101 Guidesgift

2011 gift guides: splurge-worthy finds

by Grace Bonney

The time has come for the last of my gift guides, and I’m ending with something a little fancy, extra special and on the “splurge” end of things. But I’ll be honest — I don’t plan on doing much splurge buying or receiving this year. With all that’s going on with the economy and the job market, it seems like making something by hand or spending quality time with loved ones is more important. But since I’ve already covered some of those non-buying gift ideas, I thought I’d share some options for those of you who’ve been saving up to buy your loved ones something special. I’ve chosen a wide range of unique ideas — from keepsake boxes made of real hazelnuts to hand-carved leather bike seats. I hope you enjoy the list! xo, grace

Image above, clockwise from top left: Maple Dip Board, $118; Hand-Carved Leather Bike Seat by Kara Ginther, $325; Cork Knife Set, $398; Leopard Invitation Clutch, $198; Mercer Golden Tray, $290; Wicker Acrylic Tray, $275; Best Made Axe, $250; Waylande Gregory Dancing Horse Bowl, $765; Tablet Portfolio, $190; Hazelnut Box with Miniature Knife, $130

Image above, clockwise from top left: Wood and Stoneware Vase, $125; Candy-Colored Glassware Set, $420; Chevron Throw, $595; Lambswool Throw, $150; Quartz Topped Jewelry Box, $118; Metallic iPad Sleeve, $145; Thumbprint Earrings, $18 (Whoops! I labeled these as $180, so they ended up in this roundup, but they’re really $18. Yay!)

The full splurge gift guide continues after the jump . . .

Image above, clockwise from top left: Handmade Casbah Towel, $150; Waylande Gregory Crane Salt & Pepper Shakers, $135; Moroccan Tray, $460; Mason Pearson Brush (the “Holy Grail” of hairbrushes), $140; La Sardina Lomography Camera in Cubic, $110; Hadley PJs (I splurged on them for the book tour and have worn them every night since. I LOVE these pajamas; they are so comfy and classic.), $110; Henry Pouf, $336; Superior Servers, $120 for 3; Charade Square Stud Box, $175

Image above: Flawed Gold-Plated Set of Bowls, $249 for set of 4

Image above, left to right: Cast Metal Horse Head Lamp, $149; Roost Precious Metal Bowls (in Copper), set of 3 for $145

Image above, left to right: Wood & Faulk Northwesterner bag, $169; Rack by Julian Paul, $115

Image above: Carved Leather Decanter, $145

Image above: Artist’s Attache Case, $398

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  • Lovely list! And I appreciate the fact that you considered these splurges. I hate seeing lists of ‘splurges’ that include things like $10,000 handbags…

  • Beautiful list. The decanter is terrific. Any chance AC will do a list this year? Might that be a part of your above comment? I use his lists (including the old ones!) for ideas every year.


  • I need a list from AC too! I have not bought a thing for my husband because he adores everything I’ve ever gotten him off of AC’s list- stuff I would never know about or find on my own that is truly unique. Please!

  • so cute Artist’s Attacht case!!!!! And of course Flawed Gold-Plated Set of Bowls!
    Omg still have to buy so many Christmas presents ! happy you are there to give us tips:)xo

  • Hah,I just bought the Hadley PJs top and wore it as a normal shirt today. I think it’s completely adorable.

  • Dear Design Sponge,
    I read your posts every day and I discovered that on the countries list I did not find my country, ROMANIA….we are a beautiful country, great landscapes, nice people, extremely good food, magestic crafts and 22 000 000 people…it is a little bit unfair, and
    I can send you many, many pictures to make my point….
    Always a fan of what is nice, clever, simple, ecofriendly, goodquality things.
    Good luck.

  • desperately seeking A.C.’s list!
    ditto on the comments above – his suggestions never fail to impress.

    • thanks susan

      i’m working with ac to come up with something that fits his schedule- we’ve both had a beyond-busy year so a full list might not be an option this year.


  • thanks grace.

    kudos to both of you and wishing you continued success in all you do.
    even if ac’s guide for guys does not come to be this year, please pass on to ac just how wonderful his past posts have been in helping give good gifts.


  • oh I covet that artists attache case!!! Is it too late to put this on
    my list Santa? PLEASE??? ok..maybe next year.

  • Honestly the best holiday guides Ive seen on the web this week. Everything is just a bit…different. Nice job!