Improvised Life » storage If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:24:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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…)

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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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DIY? 70′s Striped Brick Bookshelves Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:00:49 +0000


We generally viewed bookshelves using bricks as uprights as simple college student decor UNTIL we saw these fab shelves designed by Gionatan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino and Lomazzi for Longato in 1971. Of course the designers used just the right bricks for their striped shelving and a great deal of thought and vision, i.e. the width of the shelves are exactly the width of the bricks…some bricks are placed horizontally, others front to back.

These shelves are swell, an idea that could be riffed on endlessly. For inspiration in the realm of bricks, (more…)

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Good Idea: Bookshelf with a Built-In Ladder Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:15:39 +0000

If you are lover a books and a person who stacks them high on shelves, you know of the problem of access. Either you need to pull up step stool or  wobbly chair (pain in the neck), or to have one of those stylish sliding book ladders that take up a lot of space both real and visual.

We really like the idea of Karen King’s Higher Ground, a tall shelf with a built-in ladder. (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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How to Label Storage Boxes with Images, Polaroid or Otherwise Wed, 05 Mar 2014 18:00:43 +0000


Of all the ways to label a box, we like this the best: IMAGES of what’s inside rather than the usual ugly scrawl. We became a fan of this method when we stumbled on Virginia Sim’s black-and-white photo of her version in 2009; she catalogued her shoes by pasting a Polaroid image of the shoe right on the box.  As in the image above, Polaroids give the snazziest, most finished look (at a cost).  A photo of the box’s entire contents would tell you in a flash what’s there. (more…)

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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…)

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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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Tiny Plywood Studio Morphs into a Gallery via Pegs Tue, 11 Feb 2014 18:00:14 +0000

Gidon Levin

We got a lot of ideas taking a little photo tour of the versatile 66-square-foot artist’s studio Anaan Stern and Shany Tal designed in Tel Aviv. There are many kinds of clever storage: shelving, sliding panels, drawers of all sizes…

But what we liked best are pegs you insert into small holes bored into the plywood sliding panels, to hold works of art or open books and make an ever changeable private gallery. (more…)

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Coat Hanger + Magazine: A Simple Storage Solution Becomes Art Mon, 10 Feb 2014 18:00:44 +0000

Bungalow 5

Recently, while browsing through the Danish website Bungalow 5, we were inspired by this idea in the home of Ollie and Seb. By combining two ordinary, daily objects, they’ve created a miniature installation of their own.]]> 0
Cool D-I-Y Rope and Stacked Block Shelves Wed, 11 Dec 2013 18:00:10 +0000

We’ve long admired this wonderful stacked block shelf we clipped years ago. It is made of scrap wood (salvaged from a lumbar yards garbage bin) that was bored, threaded and secured with thick rope, and hung from hooks anchored in the wall.

Then we wondered: What if you didn’t bother with the rope part and just screwed (and glued) pieces of scrap hardwood wood together to make “blocks” to hold up shelves; then screw the shelving to the blocks to secure them? (more…)

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rustic wood shelf with ingenious chain support Tue, 03 Dec 2013 21:52:33 +0000

Alexandra Meurant

We’re putting this image into our ever-growing file of shelving ideas. A chain is a fine solution for when you don’t have an end wall to hold up a wooden shelf. You get the support without the feeling of the space being blocked or hemmed in. Simple and ingenious. We can imagine interpreting it in a more modern idiom, using cables and clean-cut or painted boards, though this mash-up of materials is pretty swell.

Then we saw Outofstock‘s shelving unit based on a suspension bridge (more…)

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Cool DIY Hanging Shelves, from The Selby to Bertoia Tue, 19 Nov 2013 18:00:54 +0000

The Selby

Yay! It’s been ages since The Selby published photos of REAL eccentric interiors as it did in its early years, before Todd Selby got “discovered” and busy doing advertising and magazine jobs. We were checking out his photo essay Fede Saienz — Musician and Artist and Katrine Glindvad Larsen — Fashionista at Home in Brooklyn when we spotted an odd, rigged hanging shelf in the picture. (more…)

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how to lighten the look of shelves filled with books Wed, 13 Nov 2013 22:49:03 +0000

Ikea/Livet Hemma

One of the things we don’t like about having open book shelves, is that a mass of books can become somewhat oppressive, bearing down on a room, sucking up light. Lately, we’ve come across images of shelves where books are arranged in vertical and horizontal stacks, interspersed with art and objects. (more…)

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