While walking in the woods upstate last week, we came across this ad hoc bench positioned across from a massive, ancient tree. The bench had been forged out of the forest’s own materials, without nails. We love the asymmetry of the stump pillar on one side, and the pile of flat rocks on the other, supporting a thick slab of sawn wood, bark intact. The bench was completely stable and comfortable, and the wood slab ample enough to lie down on, to look UP into the mighty tree. read more…
We were instantly smitten with this kitchen, for its spareness and simplicity (on the upper East side of Manhattan no less), but especially for the marble slab table with a rough, unfinished edge. Such a simple detail to leave undone, yet the effect is bold and surprising. It could be done with any stone surface.
It is the vision of D.D. and Leslie Tillett, influential post-war textile designers whose townhouse on the Upper East side of Manhattan served both as family space and workspace for the textile design and printing. They are the subject of a retrospective that has just opened at the Museum of the City of New York. “D.D. liked surfaces to have broken edges. She had a ‘Wabi-sabi’ aesthetic,” says her son Seth in a recent New York Magazine interview.
We’re going to run over and see it as the house appears to be full of adventurous design ideas. In addition to rough-edged table tops… read more…
Although our borrowed cabin in the country was not quite as spare as Charlotte’s Web author E.B. White’s enviable makeshift work space (in his boat shed overlooking Allen Cove in 1976, pre internet), we are refreshed by going minimal for a week, in nature and quiet.
We were so intrigued by White’s utterly simple, focused space, that we browsed some of his essays. We were amused and heartened to read of White’s eloquent stuggle with “stuff” in “Goodbye to Forty-eighth Street:
For some weeks now I have been engaged in dispersing the contents of this apartment, trying to persuade hundreds of inanimate objects to scatter and leave me alone. It is not a simple matter. I am impressed by the reluctance of one’s worldly goods to go out again into the world. During September I kept hoping that some morning, as if by magic, all books, pictures, records, chairs, beds, curtains, lamps, china, glass utensils, keepsakes would drain away from around my feet, like the outgoing tide, leaving me standing silent on a bare beach. But this did not happen… read more…
A perfect impromtu side table, made from worn stacked boxes, each worn in a unique way as to contribute to a striped, graphical design. This is the kind of thing that salvage places are perfect for…
via Japanese Trash
Related posts: d-i-y vintage-box furniture (and obsession)
dreaming of a rietveld crate desk
cardboard, crates + chairs as building materials
led-illuminated shipping pallet bed
alt bookcases: stacks on stands
We’ve been amassing quite a collection of pictures of stacked boxes and crates being used as shelving. And lately, they’ve included crates and boxes that are painted on the inside, outsides left their natural shelves. This simple embellishment presents the colors as a sort of surprise, that lends a lot of charm to the plain box look…
Having installed quite a few mirrors into ‘the improvised life’s’ new laboratory, we’ve witnessed first-hand how quickly they show fingerprints and smudges, along with a streaky glare acquired a week or so after being cleaned. We’ve also been experiencing how much “shows” on or white high gloss doors and walls – and they don’t come close to mirror-like.
When we saw this image from Natural Style Outdoor Spaces on Style Files, we immediately thought: shipping pallets would make a perfect base. You’d hardly have to desconstruct them. Just clean them up (stack if desired) and place slip-covered foam cushions on them (here’s a how-to), for chic lounging pallets that would work inside or out.
It’s curious how inspiring shipping pallets have become…We find ourselves building with them in our heads like some sort of mental Tinkertoy…
What are your ideas?
Related posts: the scoop on safe shipping pallets (shipping pallets 101)
ps: some possible dangers of wood shipping pallets
led-illuminated shipping pallet bed
brilliant D-I-Y pallet desks, tables, stairs
D-I-Y: pallet chair (and stool and lamp)
While we were away, we got a very succinct, very cool email from reader Gorden Ammermann, with photos of the wonderful shipping pallet bed he made:
maybe i´ve something for your site. be free to post it: my new diy-pallet-bed
We not only love the white painted bed, but the deliciously rumpled linens in a very simple room as well. You can get the gist of Ammermann’s creation from the other two photos he sent: read more…
Since we started renovating ‘the improvised life’s space’ we’ve had our eyes peeled for solutions to various design problems. We’re finding that once we have a question in our head, inspiration and ideas can come from the most unlikely places.
Desperately needing a proper desk to work on, we hurredly devised one out of hollow core doors (below) on spray painted salvaged file cabinets. It works fine – a sleek 13 feet, but we weren’t crazy about the wood veneer, which has an unexpectedly reddish cast. Wonder what we could do to change it?: reverse-painted glass crossed our minds, as did slabs of steel or copper we found at a an internet site. Then two modernist Italian vases we saw on Mondoblogo grabbed our attention. What if we painted the desktop that fabulous red of the fifties vase by Antonia Campi, above? read more…
When designer Laura Handler sent us word of her new blog, Interesting Found Objects, we instantly started poking around. We love Unmentionables, her latest post, with a divine, mind-boggling Japanese condom package-design. Then we flew to her website to find out about her. We looked at her designs and was smitten with her stacking, interlocking votive candle holders that could be configured in endless ways.
Such a simple and smart idea. We tried stacking our own votives to realize that executing this clever idea really takes a great deal of thought and consideration: so that the flames don’t touch the neighboring votives and possibly crack them; that they interlock so as not to come crashing down…We were reminded that good design only looks simple, and works really well.
We also really love the work she’s done with acrylic, like these vividly-colored woven placemats and drinkware she designed for Metrokane… read more…
Cynthia Caldwell sent us a link to this Post-It table she spotted at Design Taxi with this note: “Love this idea-post it size desk pad. Couldn’t find where you can actually buy one but I think I need it NOW for my son Russell.”
It appears the table is one of those tantelizing design one-offs that would cost a fortune to buy. We’ve seen a number of iterations of the idea over the past few years. For us, it has the essential design flaw of regular-size Post-It notes: that awful yellow color.
So of course, we set about figuring out how to MAKE our own custom post-it table, with paper we like. Here are two approaches: read more…
We love this chair by monocomplex design studio because it illustrates an essential lesson about cardboard: when sheets of it are glued together they become an incredibly strong material, a homemade laminate that can be used like wood. Here, the designer glued together 127 pieces of cardboard (recycled boxes, not pristine sheets) until he had a big roughly-arm-chair-size block. Then he sculpted it with a grinder and saw, gradually tailoring a chair to fit his body.
You can watch the process here, a 1.5 minute revelation. read more…
Le Corbusier’s beautiful table “Tronc d’arbre“, designed in 1956, made the hairpin leg table famous, and brought notice to its simple formula: a wood slab or plank top + a set of hairpin legs. That formula has inspired a multitude of iterations over the years; it is a relatively simple and impressive d-i-y project, made even easier by a hairpinlegs.com, a whole website offering different kinds and sizes of hairpin legs: read more…
Among the many projects we’re working on, is creating a standing desk – or perhaps better put – a standing area for our the 13-foot desktop we’re creating, so we can sit AND stand during many ours of blogging. We’ve seen many iterations on the internet, not to mention research as to why standing while you work is beneficial. Wirecutter’s recent article rounds up much of it, and shows the lengths, and cost, the standing desk obsession can take you to.
From our recent renovation we’ve discovered that in designing anything, it’s good to keep in mind the simplest, most bare-bones iteration; read more…