Inspiring Interiors + Scavenging

People who made cool stuff out of other stuff.

So, I guess I’m pretty handy (at least when I have the energy to be handy, that is), but I’m super impressed and inspired by people who make super cool stuff out of found materials or repurposed wares.

Case in point? THIS DESK. Holy mackerel, right? Dan over at Manhattan Nest (which is a rad blog you should all be reading, by the way) made it out of a beat-up nightstand he found on the street, some knobs, a couple of sheets of MDF, legs from IKEA, some knobs, and a little paint:

Total cost? EIGHTY-THREE SMACKERS. He rented the tools and did this in an NYC apartment, too (let’s hear it for spray-painting on the fire escape!), so I don’t want to hear any crying about how you “don’t have space” to build stuff. Check out Dan’s blog for more details on the construction process.

Example #2 of making-cool-stuff-out-of-other-stuff is this amazing shelving unit from Daniel and Valeria at the always-inspiring Hindsvik blog (they have a great vintage Etsy store, too). Inspired by the Brick House (in turn inspired by the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs), they put this together using standard metal plumbing pipes and reclaimed barn wood:

There are more photos on the Hindsvik blog (yes, the cabinet opens!). Don’t you suddenly feel the need to build one of these units in your house? Somewhere? Anywhere? All I know is I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the perfect pile of discarded wood.

And all I did tonight was make popsicles (out of all-new materials, FYI).

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  • Reply leigh July 12, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    LOVE this post. i’m always waiting for the “AH HA!” moment where I find the beautiful keystone to some great project like these.

  • Reply Mojgan Fay July 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    At last, my handiness only extends to being able to bake cookies. And well, maybe pies too.

    I wish I was handy and could make things. Your examples here definitely are inspirational though.

  • Reply amanda July 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I love them both! I’ve already made one of the pipe and wood shelves (and working on one for my kitchen) but I really want one of those desks now too!

  • Reply victoria July 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    love it. i want to be a diy diva in my next life.

  • Reply Julia July 12, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Wow, this desk is awesome! thanks for the blogs rec.

  • Reply ruby July 12, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    these are amazing! i particularly like the desk, and i particularly like the reuse of materials. i think things like these are a great way to add unique character to a room; not to mention saving money and resources. aaand i’m making a desk tomorrow.

  • Reply Siobhan July 12, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    You might want to check out Melbournite Greg Hatton.

  • Reply jenn ski July 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I love it!

    I have so many ideas I’m just not a furniture maker, BUT my husband is currently making me a platform bed with walnut veneer. Ok he hasn’t started it yet but it’s gonna happen!!!

    pray for me…

  • Reply Welcome to the Party! « Manhattan Nest July 13, 2010 at 12:37 am

    […] that’s a picture of my desk. ON DOOR SIXTEEN. The old nightstand it’s made out of said she’s never felt more like a beauty queen. […]

  • Reply Extreme Makeover…furniture edition « Definitely Not Domestic July 13, 2010 at 1:34 am

    […] Check out how amazing he is here! […]

  • Reply verhext July 13, 2010 at 2:36 am

    ha, i like the nightstand like 23439849320849 times more than i like the desk he made out of it. oh well.

  • Reply variete July 13, 2010 at 5:53 am

    I really appreciate the ingenuity of some people…i’m quite jealous that i’m not good with my hands and my creativity also doesn’t help much :((

  • Reply Mary July 13, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I love both of these incarnations. I can’t believe that the nightstand was able to become that fab desk!

    I LOVE that kind of plumbing stuff. It has so many opportunities to become something amazing!

    Thanks for the post!

  • Reply Lauren July 13, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Fabulous upcycling!

  • Reply TheMaidenMetallurgis July 13, 2010 at 10:51 am

    That desk is inspirational!

  • Reply Laura July 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I saw the repurposed dresser into a desk on another site and I STILL love it and your appreciation for the creativity. But my favorite is the shelving unit. Seems very country amish! Beautiful

  • Reply dew i July 13, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Impressive how people spend their free time.
    Wait until you have children and all your free time is spent on them, instead of laborious projects.

  • Reply Lissa@AfterAdornment July 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Wow! That desk is awesome. I need to get more creative with things I find on craig and at yard sales. This has inspired me to do more!!!

  • Reply dew i July 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Wait a minute, Did i just read that Dan is a sophomore at NYU.

    This is how this kid spends his free time as a student in Manhattan. I grew up here, and live here.
    Dan, Get out of the house! it’s Manhattan your 20 yrs old.
    Go play outside and stop building, renovating and all that puttering in the house like an old married man.

    What is happening to the youth of today, what happened to getting stoned, going to films, museums, hanging out in the street, playing and seeing live music.


  • Reply Erin July 13, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I can tell you straight up that Daniel does not spend all his time renovating and puttering like an old married man. He’s like a robot, or Martha Stewart – amazing work on little to no sleep.

  • Reply Studio Speck July 13, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Becoming inspired by other bloggers (especially when its their original handiwork and not solely stuff yanked from magazines), is my favorite!

    The shelving is something we will work into our kitchen reno. However, adjustable is preferred, so we will most likely incorporate an alternate design.


  • Reply sara w July 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    These are terrific ideas, and also fit right into this day and age (eco-friendly AND affordable). I need to take a carpentry class now.

  • Reply Halie July 13, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Loved this post. I am always in awe found objects and what kind of beauty and history they can bring to a room!

  • Reply Stacey July 13, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Very inspiring post. I recently repurposed an old torch as a tomato stake in my vegetable garden. I know that dims in comparison to the mentioned projects. Nonetheless, i always feel great when i reuse something old to serve a new purpose.

  • Reply Agnieszka July 13, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Wonderful post Anna. I love self made furniture, wish there were more examples of those on the web and a movement in furniture making, beyond the tired recycling tricks some people are making in haphazard manner just to see if it works or not.
    These are made thoughtfully and well.
    Thank you!

  • Reply Bethany Joy July 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    I love the pipe bookcase and have been thinking of making my own but with white shelves…

  • Reply Bethany Joy July 13, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I love the pipe bookcase and have been thinking of making one for our house, but with white shelves

  • Reply BODIE and FOU July 14, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I love these shelves! I would love to be able to make a base for a bed out of pipes like these..sadly I have no clue how to

  • Reply Becky July 14, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Holy cannoli! That desk! Wow, so inspirational. I can’t believe how crafty some people are – I feel like such a failure compared to all these beautiful works of art!

  • Reply Terri July 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I love that desk!! I may just have to start looking on Craigslist for an old nightstand… it’s perfect!

  • Reply Urban Weeds July 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    beautiful! I love those shelves. AWESOMENESS

  • Reply Danyelle July 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I wanted to say kudos to you Anna for recognizing this talent and defending it on Apartment Therapy against the pretentious lot that is so high and mighty about saving things that they never done one diy project in their lives. I’ve had his blog on my google reader ever since you had the post about new blogs to explore. So again thank you.

  • Reply Wappita July 14, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    My husband just finished a wall of pine shelving and plumbing…it is amazing. He’d be happy to share tips for those looking to build themselves. Love the examples you show here too…

  • Reply Karen July 15, 2010 at 12:03 am

    ZOMG! I need those shelves – they are like jesus face in a grilled cheese sandwich level of awesome!

  • Reply Fantastic Frank July 15, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Simply genius.

  • Reply Holyoke Home July 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Now come on. I’m a college educated girl. Why can’t I be that creative?!

    Love that desk.

  • Reply Lizzie (lzzeie) July 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Love the shelving unit,
    + the white floors.

  • Reply Samone July 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Oh my God, Manhattan Nest is SUPER RAD. Great voice that dude has. Added it to my favourites.

    I adore these hybrids. Anna, I am keenly watching everything on your blog at the moment. We have decided to move into our new house in November pre-renovation but with refurb. Ripping up carpets, ‘doing’ the boards somehow, and painting and papering the walls. This will mean lots of craziness and DIY fun before we extend and build up in a couple of years. The brief I have given my architect is ‘Scandinavian sauna meets modern Japanese simplicity. White walls and exposed wood”.

  • Reply Room Decorating Idea July 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Love the shelf! It’s gorgeous! Wish I could turn “trash” into beautiful furniture.

  • Reply tifanie July 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    wow. that’s incredibly inspiring. :::

  • Reply Franziska July 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

    yes, I want to have such a desk. Immediately! *sigh*

  • Reply brandeye July 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    i really love that desk!

  • Reply Simply Seductive July 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Excellent post! Give me such inspiration.

    Warm regards, Linda

  • Reply kid37 November 4, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I’m sorry, but I like the worn out industrial style of the nightstand better.

    • Anna @ D16 November 4, 2010 at 11:23 am

      Industrial style? I see nothing even remotely “industrial” about the nightstand in the before photo (if anything, the desk has more of an industrial look, but that’s pushing it).

      The nightstand was a cheap, mass-produced, faux-antique pine throwaway (literally)…

  • Reply kid37 April 24, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Maybe I can explain: I have one of these, it’s like sixty oder seventy years old and initially belonged to the offices of a small plant, where tools, screws and metal plates were produced. That’s makes it “industrial style” for me. Anyway, a matter of taste of course – and I like the original better.

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