The Physical Space – Form & Function

 Bear in mind that this is my personal blog, my “cyber space” which I am using to organize my complex vision and share my innovative concept for a financially-self-sustaining, mission-driven business enterprise. I use this space to share my ideas (and ideals) without worrying about all the bells and whistles that one would expect on a full-fledged, interactive website. With that disclaimer in mind, this page is a no-frills attempt to summarize the overall vision I have for the physical space of my hybrid business concept. As I provide an overview of the space (including links to various blog posts I’ve written), I will also describe some of the key activities and opportunities I envision. I welcome your feedback, questions and comments throughout the process. Here goes…

As evidenced by my vision and mission statements, and their supporting goals and objectives, my concept is admittedly complex, bringing together some of the best of current-day, forward-thinking lifestyle, social, environmental and business trends, the conflagration of which may well be world-changing, assuming the concepts are successfully introduced to, and embraced by, mainstream society. Just as my mission is a hybrid of sorts, so too is the space a hybrid of various retail, service, business, coworking and community settings ~ most of which you may be familiar with individually ~ brought together in an unprecedented model, under one roof, and sharing a common values-driven spirit of inspired responsibility and of purpose-driven opportunity.

What will all of this mean to the average consumer? A great deal. Allowing for multi-tasking of errands, regularly scheduled donations to community causes (whether local or global), ongoing, environmentally-conscious reuse, repurpose and recycling efforts, as well as inspired business and personal activities, a stop at Time Well Spent, whether for 5 minutes or 5 hours, will surely leave one feeling that their time was, “as advertised,” indeed well spent!

Here’s a simple visual representation of the space as first sketched in May 2008:

Goes without saying, but this is pretty rough - I really do have more precise sketches and plans.

It goes without saying, but this sketch is pretty rough - It's a back-of-the-napkin sketch more fully described in the post you can read by clicking here. Rest assured, I have far more specifics plans and sketches.

And, the idea evolved…
Fast forward several months and I've learned how to play with graphics and save them as jpg files. Comes in handy on my photoblog, too!

Fast forward several months and I've learned how to play with graphics and save them as jpg files. Comes in handy on my photoblog, too!

 And, from December 2008 (with photos added summer 2009):

Following is a brief description of each area within the overall space. For more details, click on the links when provided. Note too that the names of the different spaces should be considered temporary until such time as they are either made permanent or replaced with names that better support and strengthen the overall Time Well Spent concept (in business terms, the Time Well Spent “brand”).

The Workshop Re-Work Shop

Old tables (that was from my kitchen!) will find new purpose as work tables for eco-artists and folks exploring their artistic repurposing side - perhaps for the first time! 
The cornerstone activity of The Re-Work Shop will be the creative repurposing of all sorts of old, discarded and salvaged materials from beads to bottle caps, discarded shutters to rescued furniture parts, as well as shared craft supplies and crafting tools of all sorts. Members and guests (non-members) will use The Re-Work Shop to create one-of-a-kind pieces, from the highly functional to the completely whimsical. Craft supplies will include donated scrap materials from business partners as well as crafting clutter contributed from the homes of individuals and families from the community, objects and materials that most recently cluttered area homes and added to the subsequent daily stress as a result. A simple but effective system of Clutter Credits will be designed, with credits awarded for contributed materials. The Clutter Credits may be used toward any of the donated/contributed materials.

A floor-to-ceiling shelving system will anchor the space and invite inspired creation with an environmentally-responsible undercurrent as new uses are found for cast-off materials, saving them from the landfill and providing an alternative to newly produced functional and decorative choices. Artists and crafters will find themselves particularly happy in this space. However, opportunities will abound for a variety of workshops, speakers and other special events and activities, with a deliberate focus on those which would encourage and empower members to live each day with awareness and intent, learning from and sharing with others in the process.

Here are some more pics:

Here's a bookcase donated by a fellow Ipswich mom ~ Thanks Julie!  It's filled with yarn, embroidery supplies and other textiles ~ patiently waiting to be used in the creation of something new and functional, even if that function is adding whimsy to one's life! And, the treasure-seeking eco-artist might notice some leather handbags in the front... Waiting to be turned into functional art with some acrylic paints... Here’s a bookcase donated by a fellow Ipswich mom ~ Thanks Julie! It’s filled with yarn, embroidery supplies and other textiles ~ patiently waiting to be used in the creation of something new and functional, even if that function is adding whimsy to one’s life! And, the treasure-seeking eco-artist might notice some leather handbags in the front… Waiting to be turned into functional art with some acrylic paints…

 For more details, read the blog post about The Workshop.

The Sharing and Learning Resource Center  The S.O.S. Library (Sharing Our Stuff)

Here's just an idea of the S.O.S Library ~ comfy seating, books and magazines and inspiration.

Here's just an idea of the S.O.S Library ~ comfy seating, books and magazines and inspiration.

Books on self-help, how-to, relationships and business are included in the library, as well as music cds and a printer for folks to use with their own laptops.

Books on self-help, how-to, relationships and business are included in the library, as well as music cds and a printer for folks to use with their own laptops.

Sharing books on gardening is green! So isn't using vintage shares to store books, printer stands and more... I'm a sucker for a chair with great lines!

Sharing books on gardening is green! So isn't using vintage shares to store books, printer stands and more... I'm a sucker for a chair with great lines!

Personal contemplation and community connections of all sorts will take place in the Sharing and Learning Center. A floor-to-ceiling bookcase will anchor the space and tempt members to peruse the many shelves, a growing collection which will include worthwhile self-help, arts and crafts, business and financial books, the source of which will be donations made by those seeking to declutter their homes while still maintaining access to their favorite titles. There will be an assortment of inspiring magazines as well, allowing the cancellation of so many subscriptions and, consequently, allowing for savings in both financial and environmental terms. Yet another multipurpose space, the Sharing and Learning Center will be an inviting place for members to sit with a chosen book or magazine, to work on personal business on their laptop, or simply to rest their minds for a moment, rejuvenating their spirit in any of these activities, or in simply allowing themselves a moment to simple “be.” In addition to solitary endeavors, the Sharing and Learning Center will provide a welcome setting for support groups and common-interest groups to meet, share, plan and “merely” enjoy one another’s company.

Physically, the space will be comprised of clusters of donated quality vintage furniture carefully reupholstered in the latest eco-friendly fabrics. Consequently, opportunities will exist for mutually-beneficial business partnerships with local furniture artisans who share the values of Time Well Spent. Along the lines of the “office away from home” that hotels have been creating, a corner work station will provide a space for professional members to spread out their work and get down to business in an inspiring setting, separate from the distractions the at-home professional faces daily. This is just one feature that likens Time Well Spent to coworking communities, a relatively new concept that seeks to bring solo entrepreneurs out of the coffee shops and into a highly motivating quasi-business setting which shares a number of the same ideals as Time Well Spent. For more details, read the blog post about the Sharing and Learning Center.

The Common Space  The Common Ground

Connecting the different work areas will be the Common Space. Open to the public, the Common Space will be the main retail component of Time Well Spent (though retail merchandise will be displayed and even used throughout the entire center serving an inspired functional and decorative purpose). The sale of quality products and merchandise will provide an important stream of income, necessary to the financial-self-sustaining mission. Equally important, the retail space will provide an ongoing opportunity for consumers to purchase great products at great prices while contributing to the local economy and to the worthwhile mission of Time Well Spent through something as basic as the occasional purchase to meet a common want or need. Product offerings will include functional creations and whimsical gifts, often via consignment relationships with artist members and local art associations. The consignment relationships will reflect yet another win-win business opportunity at Time Well Spent, highlighted by the increased exposure of the works of many talented area artists, artisans and crafters without the accompanying headaches of retail shop ownership. These relationships will reflect the value placed on support for the local economy from both a human and environmental perspective.

Sales offerings will also include cutting-edge, environmentally-conscious products from eco-driven businesses that are sincere in their commitment to minimizing man’s negative impact on our planet. The latest and greatest in eco-friendly products will also be featured prominently in the product mix. Along with meeting the needs of the consumer, the availability of “green” products will increase awareness of the environmental issues which we face now, gently reminding all that today’s adults have an obligation not only to the environment but also to the future generations of mankind who will inherit the world, environmental, social issues, and all. The Common Space will have the potential for multi-function use in that the physical layout will provide flexibility through the use of movable creative display units fashioned from old doors. Art shows represent just one alternative use of the space.

The Private Board Room/The Party Place

While the majority of the physical space at Time Well Spent will reflect an open concept, with partial walls separating the key work spaces, the Private Room will provide a space for those times when it is preferable to be able to meet behind closed doors, adding functionality to the overall center. Like the other work area, multiple uses of the Private Room will make sense from both an environmental and a business perspective.

Featuring a classic conference table and infused with personality that supports the Time Well Spent image, the space will be highly functional and versatile. For example, non-profits and triple-bottom-line businesses will be invited to use the space for board meetings. The space will also be available for use as a small workroom or classroom. Reflecting concepts key to the coworking community business model, the Private Room will provide artist and professional members alike with a setting for business meetings that is far more professional than that which is available at the corner coffee shop, consequently raising the perception of professionalism of the individual artist or professional member hosting the meeting.

Finally, mixing fun with purpose-driven intent, the space will be available for birthday parties, scout meetings and such. I envision the transformation to The Party Place taking place each weekday from 3-6 p.m.

The Info Center  Help Desk

Prominently situated in the Common Space will be the Info Center. While one could liken this to the customer service desk at your favorite retail store, I prefer a comparison to the hotel concierge or perhaps the captain’s deck of a great ship headed on a purpose-driven journey. Inspiring creativity and underscoring Time Well Spent’s reuse/repurpose/recycle mindset, the Info Center will literally be made from visually appealing and eco-friendly materials like discarded doors, windows and other salvaged architectural elements. Further supporting the mission, this information hub will sit on wheels, supporting the potential for flexible use of the Common Space. Memberships and sales will be handled at The Info Center along with the physical display of upcoming calendar events and other opportunities for networking and sharing of local economy contact information.

The Re-Wall

Use your imagination on this one folks. Here's Brian R, then-junior at Ipswich High, doing community service by helping out in a number of ways at Time Well Spent.

Use your imagination on this one folks. Here's Brian R, then-junior at Ipswich High, doing community service by helping out in a number of ways at Time Well Spent.

At once inspiring and educational, the Wall has the potential to serve as the signature visual statement at Time Well Spent. The Re-Wall will be an amazing receptacle for items that can be reused in purposeful ways, once gathered and disseminated appropriately. The Wall will provide members and guests with an easy way to increase their environmental awareness and activity, saving items from the landfills, cluttering our homes, and even the recycle bins, and putting them to good use. Not only will the Wall serve the environmental mission, but it will also serve to increase the awareness and understanding of the challenges and issues faced by our fellow community members, from within our local communities to those in need who are a part of our global community of fellow man (and woman!). Like so many of the activities at Time Well Spent, as people contribute to The Wall, and as their awareness of environmental and human issues increases, so too will their level of activity and involvement in helping to create the solutions to problems that exist today and those anticipated in the future.

That’s the small overview of a very large undertaking. I welcome and encourage your feedback and questions so that I am able to consider possible problems and opportunities that haven’t yet come to mind (or are jotted somewhere on a forgotten sticky note!). Thanks for your support and positive energy and well wishes as I undertake this truly great (either definition of the word “great” will do, “big” or “wonderful”) challenge.

3 responses to “The Physical Space – Form & Function

  1. Thanks, Dala! Intriguing is a good word! It’s going okay… My approach has been one of action-while-planning since it is such a new concept and since it is a social enterprise, focusing on mission with profits playing a supporting role… Ready to take the next step and secure some funding to launch a working prototype of Time Well Spent… The ongoing DeClutter For Good drives are already a success but I need to start seeking sponsors as part of the next step ~ so far I’ve been paying for everything out of pocket ~ bootstrapping my way along. So, 2010 will be the make or break year. Wish me luck! Nancy

  2. I find this whole idea intriguing. How is it going?

  3. call me and we can get together some time

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