Good lighting is essential to making any space come alive, ESPECIALLY one suffering from disorder, as ours has during our recent move of lock-stock-and-many barrels. The solution was Lunette, lighting designers David Weeks’ and Lindsey Adelman’s inexpensive clip-on lamp shade we bought and blogged about a couple of years ago, but never had occasion to use. We bought two more in advance of the move and found them a perfect INSTANT solution to bare bulbs and unresolved lighting fixtures. It’s soft form is somehow perfect with our sculptural 50′s Atomic base which has lost its original globe, as well as the inexpensive porcelain pull-chain socket ”thrown up” as a temporary placeholder for a sconce. read more…
In the days after our move to Harlem, friends came to help with the massive amount of unpacking, disposing of paper and boxes, and figuring out how to make the unfinished space as livable and pleasant as possible. As is typical with well-layed plans, ours did not go altogether smoothly. read more…
We are smitten with these vintage plywood children’s chairs whose very direct, modern lines and whimsical port holes make us envision an adult version. (Turned on it’s side, a chair could easily morph into a table…). There’s something Donald Judd-esque about them, softened by the curved corners. They wouldn’t be too hard to copy…They look like something we’d find in Furniture in 24 Hours…
Related posts: d-i-y: cracking the code of a donald judd table
awesome building blocks for kids + grownups (to d-i-y?)
slab-and-pillar table inspiration from casa malaparte
improv heart +the snaptastic room divider
essential d-i-y book: ‘more furniture in 24 hours’
d-i-y bench of strapped-together boards
max lamb wants you to know how he does it so you can too
who says you can’t design your own table?
Yesterday afternoon, I looked at the massive to-do list that would keep me working into the evening and…actually for days – an impossible amount of tasks from writing posts to the endless details of moving to tending an elderly mom’s affairs.
I wondered if there was another way to be handling things that allowed for more spaciousness, and made a mental note to test out more deeply some of the methods we’ve posted about here (busyness being a state that seems to affect just about everybody these days). Then I continued to barrel through a very scheduled day. Until late evening when suddenly CRASH, life slammed into the control tower!
The focus this picture from Remodelista is DIY: High-Style, Low-Cost Party Decor, but our eye went right to the checkerboard “painted” floor…NOT with the usual opaque paint, but with a wash of diluted black and white paint. It stains the wood so its character still shines through: a wonderful solution to jazzing up and inexpensive pine floor.
The image is full of ideas that we love and have featured versions of: washi or masking tape drawings on the wall, and a tablecloth made of two contrasting, frayed-edge cloths…
It’s like a Where’s Waldo for grown-up design-o-philes…cool ideas hidden within the subject at hand.
Related posts: japanese colored tape d-i-y inspiration/mood/idea board
japanese masking tape in cool colors +patterns
unhemmed (ripped) linen with yarn stitching
copy this: “moderne” patchwork tablecloth
This is the final call for our free book giveaway! One of the the great things about Kate Payne’s Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking is how it makes you realize that processes or projects that seem complicated, are really easy enough to do in your own home. Curing bacon in the perfect example. Kate Breaks it down into five easy steps, and the best part is that you get to control the quality of pork that you use. (Also is there anything more satisfying than the smell of home-cured bacon sizzling in your kitchen?)
So its your last chance! To win a copy the Hip Girl’s Guide, read more…
About a year ago, we wrote a post called “On Things ‘Not Looking Good While You’re Working on Them”, about the difficult – and often ongoing – “middle” of a project when things haven’t come together. We were heartened by artist John Currin‘s revelation about the creative process: the ONLY way to make thing anything happen is if you are able to endure the uncomfortable mid-point period of chaos and disorder, when things don’t look good.
Which is what we found on moving day 10 days ago. Despite our best efforts to complete our “simple” renovation (home of ‘improvised life’s new laboratory) and have things all pulled together when we moved into our new space, the movers arrived at the new space with a giant restaurant stove that was, inexplicably read more…
(Video link here.) Moving home and office has taken us longer than we imagined. It’s taken a full week to get things up-and-running in our sublime new space…to LAND. Thanks for bearing with and for many messages of goodwill.
With thanks to Film Noir Johnny for the perfectly-timed video.
Related posts: sneak peek: improvised life’s new space + our cool optical illusion design solution
introducing ‘the improvised life’s new ‘laboratory’
slowing down and counting blessings
’1000 awesome things’
The Internet and phone are turned off in our old place; we’re camping amidst boxes. Needless to say, posting has been erratic…we spent 15 hours yesterday at the new space wrangling electricians, Fios guys, handiman, rug delivery.
We’re both overwhelmed and excited by the impending move to new digs, ‘the improvised life’s ongoing work-in-progress, a move from pre-war to modern.
We’re going dark for a week or so while we get things organized…and our wit’s about us. See you soon.
And big thanks for all who wrote to wish us well on the new space.
Related posts: introducing ‘the improvised life’s new ‘laboratory’
sneak peek: improvised life’s new space + our cool optical illusion design solution
‘the improvised life’ in detroit, harlem and governors island
(Video link here.) They say that moving homes is one of the most stressful of life events. We are finding that to be true, due to the sheer volume of details that makes up a life: it’s as though we’re in an avalanche, crushed by how much there is to do. Though we keep things pretty spare, we are wondering how things got so complex.
What if we didn’t have all this stuff and accounts and fierce need for HOME? It got us thinking about the video we saw recently about Daniel Suelo who one day decided to give up all money. He moved to the wilderness of southeastern Utah, where he makes a cave his home, foraging for food, living by his wits, creativity and the generosity of friends. Says Daniel: read more…
Soon summer will be here, bringing with it a crop of cucumbers (and countless other vegetables) just waiting to be pickled. But for those who are intimidated by the process of water-bath canning for shelf storage (or who just want a crunchy fresh pickle!) there is an easy solution: spices, water, vinegar, salt, and two weeks in the fridge. We love the simplicity of Kate Payne’s Fridge Pickles 101. And that’s just one of many great, fun recipes included in her fab The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. If you haven’t read about it already, we’re doing a free book giveaway this month. So if you’re hungry for more of Kate’s tips, simply leave a comment telling us what project around the house or in your garden you’re most looking forward to tackling this spring/summer. Make sure you do it by midnight on March 19, at which point we will randomly pick a winner.
I thought it would be fun to give a sneak peak of the new space I’ve been renovating – the secret project that has run me ragged for months. It will be a sort of laboratory for many ideas we want to explore on ‘the improvised life’. Although it will probably never be ;finished;, this before-and-after gives an idea of the challenging design problems the apartment posed. (The before was taken when I first hauled a few things up to the space to start to try to figure it out.)
Take this fatso design challenge: a long living room wall butted right up to the edge of the window on the adjacent wall (a product of the original cheap, corner-cutting construction). Tearing down the sheetrock wall on the left helped. Then I had a mirror the exact size of the window placed on the wall to form an L with the window; the mirror reflects the window, giving the illusion of a big corner window.
This simple optical illusion vastly expands the space, bounces more light to the back of the large room, while reflecting the best part of the park view outside. I tested the initial idea out by propping a cheap mirror that had been left in the apartment next to the window. read more…
A few months ago, I bought a space in Harlem, soon to be home of ‘the improvised life’s new LABORATORY, in which to experiment with all sorts of ideas for home and daily living.
I had scoured New York City real estate listings for YEARS, traipsing from space to space in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan weighing the pros and cons of neighborhoods, commutes, space-for-the-money – a huge list – until I finally said YES to modest space with very good bones. It was a lucky find, fitting a VERY limited budget AND having the essentials I’d been looking for: proximity to great transportation, a real neighborhood, good security, and most important of all, a wonderful view that could never be obstructed. The architecture is nothing to speak of and the apartment itself needed serious work.
It has become a lesson in seeing through the superficial to the bones beneath, and envisioning possibilities. read more…
Last week we went to the opening of an exhibition of artist Holton Rower’s paintings, made by pouring gallons of vividly colored paints onto plywood forms. They are on display at The Hole in NYC, an immense space that Rower’s monumental work fills with reverberating color and energy.
The paintings are made of humble materials: plywood and acrylic paint transformed by Rower’s imagination and daring. Some are so big that they could only be photographed by laying them in the alley behind Rower’s studio and photographing from 3 stories up. Tonight, we went to see him pour a painting and witness liquid color becoming form (as you can, on YouTube). read more…
Photographer Maria Robledo emailed us a couple of images of her impromptu flower arrangements, with these words:
I love making these freehand arrangments.
I dont start with that intention, i start with looking at the leaf or flower as a photo then i bunch ‘em together w/o thinking.
it’s a surprise to me too because they just come out to look so pleasing.
We admire how fluid her process is: she doesn’t start with an idea in mind. A leaf or a flower grabs her and then she’s off ”bunching them together” to discover how they will arrange themselves…
…like the blossoms that ended up – unexpectedly, charmingly – inside the jar/vase… read more…