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Project

Fabulous and Fast Furniture

Introduction

The old adage is true: There is strength in numbers. When one simple object is coupled with a matching mate (or grouped with a few siblings), its style and usefulness multiply exponentially.

With this easy math you can make unique, customizable, and affordable designs that fit seamlessly into your home.

Double Desk 

What good luck, what bad luck: You have space for a home office...but you have to share it. Popular opinion prescribes using the same desk or lining two against a wall, but face-to-face is far more fun: This workstation creates two zones without breaking up the room. Light (and enlightenment) flow freely; walls are left open for books.

Materials: Simple work tables, westelm.com. Plexiglas panel (color #2085), Canal Plastics Center, 212-925-1666 (or look up "Plastics Supplier" in the Yellow Pages). "Nordmyra",chairs, ikea.com for stores. "Hi-Light" task lamp, pbteen.com. Structure letter tray set, seejanework.com for stores.

Patchwork Runner

Necessity is the mother of invention and budget is its very close aunt. When senior home editor Shane Powers couldn't afford a runner for his hallway, he made a long rug by piecing together small floor mats. Not only did he get a custom fit for a fraction of the price, he mixed color and pattern for a one-of-a-kind design.

Materials: Madeline Weinrib Atelier mats in "Stripe," "Song," and "Zig Zag", ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000. "Blu Dot Strut" console table, twojakes.com. Rope stool,The Future Perfect, 718-599-6278. "Big Wheel" sculpture by Fred Bendheim, Posey Baker, 718-623-2000.

Modular Coffee Table

You'd like your coffee table to hold something besides a couple of remotes and a pair of tired feet. This sectional -- made from four closet-storage cubes -- offers more than six square feet of surface area, and more than four cubic feet of storage underneath. Plus, you can pull the pieces apart for added utility (e.g., multiple side tables for a party).

Matrials: Modular fiberboard storage cubes, stacksandstacks.com. Paint in White Dove (#OC-17), Adam Green (#2037-40), and Citron (#2024-30), benjaminmoore.com for stores. Madeline Weinrib Atelier "Nepal Toile" rug, ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000.

Stacked Daybed

Daybeds are back, thanks to their low-slung silhouettes and air of informality. A version as pared-down as this is totally modern (forget that frilly trundle in your grandma's "Florida room"). As a sofa stand-in that practically demands relaxation, it works under a picture window, against a wall, or floating in a lofty room.

Materials: Daybed covers, westelm.com. Paint in Big Country Blue (#2066-30), benjaminmoore.com for stores. FL/Y suspension lamp, highbrowfurniture.com. Silk pillow and "Zig Zag" pillow, ABC Carpet & Home, 212-473-3000. Pillow by Liwan, Layla, 718-222-1933.

Bracket Bench

What's better than a bench? Its the place to rest your bag (or your weary bones) at the end of a long day. But every foyer, hallway, and foot-of-the-bed is different. Happily, this strand of simple stools -- fastened together and dressed up with paint -- can be as long or as short as your space requires. 

Materials: Stackable stools, stacksandstacks.com. Paint in Sun Porch (#2023-30) and Silver Fox (#2108-50),  benjaminmoore.com for stores. Stainless steel 2.5-inch flathead machine screws (#10-24), and stainless steel lock nuts (#10-24), both amazon.com.

Get the Roomy Vanity and Triptych Mirror Idea

Steps

  1. Step 1

    pa102930_0707_deskht.jpg

    Look for slender worktables so your finished product won't resemble Briscoe and Curtiss setup at the 27th Precinct. To determine the dimension of the Plexiglas divider, measure the width and height of one desk, then add 28 inches to the height. Our fluorescent-pink acrylic sheet is a quarter-inch thick with polished edges (ask for them when you order it from the plastics supplier). Position the sheet between the desks, push them together, and voila -- the weight of the tables will secure the center panel. With binder clips or artists tape, the divider doubles as a chic bulletin board.Directions: Start with two simple desks. Insert a Plexiglass panel. Push the desks together, back to back.

  2. Step 2

    pa102930_0707_rught.jpg

    Depending on the length of your hallway, pick out any number of 2-by-3-foot cotton or wool flat-woven rugs. Here, we used five to create a 2-by-15-foot runner. Have a color palette in mind, and choose mostly simple geometric patterns, plus one organic or ethnic design to soften the scheme. Iron the rugs on the proper setting (cotton or wool) to flatten. Arrange them face down, with the short ends perfectly aligned, and cover each seam with duct or gaffer's tape, pressing down to seal. Or you can sew the mats together with a hooked carpet needle and nylon carpet thread.Directions: Select an array of same-size flat-woven rugs. Attach with a tape on the underside (or with a needle and thread).

  3. Step 3

    pa102694_0707_tableht.jpg

    Paint four fiberboard or wooden cubes with high-gloss white paint (high-gloss is ideal for high-traffic furniture because it wipes clean with a damp cloth). Thoroughly coat all five exterior sides and the edges of the open side; let dry overnight. Next, select paint colors for the cubes interiors; we chose rich shades of green and yellow, but nearly any combination of complementary colors will work. Tape the edges and paint all interior walls; let dry overnight. Slide cubes together so one opening appears on each side of the finished table. Fill interiors with books, blankets, etc.Directions: Buy four storage cubes. Paint as desired. Push together.

  4. Step 4

    pa102930_0707_daybedht.jpg

    Look for twin mattresses with minimal top padding (solid foam ones are ideal). Wrap each mattress in a linen slipcover or fitted linen sheet; for the latter use sheet suspenders to keep the covers snugly in place. Order a 1-inch-thick wooden base from your local lumber supplier. To calculate the base dimensions, add 14 inches to the mattress's width and length -- that comes to 53 by 89 inches for a standard twin. Paint the top and sides of the base in a bold, high-gloss color; let dry overnight. Center mattresses on the platform, and top with firm, oversize pillows.Directions: Cover two mattresses. Paint platform. Stack.

  5. Step 5

    pa102930_0707_stoolsht.jpg

    Many types of stools will work for this project, but we chose these modern bentwood models because their legs align easily and are a cinch to connect. Paint each stool in high-gloss latex; let dry overnight. Painting all the legs in one color and the tops in another helps to reinforce the impression of a single piece of furniture. Using an appropriately sized bit, drill a hole through each leg that will be attached, one inch from the bottom. Push a 2.5-inch machine screw through each pair of joining legs and secure with a washer and lock nut. Paint over the hardware to mask.Directions: Please be seated. Start with some simple stools. Paint them. Screw legs together.

Source
Blueprint, May/June 2007

Reviews (7)

  • Sheryll 28 Sep, 2010

    I am with GwenHex, $50 a gallon? lol

  • Ashley_Little 3 Jun, 2010

    testing this feature

  • GwenHex 18 Feb, 2009

    the pain in the picture is $50 a gallon! i get the oops paint for like $6 and still feel ripped off....

  • wordsnob 21 Dec, 2008

    Braided rag rug for Roulette:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_Uz4H47-wc

  • wordsnob 21 Dec, 2008

    For Roulette: RAG Rugs
    If the clothing is not suitable for the less fortunate, here are some links I googled for you. One's a video. You can get anything via google or youtube!:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_Uz4H47-wc
    http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf001084.tip.html
    Enjoy!

  • ssuper_starr 11 Apr, 2008

    i think that i am definitely going to try this. i've been looking for a way to add more storage to the living room with committing to another large piece of furniture. i'm also thinking, i could spread the boxes out during parties to create additional seating or side tables.

  • roulettemurray 15 Feb, 2008

    I am looking for directions on how to make rugs out of old clothes. I remember my mother doing this and I have tons of clothes to get rid of.