Improvised Life » floors If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:20:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Imaginings: A Jigsaw Puzzle Floor? Mon, 10 Nov 2014 18:00:08 +0000

Sally Schneider

Wandering around Artists and Craftsmen the other day, we came across jigsaw puzzle blanks meant to be painted or printed on to make a custom jigsaw puzzle.

We saw the jigsaw pattern as an interesting possibility for a ….floor, no doubt inspired by our white-painted plywood floors with their geometric grid of seams. From the beginning, we’ve thought of them as a potential palette on which to paint designs or splashes of color. What would a mild jigsaw puzzle design look like?

We love the process of envisioning. As we look at images of our floor, we overlay the jigsaw pattern in our mind’s eye…

We (more...)]]> 0 Optical Illusion Rug or Floor Stencil Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:49:39 +0000


When we looked closely at this 3D rug, we realized that it was really an assemblage of simple shapes that LOOKED way more complex that in is.

Very cool as a rug OR as a painted floor. (more…)

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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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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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Surprising Painted Patterns on Floors, Walls, Ceilings Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:59:28 +0000

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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Permanent Hopscotch for Spontaneous Skip + Jump Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:30:17 +0000

Virginia del Giudice

Photographer Virginia del Giudice has been sending us sightings from her travels in Amsterdam of random brilliant “everyday” improvisations the Dutch have come up with. Here’s a favorite: numbered tiles formed into a hopscotch grid and placed permanently on the sidewalk, for a quick spontaneous skip and jump on your way to do an errand or go to work.  Totally charming and do-able.


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Sidewalk Mandala Tue, 08 Jul 2014 22:10:01 +0000


Is it chalk, or spray paint or regular paint? Whatever…we wish more sidewalks looked like this.

Thanks Holton!

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Stained or Painted Wood Decking Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:09:47 +0000

Studio Weave for London College of Fashion

Looking for ways to jazz up wood decking?  Studio Weave  has designed a new roof terrace for London College of Fashion’s gallery space, adding brightly coloured decking and seats.

Says Studio Weave’s Eddie Blake:

The whole thing was done with reference to basket weave – trying to make timber look as if it’s woven. The timber is just low-cost off-the-shelf larch decking. The idea was to find a super quick way of making something beautiful and colourful.

The colours were created using a combination of wood stain and decking paint. We might have chosen a different color palette but think it’s a swell idea, with lots (more...)]]> 0 Stylish Affordable DIY End Grain Block Flooring Tue, 17 Jun 2014 20:48:53 +0000

When we were hunting for a affordable flooring solutions for the Laboratory, we came across a wood floor we had never seen before in a store in Soho: it was made from tiles cut across the grain of hard wood beams: end cuts placed in a grid to make an unexpectedly beautiful pattern. The lighting in the store was so poor that our snapshots were too vague to publish. Recently, we came across some fine images of what we now know to be Log End or End Grain flooring, and info about how to do it. We found some great info and a how-to at Design Sponge:  (more…)

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Kilim Patchwork Rug to Buy or Maybe DIY Tue, 03 Jun 2014 20:00:45 +0000

Lina Ostling

Just as we’re on the verge of buying a sewing machine so we can actually MAKE some of the things we imagine, we’ve been seeing images of beautiful patchwork rugs made out of vintage kilim remnants. Wondering if it would be possible to DIY them ourselves, we went hunting for kilim remnants. 

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Annals of Paint: Bold Polka Dots + A Yellow Optical Illusion Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:00:39 +0000

Eagle eyed Susan Dworski spotted this polka dot wall and floor in the portfolio of the write/stylie + photographer couple Amandine and Jules. We love the idea of a graphic element flowing from one to the other, softening angles, and make the space seem more…fluid.

Here’s another example of using paint to define a space in an unexpected way, without walls… (more…)

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DIY Cross-Cut Tree Slice Floors, Outdoors or In Thu, 22 May 2014 17:52:25 +0000

Purdy Devis House photographed by Lisa Romerein

One of our most popular diy posts is an outdoor floor made of wood “bricks”, the sawed-off ends of boards placed in a brick-like pattern. Recently, we saw a very cool variation on that theme: an outdoor floor made of cross-cut tree trunk slices, which make for a wonderfully graphical floor of circles. (more…)

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Deirdre Newman’s Faux Parquet Floors (DIY?) Tue, 13 May 2014 17:02:25 +0000

Deirdre Newman

We discovered decorative painter Deirdre Newman when she reached out on Facebook to say “I can paint a lot (all) of the painted floors and walls you suggest! Would love to execute some of your amazing ideas!”.  We poked around her huge portfolio of projects and found a trove of clever, meticulously-executed ideas. We especially like her faux parquet stained floors which could be a great solution to chic-ing up inexpensive short-cut oak flooring that is in so many spaces these days.   (more…)

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Taking Rugs Outdoors to Make Comfortable, Colorful “Rooms” Wed, 23 Apr 2014 17:00:59 +0000

Spring is finally here and we’re turning our attention to getting our patio ready for hanging out. We’re inspired by this charming image we found on From Moon to Moon of a Moroccan-style garden ladened with brightly colored rugs. The rugs define and soften the space, and create an outdoor “room”, perfect for hanging out with friends. The idea of an outdoor room is not new. Constantino Nivola created lovely outdoor rooms by building seating and a fireplace, below. But simple use of rugs is an even easier way to go. (more…)

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