Improvised Life » furniture If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:41:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Not Stripe Your Coffee Table? Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:00:58 +0000

One of the things we love about Aqquindex is the many works we find from 60′s, 70′s and 80′s that have continuing panache and viability. This coffee table from Pierre Paulin and Kho Liang is one. It made us think WHY NOT have a coffee table that is not a regular rectangle or round? And WHY NOT stripe a coffee table? We imagined what it would take to run with the two ideas: (more…)

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Cool Glass Side Table for Unkempt Books Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:06:00 +0000

Just about everyone we know has on-going piles of books they are in the process of reading somewhere in their house, whether it be along side the sofa (us), the bathroom (us), or on the bed table (MANY people). The New York Times Book Reviews’ weekly column By the Book asks writers what is currently on their night stands.

So we were intrigued by this glass night stand that acts as a kind of invisible corral for books, keeping them inline in a kind of unkempt way and giving them a decorative books as objet effect.  (more…)

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Minimalist’s Folding Chair Doubles as Wall Art Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:00:48 +0000

We love this design idea from German design group Ambivalenz. The Fläpps: Folding Chair doubles as an artwork, and a simple folding ‘picnic’ chair. The chair snaps out into a modern, streamlined version of a fold-out chair. Unfolded however, it transforms into a less than one-inch-thick artwork, (more…)

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Kartell Componibili Multi-Purpose Storage on Sale Mon, 17 Mar 2014 17:51:32 +0000


The units come in many colors and can be configured in endless ways. (more…)

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Modern Lines From Recycled Materials Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:01:02 +0000

Italian artist Costanza Algranti forges recycled material such as copper and iron into uniquely modern items for the home, with an aesthetic very different from many repurposed home design we see. She forages and stores all kinds of stuff in her Milan laboratory — benches, gutters, barrels and metal sheets — and then imagines how they might become fresh and unconventional furnishings: lamps, shelving, mirrors, chairs. Above, her very original kitchen. (more…)

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Asymmetrical Paintings, Chair Mashup + Improvised Table Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:00:11 +0000

Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer

There are a number of great ideas in this image of antique dealer Lars Kristensen’s Copenhagen home. We’ve blogged the essential ideas before but think Kristensen’s unique take worth checking out.  Mismatched chairs —someof them outdoor chairs — are interesting to look at and give the room unexpected jolts of color. (more…)

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Annals of SMART Design: Angled Headboard to Buy or DIY Thu, 06 Mar 2014 19:00:38 +0000

Crate & Barrel

We are SO happy to read Dalilah Arja’s practical wisdom about angled headboards at Remodelista the other day, and the harsh reality of straight-up-and-down, right-angled headboards:

After two years, I was ready to part ways with my right-angled headboard, which I fought with every time I tried to sit up and do some laptop work in bed. (more…)

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Ordinary Chairs Completely Transformed by Sheep Skins Thu, 27 Feb 2014 23:30:35 +0000


It many of the modern interiors we browse online, there’s a lamb or sheep skin thrown onto a mid-century chair. They are everywhere, so ubiquitous they are a bit…er…irritating.

Then we saw this chair designed by Franco Albini for Cassina (in 1959! but still available) and thought Aha! Why not completely COVER an ordinary chair with sheep skin to transform it (more…)

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Artist’s Cool Precursors to the Pallet Bed Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:29:55 +0000


Shipping pallet creations are one of Improvised Life’s most popular topics, and remain a hot 2014 DIY. The LOOK, if not the inspiration of pallets have been around longer than we thought. Witness, German artist Martin Kippenberger‘s pallet-ish bed platform from the 1980’3, thirty-odd years ago.

We love the deconstructed look of Kippenberger’s space… (more…)

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Shopping Cart Lawn Chair/Lounger Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:00:10 +0000

Mike Bouchet and Nathalie Karg / Cumulus Studios

The supermarket shopping cart has always seemed to us to be a splendid raw material, its metal-grid walls and sturdy wheels rich with possibilities. Artist Mike Bouchet figured out how to transform it into a moderne, beautifully-designed object of leisure. (more…)

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Torggler’s Innovative Kinetic Room Screen Wed, 19 Feb 2014 18:00:00 +0000

Klemens Torggler

Last week we posted about Austrian Artist Klemens Torggler clever ‘Evolution Door,’ a rotating geometric flip-panel door system that opens up with momentum and looks like origami. Torggler spent a lot of times experimenting with the mechanism and, in the process,came up with 5 variations. One of the most compelling: an innovative take on the room screen: A moving object that revolves around its own vertical axis, the screen can be turned and opened with one movement of the hand. 


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Stool, Reitveld Chair and Other Plywood DIYs, Via X-ray Vision Mon, 17 Feb 2014 18:26:52 +0000


An essential practice of improvising is developing x-ray vision. That is, you gradually train your eye, or mind to identify the essential structure of a thing, to understand how it works and how it is made. Often the best way to do this is to look from different angles, open something up, turn it upside down. The stool above is a good example. (more…)

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Paintable Aalto-esque Bent Ply Stools + Where to Buy Them Mon, 27 Jan 2014 18:00:06 +0000

These shiny black Alvar Aalto stools reminded us of just how great and versatile these simple classic stools are. In the open air Kauppatori food market in Helsinki, where Aalto was from, the stools provide seating at just about every coffee stand. Before we knew who Aalto was, we were buying Ikea’s knock-off, the Frosta — which has four legs, not three like the original —  because they were so stylish and useful, doubling as extra seating, stands or side tables. They are easily painted to take on more of a graphic presence.

When Ikea inexplicably stopped selling the $12 stool in America we hunted down a very good copy of the copy. (more…)

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Annals of Bad Design: Extra Deep ‘Luxe’ Sofas Thu, 16 Jan 2014 23:09:07 +0000


Recently, we checked out a nice-looking sofa on sale at Restoration Hardware.  It came in two depths: 37″ deep Classic and the 43″ Luxe. Try sitting on the Luxe and you’ll find you’re listing way back at an awkward angle because the back pillows are too far away to support your back. It’s part of a trend the past several years to make sofas deeper so that they appear more luxurious, as in the photo above. (Hence, Restoration Hardware naming it’s sofa Luxe.)

For us, it’s bad design in the name of the illusion of affluence and style. Here’s our thinking: (more…)

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