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I like to customize my living spaces. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how to optimize a space -- how to fit things that I want, and to make things comfortable and usable.

Recently, in going through my things for the move to Pittsburgh, I realized that I hadn't posted documentation of any of the Pittsburgh or Somerville furnishing projects I'd undertaken. So here's a quick run-through. Some of these things I no longer have photos of (or have photos of, but no longer remember where they are), so I will simply describe them as best I can.

Exit Sign (2005, possibly earlier)

exit sign router, external exit sign router, internal

This recased WRT54G served as my router for a number of years. The status LEDs for each connection were brought out to the letters. However, when I moved to Somerville, I switched to a router with gigabit ethernet and faster wireless.

Despite the fact that I just threw this out, it is a favorite modification of mine. I like the incongruity of the antennae sticking out of the top of the sign. I also find it to be an appropriate case, as router is the exit of the network.

Table-shelves (2006-ish)

table shelf

A black-stained pine shelf system supported by 1/2" threaded steel rods and the legs of an IKEA table.

I created this set of shelves from pine boards and threaded rod as a place to store my various video game systems. It was space-efficient (fit under my desk) and provided a nice shelf in the center of my studio apartment. I also really like the look of the threaded rod -- industrial and functional.

Unfortunately, the shelves can't stand without the table keeping them steady, and the table is no longer in a position to support them. Also, by virtue of their open design, these shelves got really dusty (and were a pain to dust because of all the cables and video game clutter). So after dismantling them for my move to Somerville (quite difficult because the threaded rod catches on the wood) I never put them entirely back together. I think this is the end of the line for them.

String Chandelier (2006-ish)

a string-lamp chandelier

This hung in my Pittsburgh apartment for a long time. It is made of seven string lights from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (they were on clearance), secured with zip ties and re-wired with wire nuts. The wiring is such that the outer ring of lights runs at a lower voltage, making them dimmer (and -- probably -- making so that I can never use this fixture with compact fluorescents).

I was planning to throw this out before moving back to PGH, but after hanging it up and looking at it again, I just can't bring myself to do it. It's a cool thing, and it casts wonderful shadows.

Velcro Media Storage (2010)

a wall covered in velcro with video games attached another wall covered in velcro

For my Somerville apartment, I decided that I wanted to minimize dusting. One idea I'd always wanted to try was vertical video game storage -- instead of stacking them or arranging on shelves, tile a wall with them. So I sourced some velcro loop fabric, and some 1/4" self-adhesive loop tape, and made myself some vertical game storage.

Notice that on the right wall, God Hand has its own little buffer zone. The other games are in awe.

I like that this arrangement lets me get some aesthetic enjoyment out of the games; actually, that's pretty much all I get out of them -- most of these games went up on the wall when I moved in and are coming down as I move out, having never been played.

This system has two downsides: one is that -- on occasion -- a loop strip will spontaneously decide to un-adhere from its game, and the game will plunge to floor; the second is that it was a real pain to install (and will be annoying to remove). I'm going to address these in my next apartment by gluing the loop fabric to boards instead of tacking it to the wall. This will also allow me to mount it at a slight angle, which should at least help to prevent plummeting games from being quite so dramatic.

Fabric Walls (2010)

a wall covered in monochromatic fabrics a wall covered in colored fabrics

Another Somerville thing. I got tired of the drab walls of my front room and decided to do something about it.

I bought the fabric at a nearby discount fabric store. I don't think it's very often that someone comes in and buys one yard each of 34 different fabrics.

Actual installation with accomplished with help from friends. The color wall was completed with the help of Aaron Vonderhaar, while the monochrome wall was installed with Ronit Slyper. Both walls were epic undertakings, and I'm grateful to both of them for the help. I originally intended to do all four walls, but after the first two the room was already a bit intense.

I don't think I'm going to deploy this decorating method in the future because it's far far far too time consuming (and puts hundreds of tiny holes in the walls). However, I have really appreciated having a super-awesome looking front room here in Somerville.