Improvised Life » housewares If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:02:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 DIY Idea-Capturing Desks Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:26:59 +0000

Kirsten Camera

Somewhat obsessed by how we remember the past”, MCAD student Kirsten Camara designed the Analog Memory Desk. It has a holder embedded in its legs for scrolling huge rulls of butcher or Kraft paper over the desk’s surface to make “a sort of tablecloth of memory” to record “hundreds of little things that we don’t try to remember every year or even every week”. It can record months, possibly years of ideas, drawings, doodles, mind maps, phone numbers, calculations etc… (more…)

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Bespoke Lampshades + Tweek’s Instant Lunette Tue, 17 Feb 2015 19:36:19 +0000

Found on

There are a lot of things we like about this interior but this crazy tall, fabulously orange lampshade takes the cake for completely shifting our view of lampshade possibilities. It makes us wonder why most lampshades are so ordinary. We are hard-pressed to find a ready-made shade like this BUT know that the reliable Just Shades will make any shade, from 4 inches to 8 feet. A good shade can transform a lamp the way wonderful shoes can make an outfit.

Meanwhile, our go-to insta-shade that clips right onto a lightbulb to transform just about any lamp or fixture is (more…)

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Display Art with VINTAGE Binder Clips Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:00:06 +0000

Davide Lovatti

We’ve long been fans of binder clips for all sorts of uses, including hanging unframed artworks. But we NEVER considered how beautiful vintage binder clips might be put to this and other uses, until we saw Remodelista’s recent article. They are prominently featured in the home of art collector and mid-century furniture dealer Demetrio Zanetti.

He uses stylish vintage metal clips as his art hanging system, nailing the clips into the wall and then gently affixing the clips to the art.

They got us searching Ebay and Etsy for possibilities, and we found a trove. We fell in love with vintage (more...)]]> 0 LEGO Gifts for Inventions Both Utilitarian & Playful Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:01:15 +0000


Chinese design studio KBme2 believes that there are simple ways to create housewares that could truly belong to the user. They tested their idea our using LEGO, the timeless building tool beloved by both children and adults. (more…)

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Sally on Splendid Table: Gifts, Table Decorations + Recipes Mon, 15 Dec 2014 22:00:09 +0000

Sally Schneider

Check out Public Radio’s The Splendid Table interview with Sally about her favorite gift ideas for cooks and eaters. Most are inexpensive but give a big bang for the buck.

You can also hear her favorite holiday tabletop decorations (some of which made great gifts as well). (more…)

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Endlessly Useful Photographer’s Apple Boxes Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:37:45 +0000

Wood apple boxes come in graduated sizes and have a handle routed out at one end, making them easy to move around. A staple of photo studios, they would be a great piece of multi-purpose “furniture” for home, to use as step stool, sitting stool, small table, ledge or stand for books or objects…We've discovered that you can buy them or make them. ]]> 4
Floyd’s Ingenious, Mutable Bracket & Table Leg Designs Thu, 04 Dec 2014 18:00:50 +0000

The Floyd Shelf Bracket is a clever tool that allows you create a shelf from any flat surface by simply installing the brackets on a wall and clamping them to the material. With them, you can turn all sorts of interesting materials into shelving and switch out surfaces whenever you find something neat and new (or old). (more…)

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DIY Word-free Symbol Labels Wed, 03 Dec 2014 19:23:37 +0000

Sally Schneide

We don’t like seeing labels on things we have around the house — there’s enough advertising in our world; we don’t need it at home — so we routinely peel them off.  At the kitchen sink, we fill plain, unmarked bottles with dish soap and hand soap. Even when we had two very differently-shaped bottles, with one seeming obviously dishwashing liquid, guests would ask “Which is for hands?”.

So we decided to make a word-free sign for the hand soap. (more…)

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The Wirecutter for Trusty, Informative Reviews Mon, 01 Dec 2014 22:00:53 +0000

When we’re looking to buy a fitness tracker, pair of headphones, a TV, or even a spatula, Consumer Reports and Amazon don’t always cut it. Our favorite resource these days is The Wirecutter, a site that seriously researches, vets and tests all sorts of essential items.

Recently we followed their lead (well, their companion site Sweethome) on the best bed pillow to buy and found that their top pick, The Premier Down-Like Personal Choice Density Pillow was highly rated as well as an incredible value. We loved that we could choose the firmness, easily finding a “just right pillow.

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Interlocking Cardboard Disks for Building Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:50:17 +0000

Luke Hayes

As great admirers of the infinite possibilities of ordinary cardboard, we love British designer Torsten Sherwood‘s simplified single-component system that encourages instinctive building. Noook are colored, double-faced cardboard disks that slot together to create overlapping formations that can create unique structures.

Inspired by Legos, Noook offer’s infinite possible combinations. Designed for children, we see it as a wonderful material for adults. (more…)

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How (and Why) to Make an Emergency Spoon Thu, 23 Oct 2014 21:53:07 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Master life-hacker/improviser Dave Hax shows how to make a spoon out of a plastic bottle. It reminds us of “Found” the beautiful metal-coated plastic cutlery by designer Oscar Diaz in 2009, featured in Dezeen.

Photographs of Diaz’s process show the kind of “x-ray vision” a clever designer employs when looking at a material. (more…)

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Open Source Systems for Everyday Objects, Food + Living Tue, 21 Oct 2014 21:05:56 +0000

(Video link HERE.) Bio 50 has applied open-source thinking to electronic appliances we use in our homes everyday. They’ve prototyped of a system built upon standard components that offers the user the ability to assemble, customize, repair, and repurpose existing products.

Check out their clever fan, hand mixer, and a balloon-encased lamp all configured from the same elements.  (more…)

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BIG Leaning Mirrors Expand the View Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:00:34 +0000

I’m crazy about how mirrors can animate a room and bring it to life. Particularly oversize, leaning mirrors. I thought these were beauties.

You don’t need to do anything — no hanging or rigging; just set them where the look best or reflect the best view.

An oversize picture frame can easily be fitted with a mirror. And a huge rectangle of unframed mirror gives an elemental look.


—Susan Dworski

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Clever Hardwood Board Uses (with Resources) Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:00:19 +0000


This clever bread board bird feeder reminded us of the endless odd permutations on the theme of bread boards we’ve written about before, and of the vast possibilities for using wood planks in general for household projects, from a ledge to perch on top of the back of the toilet tank to a low bookshelf bench set on stones… (more…)

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