Friday, November 21, 2014

Gym Locker turned Wine Locker!

I love the trend of bringing vintage lockers into the home as storage pieces. They look so cool, but the question becomes, what do you put in them? 


WINE, OF COURSE!!

The locker sat around empty for 10 months, but we were finally motivated to finish it up in order to enter it into BLACK+DECKER's Your Big Finish contest. We're hoping to get this project featured on a billboard in Times Square!! You can enter a project too - see more details here.



When I found this locker at a local resale store I knew it would be the perfect addition to Ross's new man cave (have you seen it? Check it out here!). But the narrow compartments made it awkward from a storage perspective. But then it struck me that they were roughly the same width as a wine bottle. ;)


Ross took the measurements and did some research online and found that this single column wine cellar kit fit the space perfectly.



Ross added little battery operated puck lights to the top of the locker to provide some extra lighting and highlight the display bottle on the top of the rack.



Read on to see how we installed the wine racks!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thrifty DIY: Wine Cork Vases

Wine cork vases - the perfect use for all those corks you've been saving! These make great gifts || http://www.designimprovised.com

This month's Thrifty DIY is super thrifty - not only does it use florist vases found at my local Goodwill, but it also puts to use all those wine corks you've been saving! For about $2 (and a healthy consumption of wine) you can make these vases in time for the holidays.

Wine cork vases - the perfect use for all those corks you've been saving! These make great gifts || http://www.designimprovised.com

These vases can be made from any cube or rectangular shaped glass vessel. I made this tall one out of a bud vase and about 70 corks. I also made a smaller version from a square florist vase and 40 corks. 

Wine cork vases - the perfect use for all those corks you've been saving! These make great gifts || http://www.designimprovised.com

I'm always looking for a way to use my ever-growing wine cork collection, so I was excited that these were so easy to make! I think they would make for a really nice gift.

So start rounding up your corks, head to your local Goodwill for some glass vases for $1 a piece and let's get to work!



Supplies for Wine Cork Vases



  • Cube shaped glass florist vases (bud vases work great!)
  • Lots of wine corks (expect to need 40-70 per vase, depending on its size). Skip the plastic corks for this project - they don't look as nice as the real thing
  • Heavy duty craft glue like E6000
  • (Optional) Knife to cut corks

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

DIY Industrial Pipe and Wood Shelves - Tips and Tricks

Super helpful tips and tricks for building industrial pipe and wood shelves || http://www.designimprovised.com

We recently finished Ross's man cave - a project that had lingered for months, but thanks to some motivation from BLACK+DECKER's Your Big Finish initiative, it is finally complete!

These industrial pipe and wood shelves were the biggest undertaking in the room, but also the thing that made it AWESOME!

Super helpful tips and tricks for building industrial pipe and wood shelves || http://www.designimprovised.com

Several versions of these shelves have been done before by talented DIY bloggers, so rather than rehash the same tutorials, we wanted to direct you to the couple that we found most helpful and provide you with some additional tips and tricks along the way. If you're looking to make some shelves like these be sure to pin this post to refer back to during the process - you won't regret it!!

Ross found this industrial rustic shelf tutorial at Sylvie Liv to be the most comprehensive and helpful. He also liked this iron pipe shoe rack tutorial. Check out both of these for step-by-step photos and be sure to keep Ross's tips below in mind as you go along.

The Design

Ross sketched out a design for the shelves and made a number of careful measurements before he got started. Here's his tips:

1. Dedicate a good amount of time to the design phase before you get started - think about how you are trying to use the space and how you'll space out the shelving and supports (e.g., do you want a desk to be a certain height? Are you trying to fit certain storage pieces between the shelves?)
  • I needed space for a TV and a workstation, so that dictated some of the minimum dimensions of the width of the shelving unit. As for depth, I knew I wanted a substantial work surface on the bottom and shelves deep enough for books.  
  • The room has very high ceilings so I intentionally built the shelves higher than an average person can reach so that they didn't look dwarfed by the height of the ceiling. 
2. Measure all types of lumber to figure out what sizes will give you the best dimensions. Treat this like a custom project vs. taking someone else's dimensions and trying to fit it into your space. If you're going to invest the time in building something like this you want it to truly meet your needs.

Super helpful tips and tricks for building industrial pipe and wood shelves || http://www.designimprovised.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

Man Cave Reveal!

It may have been 10 months in the making, but thanks to the BLACK+DECKER Your Big Finish initiative, we got the extra push we needed to finally finish Ross's man cave!

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

This was the biggest DIY project we've undertaken to date, and Ross gets all the credit for transforming a little 80 square foot room off of our laundry room into the modern industrial man cave that it is now.

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

While my idea of a DIY is a 30 minute craft, Ross decided he wanted to BUILD A WALL OF SHELVES from raw wood and unfinished pipes! I questioned the idea from the start. ;) It definitely wasn't the type of project I would be good at helping with and Ross hadn't done much carpentry before. It seemed like so much work, and I just wanted the room done!

Well through endless hours of research, careful measuring, and working away in the backyard over the course of a number of weekends, Ross built this amazing shelving system and built-in desk to maximize the main wall in his man cave. It completely transformed the room and I am thoroughly impressed. It was so worth it!

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

With the shelves in place, we slowly chipped away at the rest of the room, taking our time to find just the right pieces to fit the space. Ross wanted to incorporate some personal elements from his days on the Penn hockey team, and I thought his idea for a wall of team photos dating back to the 1800s was perfection.

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

My main contribution to the room was scoring this vintage locker at a local antique and salvage store. I was won over by the blue color and thought it would be a great storage piece for the room, even though I wasn't sure what Ross would actually put in it.

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

Well once Ross had those shelves done, he was unstoppable… he transformed the locker into WINE STORAGE!! Needless to say, it is my favorite addition to the room.

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

I'll be back on Wed. with the step-by-step tutorial for how Ross made it a wine locker!

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

Ross is smiling because it feels so good to be DONE! Do you also have a project that has been on the back burner for too long? Now is your chance to get it done before the end of the year.

BLACK+DECKER has launched the Your Big Finish movement to get all our unfinished home projects moving again. Whether you've been meaning to refinish a piece of furniture, reorganize your closet, or install crown molding, BLACK+DECKER wants to help you finish it for once and for all!

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

Submit your project to the Your Big Finish initiative and have the chance to win a $10,000 grand prize, as well as weekly prizes worth ~$400 and a chance to have your project featured on a billboard in Times Square!

Get started on finishing that project and you'll be sitting back and pouring yourself a drink in no time. ;)

Modern Industrial Man Cave || http://designmprovised.com #YourBigFinish

Head to the Your Big Finish project gallery to check out the other entries and click here to enter your own project:


Read on for lots more photos of the man cave and details of the process!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving Turkey Balloons

Turkey balloons - the perfect addition for a Thanksgiving kids table! || http://www.designimprovised.com

I've decided every holiday deserves its own DIY balloon - I couldn't let Thanksgiving go by without a turkey balloon in its honor! 

Turkey balloons - the perfect addition for a Thanksgiving kids table! || http://www.designimprovised.com

These balloons take advantage of the oblong shape of the balloon by turning it on its side. You don't have to only tie a string at the bottom of a balloon, you can add it to any part with the help of a little tape!

These silly balloons would make a fun addition to a kids table at Thanksgiving - check out how I incorporated these into a turkey inspired kids' table!

Turkey balloons - the perfect addition for a Thanksgiving kids table! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Supplies for Turkey Balloons


  • 12" helium-grade balloons (I used gold)
  • Assortment of feathers 
  • Baker's twine, string, or curling ribbon
  • Googly eyes 
  • Beak and waddle cut from construction paper or card stock
  • Glue gun
  • Scotch tape (not shown)


Turkey balloons - the perfect addition for a Thanksgiving kids table! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving Kids Table with Munchkin

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Growing up, being relegated to the kids table at Thanksgiving was not necessarily a thing to celebrate. But then again, I didn't have a kids table like this!

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Today I've partnered with Munchkin, the makers of innovative products for kids, to give you a few simple ideas that will wow your youngest guests. All of these can be pulled together Thanksgiving morning - you can even get the kids involved in the decorating!

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Turkeys are the star of this kids table with DIY turkey balloons at each seat and a few gourds turned silly turkeys as playful centerpieces. 

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

While kids don't need to eat off the fancy china, they don't have to eat off of paper plates either! These colorful plates and cups from Munchkin are a great non-breakable option and just happen to come in the perfect Thanksgiving palette (you can buy a 5-pack for only $5).

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

A roll of kraft paper makes for a kid-friendly alternative to a tablecloth. Just give the kids some crayons and let them get creative while they wait for their food. You can even have it do double duty as a place card by writing each child's name by their spot at the table. 

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Any table decor with googly eyes is bound to be a hit with kids. You can also never go wrong with balloons. ;) Check out my simple turkey balloon tutorial.

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Read on to see how to make these gourd turkey centerpieces your kids will love!

The Thanksgiving kids table with playful gourd turkeys and DIY turkey balloons! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Monday, November 10, 2014

18 Cool Uses for Chalkboard Paint

Have you ever used chalkboard paint on a project? It's one of those crafting materials that has the ability to transform an old piece into something with a completely new purpose. One of my most popular projects is the old file cabinet I turned into craft storage and calendar with a couple coats of chalkboard paint. Here are a few more cool examples from Hometalk.com


If you're not familiar with Hometalk, it is a great source for DIY home decor inspiration - from holiday decor, to furniture makeovers, to more intense home remodeling projects. I recently started sharing a few of my projects on the site, and my chalkboard paint file cabinet was a particular hit. 

The folks at Hometalk asked if I would curate a board with my favorite chalkboard paint projects submitted on their site. It turns out there was no shortage of inspiration - there are over 800 chalkboard paint projects! 

Head to my Chalkboard Paint Ideas board on Hometalk to see more details on each of the ideas above. What have you made with chalkboard paint? I'd love to hear!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thanksgiving Table Ideas with Martha Stewart Paints

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year. I have the best memories of waking up to the smell of turkey in the oven and the Thanksgiving Day parade on TV, followed by a short period of chaos while my mom, sister, and I rushed to set the table and get everything ready for our few guests to arrive, and at last a leisurely lunch with family - indulging in seconds (or thirds!) of the casseroles that my mom made year after year. 

Now that I'm hosting the meal, I make all my mom's dishes, but I love adding my own touch to the holiday by decorating the table a little different each year with something I've made.  

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

This year I used Martha Stewart's new line of Vintage Decor paints to create a moody table in different shades of muted blues and greens, accented with feathers, cattails, and painted pumpkins. The Vintage Decor paint creates a matte chalk finish on wood, metal, glass, and fabric in just 1-2 coats with no other prep. You can seal it with a clear or antique wax for a smooth protective finish.

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

The table is made from simple components - a few empty soup cans (a perfect thing to save when making all those casseroles!), pumpkins left over from Halloween, and a couple packages of feathers from the craft store. The Vintage Decor paints transformed them into something special!

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

For simple place cards, I painted a small pumpkin with two coats of paint and added a gold sticker for an initial.

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

I reused this cattail bouquet that I made for Thanksgiving last year (yay for repurposing past projects!). All I did was buy a bunch of cattails at the craft store and paint some of them with a coat of Martha Stewart glitter paint.

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

For the other centerpieces, I filled painted cans with a bouquet of different feathers, a few of which I painted gold. I secured the feathers in place with a little round of floral foam at the bottom of each can.

A modern Thanksgiving table with gold dipped feather arrangements and pumpkins painted in moody blues and greens || http://designimprovised.com

To see how I transformed these soup cans with Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint, read on!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...