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).

  1. leighJul 12, 201010:36 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.


  2. Mojgan FayJul 12, 201010:45 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.


  3. amandaJul 12, 201010:45 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!


  4. victoriaJul 12, 201010:45 pm

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


  5. JuliaJul 12, 201010:47 pm

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


  6. rubyJul 12, 201010:49 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.


  7. SiobhanJul 12, 201010:59 pm

    You might want to check out Melbournite Greg Hatton.


  8. jenn skiJul 12, 201011:00 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…


  9. […] 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. […]

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

  11. verhextJul 13, 20102:36 am

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


  12. varieteJul 13, 20105:53 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 :((


  13. MaryJul 13, 20108:59 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!


  14. LaurenJul 13, 20109:59 am

    Fabulous upcycling!


  15. TheMaidenMetallurgisJul 13, 201010:51 am

    That desk is inspirational!


  16. LauraJul 13, 201012:49 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


  17. dew iJul 13, 20101:29 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.


  18. Lissa@AfterAdornmentJul 13, 20101:34 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!!!


  19. dew iJul 13, 20101:39 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.



  20. ErinJul 13, 20102:42 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.


  21. Studio SpeckJul 13, 20105:53 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.



  22. sara wJul 13, 20107:53 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.


  23. HalieJul 13, 20108:19 pm

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


  24. StaceyJul 13, 20108:33 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.


  25. AgnieszkaJul 13, 20109:11 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!


  26. Bethany JoyJul 13, 20109:21 pm

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


  27. Bethany JoyJul 13, 20109:22 pm

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


  28. BODIE and FOUJul 14, 20102:08 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


  29. BeckyJul 14, 20109:34 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!


  30. TerriJul 14, 201011:50 am

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


  31. Urban WeedsJul 14, 20105:20 pm

    beautiful! I love those shelves. AWESOMENESS


  32. DanyelleJul 14, 20105:25 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.


  33. WappitaJul 14, 201010:38 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…


  34. KarenJul 15, 201012:03 am

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


  35. Fantastic FrankJul 15, 20103:34 am

    Simply genius.


  36. Holyoke HomeJul 17, 201012:04 pm

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

    Love that desk.


  37. Lizzie (lzzeie)Jul 17, 20104:32 pm

    Love the shelving unit,
    + the white floors.


  38. SamoneJul 19, 20107:25 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”.


  39. Room Decorating IdeaJul 20, 20108:54 am

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


  40. tifanieJul 27, 20104:34 pm

    wow. that’s incredibly inspiring. :::


  41. FranziskaJul 28, 201010:50 am

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


  42. brandeyeJul 28, 20104:54 pm

    i really love that desk!


  43. Simply SeductiveJul 30, 20104:22 pm

    Excellent post! Give me such inspiration.

    Warm regards, Linda


  44. kid37Nov 4, 201011:18 am

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


    Anna @ D16 /

    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)…

  45. kid37Apr 24, 20115:33 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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