Improvised Life » repurpose + reclaim If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:00:44 +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…)

]]> 0
Storage Cage Closets Then and Now Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:00:34 +0000


Over at Aqquindex, we stumbled on this image of a clothes closet made out of a cyclone fence, with the notation “Joseph Paul D’Urso, circa 1980″.  We looked him up to discover he was a major design force in the ’70′s, pioneering industrial materials that nobody has used before. A 2007 article in New York Magazine describes them:

Wire-and-glass coffee tables, hospital-curtain tracks, restaurant stoves, exposed ductwork, doctors’ sinks, security mirrors, marine hardware, gym lockers, and cyclone fencing: Those were the materials that D’Urso brought into the New York living space called the loft.

It also describes D’Urso’s method: (more…)

]]> 0
A Silo Becomes a Cool 2-Story Camp Mon, 14 Apr 2014 20:00:55 +0000

Brothers Rehan and Josh Nana wanted a “camp” to stay in when they went hunting on their family’s three-hundred acre farmland in Missouri. The brothers decided to forge one themselves out of one of the abandoned outbuildings on the property and chose an old grain silo. Says Rehan in an article in Garden and Gun:  “The silo fits into the environment. And we liked the idea of repurposing something that would otherwise be left fallow.”


]]> 0
Pay Phone Free Library and Other Libraries of Things Wed, 09 Apr 2014 22:00:41 +0000

We’ve written about the little free library movement before and continue to be delighted at where the idea is popping up. Here, a pay phone booth is repurposed as a tiny “take a book, leave a book” library  in Houston, Texas, outside local coffee house Black Hole,  with a laundromat next door. Perfect.

It reminds us of garden bombers and other generous guerilla  actions that make life better. And that all it takes (more…)

]]> 0
Fischli and Weiss’ Fab Sculptures from Household Objects Thu, 20 Mar 2014 08:13:21 +0000

via | Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York & Galerie Eva

Every since Holton Rower mentioned Equilibres, the inspired series of sculptures Peter Fischli and David Weiss made in the 80′s with ordinary household objects, we’ve been collecting images of them. Only images exist. The tenuous assemblages were dismantled after they were photographed. The subtitle of the series reads:  “Balance is most beautiful just before it collapses.”


]]> 0
Recycled Iron Kitchen with Modern Lines Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:02:42 +0000

Zep Studio

We’ve gotten a bit obsessed with Costanza Algranti’s recycling of materials we love: copper, wood and iron, and that she is big on rust and rivets. We went on further rambles through her website for ideas.

We were knocked out by this kitchen made of distressed iron. These oxidized copper panels could make surprisingly beautiful cladding for the front of a fridge… (more…)

]]> 0
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…)

]]> 0
Vintage Columns as Bed Posts Mon, 03 Mar 2014 21:00:37 +0000

Jean Marc Palisse

We’re smitten with this two-poster bed we stumbled on in the portfolio of Jean Marc Palisse. Two old columns from who-knows-where were affixed to a bed frame to become bedposts, and an charming eccentric detail that defines the rustic space. (more…)

]]> 0
Fab: An Old Shearling Coat Turned Inside-Out Mon, 03 Mar 2014 18:00:14 +0000

Suzanne Shaker

We’ve written about interior designer Suzanne Shaker’s inspired home in Shelter Island and its many simple, clever ideas. At a dinner party recently, Suzanne showed us the old, worn shearling coat she had given new life to by turning it inside out, transforming it completely. She said people are constantly stopping her to ask where she bought it. We asked her to send pictures and how she did it. Here’s what she wrote: (more…)

]]> 0
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…)

]]> 0
When to Deconstruct A TOO Critical Eye Wed, 26 Feb 2014 00:00:40 +0000

At Neatorama the other day, we came across this image of a scribble a kid made on the wall with the headline “Now What?”. The answer was the clever stenciled pattern that disguised the original.  (more…)

]]> 2
A Necklace of Linked Bracelets (and Charms and Memories) Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:00:36 +0000

Pamela Hovland

I was doing some (improvised) holiday shopping at a pop-up second hand store (furniture and treasures culled from estate and tag sales) when I noticed this fabulous necklace on the shop’s owner.

After I oohed and awed, she explained to me that during her childhood, her mother and she had collected multiple charms during their apparently extensive travels. As a result, each of them had several bracelets FULL of fantastic charms — mostly sterling but also some enamel and so on.

One day she decided to simply link all the separate (and mismatched) bracelets together using their existing fasteners (more…)

]]> 1
The Architectural Possibilities of Plastic Crates and Pallets Thu, 13 Feb 2014 18:08:52 +0000

Emelio Barjau

The other day, we passed a pile of bright blue plastic soda crates on the street and wondered what we could make of them —one of the pleasant mind games we play when spot raw materials for the taking. Not having time or the room, we passed them by. As often happens, we stumbled on a number of answers to our question: possibilities in the realm of plastic crates. (more…)

]]> 0
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…)

]]> 0