Improvised Life » cool spaces http://www.improvisedlife.com If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Mon, 20 Oct 2014 23:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Painted Oriented Strand Board Floors http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/14/painted-oriented-strand-board-floors/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/14/painted-oriented-strand-board-floors/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:01:24 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45904

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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Make a Bathroom a ROOM with rugs, paintings, objects http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/08/making-bathroom-room/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/08/making-bathroom-room/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:00:32 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45842

Ricardo Labougle

We recently stumbled across a couple of images from Decoracion, which features the work of Spanish interior designer Jaime Parladé.  We love Parladé’s use of the elements of a living room: a cotton rug, a shelf of objects, a painting, unexpected tiles, a basket trunk, to give a bathroom a more UNbathroom like feel.

Of all the elements in the room, the simple flat woven rug goes the farthest in making the bathroom feel more like a sitting room. Parladé also uses these textiles as wall coverings, to give an elemental, graphic feel.  (more…)

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Matisse Painted with Scissors (You can Too!) http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/07/matisses-cut-outs/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/10/07/matisses-cut-outs/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:12:54 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45816


(Video link HERE.)  We readily admit to being spaced out, fogged, our mind on other things lately, so we deeply appreciate reader Zoe Komaransky putting herself in our shoes and coming up with an inspiring article:

I appreciate how challenging it is to come up with these posts. I bet there are days when complete ideas just show up and then others that require beaucoup research. This often makes me think, “Ha! I need to send this improvisation to Sally and IL.” Then that day goes on, I get busy and I don’t. But there’s one now that won’t let go so here it is—’keep your hand wide open’ as Abbey Lincoln proclaimed in her wonderful song.

I saw the The Matisse Cut Outs show at the Tate Gallery in London this summer and was astonished. I said, ‘Here’s a man who could not stop improvising.’ When he became so ill that he was bedridden or wheelchair bound and could no longer paint, he switched to making art with scissors and paper.

(more…)

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Interiors Painted in the Style of Famous Artists http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/rooms-painted-style-famous-artists/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/18/rooms-painted-style-famous-artists/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 17:00:12 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45492

Brand New Paint Job

At Brand New Paint Job, artist Jon Rafman overlays the visual style of iconic artists onto rooms and objects, from a Fernand Leger Bomb to a Cy Twombly Lamborghini.

We were especially struck by Rafman’s interiors which seem completely viable, while instantly shifting our view. We would love go sleep in the Paul Klee Master Bedroom, above, or go to a school with a De Kooning-esque Hallway and Lockers.(more…)

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Surprising Painted Patterns on Floors, Walls, Ceilings http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/simply-paint-spartan-sublime/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/17/simply-paint-spartan-sublime/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:59:28 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45388

Jerome Galland via myscandinavianhome

Why buy rugs to roll out on your floors, when you can paint them? Why collect art when you can decorate walls, floors and ceiling, with found materials?

I’m smitten by these two wildly different, improvisational ways that artists have used paint to mimic and displace art in such disparate places as a house on the Cycladic island of Serifos in Greece, and a classroom in Bihar, east India. In Greece, the floors get the spartan treatment; in India, on walls and ceilings, the sublimely ornate and colored with suprising materials. Both are divine. (more…)

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Playing with a Mashup of Modernist and Classical http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/03/playing-mashup-modernist-classical/ http://www.improvisedlife.com/2014/09/03/playing-mashup-modernist-classical/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 18:04:48 +0000 http://www.improvisedlife.com/?p=45205

McKinney + Windeatt Architects

When we scroll through the many design sites we cull for ideas, we find ourselves wading through image after image of the same midcentury-esque spaces, void of anything that “breaks” the look. There’s a disconcertingly uptight sameness to the essential idea of mid-century design that was, in its time, so alive and quirky.

So we found ourselves curiously relieved when we came across this very modern, in parts brutalist, space whose design was broken and softened by classical antiques. The heavy concrete mantle with an ornate gilded mirror is a fine example. (more…)

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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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