Improvised Life » walls + windows If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:51:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 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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The Transformative Beauty of Ad Hoc Street Art Tue, 10 Jun 2014 21:00:54 +0000

We recently stumbled on a wondrously beautiful wall in the Bowery, the work of Bronx graffiti artist Cope2, known for his “throw-up” and “wildstyle” graffiti. It reminded us of the feeling we got as we walked by it: as though we suddenly walked into a different gravitational field, due to the riot of seriously joyous color. 

Not long after, we realized that “The Bowery Mural” is on the same concrete slab wall that artist Keith Haring decorated over 30 years ago, and changed everyone’s view. (more…)

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Everything Painted One Color, Moldings and All Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:00:48 +0000

We came across another good idea from the portfolio of journalist and photographer Amandine & Jules that seems to be something of a trend: NOT painting moldings and doors a separate color but rather the same color as the walls, to make a uniform, less busy  and, depending on the color, more contemporary look.  (more…)

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Annals of Paint: Bold Polka Dots + A Yellow Optical Illusion Tue, 03 Jun 2014 17:00:39 +0000

Eagle eyed Susan Dworski spotted this polka dot wall and floor in the portfolio of the write/stylie + photographer couple Amandine and Jules. We love the idea of a graphic element flowing from one to the other, softening angles, and make the space seem more…fluid.

Here’s another example of using paint to define a space in an unexpected way, without walls… (more…)

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The Unexpected Illumination of Sliver Mirrors Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:00:50 +0000


This image of a tall, thin sliver of mirror reminded us of one of our favorite tricks: using an inexpensive $11 hardware store closet door mirror as a sleek sliver of a view.

We first discovered it when we found one of those mirrors left in the Laboratory when we took possession. We used it to imagine what a corner mirror would be like. When it literally fell out of its cheap frame, we saw the hidden treasure: a slim rectangle of mirror.
Later we would purposely buy one of those mirrors to place by the stove, so we could see the view behind us when we were cooking.


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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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