Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Urban Practicality: Repurposing Objects for City Houses

Straying from clothing for a moment... practicality and style can work hand-in-hand. If done poorly, they are in spite of one another, and it's usually tiny areas of the house where they are working together, making life easier or at least slightly more enjoyably odd.

A trout net on deep clearance from Orvis now holds fruit up and off the pantry counter (and cooled in winter by the courtyard's hopelessly drafty window).


A dab of sticky-putty un-damagingly holds a cheap clothespin to the cabinets in the kitchen (intended as temporary... but still there) to hold grocery lists, printed recipes, etc.

An oversized $5 ladle from a restaurant supply store in Chinatown holds up to $40 worth of spare change.

An old deep-sea lure with the hooks filed dull now holds keys.

A restaurant's slotted spoon is bent into a "Z" and keeps pot-scrubbers high and dry near kitchen sinks.

12 cheap darts are used to hold olives into a (10 ounce!) Martini glass, circa 1940.  7-8 ounces of gin and needle-sharp hand-missiles... how could this possibly go wrong?

A souvenir mortar* from a childhood field-trip to Appomattox now sits on a cheap cork coaster as a rest for an active fountain pen.

In my travels, I've found a men's tailoring shop that dispensed brass buttons from a gumball machine, an old tall-standing J√łtul wood stove that now serves as a liquor cabinet, and a delicate paper parasol that softened previously harsh lighting in a converted loft.  Simple, cheap, creative, unique, memorable, and thoughtful.  While drastic repurposing is often not available for a gent's clothing (one wouldn't swap a waistcoat with a life-vest under a suit), subtlety is explorable, and the mark of good style... with some inevitable and forgivable failures.

*Originally listed as "cannon" by YWP, correctly corrected by JKG.


  1. I am impressed by most of these...but would not like to pierce my finger on the fish hook when grabbing for keys....perhaps you filed down the points...I could not tell from photo.

  2. I LOVE this blog. Came to you from Maxminimus today. I reblogged your repurpose for darts. He'll appreciate that one.

    The suit folding post was great. That's the way I do it. and I think your wife's rain skirt is fab.

    Thanks. I'm gonna be a regular from now on. I will try to keep my f-words to a minimus or to the Maxminimus.

  3. Boxing the Compass - what a great blog name. I came over from Maxminimus and am wondering how many days of aimless wandering it will take me to find your cocktail flag........

  4. Patsy, if you start wandering now, it will take at least 10 weeks, as I anticipate not hoisting it before May. I will run a warning flag beforehand, though. Stand by.

  5. The trout net and the ladle are my favorites.

    Depending on how low the latter hangs on the back of a door, I can imagine that coin-pitching would turn into somewhat of a game with it. More fun than slipping coins into a piggy bank, that's for sure.

  6. Flew in from be pedantic, apparently: not a cannon, a mortar.

    Lovely blog. I'll be back again.

  7. JKG: Noted. You correction suggestion is accurate, and more than just some antics.

  8. These are great, thanks for introducing me to your blog. Especially that ladle and the bent spoon holder! Dart as olive skewer is genius.


Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.