Some time ago, when we posted about uses we had improvised for binder clips, we got a rash of reader responses telling their improvisations with the ubiquitous tool that just keeps on providing solutions to life’s little problems. Check out Treehugger‘s recent 16 Clever Uses for Binder Clips (we love ‘em in Steel). Here are our favorites: read more…
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…
(Video link here.) Tracy Metro is a designer and the host of I Live with My Mom on SpacesTV, where she makes over bedrooms of twenty- somethings who are still living at home with Mom. “I rid them of their soccer trophies, Legos and stuffed animals in favor of an adult launching pad for life.”
She’s applied her own small-space thinking to The Retro Metro, a houseboat she and her husband bought a few years ago. When we saw the before-and-after photos, we had to know the story. So we interviewed Tracy and spliced-in pictures and plans to show you just how big a project it was. read more…
(Video link here.) This video about the private little games people (especially kids) play in their heads reminded me of one I’ve been playing for years.
One of the big surprises in our renovation of ‘the improvised life’s laboratory was the floor. When we took up the funky carpeting, we didn’t find the concrete we expected but a soft gypsum compound that couldn’t be hardened. We had no budget for a floor so we started to look around at possibilities. We entertained the idea of linoleum, which we love, but found even it was too pricey and labor intensive (it needs sealing periodically). Still, we found ourselves fantasizing about an orange linoleum floor. We weren’t quite able to imagine it.
As we’ve mentioned, ‘the improvised life’s laboratory is something of an homage to plywood. We’ve used it for many things, from window sills to cabinets to floors. We love the stuff, and are constantly hatching plots in our head for furniture, housewares, endless inventions. So we are smitten with carpenter and author Philip Schmidt new book PlyDesign which presents 73 ideas for sleek, smart home furnishings that you can make from off-the-shelf sheet materials using only basic hand and power tools. It features designs contributed by more than 50 creative builders across North America for tables, stools, workstations, benches, laptop stands, shelves, art panels, organizers, headboards, and more.
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)
We LOVE gifs because they’re animated visions seem like magic. Among our favorite new gif-makers is 40licks. We can’t help seeing this lovely gif as a perfect image of improvisation: an open door to possibility.
Related posts: an evening gif: gratitude…
what have you been making today?
peep show gif: funny, risqué, slightly x-rated
color/pattern meditation break
gif-inspiration: devise, invent, create…try something new
Interior space voyeurs, check out this satisfying tour of furniture designer Hubert Le Gall’s apartment from a 2002 Nest magazine. We especially love the ersatz fireplace, which appears to be made from molded plaster and paint, but would be still-swell just painted, (as the fire was for a mantle with no hearth we posted once). Check out Le Gall’s colorful sunburst bookshelf…
We recently found some photos that we took in the fabled Chelsea Hotel’s a few months before anyone knew it would be closing. (Click here to listen to Leonard Cohen singing Chelsea Hotel,which he wrote for Janis Joplin, while you read on). We’d been to artist John Wellington’s birthday party in one of the rooms there, and as we were clumping down the iron stairwell on our way out, we couldn’t help but admire the wild graffiti that adorned the fire extinquishers in the corner of each landing: an ubiquitous, essential tool made into something grander than it’s usual self… read more…
I recently wrote that the first step in planning our renovation was to hang out in the space and dream. That’s not quite true. That step ran concurrently with friends coming over to give their 2-cents and help us explore how exactly the place was made. By explore I mean busting holes in ceiling and walls I thought about demolishing to actually see what lay hidden in them — elecrical wiring, support columns, pipes — in order to plot possibilities.
The first thing several friends noticed was how low the ceiling felt at 8’2″. (This proved to be largely due to the way the place was painted and the height of the doors). My friend Holton Rower decided that it was imperative that we see if there was any space above them hoping it might be possible to raise them. In lieu of a ladder, Holton rigged a platform with what was around: read more…
I’ve been circling the story of the transformation of ‘the improvised life’s new Laboratory from vin ordinaire apartment to its new incarnation of fluid, morphable, multi-use space for living and improvising (a glimpse above), wondering how to tell it. Having shown the early sketches and plans, it seems like the best bet would be to show BEFORE photos of the place as it was when I first found it, along with notations of the immediate challenges I saw, so you can get your bearings. I’ll get into the wild specifics of planning and renovation in the months to come.
What I loved immediately: read more…
We view this beauty of a floor as a kind of coloring book for adults: paint a color within the lines of each floor board and look what you get, the ultimate d-i-y, pattern already built-in.
(Practicality: be sure to lightly sand and prime the floor before painting…)
Related posts: zigzag paint floors + the zigzag path of the creative
rug and tile designs as painted floor (or wall) inspiration
more fab (and daring) painted floors (to d-i-y?)
a painted (floor) rug
constantino nivola’s yellow tractor paint floor