(Book Review) DIY: Two New Books Full of Ideas for Urban/Rural Living

furnitureGuerrilla Furniture Design: How to Build Lean, Modern Furniture with Salvaged Materials by Will Holman (684.1 Holman).

Too many of us are used to hopping in the car and heading to a box store when we need a new lamp, chair, shelf, or other small piece of furniture. A swipe of a credit card gets us a packaged convenience ready to be assembled and used. The materials are cheap, the packaging and shipping wasteful, thousands of other people have the exact same piece, and it probably won’t last more than a few years, but our fast-paced lives convince us the convenience and ease are worth all that cost. Will Holman thinks that should change.

Recent years have seen an increase in interest in do-it-yourself home projects, especially among twenty-and-thirty-somethings who want to feel more connected to the things and places they own, consume, and interact with daily. Guerilla Furniture Design (Storey, 2015) is an excellent book for getting started if you want to get away from mass-produced home decor and furniture and begin having more of a hand in what makes your house or apartment yours. The book provides step by step instructions for making a variety of home furnishings using reclaimed materials.

Holman provides plans for everything from traffic cone lamps to cardboard chairs, and his designs range from relatively simple and quick projects to a few requiring more expertise and equipment. His chapters are organized by the primary reclaimed material–paper, wood, plastic, and metal–and give detailed instructions and illustrations for getting the job done. Excellent full-bleed photographs by Kip Dawkins not only provide visual guidance for these projects, but also get the creative juices flowing by showing readers just how cool these finished pieces can look in a home. Check out the book, pick a project, and get started!

growGrow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet: Inventive Ideas for Growing Food in a Small Space (635 Grow).

You want to garden, but you have no space. Maybe you live in an apartment, maybe you only have a tiny yard, maybe your neighborhood will only allow concealed gardens and you have no room. Relax. There’s a new book that can help. Everything’s possible when there’s a book involved, right?

Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet (DK Publishing, 2015) shows how absolutely anyone can grow herbs and vegetables with just a few feet of space. The book begins by going through the basics of gardening regardless of the size of the garden and moves on to a few techniques specific to small-space gardening.  Next, it guides small-space gardeners through the process of planning their garden and deciding what to grow in the space they have available. The largest section of the book contains specific designs to fit different spaces and different desired crop groups. You might want a herb garden or a salad garden. You might have only a concrete balcony to work with, or you might have a very small space of dirt outside your back door. This book will guide you through the process of how to grow crops in the space you have and how to get the most out of that space.

Extensively illustrated with both color photographs and attractive graphics, the book is simple and thorough and takes the intimidation out of starting a garden. Check out the book and begin growing your own herbs and vegetables in whatever space you have to work with!

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