Improvised Life » living room If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:52:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Cy Twombly’s Fab Deconstructed Villa in Rome (1966) Mon, 09 Mar 2015 17:00:47 +0000


At the compellingly odd blog Under the Sun, we stumbled on an gorgious interior with messily painted, canvas like walls in what appeared to be an Italian Villa. We follwed the trail to discover it was from an article Vogue magazine ran in 1966, about artist Cy Twombly’s villa in Rome. The photographs were by fashion photographer Horst. The walls we thought so beautifully, haphazardly painted, were really Twombly’s canvasses.

He’d tack them right onto the wall —no wooden stretchers — and paint. (more…)

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Low Shelving as Settee, Display and Storage Thu, 05 Feb 2015 18:36:17 +0000

Lately, we’ve been seeing appealing LOW shelves in some of the interiors we’ve come across. The low-to-the-floor horizontals they create have the effect of making the ceiling look higher, especially useful in low-ceiling rooms.

We especially like the these clever shelves spotted at Il Richiamo Del Bosco (The Call of the Woods), and eco friendly bed & breakfast in Sala Baganza, Italy near the city of Parma. The shelves double as firewood storage, surface for display AND settee. The addition of cushions is all it takes.

It’s a great, simple design. The storage area would work for books and baskets as well.


via Style-Files

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Bohemium Homes: An Alt Kind of Eye Candy Wed, 04 Feb 2015 18:55:03 +0000

We browse A LOT of websites in our search for illuminating content for Improvised Life that will inspire new ways of viewing every aspect of the everyday. We have a special fondness for interiors as we hunt for ideas we can apply to our own space, if only in our imagination. But we have grown tired of the ubiquitous, sterile, faux mid-century spaces and want to yell “HELLO, does anybody live there???!!!!”

We are always curiously relieved and delighted when we come across images from Bohemium Homes, an ALT-interiors site whose mandate is “Chilled out, lazy, Eclectic and Bohemian Homes”.

In these chilled out, lazy, often messy rooms we find both rest, an affirmation of real life, and many ideas.  Here are some favorites: (more…)

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Alicia Nunez House: “A Balanced Personal Ecosystem” Mon, 12 Jan 2015 18:00:44 +0000

We recently stumbled on two images at Aqqindex simply titled “Alicia Nunez house”. We were knocked out by the feeling of the space and its many interesting ideas: concave ceiling and angled walls, built-in niches, bricks positioned sideways, a long ledge for sleeping and reading with more niches…the living area steps up, from shiny dark tile to a rough puzzle of pale stone, the dark stone of one wall integrated by the geometry of the fireplace…

We’d never heard of Alicia Nunez. We looked her up to discover that she is a Barcelona architect/designer. We are stunned by her “Philosophy/Our Offer“: (more…)

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House Tour with Life Lessons: Tom Fallon’s Shelter Island Cottage Tue, 29 Jul 2014 08:48:16 +0000

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.]]> 2
Rough-stitched Ripped Linen Pillow Covers Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:00:11 +0000


Just as we were wrapping our head around learning to use our new sewing machine, we noticed these big pillow covers on IKEA’S blog Livet Hemma

…which sent us hunting around Ikea USA to discover that it is selling 100% linen by the yard for 7.99 a 59″ yard in white and gray.

We’ve long been fans of washed, shrunk, ripped linen and these couldn’t be easier: (more…)

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A HUGE Paper Globe Transforms a Room Mon, 14 Jul 2014 20:05:07 +0000

Gilliam Khaw

Spotted in a house tour at Desire to Inspire: one swell idea. Want to add some moderne architectural interest to a prewar room? Hang a giant Noguchi-esque paper shade.  We’re talking BIG:  36-inch or 42-inch in diameter  We like the Maru white paper lantern available at Shoji Decor.  They also sell single cord lantern kits for hanging them.

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Achille Castiglioni’s Inspiring Casa d’Oggi Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:00:49 +0000

In 1956 Italian industrial designer Achille Castiglioni created “COLORI E FORME NELLA CASA D’OGGI”, the installation of a living room at Villa Olmo, a neoclassical villa located in the city of Como, northern Italy. When we saw images of it, we flipped. It is such a far cry from the sterile interiors we see so often today; it’s a thoughtful, reality-based modernist living and working space.

Here’s some of the design thinking behind it, with a few more pictures: (more…)

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Murals Inspired by Frescoes to DIY or Buy Thu, 29 May 2014 17:00:47 +0000

Peggy Markel

Our friend Peggy Markel, who leads culinary adventures in Italy, Morrocco Spain and India, sent us these images of her visit to Castello Sonnino, an agricultural estate/vineyard/restaurant/lodge/cooking school 20 minutes from Florence; its earliest buildings date back to the 13th century, with later buildings c 1800. The murals are frescoes painted directly on the walls —when, we don’t know — to stunning effect. They reminded us of the Dreaming Walls we wrote about recently, and of photographer Thomas Wrede’s Domestic Landscapes, which feature printed murals people have applied to their walls, to expansive, imaginative —and sometimes dissonant — effect.

These images got us thinking about mural services we’ve come across in our wanderings.


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The Beauty of Unframed Art via Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi Wed, 19 Mar 2014 19:00:26 +0000

We’re so used to seeing images of tidy interiors with neat rows of framed pictures that it was a joy to stumble on this image of Julian Schnable’s living room at Palazzo Chupi. In addition to all the pink, there’s a nice mashup of art, much of it unframed. Unframed canvases have an immediacy and, well, naked-quality that cools out the framed art.

We found a trove of images of Schnabel’s extraordinary building, which appears to still be for sale, here.

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Dirty Pink Obsession: Even Donald Judd Loved It Thu, 27 Feb 2014 21:00:53 +0000

Nick Tenwiggenhorn

It seems that even Artist Donald Judd liked muted, "dirty" pink walls, the focus of our ongoing obsession. Here's one of the rooms in the Cobb House that he renovated in Marfa, Texas, the vast army base he bought and transformed in the 1990's. ]]> 0
A Cool Tiny Moderne House Inside a Prewar Apartment Thu, 20 Feb 2014 18:00:58 +0000


Over at AQQ Index we stumbled on this image, notated “Wayne Berg Living Room”. Who is Wayne Berg? The most we could find was a NY Times Obituary. Berg was an architect who gained fame in the ’80’s and ’90’s (he passed away in 1999); he was known for creating “substantial architecture on a human scale” and helping to reinvigorate modernism.

He must have designed this innovative room inside of a prewar apartment years before “tiny” became a movement. (more…)

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House Tour: Jean Cocteau’s Villa Santo Sospir Mon, 17 Feb 2014 21:00:03 +0000

© Aurelie Millet

An image of bookshelves cleverly set into a wall painted by Jean Cocteau sent us looking for its origin. It is Villa Santo Sospir, Francine Weisweiller‘s villa in the South of France that Cocteau embellished and used in two films La Villa Santo Sospir and  Testament of Orpheus in 60’s. It seems that after coming for dinner one evening, Cocteau moved into the villa and stayed for 13 years.

Looking at it like a canvas, Cocteau offered to do a drawing over the fireplace in the main living room. Over time the whole house ended up like a piece of art, (more…)

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Enzo Mari Fireplace Inspiration (A Mantle as Display) Wed, 12 Feb 2014 18:54:22 +0000

We are smitten with Enzo Mari‘s fireplace because it rolls all sorts of things we love into one: a fireplace, slabs of concrete or stone, shelves and ledges to display still lives —perhaps one of the nicest uses of a mantle. Our own yellow mantle, sans fireplace, acts as a repository of things we love: a Buddha’s hand, a friends art works, a propped open copy of  Tantra Song, things we found while wandering — a morel from the West Virginia woods, the flower end of a persimmon, seed pods….

It’s been getting pretty full lately. Our friend Holton Rower suggested placing a smaller mantle inside it, (more…)

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