E for Efficiency

28 Feb 2011
Our DesignersOur Projects posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

I’ve found lately that the way that I’ve been doing everything in my life is wrong.  Well, it’s not exactly wrong…just not efficient.  I am all about efficiency these days.  It used to be that I would have the time to do things and that I could do them leisurely.  My daughter is 5 and up until recently, I was still doing everything leisurely.  When shopping at the grocery store, I would leisurely look through the aisles. When paying bills at my computer, I was easily distracted and would look at different websites for fun.  Even when I swept my floors, I would take the time to get every corner.  And I wondered why I didn’t get anything done, ever!  Nowadays, I’ve learned. 

Why it took me so long to learn such an easy skill, I don’t know.  I was holding onto my old routines, my traditions.  For so long, these routines worked for me.  Before marriage, I was completely on my own schedule and could do as I pleased.  I didn’t have to make dinner because I could pick up a burrito or eat cereal, if I wanted.  Then when I got married, I adjusted a little.  I made dinner, but we ate as late as 9pm sometimes.  It didn’t matter.  And my errands…oh how I miss being able to do errands any time of the day…they were done whenever I felt like it.  Nothing was pressing, although I always got everything done very efficiently because I had the time to put towards them.  That was my life and it worked.  Now, though, after 5 years of being a mom and adjusting to someone else’s schedule, I am finally realizing that it’s not all about me anymore.  How could I have not known this before?  How in the world did I make it 5 years and still tried to keep my “before motherhood” schedule?

This whole new thought process pretty much came into play when I cleaned out my life…I mean, “house”.  I understood that things don’t need to be thought about as much as I had been thinking.  I understood that I could make a quick decision to donate something and be done with it.  Never looking back.  I used to think a lot about the things I had to do.  I would make lists, think about how they were going to get done, I would plan, research, whatever. 

This was not my list but it may have well been!

Now I just do!  Too much of my time went into doing something.  Every night I would  sit down with my next day’s list and think about when I was going to do something.  My day would be worked out to the minute.  Thinking about doing something or making a list to do is almost as much effort as doing.  Now, the list is still there, but I do things as I have time.  Do I have time to empty the dishwasher now…or would I rather spend that time uploading new photos from my camera to my computer?  Should I clean the floors…or play a game with my daughter?  My list used to rule me.  If something was on the list, it had to get done and I was stressed and overworked until everything was crossed off the list.  For example, I’ve been back from NY for over a month now and up until very recently, there was still a pile of stuff that I hadn’t finished going through.  This stuff included, but was not limited to: presents I had to wrap to give to my travel agent who helped us get home and a friend who watched our cats while we were gone, videos and pictures that needed to be uploaded, Christmas cards that people sent to me, some mail, magazine articles that I wanted to go back to, tupperware bins that needed a home now that new ones had been purchased to keep Mason’s toys tidy, expandable files that I needed to fill with 2010 receipts and paperwork. 


The old me would have never let it go very long without doing something about it!  Of course, the stuff was neatly piled on the floor of my office so it was organized.  But it was still there and it was annoying.  I wanted so badly to get it done, but I didn’t want to stress over it, as I would have before.  So I made mini goals for myself.  If I had a few minutes or an hour here and there, instead of looking at the entire pile as an overwhelming whole, I would do one little thing at a time.  I chipped away at it and eventually it was done! 


 I liked that…it was a huge breakthrough for me to know and understand that I can actually do things in my work, in my life, as a mother, a wife, a cook, the errand girl, the grocery shopper, the bill payer, the laundry doer and folder, the litter box emptier, the sheet changer, and all of the other roles that I fill…I can do things without planning!  Now the time that was spent planning and list making could now be spent playing with my daughter or internet shopping or reading a book or going on a walk or watching a TV show…who knows?...the list goes on and on!

Perfect timing for me to have read in my daily aspirations book today:  “While living at a farming community, our group planned to erect a new house.  For many months, we discussed the plans and because we did not fully agree, nothing was done.  Then one day, one man went out to the building site with a plumb line and began to hammer stakes into the ground.  It wasn’t long before the house was built.  You can think and talk about a project for a long time, but only action will manifest it.  If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never get anything done.  Don’t wait until all the conditions are perfect for you to begin.  Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”


P.S.  I thought you'd like this photo I found online.  I can be thankful that I don't take it to another extreme




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The Revered

26 Feb 2011
Our FurnitureLatest Trends posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso



to appreciate.  to enjoy.  to have a high opinion of.

We wanted to dedicate this post to pieces that we admire from one of our favorite furniture makers in Virginia.  They may be pieces we have had on our showroom floor or others that we have admired while flipping through our catalogs.  Either way, these pieces have a way with style, simplicity and function. 

The Byrdcliffe Split Top Console table... they grow wide or go skinny.  And the wood is not delicate.  The drawers would hide my newspaper clippings and scissors.


This is my new favorite dresser and I am trying to figure out a way to get it into my house.  Its simplicity, style, hardware and look are beautiful to me.  I love that it’s tall and has lots of different sized drawers.  Plus, the best part is that it comes in 8 different serene finishes.


I think this European inspired split top table is my favorite piece right now. It is so versitile and takes up very little space. It can be a console- desk- dining table. And the finish works with many of diffferent styles.


Likewise, Nan's favorite is also mine. I like this piece because of its versatility. It can be used as a console table in any room and you can unfold it to use as a dining table for extra seating when you have those extra guests. The contrast between the wood and metal gives it a unique look that can mesh with so many styles.


A favorite piece of mine is the Red House Revival Table.  It has great architectural lines, with a bit of a fresh twist to the Craftsman aesthetic.  Being only 42”, it is a versatile piece that could be used in an entry, breakfast nook, or as a game table.  All the pieces in this collection speak to me!


I love the Hudson Street Console table because of the dark finish and storage possibilities. Removable shelves, pull out media tray, and hidden electrical outlet make this piece very user-friendly with a modern edge.


One of my favorite pieces is the European Farmhouse Patrons Console. Designed as a modest storage cabinet, the console is also an elegantly conceptualized display space. The open design leaves ample room for a tv, media equipment, books and even decorative items.  I think coral and shells would compliment it perfectly.


What do you think?  Do you have a favorite?

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