Some of the best presents to give your loved ones are things they would never buy for themselves—whether it’s non-essential, something seemingly extravagant, useless but pretty or even self-indulgent. And yet, these oftentimes make for the most beautiful, engaging gifts. From throw blankets to clocks, prints and lamps, our House Proud gift guide includes items for all kinds of tastes and all kinds of budgets. See the full guide over in our Buy section and give your favorite person (or people) a very special treat this year.
While it was made back in 1957 (by NYC’s George Nelson Associates for the Howard Miller Clock Company), the Petal Clock ($525) is as beautiful today as it ever was. Inspired by a four-leaf clover, this authentic Nelson clock (now archived in the the Vitra Design Museum, along with Nelson’s other inventive designs like the joyful ball clock) is a simple and bold piece of American modernism.
Brooklyn-based design studio and manufacturing house, Good Thing says they are all about “backward design.” However, their Easy Mirror ($39)—which sacrifices a small amount of its reflective pane to create a leg-stand—is, in fact, quite forward-thinking. Made entirely from polished stainless steel, the mirror is a sleek, minimal and unexpected piece for those who like to look good—and have their decor do the same.
Sincerely Yours Vase
Case Studyo enlisted California-based artist Steve Harrington for the playful “Sincerely Yours” vase ($224). Dotted with characters shaped like yin-yangs, the curvy vase is a delightfully light-hearted take on the spiritual symbol—yet also an apt one, as Harrington’s work oftentimes explores the concept of balance. Limited to just 100 pieces, the porcelain vase will surely bring a little Zen—albeit whimsical—to any room.
Floating Record Player
Chicago-based Gramovox seemingly defies gravity (and decades of tradition) with the Floating Record ($400): a turntable that spins vinyl vertically for maximum audiovisual impact—truly treating each record like a work of art. With final assembly taking place in Chicago, the belt-driven record player comes with built-in speakers (as well as RCA line outs if you’d rather use your own audio setup).
Life is Fantastic Tea Towel
With his artwork bouncing from endearingly odd aesthetics to throwing around wildly positive vibes, Scotland-based David Shrigley never disappoints. Made in collaboration with Melbourne shop Third Drawer Down, this 100% linen “Life is Fantastic” dish towel ($32) is a cheerful (perhaps, at times, delightfully delusional) reminder of this quip, that can be seen every morning as you labor to make that first batch of coffee.
Working with digitally printed textiles and natural fibers, LA-based brand bfgf makes super-charming blankets that are just as much functional products as they are artwork. Their 100% cotton Sunroom Blanket ($175) features a serene scene that brings the greenery in, any season of the year.
Cosmos Nebula Lamp
Created by ABC Home with Enzo Catellani of innovative lighting company Catellani & Smith, the Cosmos Nebula Lamp ($1,000) emits a stunning, otherworldly glow inspired by the colors and light of the universe. Made in Bergamo, Italy, the dimmable light sits atop a brass base (which is 13.8 inches tall) and is a unique way to welcome guests into any room.
Fluorescent Acrylic Cactus
SF-based designer Nobel Truong’s cacti ($25) are an especially rare type: they give off a pleasant glow thanks to the fluorescent acrylic material they’re laser-cut from. Choose from three different species (Saguaro, Echinocereus or moon cactus) and never worry about watering.
Brooklyn-based Croatian poet, sculptor, graphic and product designer Andrej Urem has created cubic candles ($35) that we never want to light. But at the same time, we’re eager to see them transform from their strict structures into molten, organic forms. Urem carves the first models himself, then uses 3D technology for additional sculpting and printing the molds. And due to their symmetrical nature, Urem’s candles have another distinct feature: they’re stackable.
“Do Me A Favour” Print
British artist and member of street art collective MSK, Gary Stranger’s creations are always crisp, clean and engaging. If you’re not lucky enough to see one of his masterpieces every day on a wall outdoors, you can now buy one for your own. This “Do Me A Favour” print (£950) is hand-painted on a 30cm by 74cm wood canvas, signed by the artist—and it’s the final one available.
Images courtesy of respective brands and designers