The DIY Gods of Spanish Harlem

The DIY Gods of Spanish Harlem

Janel Laban
Feb 22, 2011

Take a good look at the lovely things in the photos of this NYC home. What if I told you they were the handiwork of two young roommates, created on the cheap, in the middle of their rented apartment, with the use of ONE (and only one) power tool, a drill? Impressive? Yes! Welcome to Jeremy and Ralph's House of DIY …

The Project: Handmade Reclaimed Wood Dining Table

The Materials: Church floor joists from Build it Green NYC, legs from IKEA.

The Story: Having never made furniture before, we lacked the resources and experience to join the three large pieces of wood. The original design which we were inspired by connected the three planks by hidden biscuit joints. Since our only tool was a drill, we were able to improvise by using thin perforated steel bars underneath the planks.

The floorboards "before"
The finished table

The Project: Pipe Fitting Bookshelves

The Materials: Gas pipe from Home Depot, 1x12" 8' planks of pine from local lumber yard, stained to look antiqued.

The Story: Trying to build furniture with no prior experience, without proper tools, and inside a poorly ventilated apartment. The living room was a wood-shop for approximately three months, constantly covered in dust, and often smelling of veneer/turpentine/wood stain.

Staining the shelves
Assembly of the pipes
The finished shelves

Origami Tessellations Wall Art

Materials: Posterboard from Staples. Only $5 to make one sculpture!

The Story: The origami tessellations had a tendency to collapse under their own weight. When sleeping at night, it would fall on me, or sometimes the orange sculpture would fall on guests sitting on the couch. The sculptures went through about four iterations before we found a design that could support itself and stay intact.

The Project: Craigslist Credenza/DJ Booth

The Materials: Beat up 1970's Craigslist credenza, lots of sandpaper, wood filler and stain

The Story: The credenza — once a wreck — was restored and houses a vinyl collection and two hidden speakers underneath a "DJ booth". The biggest challenge was balancing the aesthetics and acoustics of the DJ booth. Keeping the speakers outside of the booth would have been an eyesore. However, they are placed inside, on either end of the credenza, such that when the doors are opened slightly, they reflect sound back to whoever is playing with the turntables.

A look at the "before" condition and the tools to remedy it
Finished credenza
Check out lots more of Jeremy and Ralph's DIY and design skills in their House Tour: Jeremy's Endless Energy and Resourcefulness

Images: After - Jill Slater/Apartment Therapy, Before - Jeremy and Ralph

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