My Own Creations

Improved or reinvented, sometimes clever, usually useful

I'll add a complete archive of my recent DIY and IKEAhacking projects as soon as the illustrations and photos are combined. Meanwhile the following interview was made in 2012 and explains my DIY process.

Getting there
When & how did you first start getting into DIY projects?

I was raised in a house that used to be a bakery and needed a total makeover. My parents had a small budget for this, so they created a lot of stuff on their own instead of buying it. Most of my furniture - my desk, my shelves, even my bunk bed - and a lot more stuff in our house was built by my father. Since most of it was made out of wood, my mother was in charge of the styling, always created accessories, brought a little colour to the whole arrangement and since she was becoming a teacher at that time, she created a lot of stuff for teaching her pupils how the world works.

When we got our first computer, the first thing I remember is opening it with my father to look how it was built. At 16, together we restomodded an old motorcycle, a 1958 MZ RT/2. I learned that everything you have, you can tear down for cleaning, upgrading or simply to use it for new creations.

So my first DIY projects I can barely remember since they were made of the material that was always present and easy to work with: LEGO. Building real-world stuff using these tiny bricks was always hard, so when I moved out into my first rental appartment, I started to look for an easier way to build stuff and ended up at IKEA. It is like LEGO, but bigger: A lot of standardised shapes to combine, most of it is dirt cheap and you don't need a fully equipped workshop to alter it. A few screws, L-brackets or other stuff that is still lying around and you're done.

So that was the time, when I turned 2ß, when my DIY addiction really started. Since my wife has a similar background, she is really into DIY as well. There is very little stuff we buy and leave it as it is, so a lot more projects will follow in the next months, hopefully being an inspiration to all of you.

You share such creative projects, where do you get your inspiration?

Getting inspiration is a really freaky mixture of all sorts of things going on in my head. The most straight forward way is to look at a problem you have (my wife needs a desk but there is not enough space) and come up with a solution (build a [triangular desk]( so it will fit into a small corner). For those special projects we don't even look around for a premade solution, since by the time we'd realize there is nothing out there that fits our need, we'd already have had enough time to build it on our own.

But honestly, most of the time it is not that straight forward.

My [LEGO storage](, for example, literally took years to figure it out: I had my LEGO sorted into those boxes six years ago, but it wasn't perfect because you had to take them out and put them somewhere and put them back afterwards, next time take them out again... I was thinking a lot about it, searching Flickr & [IKEAhackers]( for other people's solutions, searching stores and eBay for other options, but none of it was really perfect. When I stumbled across that headboard in the IKEA as-is section, I didn't even know what I would be using it for. It took a few days to figure out that I could hang something by using binder clips (I discovered the creative use of binder clips some months ago in [a post on lifehacker]( and another few days to figure out that I finally had a solution for my LEGOs.

Other things I simply see somewhere and rebuild them in my own way, like the [half chairs to hang clothes in the evening]( I found them [on IKEAhackers](; currently this is a really popular snapguide as well. [The bedroom-light]( I saw in a hotel, [the cable hole]( you simply see in every office you walk into. A little visit to eBay or the hardware store and you have all the materials ready to start.

I guess this is it: I see problems in my home I have to solve, things that are alreadey made or materials I want to use - and start thinking. And of course there is always one other way I get inspiration: By the demands of my wife...

What project are you most proud of?

I guess currently it is my [lego-storage](, simply because it took such a long time to come up with. There is already a colleague who picked up the idea and we are starting on his version to store screws and tools in his workshop. But when I look at the whole house, I really have to say it is [the walk-in closet]( with the [laundry-chute]( and the [chairs]( on the outside.

A walk-in closet was something we always imagined of having. Our first appartment wasn't big enough, the second wasn't either. But with our new house we finally had the space to create it. The house is rented, so there was no way to put in new walls to build a seperate room. So I took an idea my father hat for my first appartment. Back then we disguised some ugly shelves in a small corner by putting wallpaper on chipboard and mount it in front of the shelves.

When the closet was built, our landlord walked into our bedroom and didn't even notice there was a wall that had never been there. That's when I knew I had succeeded. Eversince when I show someone around the house, they never guess there might be a closet behind the wall. The fact that on the one hand it blends in and on the other hand can be removed at any time without any residues. With the lights triggered by a motion sensor, the laundry-chute and the chairs on the outside it is something that always makes me proud when entering the room.

What is your favorite part of a DIY process?

That's an easy one: The planning process. I love having a problem or an idea, working on a solution, looking for materials, taking measures, drawing whatever comes to my mind. Whatever it is I mod, hack, build or create in some other way, I love going over the several options I have, thinking of how I might add more value, convenience or usefulness to it. This is where I really take my time to think it through.

Once the planning is done, gathering supplies and creating whatever it is going to be is a fast process - most of the time it doesn't take more time than a day or a weekend, even with bigger projects.