From cute playthings for the nursery to elegant furniture for the living room, there’s a universe of attractive hardwood products out there that will check all the boxes on your holiday gift list. Here are six items I’ve already got my eye on.
Knotwood LA—a collaboration between industrial designer Linda Hsiao and architect/woodworker Kagan Taylor—produces an assortment of hardwood baby rattles that are like exquisite little modernist sculptures. Made of white oak, walnut, and cherry, these rattles are easily gripped in tiny hands, silky-smooth on teething gums, and entirely safe thanks to their non-toxic beeswax/oil finish. www.knotworkla.com
Heide Martin, a designer-maker in coastal Maine, creates furniture and housewares with native hardwoods, leather, fiber, and metals. Her Shaker-esque pieces include the Rectangle Tray, which features solid wood construction, metal-pinned joinery, and lashed cord handles. Made to order, and available in ash, oak, or walnut, this simple, handsome, beautifully crafted tray is an instant classic. www.heidemartin.com
Andrew Finnegan is a hand woodturner and furniture maker in New York's Hudson Valley. His designs—classics with a twist—combine true functionality with quirky aesthetics. A case in point: the sturdy Offset Taper Stool, which features an intriguing “break” in one leg and one crossbar. Shown in bleached oak, it’s also available in maple, walnut, and cherry.
Crafted from sustainably harvested beech, the powerful yet gentle Ursa Bear is designed and made by David Weeks Studio in New York. Thanks to strong bungee-cord joints, the sturdy wooden toy is infinitely posable and practically impossible to break—an enduring classic that will withstand years of play. www.davidweeksstudio.com
If you’re looking for a big-ticket item to gift, consider the Elaine Dresser, a superbly proportioned, painstakingly crafted piece of hardwood furniture that’s destined to become an heirloom. Designed by Benjamin Klebba, the dresser is made to order by Phloem Studio, the workshop he founded in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, and is available in maple, white oak, cherry, or walnut. www.phloemstudio.com
Designed by Pete Oyler for the Brooklyn-based producer Areaware, these Plant Pedestals are made from three pieces of beech wood that fit together with seamless lap joinery. Their simplicity is a perfect way to show off arrangements both high and low. Use them to display plants, candles, seashells, flowers, hors d’oeuvres, and other fine or humble wares. www.areaware.com