USA – Baggins End
The DIY boom in the USA really started in the 60’s and 70’s, during this time the younger generation were expressing their social and environmental ideals through renovating run-down homes instead of constructing new ones. These ideals, along with the release of books and TV shows about DIY increasing in popularity, combined to form Baggins End, a rural community in the grounds of the University of California made up of 14 fibreglass domed houses. This 1972 experiment in communal housing involved students living in igloo-like domes crafted out of fibreglass and other insulation, on top of a concrete base.
The residents of Baggins End, who quaintly refer to themselves as “Domies”, are still in existence as a community today. They bond by adopting a natural lifestyle to go along with their simplistic surroundings. You could experience what it’s like in the life of a Domie yourself by making your own domed complex in your garden, which could even double up as a unique summer house and a festive grotto for the winter months, why not give it a go?!
Japan – Kintsugi
Japan is known for its many traditional and sentimental ways of life, and this is no exception in their approach to DIY. Taking a more artistic approach to the DIY concept, Kintsugi is usually the art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum.
The Japanese take pride in this tradition as they see the cracks in the formerly broken pottery as a part of the history of the object and should not be hidden. The tradition has been modernised and applied to many other objects other than pottery in the world of DIY and Crafts on social media. You could use cement and paint to put a Kintsugi twist on some cracked patio tiles to bring some new life and a unique look to your outdoor space, or you could keep it traditional and stick to the pottery next time you accidentally drop a plate.
IKEA’s International Stores
IKEA is a world renowned for its Scandinavian roots and expansive range of flat pack furniture. But what is perhaps a lesser known fact about the home improvement giant is that the products designed for their international stores are skewed to whichever style is the most popular in that specific country and have certain practical modifications based on the needs of the customers of that country. This comes in the form of both practical and aesthetic changes, to specifically benefit consumers in that country, but the techniques IKEA adopt can also be applied to add a cultural flair or more climate adaptable furniture to your space.
The latter is the case in the IKEA store located in India, first opened in 2018. Due to the extreme temperatures of the country, IKEA recognised that their classic untreated pine furniture would not be suitable for these customers. So with this in mind, IKEA decided to make the furniture stocked in the Indian store out of different materials and created additional risers, based on the fact that many in the country clean their floors with water and the countries regular monsoon seasons. IKEA also stock more of certain products depending on the social demographics of a certain country or culture. Keeping with India as an example, the social tradition of impromptu gatherings in Indian culture, especially in family circles, means that their IKEA stores stock more stools and folding chairs, to conveniently add extra space for unexpected guests.
Other examples of this include Korean IKEA stores designing beds to fit with the small minimalistic spaces that the country adopts in their homes and to accommodate for the shorter average stature of its residents. This adaptation of products can be applied to your custom needs, whether that be constructing your own bed frame based on your sleeping arrangements, or even something as simple as customising your countertops based on the height of the people in your home. The sheer amount of adaptations IKEA make to fit their international market epitomises the beauty of DIY, the endless possibilities.
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Dominican Republic – Hurricane Proof Housing
Residents of the Dominican Republic are unfortunate enough to be directly in the path of some of the world’s most vicious storms and hurricanes. However, this resilient country has adapted and created houses that can withstand the most brutal of weather conditions, to ultimately keep residents and families safe.
They have done this by building their houses with a mix of wood and predominantly concrete to create the strongest structure possible to minimise damage caused by any environmental destruction.
Dominicans also add a colourful touch to their finished houses to brighten up even the most deprived of neighbourhoods, truly showcasing the resilience of the country. You may not experience the same kind of conditions as those in the Dominican Republic, but you can still reinforce any structure that takes a battering in some less than favourable conditions, with a simple concrete structure finished with wood and maybe a splash of paint to create the same bright environment enjoyed by the Dominicans.