Improvised Life » floors If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:00:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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The Unexpected Histories and Care of Kilims Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:34:43 +0000

Then we saw the image of a charming kid’s room, above features kilim rugs and pillows — the colorfully patterned flat-woven rug traditionally made from the Balkans to Pakistan, most famously Turkey —inviting play on the floor. They are one of MANY images we’ve seen lately. Kilims are in the air, appearing on many design blogs lately for their curiously modern designs that work well in many home styles. They remind me of an unexpected adventure I had when I had my vintage kilims cleaned.


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Purposely Askew Tiles on Floors and Walls Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:00:08 +0000


We love the purposely askew bathroom tiles in this image we found at aqqindex with the notation: French Interior Circa 1983. It’s an ongoing theme of “breaking the expected pattern” that is threaded throughout Improvised Life, in all aspects of our lives. It tends to show most concretely in interiors, (more…)

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Black and White Checkerboard Floors Look Great Anywhere Thu, 06 Mar 2014 12:04:48 +0000


This crazy beautiful interior is of an installation architect, artist, and designer Josef Frank created for Swedish interior design company Svenskt Tennin 1939. There a million things we love about it, including the very cool fireplace, the jazzy sofa textiles and how low everything is, making the ceiling seem HIGH and the room airy and spacious. AND dig the black-and-white checkerboard floors, a reflection of Frank’s idea that “Patterns are calming”*. They are an enduring, curiously forthright flooring material that seems to work in just about any space, from modern to classic.

Check out the ones in Julian Schnabel’s New York City home Palazzo Chupi: (more…)

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Test: Dyson’s Zorb Cleans Rugs with an ORDINARY Vac Tue, 21 Jan 2014 19:32:46 +0000

Steve Silverman/Flickr

Right before we moved into the Laboratory, friends offered us a fantastic area rug that would be perfect in the bedroom, reaching almost to the walls.  It looked like a rug you might see in one of brilliant Mexican Architect Luis Barragan homes: dense, neutral, subtly cozying and softening modern lines. (Barragan also famously favored pink walls.) In our rug, twice as much wool as usual was threaded into the warp making it luxuriously dense and incredibly heavy. We arranged for movers to deliver it and lay it down the day before the bed and the rest of our furnishings were to arrive. Having it cleaned first had not crossed our minds.

Once laid down we discovered that the glorious rug had a few less-than-pristine-spots (more…)

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DIY Floor Stencils Transform Banged-Up As-Is Floors Tue, 14 Jan 2014 18:30:16 +0000

via Remodilista via Chairloom

We love this inspired DIY featured in Remodalista recently: rough-hewn banged-up floors embellished with dramatic stencils spotted in the showroom of Chairloom in Philadelphia.  The how-to cuts down unnecessary steps and make the most of the floor’s as-is beauty. (more…)

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repair or chic-up your wood floors with tiles Wed, 30 Oct 2013 17:37:27 +0000

Alexandre Guirkinger

What do you do when you’ve got a parquet or hardwood floor with patches that are broken or in generally terrible repair? We found a surprising solution via artist Mathias Kiss’ installation Banquise:  replace wood rectangles or slats with tile.

You don’t have to just stick with rectangles. Paola Navone made a fabulous patch using smallish polygons, so beautiful, you might want to plan to do this.

We’ve found a trove on Elmo Yang’s Pinterest.

Lots of possibilities here.

Top photo: Alexandre Guirkinger

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