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About 10 minutes into the movie Tron: Legacy, the character Sam Flynn rides his Ducati up to his dockside home: an industrial-looking place obviously built from shipping containers. Large glass garage doors open on the front and back, permitting him to store his bike right in the living room and giving his living room a water-front view. It’s a bit of a dive, but I couldn’t help but wonder: could a home like this — cleaned up, of course — work for normal living? And how expensive would it be (or would it even be possible) to build one?

It turns out I’m not the only one thinking along those lines. Meet Adam Kalkin and his Quik House.

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Last week IKEA announced that they’ll soon sell furniture featuring an “integrated HDTV.” That’s right: You can now buy a TV stand complete with TV, BluRay player, and stereo for around $950. That’s the 24″ version.

But wait a minute. The local BuyMore offers a (complete with 1080p display) for $170. (I’m not, by the way, recommending this TV. It’s just the first one I came across. I found lots of them in this price range.) Brand-name BluRay players start around $65. And even though the IKEA offering only offers 2.1 sound, you can buy a pretty nice smallish 5.1 system for under $200. I’m not a math genius, but that adds up to around $435. So you’re essentially paying $515 for a crappy melamine-covered MDF cabinet and the loss of stereo component selection.

Maybe it’s just me, but this screams DIY.

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I have a lot of books. No, really. A lot of books. And up until recently they’ve been piled around my house in all sorts of places. Sean and I started building bookcases back closer to when I first moved in, but we ended up getting involved in other things (like starting TM, for example). Between lack of time and lack of funding, I never really got enough built to hold even half of my book stash. So a few weeks back, I decided to go for broke and just slap whatever I had to on the walls to hold up shelves (and books). To that end, I posted here asking TM readers .

Of course, TM readers are way smarter than that.

TM reader David chimed in instead with a suggestion that I build what he called “Hungarian shelves,” complete with a link to an Instructable on the process. Others chimed in on the Hungarian recommendation, so I gave it a look — and I was shocked. What a great idea! Basically, these Hungarian shelves consist of vertical pieces notched to hold notched shelves. The verticals screw to the wall through the notches, then the shelves fit in place with a little help from shims as needed. Result: extremely strong and stable shelves with no visible fasteners. As a bonus, you can easily build them with cheap dimensional lumber and almost no tools. Above you see a pictured of my project, adapted from the Instructable concept.

Yep, that’s a 10′ x 10′ set of 10 shelves that cost me a grand total of just under $200 and was damn easy to build.

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The housing market sucks. Really. The days of buying a house “as an investment” are pretty much over, though owning a house still offers some pretty big perks, from allowing you to pick your own appliances to leaving you free to blast Robyn at ear-bleed volume at 2 a.m. But I’ve heard some pretty strange conversations at the local big box lately. Those same folks who bought $500,000 houses on sub-$100,000 salaries a few years ago, you know, for “an investment?” They’re into remodeling now. And you should hear the cockamamie reasons they’ve dreamed up to buy more things they can’t afford.

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