ManMade reader Alan recently bought his first home, going from a one-bedroom apartment in a busy urban neighborhood to a three-bedroom house just south of downtown Portland, gaining lots of space and a new sense of quiet.
On the top of his list for the new spot? The same as many a ManMade reader: a new place to work on his own household, creative, and DIY projects. First step - a new workbench in his new garage to provide a solid surface to bang around, and keep his tools organized.
When I was in graduate school, I taught guitar lessons to several neighborhood kids for some extra income. Inevitably, after a few months of convert's zeal, their practicing would slow down, and a parent would always ask me, "how can I get ______ to practice more at home?" I had some musical tips, sure, but my first answer was always: buy a guitar stand, and leave it out. No one is going to pick up an instrument that's locked in a case and placed under the bed or leaned against a wall in a closet. But, have it out and within a grasp in just a few seconds, and one can't help but just pick it up and rock out.
We've said it before, and we'll say it today: every man needs his own keepsake box. You know, all the trinkets and masculine things that enchant you as a child that your father probably had thrown into an actual box...or in my dad's case, a tiny dresser drawer. But now here's a stellar guide to not only crafting your collection, but building your own sliding tray box to keep all your treasures that includes a built-in, hidden compartment for the super-secret gadgets.
On quality keepsake boxes, Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography:
We used to wait in the library in the evening until we could hear his key rattling in the latch of
When Swiss designer Till Könneker moved into his new apartment, he loved the clean, minimalist design...but not the fact that it had zero built-in storage place. So, he came up with this clever storage cube to house his bed, book and record collection, and shoes and clothing. Oh, and this is the best part:
Makers Simon Blazer and David Bakker shows you how to turn a simple block of wood into a super quick and easy tablet dock. The process? A single drilled hole and a quick saw cut. That's it.
The bicycle basket is a long standing accessory that's great for carrying anything from picturesque picnic supplies to laptops to bulldogs apparently. The copper piping makes for a slightly antique or hipstered look and could be all the makeover your bike needs. Alternately, just build the basket and keep it around the house, fill it with plants, fill it with dogs, etc.
First impressions count, and the first few moments someone spends in your doorway do too. You want the entrance to be welcoming and efficient for coats, shoes, etc., while also giving a sense of the rest of the house to come. And if your friends are of the Minnesota Goodbye persuasion, you inevitably spend a good deal of time chatting at the door before anyone leaves.
ManMade reader Ruben van Dijk sent us his most recent DIY project: a set of stylish concrete shelves. His girlfriend had asked for a clean and simple solution for displaying
Check out this sharp-looking and functional from Kreisdesign: a large-scale wooden pegboard panel with a variety of shelves, pegs, and hooks for some stylish storage in your office, kitchen, or workshop.
IKEA products can solve a great many organizational issues in the home, and be none to visually offensive in the process. But, therein lies the problem; their ability to blend seamlessly into any space means they don't offer a lot in the way of personality. They don't take away, but they don't bring along to the table, either.
Except, when they do.
Oh, you know the kind. Where you pull a particular book and the whole case opens to reveal a secret passageway and all kinds of mysterious and surreptitious doings and goods behind?
If you've got the space (and the secrets), you can have one, too.
Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day.
So far in the ManMade Essential Toolbox series, we've named tools that actually do things; tools that cut stuff, measure stuff, tighten stuff, hold stuff, and clean stuff up. And after today, we'll do more of the same.
But no series on toolbox essentials is complete without, you know, the actual toolbox.
Saw horses are some of the oldest work holding and support systems, and they still do a great job, centuries later. But now that they compete for precious shop space with stationary power tools and lumber storage and modern workbenches, it can be hard to find floor space to keep a pair on hand.
Answer: don't store them on the floor.
My current home has no closets. No coat closet, no linen closet, no bathroom storage...not even a kitchen pantry. Which, once you find a place for the towels and the sheets and the food processor, is okay in the summer, but since fall and winter have set, we're starting to have a serious pileup of coats, boots, hats, sweaters, and other cold weather armor.
No matter how great a raw project turns out, we can all agree that adding finish is the when it finally pops. This tutorial is a fast and easy way to finish up letters (or any other decorative project) with a clean zinc finish. Faux finishes are typically a pretty mixed bag. Rather than looking like the material or patina you're going for, they can often just look like... a painted faux finish.
Here's a cool, space-saving idea with plenty of style: a floating media shelf featuring beautifully grained hardwood contrasted with warm copper pipe.
I've always been a fan of vintage designs. Just a few decades ago, almost everything was made by hand and it showed. Designs were simple but durable, and had solid features without the flash. One of my favorite pieces of vintage gear is the simple rucksack.
One key to giving any room in your house a warm, masculine texture: clever use of materials. This DIY bookshelf project nails the multi-media look with basic iron and wood materials from the home center, but resulting in a storage piece greater than the sum of its parts.