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Form & Function Featured on Ikea Hackers Website...Again!

We've been featured yet again on the Ikea Hackers Website for our custom clock for "The Office Remodel Project"!  We're excited that others get to see the clock and can use the idea in their own creative projects.

Custom Clock

For a fun clock for the pop-art inspired home office in a previous post, we decided to go custom. From spare fabric used on pillows and curtains in the office and a $10 clock from Ikea, we created a fun and coordinated clock for our clients. If you’re interested in making one for yourself, here’s how:

A wall clock that is suitable for taking apart and accepting of glue and/or tape, scissors, fabric glue, fabric, an inexpensive paintbrush, paper adhesive (such as double-sided tape), computer drawing program (such as Photoshop, Paint, GIMP, etc.), a box cutter, and small hand saw.

Cut strips of fabric to cover the plastic area of the clock. Allow for about a half-inch (or 1 centimeter) of fabric on the clock face, to about a half-inch to an inch (1-2cm) over the edge on the back. The first strip can be the pattern for the rest. It doesn't have to be too exact.

With some fabric glue and the paintbrush, squeeze glue onto about 2-3 inches of the plastic clock area and brush it to cover evenly. A larger size area is possible but the glue may dry prematurely. Lay the strips across. They will have to overlap - it is best to put a little glue on the underside of the overlapping pieces. Wrapping the pieces around the back of the clock a little bit ensures a clean finish. Be sure to pull any extraneous threads off before adhering to the clock.

This is optional, it just gives a nice finish to the clock and helps prevent the fabric strips from coming off and threads from unraveling. More fabric glue and a 1 to 1.5-inch strip of fabric finishes off the jagged edges.

Remove the clear plastic face of the clock and the hands. A Google seach for “clock face template” will help you find a good template with which to begin. Find a good font and type the numbers in. You may have to print, cut the center hole, and position it on the clock a few times making sure the numbers are in the right place. Using basic inexpensive printer paper lets you see the original clock face through your printed face, allowing you to line up the new numbers to the original. A few tries may be necessary. When you print, print the numbers and the center hole, but not the border. Our final clock face print was on thicker stock paper. If you prefer to go in the lo-tech direction, just go to the next step and cut out the face circle from some heavy paper stock, then draw the numbers on yourself with a marker, paint, crayon, whatever looks fun. Options such as photos of your kids' faces, roman numerals, fruit, letters, buttons, flowers, any kind of photos, cartoons, etc., are fun in place of numbers.

Using the clear plastic clock part as a stencil, draw a circle around it on the back of your clock face paper. Cut a little on the inside of the line. For the center hole, a box cutter knife works pretty well.

Using double-sided tape or a tape runner (available at a craft store in the scrapbooking section), attach the new clock face right over the old one, which will also cover up the raw fabric ends. Make certain your "12 o'clock" is at the TOP of the clock (look at the underside and find the mounting hole).

Put the hands back on. The next part might be a bit more difficult. Due to all of the fabric and the overlapping, the clear plastic may no longer fit back in the clock. To get it to fit, we sawed 6 small grooves into the plastic which allow the plastic to compress a bit when fitting it back in. Only cut the grooves about half way down, or they may start to split. Once this is complete, put the plastic back in the clock carefully and evenly.
*An alternative to this method is to glue the fabric to the end of the clock plastic but not down and onto the face of the clock. A paper or fabric circle can be used to finish the ends and the clear plastic will fit just the same as it originally did. You can also leave the clear plastic off the clock if you choose, just be sure you don't have any jokers around the place or you might find you're curiously late often.

Grab an appropriate battery, set the time, and hang the clock. An easy way to hang a clock or piece of art is to screw a screw half way through a paint stir stick. Hang the clock onto the screw in the stick, then put the stick up to the wall and position the clock. Once you have the perfect position, remove the clock and tap the screw in the stick into the wall just a bit to make a mark. This is where you will put the screw on which the clock will hang.

Art by Form & Function

Art by Form & Function

"Cayman Sunset"
(c) 2008

"She Comes Swimming"
(c) 2012

Above are two paintings of art commissioned by Form & Function for our clients.  As in our blog, "It's All About The Art", we sometimes create custom pieces of art for our clients.

It's All About The Art

Sometimes a design project calls for custom artwork, and sometimes a project calls for budget artwork.  A simple solution to either challenge is to make it yourself.  It may sound daunting, but it's actually easy and can be a lot of fun.  Below are some tips.
Supplies:  Inexpensive paints, brushes, and canvases can be found at local craft stores like Michael's.   If you'd like to frame your art with a regular store-bought frame (not a canvas frame, buy flat canvases - they're the least expensive option and often come in packages of three or four.  

Paint Mediums:  Mediums such as gel, stucco, sand, etc., are an inexpensive and fun way to jazz up your art.  Simply mix them in with your paint to give different effects.

Multimedia Projects:  Use a variety of items such as paper, newspaper, beads, plant pieces and leaves, and fabric strips and incorporate it into your art.

Involve the Family:  Make it fun and personal by letting your kids have a go.  Give them a subject or idea to develop into art and see what develops.  Kids make the most exciting abstract art.  One client of ours who has three children wanted some art in her kitchen.  She asked each of them to paint an apple.  She got three completely different images of apples - each child's own interpretation.  Framing each and placing them above the sink together not only makes a cohesive and creative display, but makes her smile every time she looks at them.

Other Options:  If you'd prefer something other than painting, here's a few other ideas.  
  Book Bits:  For a child's nursery or kid's room, find a book with thick, cardboard-like pages with simple graphics, such as animals, drawings, etc.  Find a frame that is approximately 2-4 inches larger than the book page.  Mount it in the center of the frame with double-stick foam tape.  The extra space in the frame acts as your mat,  Deep frames work best and give a gallery-like look.  Mounting multiple pieces from the same book in one area becomes an art display that looks professional and feels cohesive.
  Fabrics & Papers:  If you've got some pretty fabrics or papers, you can frame them as art.  It's a beautiful alternative!  Fabric stores often have small inexpensive pieces of beautiful fabric in front of the large rolls.  Craft stores have fancy papers in the scrapbooking aisles which are inexpensive and beautiful.
  Leaves & Flowers:  First, press under a large heavy book until dry and flat.  For framing, the easiest and most simple solution is to use the board that comes in the back of a frame.  Most are either white or black and are pretty nice, and you can mount them directly to this.  Poster board or cardboard is another option, and you can even cover that with paper or fabric before you place the leaves and flowers.

If you've got any other ideas for making your own art, we'd love to hear about them!

What Exactly Is ReDesign?

In today’s economy, it’s getting more and more difficult to afford to have one’s home completely designed.  Let’s be realistic, shall we?  Wouldn’t you rather get the latest iPhone or streaming television box than pay someone to tell you what furniture you should have or where you should put this or that or what color your walls should be?
Design-related television programs are turning more toward showing people affordable options, people are buying more home products from stores such as Target, HomeGoods, Ikea…but not all of us are design-oriented and we could still use a little help. 

So, where’s the middle ground?  Most of us like to live in a nice place, but don’t necessarily know how to achieve that, and really don’t want to pay a lot for it.  We get that.  So, here's where redesign comes in.

What is redesign?  It’s designing your room or home with furniture, accessories, and textiles (rugs, curtains, etc.) you already own.  It’s adding form and function to what already makes your home comfortable.  It’s bringing in a designer with a fresh look on your room – with design skills, with organization skills – to help you get your home up to your liking.  It works to fit your budget – you can purchase items to add to the design – or you don’t have to purchase a thing.  The designer provides you with ideas, advice, floor plans, and even a list of recommended stores in your area to help you find what you need at a price you can afford.  And the bottom line…our designer’s fees are affordable. 
So try it.  Give us a call.  Let us redesign your home.  Feel the fresh and new…and feel the familiar…all at the same time!

Form & Function Featured on Ikea Hackers Website

This week, we've been featured on the Ikea Hackers website!
Our "Office Remodel Project" shows readers a unique photography/art display created by printing and mounting art inside glass cabinet doors.
We really appreciate all the kudos and comments!
Check it out for yourself at!

The Office Remodel Project

We've been busy here at Form & Function working on an interesting project.  This is a home office for a husband and wife who work from home in photography, graphics, and web design.  It's also their home gym. While we started from the ground up painting the walls and trim and installing laminate wood flooring, it also draws from our other methodologies such as redesign, home technology design, and cable management.

We spoke in-depth with our clients to determine what they wanted to get out of the room.  They wanted an open, airy, modern space where they could both work.  They wanted not a single electrical or computer wire on the floor.  They wanted an open space where they can do aerobics, lift free weights, and use their elliptical machine.

A modern, urban-inspired, pop-art style was the way to go.  We first painted the room and installed the flooring.  Since they don't have any kids or pets, they saved money on a lesser expensive laminate wood floor, which we ran throughout the entire second story.  White glossy cabinets and a desk brought light into the room and reflected it around.  Wall cabinets added much-needed storage.  LED lighting below the cabinets provided an amply lit work area, and additional lights above the cabinets added ambience.  Sheer curtains allow light in while retaining some privacy, since there is a restroom and dressing area right off of the office.  They also cut the glare from the sunlight on the computer screens.  A custom-made set of colorful curtain panels frame the window and bring color into the room.  Matching custom-made seat cushions and a chair pillow keep the theme going throughout the room.

A white leather Barcelona chair was put in the back of the room for relaxing and reading with a mid-century modern lamp overhead.  The two desk chairs are reproductions of the Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chair.  A small locker adds whimsy and provides storage for their exercise equipment.  Two removable anti-fatigue exercise mats provide a large 6' x 5' surface for exercising and aerobics.  While our clients are minimalists, they do love the giant "WORK" letters, taken from old neon channel signs at antique shops, which we cleaned and repainted and mounted on the wall.

We worked with our clients to improve their wireless technology - increasing their wireless network speed, providing them with an automated backup solution for all of their computers, showing them how to connect their computers to each other on their home network, and bringing in a wireless printer and wireless stereo speaker which will play wirelessly from any of their computers and iPhones.  The speaker is also wireless itself, and is moveable throughout the home.  The clients didn't want to see a single cable on the floor.  All of the lighting cabling as well as the computer cabling is hidden neatly in wall conduit.  This helps make the room very easy to clean. 
Then came time for the personalizing.  From our photography collection, we created digital artwork from five city-based scenes and had them printed and mounted them inside each of the glass cabinet doors.  A magazine rack holds 12 of their favorite reads.  A magnetic whiteboard strip holds notes, business cards, and other useful and important items.  Inside the drawers and cabinets are boxes, bins, and other organizers to keep everything in its place.  Custom-designed mouse pads and white matching coasters were just a few of the fun items we added to the room.

This is a lively, bright, light, and inspiring place to work and have a fun time!  We really enjoyed helping to create it.

Photography by Pierre Comtois Photography
(c)2011 Form & Function

There's an App for That

There are a number of helpful and fun apps to help and inspire you in your projects.  Below we recommend a few which have sparked our interests.

Sherwin Williams Color Snap
This is a free app which lets you take color inspiration from your photo library or camera.  It keeps track of your chosen paint colors.

Behr ColorSmart
This free app not only lets you draw from your existing photos, it will match the colors from those images.  It also includes a paint calculator, helping you determine just how much paint you’ll need for your project.

iHandy Carpenter
This multitool app has a surface level, a bubble level, a steel protractor, a steel ruler, and a plumb bob.

Many major home improvement and home furnishing stores also have their own apps.  Online window shopping is a great way to get ideas, prices, and measurements of products for your home.
Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Etsy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ikea all have their own apps.

For those interested in design, there are many good design apps which offer inspiration from photos, videos, galleries, and blogs.  Below are a few.

Houzz – tons and tons and tons of photos

Dwell – slideshows, videos, events, products, homes, ideas

California Design – the app that goes along with the exhibition “California Design 1930-1065 Living in a Modern Way”, which is the first major study of California midcentury modern design.  It contains photos and info about the exhibit.

SRSLY – discover all sorts of interesting products and browse products in shops near you.

Mark On Call – helps you plan your space and your interior design by letting you build floor plans, add furniture, make shopping lists, and add measurements.

Home Design 3D – helps you create a 2D and 3D layout of a room, add doors, windows, and furniture from their object library, add color to the walls.

Color Schemer – lets you browse tons of color palettes.

There are more and more apps available every day.  Look forward to future blog entries with recommendations and reviews!


Well, here's an interesting product.  Liquipel is the next thing in waterproofing your mobile device. 
According to their website:  "Liquipel is a revolutionary process that applies a waterproof coating to your electronic devices to protect them in the event of accidental exposure to liquids. It is not visible to the human eye, virtually undetectable and Liquipel will not compromise the look, feel, and performance of your electronics.
Liquipel penetrates the entire device as a whole, including all of the vital components inside and out to provide optimal protection against accidental contact with liquids."
It's definitely interesting.  Check it out on their website at

Exhibitions: January 2012 - June 2012

Here are some design-related exhibitions in the Los Angeles area.

Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945–1985)
1/19/2012 – 6/3/2012
Chinese American Museum
25 N. Los Angeles Street Los Angeles, CA 90012
click for info

California Design, 1930-1965: "Living in a Modern Way"
10/01/2011 – 05/31/2012
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036
click for info

Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California
10/01/2011 – 04/02/2012
Norton Simon Museum
411 West Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91105
click for info

Trouble in Paradise: Music and Los Angeles 1945-1975
02/22/2012 – 04/02/2012
The GRAMMY Museum
800 W. Olympic Blvd. #A245 Los Angeles, CA 90015
click for info

Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles
11/13/2011 – 02/27/2012
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
250 S. Grand Ave Los Angeles, CA 90012
click for info

Eames Designs: The Guest-Host Relationship
10/1/2011 - 2/20/2112
A+D Architecture and Design Museum
6032 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036
click for info

Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974 - 1981
10/02/2011 – 02/13/2012
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
152 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012
click for info