Improvised Life » cool spaces http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:50:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Why Not Sleep on the Roof in a…Sky Parlour? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/sleep-roof/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/07/sleep-roof/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:48:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44782

thomasjs.com/bivouac

We recently read that President Taft had a sleeping porch built (below) on the roof of the White House in the 20′s. On hot summer nights, the first family could sleep up there to cool off. It allowed the President retreat up there to chill and look out over Washington.  It was improved in 1927 when the third floor was expanded. Grace Coolidge called it the “Sky Parlor”.

We LOVE this for two reasons: that a man living in such straight-laced conditions as the Presidency would do something so personal and eccentric.

And that WE love sleeping outside as well, and often sleep out on our top-floor terrace, so we can look out at the giant trees in the park across the way and the stars, while listening to the lilt of Motown from the folks hanging out on the corner. (Nobody can see us as our ornamental grasses hide us.) We always preferred the tent guesroom our friends would erect when a crowd would emerge for several day reunions.

We’re always on the lookout for cool impermanent shacks (more…)

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Why Not Really WIDE Moldings? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/really-wide-moldings/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/08/04/really-wide-moldings/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 20:00:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44798

Ettore Sottsass and Aldo Cibic

Found on the great Aqqindex, which almost fetishizes design from the 70′s and 80′s: a vew of Ettore Sottsass and Aldo Cibic’s design of the Munari Apartment, from 1983. Dig thos wide, spare moulding around the door, the opposite in moderne uber-minimalist, and very exprensive none-at all moldings. Rather then the usual 2-inch wide compromise, they really push the width, making the door a much more substantial volume. They ask Why not? in the realm of moldings.

Check out the difference in effect and feeling: (more…)

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Stylish Repurposed Tables from RioEtc http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/stylish-repurposed-tables-rioetc/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/30/stylish-repurposed-tables-rioetc/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:00:59 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44701

rioetc.com

When we start poking around the google translate version of rioetc.com.br, a site meant to show the stylish side of Rio, we found, over several separate posts some compelling mashups of tables. The first, the coffee table, above, which appears to be made of mismatched crates, some with wheels, some not, and a cubist hunk of…is it foam rubber…with a glass top; curiously works.

Then we spotted this table made out of painted boards that had been stripped and affixed to the wall by what appears to be black pipe, (more…)

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House Tour with Life Lessons: Tom Fallon’s Shelter Island Cottage http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/tom-fallons-shelter-island-cottage/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/29/tom-fallons-shelter-island-cottage/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:48:16 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44611

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.]]>
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In Praise of Shadows and Quiet, Muted Interiors http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/farewell-solstice-praise-shadows/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/22/farewell-solstice-praise-shadows/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:00:10 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44277

Petra Bindel/ myscandinavianhome.com

I’ve been yearning for shadows since June 21st when the world took a tumble towards autumn, trailing crayon-bright, midsummer color and loud solstice revels. Parched by the bleached Scandinavian cottages and austere, no-tint white rooms that are everywhere online, I’m craving soothing darkness and a place to sequester in silence. This stark, in-your-face, white duvet bedroom suddenly hurts my eyes…and my soul. I want more yin, less yang.

Seeking solace, I turned to Japan, and a meditative book of essays, In Praise of Shadows,” by novelist Jun’ichiro Tanizaki. He expresses his nostalgia for the shadowy beauty once so characteristic of traditional Japanese houses, now fallen victim to rapid modernization. (more…)

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Instant Treehouse or Picnic in the Sky with a Hanging Tent http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/tinypost-instant-treehouse-picnic-sky-spherical-hanging-tent/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/15/tinypost-instant-treehouse-picnic-sky-spherical-hanging-tent/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 23:00:53 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44063

The Hanging Tent Company

If this isn’t the absolute essence of the escapist wilderness whims we had as children, we don’t know what is….

We wonder what it would be like to lay still in one of these floating spheres and listen to a slight wind coming through the trees. (more…)

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A Rusty Corrugated Shed with a Modern Interior http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/14/rusty-corrugated-shed-modern-interior/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/14/rusty-corrugated-shed-modern-interior/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:05:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=44001

Raffaello Rosselli

In our continueing search for examples of the incorporation of organic and decayed materials with modern functionality, we present Australian architect Raffaello Rosselli‘s lovely repurposing a corroding tin shed in Sydney to create a small office and studio apartment. (more…)

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Window Shade Room Dividers http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/window-shade-room-divider/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/window-shade-room-divider/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:00:04 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43984

aqqindex.com

This Venetian blind room divider created by interior designer Jose Juan Belda in the 70′s got us thinking about how useful window shades can be as mutable room dividers. When we were planning the renovation of the Laboratory, we considered using sleek, flat solar shades afixed to the ceiling to make dividers we could open or close at will to define the office area. Recently we found an example of just such a use in the clever renovation of a small space in Stockholm: (more…)

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Apartment Reno Encompasses Old and New http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/apartment-reno-encompasses-old-new/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/apartment-reno-encompasses-old-new/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:00:20 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43976

karinmatz.se

Recently we wrote about a slick renovation that sadly covered over a beautiful aged wall that would have made a wonderful addition. Since then, we found an interesting mix of marriage of old and new details by architect Karin Matz in a cost-conscious renovation of a Stockholm space that had been used as furniture storage for 30 years.

Matz literally split the space into two zones: one polished and finished, the other rough and old.

Since a big constraint was cost, the polished/finished space largely employed IKEA kitchen shelving units and plywood. Floors and walls were painted white to reflect light and make it look (more...)]]> http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/10/apartment-reno-encompasses-old-new/feed/ 0 Lagerfeld’s Libraries: Horizontal + Vertical Book Stacks http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/02/lagerfelds-libraries/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/02/lagerfelds-libraries/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:00:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43599

Todd Selby/The Selby

While we were writing about Karl Lagerfeld’s bathroom, we remembered an image of his library that we’d posted years ago. Lagerfeld seriously loves books and has found ways to house LOTS of them. We’re interested in how he arranged them. The interplay of vertical and horizontally stacked books makes for a pleasing graphical look while allowing for economical use of the space (he packs in a lot of books). (more…)

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Achille Castiglioni’s Inspiring Casa d’Oggi http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/02/achille-castiglioni/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/07/02/achille-castiglioni/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:00:49 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43433

In 1956 Italian industrial designer Achille Castiglioni created “COLORI E FORME NELLA CASA D’OGGI”, the installation of a living room at Villa Olmo, a neoclassical villa located in the city of Como, northern Italy. When we saw images of it, we flipped. It is such a far cry from the sterile interiors we see so often today; it’s a thoughtful, reality-based modernist living and working space.

Here’s some of the design thinking behind it, with a few more pictures: (more…)

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Slung Cloths: Simple Ways to Create Private Space http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/30/slung-cloths-simple-solution/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/30/slung-cloths-simple-solution/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:00:58 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43373

myscandinavianhome.com

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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Trees and Plants Breaking Through the Floor…Wabi-Sabi? http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/26/trees-plants-breaking-floor/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:03:30 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=42453

Schaeffer Residence/Joe Fletcher

We found this image in Ranch Houses: Living the California Dream. It’s from Park McDonald’s renovation of the Schaeffer Residence, designed in 1948 by John Lautner, a highly influential architects of the 20th century. We love the trees that appear to be unexpectedly cracking through the deck, a lovely bit of wabi-sabi, that “breaks” the perfect design. Perhaps it’s our recent reading of Leonard Koren’s classic, Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers that makes us view the trees through this lens. This little book has been greatly influencing our thinking. (more…)

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Nivola’s Outdoor Wall Canvasses, and How to Make One http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/constantino-nivola-tree-growing-wall-sculpture/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/06/19/constantino-nivola-tree-growing-wall-sculpture/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 17:05:21 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=43198

One of the many details we love in sculptor Constantino Nivola’s “outdoor rooms” are the walls he erected to define space and make into artworks. We’re crazy for this tree wall sculpture, as well as his wall paintings, including the Solarium. Hmmm. Wonder how they are made?  Of course, we tried to figure it out, hoping one day, we might use Nivola’s idea. (more…)

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