This weeks featured maker is Martin, who describes himself as a biker, IKEAhacker and LEGO-Enthusiast. Within his first two days of joining Snapguide, he had already shared half a dozen guides. We were immediately inspired by the originality and practicality of his DIY projects. We became increasingly impressed as the projects continued to to pour into Snapguide (he now has shared over 20 guides) and were curious to find out more about him. Read more about him below to learn how he got started in DIY, what project he is most proud of, and where he gets his clever ideas.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born about 29 years ago in a small town in Germany that everyone knows from the tale of the pied piper. When I was 15, I met a wonderful girl named Sonja and found out she also liked me (phew). I’ve known her half my life and we’ve been married for four years now. Together, with our two dogs, we live in a rented house near Stuttgart. I make a living being an IT consultant on security and infrastructure topics.
How did you first start getting into DIY projects?
I was raised in a house that used to be a bakery and needed a total makeover. My parents had a small budget for this, so they created a lot of stuff on their own instead of buying it. Most of my furniture – my desk, my shelves, even my bunk bed – and a lot more stuff in our house was built by my father. Since most of it was made out of wood, my mother was in charge of the styling and brought a little color to the whole arrangement with accessories.
I started doing DIY projects at a very young age with a material that was always present and easy to work with – LEGO. Building real-world stuff using these tiny bricks was always hard, so when I moved out into my first rental apartment, I started to look for an easier way to build and ended up at IKEA. It’s like LEGO, but bigger. There are a lot of standardised shapes to combine, most of it is inexpensive and you don’t need a fully equipped workshop to alter it. A few screws, L-brackets or other stuff that is still lying around and you’re done.
So at that time, about 9 years ago, my DIY addiction really started. Since my wife is really into DIY as well, there are few things we buy and don’t alter. This means there will be a lot more projects on Snpaguide in the upcoming months!
You share such creative projects, where do you get your inspiration?
Getting inspiration is a really freaky mixture of all sorts of things going on in my head. The most straightforward way is to look at a problem you have (my wife needs a desk but there is not enough space) and come up with a solution (build a triangular desk so it will fit into a small corner).
But honestly, most of the time it is not that straightforward.
For example, finding a solution to my LEGO storage literally took years to figure out. I thought a lot about it and searched Flickr & IKEAhackers for other people’s solutions but none of them were really perfect. Then, I stumbled across a headboard in the IKEA as-is section and a few days later I figured out that I could use binder clips to hang my boxes. Finally, I had a solution for my LEGOs.
Other things I simply see somewhere and rebuild them in my own way, like the half chairs to hang clothes in the evening – I found them on IKEAhackers. The bedroom-light I saw in a hotel, the cable hole you simply see in every office you walk into. A little visit to eBay or the hardware store and you have all the materials ready to start.
I guess this is it: I see problems in my home I have to solve, things that are already made or materials I want to use and start thinking. And of course there is always one other way I get inspiration – by my wifes desires.
What project are you most proud of?
Currently, it is my lego-storage, simply because it took such a long time to come up with the idea. But when I look at the whole house, I really have to say it is the walk-in closet.
The walk-in closet was something we always imagined having. Our first apartment wasn’t big enough, the second wasn’t either. But with our new house we finally had the space to create it. The house is rented, so there was no way to put in new walls to build a separate room.
When the closet was built, our landlord walked into our bedroom and didn’t even notice there was a wall that had never been there. That’s when I knew I had succeeded. I love the fact that it blends in so well but can also be removed at any time without any residues.
What is your favorite part of a DIY process?
That’s an easy one: The planning process. I love having a problem or an idea and then working on a solution, looking for materials, taking measurements, and drawing whatever comes to my mind. I love going over several options I have, thinking of how I might add more value, convenience or usefulness to the object. This is where I really take my time to think it through.
Martin and his dog Fly, surfing for inspiration.
How did you discover Snapguide and why did you start sharing guides?
I discovered Snapguide just recently when I started recreating my homepage. I had a few things I wanted to put on the web: my travel journals, DIY guides, stuff for sale, photos, and so on. Since I wanted to get rid of my computer in favour of my iDevices, everything needed to be editable on the iPhone or iPad.
I was looking around the App Store and stumbled upon Snapguide. I had seen it on Lifehacker before but never tried it. After creating my first guide, I did the next one and suddenly I had put about half a dozen guides together! It was so easy and it was great how people started liking and commenting on them. After getting in contact with the Snapguide team, it was a quick and easy decision: Snapguide would be my future place to document and spread all my DIY stuff.
I think I said enough, I’ll get back to the next DIY project now… Happy DIYing everyone!