The first time they went on a date Ryan Lange brought Emily back to his workshop, where they talked over a few beers — and ended up sanding a motorcycle. Emily quickly came to realize that hanging with Ryan meant a departure from all the typical courtship rituals. “I realized that to spend time with him is to do fun projects instead of sitting around talking in a coffee shop,” Emily says. “We’ve had some of our best conversations hanging out in his workshop and from there we found ourselves in this pattern of working together on projects.”
Several years later, the couple (now they’re both Langes) created a partnership, Handmade America, for which the two take on project challenges that range from creating digital light displays for a hip hop artist, to crafting cement bar stools using a bucket and rebar, to converting an old Harley into a badass enduro bike. “It got to the point where people started asking us to make things for them,” Ryan says. “I had a really cool job which I loved, but this ended up taking up my whole life. We work from home and I’m able to do things I want.”
In that spirit we challenged the Langes to come up with DIY-friendly ways that a small terrace or balcony can be made friendlier, more useful and just more fun. The two happily agreed and combined some of their past work along with a few new inspirations to arrive at these nine excellent projects. Most take minutes to a few hours and can accommodate budgets of all ranges.