Are You a Feng Shui Survivalist?

Over the years,I have discovered I am part of a secret underground of people who quietly shift spaces they stay in to bring them closer to their personal sense of harmony, or to infuse beauty into the downright ugly, improvising using whatever was at hand. Here are some recent adjustments I made to the lovely country house a friend and I stayed in recently, and the logic behind them. My friend said they made the place better. What do you think?

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Laura Handler’s Checkered Duct Tape AC Surround

Designer Laura Handler, whose chic Montana cabin and cool teeny ‘everything’ vial we’ve featured, sent us images her latest brilliance. The Harlem building in which she recently renovated her apartment is having the bricks repointed, which is seriously messy work. To keep dust OUT, Laura first made a barrier of blue painter’s tape around her (very cool)…

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Disguises for Computer Cables + Other Ugly Stuff

As we scroll through design sites, we periodically spot some new gadget for keeping ugly computer wires in check: reels that wind them up, dongles that collect them behind your desk… Perhaps the BEST improvisation we’ve seen is in Christoph Niemann’s workspace. The inspired illustrator/artist/author disguised an ugly black cable by placing a black and white image…

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DIY Beautifully Chalky Limewashed Walls

When friends renovated their NYC brownstone, they made wonderfully varied walls — high-gloss painted walls next to beautiful flat, chalky ones achieved by careful plastering — that made the rooms incredibly beautiful.

I copied their high-gloss walls in my Harlem space, but wondered how I could achieve the chalky effect of plaster myself. The answer recently presented itself in a great DIY by Justine Hand for Remodelista.

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Transforming Wall Bed-Bookshelf-Storage Unit

Last May I posted the life-size prototype I made out of FoamCore to help me design a complex combination of berth-style (sideways) wall bed, storage and bookshelves for my space in Harlem. I had been struggling with the design problem for some time: how to make the massive volume of the wall-bed blend into the structure, so you…

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Industrial Materials for DIY (Incl Vibration Fixes)

We have a thing for industrial materials: the mysterious raw materials used by various industries that were traditionally off-limits to the public. Years ago, we learned that if we could find a source, we could buy them like anyone else. Recently, we had an adventure and lesson in the vast possibilities of rubber products (and made some big discoveries we didn’t expect).

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