Improvised Life » walls + windows If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:08:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 An Unexpected View through a Peephole Wed, 08 Oct 2014 23:00:09 +0000

A rough peephole carved out of a wall in what may just be an abandoned house… frames an unexpectedly lovely view…like a little painting.

(It’s a new iteration of the “holes in walls” we love so much.)

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Matisse Painted with Scissors (You can Too!) Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:12:54 +0000

(Video link HERE.)  We readily admit to being spaced out, fogged, our mind on other things lately, so we deeply appreciate reader Zoe Komaransky putting herself in our shoes and coming up with an inspiring article:

I appreciate how challenging it is to come up with these posts. I bet there are days when complete ideas just show up and then others that require beaucoup research. This often makes me think, “Ha! I need to send this improvisation to Sally and IL.” Then that day goes on, I get busy and I don’t. But there’s one now that won’t let go so here it is—’keep your hand wide open’ as Abbey Lincoln proclaimed in her wonderful song.

I saw the The Matisse Cut Outs show at the Tate Gallery in London this summer and was astonished. I said, ‘Here’s a man who could not stop improvising.’ When he became so ill that he was bedridden or wheelchair bound and could no longer paint, he switched to making art with scissors and paper.


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A Splash of Light Painted on the Wall Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:00:32 +0000


Stumbled on at the great Aqqindex: an interior detail of Nemausus Housing designed by the great French architect Jean Nouvel.

Rays of light painted or chalked on the wall.

We also love the other odd shapes, (more…)

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Surprising Painted Patterns on Floors, Walls, Ceilings Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:59:28 +0000

Jerome Galland via myscandinavianhome

Why buy rugs to roll out on your floors, when you can paint them? Why collect art when you can decorate walls, floors and ceiling, with found materials?

I’m smitten by these two wildly different, improvisational ways that artists have used paint to mimic and displace art in such disparate places as a house on the Cycladic island of Serifos in Greece, and a classroom in Bihar, east India. In Greece, the floors get the spartan treatment; in India, on walls and ceilings, the sublimely ornate and colored with suprising materials. Both are divine. (more…)

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Deirdre Newman’s Trompe L’oeil to Soften Hard Angles Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:00:56 +0000

Deirdre Newman

Decorative painter Deirdre Newman is one of the many creative souls we’ve connected with through Improvised Life. We’re hoping to meet her in person one of these days and see what collaboration might happen (dig her faux-stained parquet floor we featured). In the meantime, we check into her portfolio once in a while for ideas. We love this simple way of softening and charming up a standard staircase: with a wavey scroll.  (more…)

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Ornithology Wall Mural: Proseck’s Practice of Seeing Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:00:20 +0000

(Video link HERE.)  There is something enchantingly low-tech and intimate about artist James Proseck‘s painstaking process of making this wonderful, public wall mural: painting bird silhouettes a la Field Guide series of nature books. His technique is very interesting and could easily be applied to the walls of any interior or exterior space – bedroom, dining room, patio, pool house, you name it.

We’ve excerpted a saliant chunk of the rather long, slow video. It shows not only Proseck’s technique but delves into his view of what it means to “see” nature, a practice that can be cultivated. (more…)

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DIY or Buy: Attention Grabbing Geometric Headboards + Panels Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:00:59 +0000

These distressed, pastel painted wood panels from Urban Outfitters are enchanting, but why not use the idea as a springboard for a summer DIY project to install anywhere in the house or garden? (more…)

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Makoto Azuma’s Living Walls and Floors Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:00:39 +0000

We’ve recently come across Japanese botanical artist, Makoto Azuma who works with plants as sculpture and installation. He’s made a career out of using micro-climates as an art form, but we’re particularly taken by one installation which brings botanicals into the home — with walls and floors covered entirely in living plants. (more…)

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Window Shade Room Dividers Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:00:04 +0000

This Venetian blind room divider created by interior designer Jose Juan Belda in the 70’s got us thinking about how useful window shades can be as mutable room dividers. When we were planning the renovation of the Laboratory, we considered using sleek, flat solar shades afixed to the ceiling to make dividers we could open or close at will to define the office area. Recently we found an example of just such a use in the clever renovation of a small space in Stockholm: (more…)

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Watercolor Wall(paper) Tue, 08 Jul 2014 17:00:02 +0000

Lately, we’ve been seeing some appealing images of watercolor walls. Hmmm. Nice. Of course we thought, we’ll do that ourself. Easier said than done. From our limited knowledge of it, the beauty of watercolor has much to do with the paper, which allows the paint to bleed in interesting ways. So we started hunting for solutions. (more…)

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Renovation Danger: Covering Rough, Beautiful Details Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:00:54 +0000

Hr estudio de interiorismo & inmobiliaria

Recently, we came across a house tour of a highly renovated apartment in Madrid. It included one “before” picture that made our heart sink: OMG, we thought,  look what they covered up!

During the demolition, a beautifully textured wall was revealed. (more…)

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Lagerfeld’s Libraries: Horizontal + Vertical Book Stacks Wed, 02 Jul 2014 20:00:12 +0000

Todd Selby/The Selby

While we were writing about Karl Lagerfeld’s bathroom, we remembered an image of his library that we’d posted years ago. Lagerfeld seriously loves books and has found ways to house LOTS of them. We’re interested in how he arranged them. The interplay of vertical and horizontally stacked books makes for a pleasing graphical look while allowing for economical use of the space (he packs in a lot of books). (more…)

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Magnetic Wall Redux: Magnetic Wall Paper Tue, 24 Jun 2014 19:02:01 +0000

After we wrote about Holton Rower’s ingenious invisible magnetic wall for easily displaying art and photographs, a reader alert us to this iteration of a magnetic wall panel. Luis Pons Design lab created magnetic wallpaper i.e. a magnetic panel that could be afixed to a wall. It allows anyone to move a fine metal mesh over the panel to rearrange and play with it as they wish: interactive wallpaper! (more…)

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Tear Off Wallpaper in an Art Installation and at Home Thu, 12 Jun 2014 17:00:59 +0000

Itay Ohay/Benny Gam Zo Letova

Israeli designer Italy Ohaly recently created an installation at the Design Musium Holon of colorfully painted walls covered in black paper. Viewers were invited to scratch off the black paper to make unexpected colored patterns in the walls. It’s a roomsize iteration of the game Ohaly played as a kid “‘We filled a piece of paper with random and colorful doodles, covered it all with black and then etched on it to make a drawing.’  Hmmm we thought. Wonder how that could work in a house?

Then we found Tear-Off-Wallpaper.

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