Improvised Life » bedroom If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Wed, 12 Nov 2014 23:44:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Painted Oriented Strand Board Floors Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:01:24 +0000

Lisa Van Damme

Remodelista recently featured the clever redesign of a 430-square foot-apartment in a century-old row house in Antwerp, the work of Belgian architecture firm Komaan! —translation, “Come on!”

It’s full of good ideas, including clever layout that creates a fluid space with lots of storage, and interesting use of plywood,  but our favorite is the floors: sheets of Oriented Strand Board, known as OSB, painted high-gloss white. (more…)

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Vibrating Bed Mystery Contest Update Wed, 08 Oct 2014 21:40:02 +0000

Sally Schneider

Several weeks ago, in desperation, we posted a challenge to our readers to come up with solution for our vibrating bed, which, shaken by some mysterious force,  wakes us in the wee hours of the morning. Until we find the source, we are hoping to find a way to keep the bed from shaking, so we can get a good night’s sleep.

Since then, quite a few readers responded, offering some really clever, but mostly not viable ideas, like suspending the bed. While we sussed them out and undertook a hopeful correspondence with an engineer that emailed us his thinking, we decided to keep trying fixes. (more…)

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Update on Vibrating Bed Solutions: Hanging Beds Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:30:19 +0000


We were thrilled to get such a resounding and thoughtful response to our contest asking for solutions to keep our bed from vibrating, that is, to dampen the mysterious vibration coming through the floor. A number of readers suggested suspending the bed, which we WISH we could do. But as with any creative problem, we have some serious constraints to deal with. (more…)

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Contest: Solve the Vibrating Bed Mystery Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:00:25 +0000

Holton Rower

A few months ago, after a mysterious vibration coming through the floor started shaking our bed, and us, awake at night, we wrote about the improvised bed legs I’d made using yoga blocks and special thick rubber we’d researched. It worked for a while, but we are still plagued by the mysterious vibration that is keeping us sleep-deprived. (From surfing the internet we realize that THOUSANDS of people suffer from this problem). We have read endless technical papers on the vagueries of how sound and vibration travel. We’ve lost count of our attempts at damping the vibration, including the sculptural “bed shocks, above, my friend Holton Rower devised.

So we’re issuing a challenge to Improvised Life’s clever readers: help us devise a solution to keep the bed from being shaken by the vibration coming through the floor. The winner will receive a lifetime subscription to Improvised Life. Here’s what we’ve tried already (call us crazy but we can’t sleep): (more…)

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DIY or Buy: Attention Grabbing Geometric Headboards + Panels Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:00:59 +0000

These distressed, pastel painted wood panels from Urban Outfitters are enchanting, but why not use the idea as a springboard for a summer DIY project to install anywhere in the house or garden? (more…)

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House Tour with Life Lessons: Tom Fallon’s Shelter Island Cottage Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:48:16 +0000

Jason Penney

When our friend Tom Fallon’s Shelter Island cottage was featured in Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, we realized just how many lessons about home design and LIFE we learned from him over the years. Here they are, with pictures by Jason Penney.]]> 2
Industrial Materials for DIY + Home Improvements Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:00:01 +0000

Sally Schneider

Even though we are complete laymen, we have a thing for industrial materials: the mysterious raw materials used by various industries that were traditionally off-limits to the public. Years ago, we learned that if we could find a source, we could buy them like anyone else. In those days, we used a Business-to-Business phone book to find zinc fabricators for an kitchen island top, or a guy to forge a table base out of steel angle irons. Recently, we had an adventure and lesson in the vast possibilities of rubber products (and made some big discoveries we didn’t expect). (more…)

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Rough-stitched Ripped Linen Pillow Covers Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:00:11 +0000


Just as we were wrapping our head around learning to use our new sewing machine, we noticed these big pillow covers on IKEA’S blog Livet Hemma

…which sent us hunting around Ikea USA to discover that it is selling 100% linen by the yard for 7.99 a 59″ yard in white and gray.

We’ve long been fans of washed, shrunk, ripped linen and these couldn’t be easier: (more…)

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Slung Cloths: Simple Ways to Create Private Space Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:00:58 +0000

The quest for a restful night’s sleep can feel like an impossible dream, particularly for urban apartment dwellers or those who share tight living quarters and a noisy town. How to shut off the world – and the kitchen – to grab some privacy and nourishing shut-eye to help maintain emotional and mental balance, can be an all-important challenge. (more…)

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Cool, Practical Flat File Beds Tue, 17 Jun 2014 18:10:18 +0000

Pia Ulin for Lotta Agaton

Tobias Wong‘s inspired mattress on a grouping of pushed-together 2-drawer lateral files has long been an inspiration for our imaginings and phanta-designs for beds built on file cabinets. Remodelista’s recent Unexpected Uses for File Cabinets showed some pretty inspired possibilities in the realm of flat-file, those wide files meant for storing artworks and other big papers (although they’re useful for all kinds of storage). The most beautiful iteration we’ve seen was created by stylist Lotta Agaton out of classic white flat files. Agata’s day be shows just what a good idea a bed on flat files is, as do these… (more…)

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Serene Sheer Linen Bed Spread Mon, 02 Jun 2014 20:00:14 +0000

François Halard

We clipped another lovely, doable idea from the idiotic New York Times T Magazine article a few weeks ago about the Axel Vervoordt-designed “wabi wabi” penthouse at NYC’s Greenwich Hotel. 

A sheet linen bed spread. We thought right away of Rough Linen’s lovely Summer Cover, made of lightweight linen. We used one as a bed skirt and it is wonderfully sheer. (more…)

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Stacked Mattresses: A Bed Platform Made of Foam Thu, 08 May 2014 17:56:59 +0000

Christoff : Finio via

In our ongoing theme “The Annals of Bad Design” we’ve critiqued ultra-wide bigger-than-the-mattress beds that look cool — and allow for an instant spot for your drifting-off-to-sleep-reading—but make for scraped and banged calves when getting in and out of bed. New York based designers Cristoff : Finio devised a clever solution to this dilemma in their design for a teenager’s room in a Park Avenue Apartment. (more…)

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Bed on Boxes, Files, Shipping Pallets and Other Platforms Thu, 01 May 2014 08:19:47 +0000

This image of a charming plywood platform bed reminded us of the late Tobias Wong’s bed made of a mattress on top of a grouping of file cabinets.  No need for an OFFICIAL bed, of the grand style seen on every home blog and magazine. A good mattress on a flat sturdy slab is a simple formula. And that slab can be anything, from the floor… 

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DIY-ish Slab Wood Head Board Mon, 28 Apr 2014 17:00:22 +0000

Ashley Bruhn / Hither & Thither

We’ve been mulling headboards for a while, thinking how wonderful it would be to have a huge slab of beautiful wood as a headboard, perhaps slightly angled leaning against the wall. We found an image that matched what was in our head and followed the trail to A Cup of Jo and read part of the tale. Ashley Bruhn, blogger of Hither and Thither, and her husband found were on a vacation to Bali when they came across the 600-lb, 11-foot piece of Saur, a fast-growing, non-endangered hardwood, and had it shipped to California.  (more…)

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