this guy behind me recognized me as I was checking in. It turned out he runs a stateside record label. I had been thinking before that that I needed a good, healthy North American record label. We had a ten-hour meeting on the plane and by the time I landed I had a new record deal.”

Howe Gelb of Giant Sand will release his new record (the new label is still under wraps) in October. When he’s not touring Europe and North America he lives with his family in Tucson’s Barrio Santa Rosa. This summer Howe will fly to Europe again, but this time it will be heavy on family time and light on work. He has two gigs in Italy, and possibly one in Dublin. Find out more here.

Poly pop art

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Take a love of tiki and thrift shopping, Jimi Hendrix and Godzilla, some Big Apple attitude and a talent for art. Mix it all together and you’ve got the duo that calls itself Velvet Glass. By Samantha Cummings.

Velvet Glass

Maggie Rickard and Mark Bloom
Photo by Samantha Cummings

Velvet Glass Mosaics is the love child of two New Yorkers who met while she was a bartender. She made him one too many Martinis during a two-for-one special, and they realized they shared a love of retro design, thrift shopping and Frank Sinatra, as well as a mutual fascination for tiki and Polynesian culture.

That was 18 years ago (they think). Now a decade old, Velvet Glass Mosaics would have never been born if it were not for the couple’s journey to Tucson ten years ago.

Maggie Rickard, an Arizona native, dropped out of Arizona State University at the age of 19, packed up her belongings and headed for the Big Apple, swearing that she was never coming back. Twelve years later, an eye-opening trip to Tucson with partner Mark Bloom led to that promise being broken.

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

There were several reasons why the couple was ready to call Arizona home once again: the weather, handicap carts, and a ’60s bar called the Kon Tiki.

While it snowed in New York, Tucson was hitting 90 degrees in the middle of February.  And after an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery gone bad, leaving Maggie with nerve damage and a permanent limp, she was tired of making the four-floor climb to her flat every day.

The couple walked into a local Target and discovered something that supermarkets in NYC didn’t have: motorized shopping carts. Before, Maggie could barely walk into the store, let alone around it. But now, she “cruises” up and down the aisles. “They don’t do that in New York, because the stores aren’t that big,” says Mark. “We weren’t used to that. So, all of a sudden, it was February, the weather was great, and Maggie was finally free.”

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

But there was one place in particular that sold these tiki lovers on Tucson for good. The Kon Tiki, located on Broadway near Swan, looks almost identical to when it first opened its doors in 1963. Inspired by tropical influences, this tiki bar is one of a kind and is truly a survivor of the Polynesian-themed restaurant fad that boomed from the 1950’s to the early 1970’s.

Maggie even says that they may not have relocated to Tucson if it were not for the Kon Tiki’s existence. “When you’re into that and you haven’t been to a place like it, you’re just like, ‘Wow’,” she says.

Mark and Maggie packed up their one-bedroom NYC flat and headed west. Not knowing anybody, they decided to take a mosaics class at the Randolph Center. While everyone around them was making your typical southwest inspired coyotes and saguaros, they made “tiki things.” After a couple months, several more classes, and encouragement from some friends, Velvet Glass was born.

But what in the world is “velvet glass”?

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

The contradictory name was derived from Mark’s extensive record collection. Together they flipped through the records, looking for a word they could pair with “glass.” Maggie remembers coming across George Shearing’s Velvet Carpet album, and the word ‘velvet’ stuck. “There isn’t anything like velvet glass, and we like that,” says Maggie. “And velvet is just a very nice word, you know? You feel it. It’s the ‘v’. I’ve always loved ‘v’ sounds and there are two. And then the ‘l’ in the middle just ties it all in.”

Their pieces range from artwork to belt buckles to earrings, each design representing their current inspirations and whatever they might find interesting in that moment of time. They prefer to create pieces they enjoy making and hope that someone else likes it too. Better that, says Mark, than “doing anything that we think, ‘Oh, this might sell. I’ll make a Justin Bieber mosaic.’” So you might find a Jimi Hendrix piece, representing Mark’s love for music, or a Godzilla design reflecting his fascination for classic movies and monsters.

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

Each piece starts out with an idea. Once the image is drawn out, a rough version is created using Photoshop. Using a standard wheeled mosaic glass cutter, each piece of glass is hand cut and glued to acrylic using weld bond glue. The hardest part of the entire process is working with the flow of the color of each individual piece in order to create the design, explains Mark.

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics






Maggie, who has been playing the drums for 20 years, created pendants with the logo of her band, The Jonestown Band, and passes them out at shows.

“I’m not a flashy player, but I’ll groove it all night long,” says Maggie of her bluesy rock band. “If people aren’t dancing, I’m not happy. I just want to make people dance.” Catch her at a Jonestown Band gig and it’s hard to take your eyes off her, her head banging to the beat of the music, long dark hair spilling onto her face.

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

Mark describes himself as her groupie and roadie rolled into one. So a groapie? A groadie? Either way, he’s her number one fan. Originally from London, he works in advertising and illustration for several New York agencies. Because all his work is done entirely online, moving to the desert didn’t put a damper on his career.

At one time, Velvet Glass became the couple’s main source of income. Their Polynesian-inspired mosaics began to gain recognition from the tiki community and were even featured on the cover of Tiki Magazine.

Yes, a tiki community exists – and it’s large. Every year, the tiki obsessed flock to Tiki Oasis, a four-day convention that houses vendors from all over the country and provides a one of a kind tropical experience in the middle of San Diego. “It’s kind of like a giant frat party for the tiki community, which tends to be older and more retro,” says Maggie. “There’s a lot of bouffant hairstyles and retro 50’s outfits, flowers, and everybody dresses up for it.”

Each year, Maggie pulls out her vintage mumus and tropical dresses for a Hawaiian experience that’s fueled by music, food and booze. Speaking of booze inspires Maggie to whip out a “volcano bowl,” a tiki staple, and immediately starts creating a tropical concoction.

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

The volcano bowl is essentially a large basin with a miniature bowl in the middle, representing the volcano. A rum-based cocktail fills the basin, while the volcano is filled with a shot of rum 151. The 151 is then lit on fire, creating a flaming and volcano-like effect.

The cocktail is intended for large groups of people who all drink from their own straw placed in the basin. This traditional practice creates a sense of community and is very important to tiki culture, which prides itself on creating an open and welcoming environment.

Maggie and Mark used to vend at events like the Tiki Oasis, but they quickly learned that they were far from sales people.

“It’s too much hard work selling it, being nice and being sober, and talking to people about how fabulous we are,” explains Mark. Maggie says being nice and sober isn’t the difficult part, but it’s exhausting when the business aspect takes away from the passion they both share from creating their masterpieces.

Velvet Glass Mosaics

From the Cohen Brothers cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’ comes Jesus Quintana.
“Nobody [email protected]%#s with The Jesus” (measures 15″ x 18″ $450)
Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

It was this realization that ultimately changed the direction of Velvet Glass. Instead of rushing to produce pieces that had little meaning to them in order to pay the mortgage, the couple decided that it was time to remove the pressure and fall in love with mosaics like they first had years ago.

With Maggie focusing more on her drumming and Mark taking on more advertising work, Velvet Glass once again is an expressive outlet. If their pieces don’t sell, it’s no big deal. They find each piece a home on their own walls (even though it’s becoming difficult to find an empty space), which is the beauty of creating art they personally enjoy.

Mark and Maggie truly are a testament to the theory that a home is a direct reflection on whoever inhabits it. To see their combined collections, made up of years of thrifting, in their mid-century ranch home, you can sense the couple’s free spirit and their support of each others interests through the years. Mark is proud of his vintage records, tiki shot glasses, and robot collection. Maggie displays three drum sets and a wide variety of paintings that she has scattered around the house.

Velvet Glass

Photo by Samantha Cummings

One wall is dedicated solely to portraits they have found in thrift stores. They refused to pay more than $10 for any one piece. It’s hard to look at the collage of awkward family photos without being overcome with confusion and happiness all at once. Maggie and Mark begin to recite the names they have assigned to each character, making up full life stories for every person or animal in the paintings.

While Mark and Maggie are constantly on the move, there is one place that they will never be able to stay away from for long: the Kon Tiki. So, if you ever happen to be in the area or are in need of a temporary tropical getaway, they don’t mind adding an extra straw or two to their volcano bowl.

Velvet Glass

Photo courtesy of Velvet Glass Mosaics

For more on Velvet Glass Mosaics, and pricing, visit Visit the Kon Tiki for Mai Tais, Volcanoes and more at 4625 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson.


Does size matter?

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In this climate of economizing, downsizing and tree-hugging, yes it does. Small is big, even in the expansive south-west. By Gillian Drummond. Cover photo by Chad Goebel.

photo 1

Photo by Chad Goebel

At just 64 sq ft, Chad Goebel’s guest studio isn’t even big enough to be called a studio. So he calls it a pod.

Photo by Chad Goebel

It stands at the bottom of his yard in downtown Tucson, and was born of the patio doors from the main house. When Chad had the doors replaced, he eyed the old ones and started thinking. He looked at some plans in DIY magazines, pored over some ads in Dwell, then drew up his own, original plans for a guest pod. It helps that Chad’s business is interior design; he works for his family’s firm, Goebel Interiors.

Inside the ‘pod’. Photo by Gillian Drummond

The sliding patio doors dictated its width, as did local building guidelines that stipulate a structure under 120 square feet does not require a permit. He bought everything he could at Home Depot, he says, including the wood frame, the redwood fencing that forms the base, and the fiber cement HardieTrim Boards that acts as a fascia. He added horizontally placed sheets of corrugated aluminum for extra interest.

The interior is a lesson in not only space saving but thriftiness: an IKEA sofabed (price: $180); a rug bought on for $200 and cut to fit; IKEA shelving; a white table from; remnants of fabric from previous interior design jobs; a small air conditioning unit; and a metal stool found in a dumpster. He estimates that the whole guest pod cost just $2700.

Chad shares the main house with his writer partner, who works out of an upstairs loft. The guest pod was built as Chad’s personal space – a place for him to read, work on the computer or nap. But it also serves as a guest bedroom for friends.

3 Story’s Madeleine Boos is no stranger to making the most of small spaces, having lived and worked in a 550 square foot studio apartment in downtown Chicago. Set in a 1960s high-rise building, the unit had its original finishes: dark linoleum floor tiles, metal bi-fold closet doors, a small dark kitchen with minimal storage, and a vinyl accordion room divider.


Photo by Madeleine Boos

Wanting an open, light and efficient plan, Madeleine took on the design and total gut renovation for about $40,000. Walls were removed and a clerestory window was added to the bathroom so all areas could receive natural light. By replacing an under-used coat closet with new cabinetry (and a place to conceal the refrigerator), the kitchen became open, spacious and extended into the living area.


Photo by Madeleine Boos


Photo by Madeleine Boos

“There are simple ways to make a space feel larger,” says Madeleine. “Use one type of continuous flooring to create an expansive and unified feel. Tuck microwave ovens and other small appliances below the counter so your eye travels uninterrupted. Likewise, in the bathroom, place accessories and toiletries in drawers or up in a cubbie and medicine cabinet. A clear surface feels spacious and calming too.”

Tucson interior designer Florencia Turco DeRoussel of Within Studio has worked on projects ranging from 60-plus acres to “the smallest of elevators”. She has also worked on mobile homes. These not only have specific space requirements, they have their own weight requirements too, she says.

“We need to be careful in the floorings and counters that we choose, for example. These small homes need more storage, but they also need to have multi-function rooms. They need to be able to have larger dinner parties and movie nights. These same rooms need to transform into guest quarters and offices,” says Florencia, whose small space tips include multi-functional furniture and clever use of mirrors (see below, It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it).

She adds: “What I am seeing now is people being smarter with their money and what they are choosing to invest in. My clients are purchasing better quality items and less quantity of items.”

Cristallo Table Image

“Cristallo” as coffee table.
Photos courtesy of Resource Furniture

One company hoping to ride on the back of both of these trends – small space living and smarter buying – is Resource Furniture, a company that specializes in efficient use of space. Living small is getting huge, says Resource Furniture’s President and co-founder Ron Barth. He puts it down to three things: migration to cities from the suburbs for jobs; a depressed economy in which homeowners are reluctant to move house; and the ‘tree hugging’ factor – the fact that consumers don’t want to use or buy in excess.

Ron is seeing a demand for what he calls “micro-unit” living spaces, and the interest is from all over the country. Resource Furniture operates five showrooms in North America and Canada. The large amount of inquiries his company was getting from California led it to add a sixth, in Los Angeles, which opens this month.


“Cristallo” transformed to dining table.
Photos courtesy of Resource Furniture

“We get a higher percentage of customer inquiries from California than even New York, and these are from the Los Angeles area, not San Francisco,” says Ron. He says the amount of mid-century houses and small-space living in beach communities in L.A. is driving that demand.

Among Resource Furniture’s space-saving furniture pieces is the Cristallo, a coffee table with glass top and metal frame that adjusts to various heights, including dining, thanks to a hydraulic lift system and two self-storing leaves. Prices start at $3,025.

Lollisoft living 3

Loffisoft bunk-beds.
Photo courtesy of Clei/Resource Furniture

Lollisoft living 1

Loffisoft bunk-beds tucked away.
Photo courtesy of Clei/Resource Furniture

Its Lollisoft IN bunk beds, made in Italy by Clei, fold to only 12.25” deep but extend to 39” deep. The beds are the length of an extra-large twin, and their steel frames, beechwood slats and real mattresses mean they’re designed for daily use. Prices start at $6,600.

Ron justifies his price points with an assurance that all of the products carry a lifetime warranty, and argues that someone renting a smaller space in the middle of a city will save on commuting time, and have less furniture to buy than they would living in the suburbs.

Resource Furniture’s numbers speak for themselves: a website with 10,000 unique visitors a day; up to 300 emails a day; and YouTube videos demonstrating its products with more than seven million views.

Many of the company’s space-saving furniture pieces are currently on display at a mock 325 sq ft apartment, part of an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York showcasing design solutions for the city’s changing demographics.

It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it

Florencia Turco DeRoussel of Within Studio offers these tips for small space living:

Screen Shot 2013-05-27 at 10.58.58 PM

Florencia Turco DeRoussel. Photo by Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli

1. Invest in multi-purpose furniture. “Use a chair that pulls out into a twin sleeper, and learn to love ottomans. These guys can go under tables and in corners or at the foot of a bed. They transform into tables or hidden storage, and they’re a great way to add seating without taking up space.”

2. Invest in a cabinet builder/craftsman you like. “Pick one that you really like to build pieces that are scaled and custom-built for your space.”

3Be smart with your walls. “A room divider can be extremely helpful if used correctly. A wall can have storage on one side and wall space on another. It can help divide space without closing them off from each other, and can add drama and visual interest.”

4Curtains create magic. “Long curtains create drama but also can give the illusion of taller ceilings and larger windows. Use them to separate a room (instant guest quarters) or to hide much-needed storage.”

5. Mirrors, mirrors and more mirrors. “They instantly add light and space. Strategically placed, they can double a room’s apparent size. Place a plant in front of a mirror and you have a huge bouquet. Place a mirror opposite your window and now you have views on both sides of your home.”

 6. Use all of your home. “There are secret storage spaces wherever you look. There are lots of areas that you can use as storage if you really look. There are all kinds of furniture pieces that come with hidden storage compartments. Get them.”

7. Purge and donate. “Most of us keep a lot of stuff and then have storage units for more stuff. We keep grandma’s old chair because we think we may use it one day, or her favorite sweater. Why not a photograph of grandma in her chair? If it’s not an antique, use some of the fabric or wood from the chair and make a picture frame. Be smart about what you store and the rest just donate. You will downsize your life and upsize your heart.”

* Resource Furniture’s new Los Angeles showroom, at 314 N. Crescent Heights Blvd, opens officially June 21. Visits are available by appointment only until then. Contact [email protected]


The F Word

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Move over Naomi and Gloria. Feminism has a brand new activist in Tucsonan Jes Baker – blogger, photographer and body positive advocate. By Gillian Drummond. Cover photo by Jes Baker.


Jes Baker. Photo courtesy of Impulse Nine Media

It’s the day before the day that will change Jes Baker’s life. We’re sitting on the patio of Cafe Passe on 4th Avenue drinking iced coffees and discussing the ‘F’ word.

Jes is a size 22, and is happy to describe herself as fat. “I love it,” she says, grinning, her blonde hair in pigtails, tattoos creating a colorful wave across the top of her body: up one arm, over her chest and boobs, and down the other arm.

It took Jes a long time to feel comfortable with using the word fat, she says. And she understands that others still consider it an insult. Which is why on her blog, The Militant Baker – a site that celebrates size and encourages body positivism – she censors the F-word.

“I want my blog to be a safe place. Women don’t need to come to my blog to see that shit. I’m very protective of my readers. The whole free speech thing, I totally agree with it. Everywhere else, go for it. But I’m the queen of my blog. I’m not going to let you vomit over my very vulnerable readers.” They have come to her site for refuge from a cruel, thin-loving world, after all. “They might not be ready to hear the word ‘fat’ and it could hurt them.”

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One of the images that caused the worldwide stir. Photo by Liora K Photography

The next day, however, that rule changed with Jes’s most celebrated blog post yet. In a cheeky letter to Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, Jes took issue with his controversial comments that A&F’s clothes were meant for the “cool”, “good-looking” folks. (Jeffries had made the comments back in 2006, but they recently resurfaced, causing as much of a furor as before.)

Jes openly challenged what she called “the separation of attractive and fat… I assert that they are compatible”. She and her photographer friend, Liora K, drove home the point with a series of A&F-inspired black and white photos showing Jes with a tall, muscular, handsome male model, Tucsonan John Shay. They called it – carefully using the same font as Abercrombie & Fitch – Attractive & Fat.


don't like it don't look

Photo courtesy of Jes Baker

The photos went Internet-viral and the world’s media – from The Huffington Post to NBC, Le Monde to the BBC – lined up for a slice of Jes. Overnight she became a spokesperson for the body positive movement. And she decided that, this time, the F-word wouldn’t be censored. “If it’s said about me, that’s OK. I can take it,” she reasoned.

But back to Cafe Passe, the calm before that A&F storm, and the woman behind all the fuss. The Militant Baker is so-called because of Jes’s pastry chef job, and her sometimes shocking approach to spreading the gospel according to body positive women. She pulls clever public stunts, like standing in a Tucson street in a bikini holding a sign saying ‘Don’t like it? Don’t look.’

Jes gives full credit to another body positive blogger, Rachele, for inspiring her to start blogging about her body issues. The in-your-face, warts-and-all style of The Militant Baker, however, is all her own. Jes bears her soul, talking of her borderline personality disorder and an emotionally abusive father. The other ‘F’ word is abundant. She has fun with topics like big women on top during sex.

The Body Images

The Body Images

Photo by Jes Baker

The Militant Baker has been – and still is – a journey of self-confidence for Jes, 26. She grew up in Tucson the eldest daughter in a Mormon family, a self-professed perfectionist and over-achiever, yet also a rebel or “firepoker”.  She attended Mormon college in Idaho, with desires to be an interior designer, then realized “having people buy a rug wasn’t going to change the world.”

In tandem with her blog, Jes is a mental health advocate. (Her pastry chef job is in a facility that gives training to people with mental health problems). She is also a photographer, a hobby that she has pursued for years – and made money out of occasionally. Just recently it has taken a different turn. With a project called The Body Images, featured here and on our home page, Jes invited women from Tucson and Phoenix to pose in only white underwear for some revealing body shots. Many of them were recruited through contacts she made through Sexy Lady Bookworms, another feminist photography project. (See our feature, You Sexy (Bookish) Thing)”

The Body Images

Photo by Jes Baker

“My initial thing was to flood the Internet with positive images,” she says. But she knew it was risky. How many women want to reveal their back fat, their belly rolls? How many would be OK with not editing out a graze or stretch mark? “I was really nervous about sending the photos to these women because we’re so critical of ourselves,” says Jes. Every one of the models loved them.

If firepoker Jes had had her way, the photos would be naked. But in order to circumvent Facebook’s nudity policy, she went with panties and had the models cover their nipples with their hands.

The images are many things: sexy, soft, brave, jarring. But mostly what comes across in each of the models’ faces is joy. The shoot was done in a bedroom at Jes’s house, with only natural sunlight and Jes, who did her best to make them laugh. “It was so fun and so easy and the location is so bright and welcoming,” says Liora K, one of the models. “She would give instructions like ‘Give yourself a hug’. Even the release we signed was super-fun. It said in one part ‘Are you ready to have an awesome time?'” Jes plans to resurrect The Body Images project again this summer.

Although Jes laments the fact that she is more popular outside of her home town, if she and her cohorts have their way, that could change very soon.  Jes is planning Tucson’s first body positive conference, which she hopes will take place at, and be endorsed by, the University of Arizona. Scheduled for next April, it will include workshops, poetry readings and body positive yoga. Jes will begin fundraising through Indiegogo in June.

The Body Images

Photo by Jes Baker

Among the speakers is likely to be Liora K, whose own feminist photos are stunning in a different way: half-nude women bearing painted-on remarks like ‘Don’t whistle, I’m not a dog’ and ‘Emotional abuse = abuse”.

Meantime, Jes and another friend, Elizabeth Albert, fashion designer and owner of the new plus-sized Tucson clothing store CandyStrike, have formed a body positive book club. And an online version of CandyStrike launches in June.

If Jes has an even bigger smile on her face right now than usual, it’s well-deserved. But she admits that she is a work in progress. Despite the ballsy public persona, she still suffers from self-doubt, and has bad days as well as good.

The Body Images

Photo by Jes Baker

When her long-term live-in boyfriend left her recently after two years, she felt the sting of self-doubt. “The conversation was ‘I’m not attracted to you, you’ve gained weight since we’ve been together’.” It was ironic, she says, since he “was the beginning of this journey for me. I met him and he thought I was the most gorgeous woman ever.”

The Body Images

Photo by Jes Baker

What is Jes’s type when it comes to men? She makes no excuses when she says she prefers “conventionally attractive”.  For Jes that means tall, tattooed – and fit and muscular over fat. And she has another stipulation: they have to be bigger than her. “I like to feel smaller than the person I’m with.  I think I’m socially conditioned to want to feel small but I also think there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to a conventional man.”

As for the future, Jes is as committed to raising awareness about mental health as she is about positive body image. She says she’s neither planning to give up the day job, nor leave her blog readers in the lurch. At barely a year old, The Militant Baker now logs up to a million visits a day – proof not only that the world is happy to have her, but that Tucson is lucky to call her its own.