Each season I simplify my holiday giving by focusing on gifts made of American hardwood. There’s an enormous selection out there, ranging from the sleekly sophisticated to the charmingly rustic—and everything in between. Here are six items I’ve already got my eye on.
Balance these faceted stone-size blocks to create your own sculpture. Each set includes ten solid-oak shapes, coated in a water-based paint and packaged in a drawstring bag. The delightfully playful objects are produced by Fort Standard, a contemporary design studio and manufacturer based in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Balancing Blocks, www.fsobjects.com
The graceful Hugo Desk is designed and handcrafted by Michael Robbins, a woodworker based in the Upper Hudson Valley, New York. Shown here in solid walnut with an optional inset leather writing surface, single drawer, storage cubbies, it can be ordered in several different hardwoods and is completely customizable.
Hugo Desk, roomonline.com
A perennial classic, this kids’ pull sled from L.L. Bean is built from kiln-dried northern hardwoods finished with clear water-based lacquer. Screwed together for durability, and outfitted with a foam cushion covered in water-repellant nylon, it should last for generations of snowy fun.
Kids’ Pull Sled and Cushion Set, www.llbean.com
The chunky tripod base of the Rook Table Lamp was originally designed as a heavy foot for a taller floor lamp. But someone realized that the solid walnut form would look great with a linen shade sitting directly on it. We agree.
Rook Table Lamp, www.bludot.com
No one photographed American trees more poetically than Ansel Adams. Oak Tree, Snowstorm, an evocative image from 1948, is available in a modern edition from the Anselm Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park. Printed from the original negative on gelatin silver paper, it’s as close to an original Adams photograph as most people can aquire and, at $325, is a great deal more affordable.
Oak Tree, Snowstorm, shop.anseladams.com
1stdibs, the online purveyor of one-of-a-kind furniture, decorative accessories, and collectible objects is a great place to hunt for hardwood art. A case in point, this 15¼-inch-high abstract carved-wood sculpture on a stone and wood base. Chances are it has been snapped up by the time you read this, but there’s always a good selection of similar items on the addictive site.
Modern Abstract Carved-Wood Tabletop Sculpture with Bisected Disc, www.1stdibs.com