The Best Home Gifts For Design-Savvy Men
New homeowner? Interior design lover? Here are gifts he’ll be more than happy to live with
If you want to know how compatible you are with someone, don’t launch into a discussion on music, art or film, or – god forbid! – politics. Try decorating a house together. If you and your significant other can agree on which colour to paint the bedroom walls, chances are you can agree on just about anything else.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, our homes are intensely personal places and the way we choose to decorate them is just as much of a reflection of our personality as the clothes we wear. Second, they provide us with a sense of autonomy. In a world that can seem indifferent to our desires, the space within those four walls becomes our dominion – somewhere we can experience some semblance of control.
So, while a gift for the home might seem like a nice thing to buy for a friend – and let’s be clear here, it is – it’s also not a decision to be taken lightly. If you’re not mindful of their taste, you run the risk of introducing something into their lives that they’ll resent having around.
The good news? It’s still mid-November at the time of writing, which means that you’ve got plenty of time to mull it over before the big day. Furthermore, once you’ve read this buyer’s guide, in which we share with you a few of our favourite gifts for the home, we have every confidence that you’ll get it right.
FOR THE MORNING PERSON
For those who believe coffee to be as much a ritual as it is a caffeinated beverage, the Taiwanese brand bi.du.haev (pronounced “Be, Do, Have”) is one to keep in mind. Its drip-filter systems are things of architectural beauty, and while they may not deliver that much-needed caffeine hit as expeditiously as your trusty Nespresso machine, there’s nothing better for a slow, methodical weekend brew. It’s not just coffee aficionados that will be thrilled at the sight of these fantastical machines; design purists will love them, too. Take the brand’s Greeting coffee stand, which looks like something that was purloined from an alchemist’s laboratory: it’s as functional as it is attractive, the ridges spiralling down the inside of the mouth-blown glass funnel serving to direct the flow of water and ensure that it percolates through the grounds at the right speed.
Alternatively, if they prefer espresso, why not bring a little ceremony to their Sunday morning routine with these smart copper-plated cups from Tom Dixon? The British designer is renowned for bringing elements of industrial design into the home, and polished copper is one of his recurring motifs. The tiered design of these espresso cups allows you to stack them when they’re not in use, too.
FOR GETTING THE MOOD RIGHT
Candles make wonderful gifts because they’re experiences, as well as objects. This was pointed out to us in last week’s issue of The Journal by the cultural historian Dr Benjamin Wild, who spoke of the importance of looking beyond the initial moment of giving when choosing a gift: “Think of a candle, which is a joyous thing to unbox, but also gives your recipient hours and hours of pleasure,” he said.
As to the question of which candle out of the hundreds available you should choose, we’d never hesitate to recommend Cire Trudon, a Parisian maison bougies dating back to 1643, making it one of the oldest candlemakers in the world. Its scented candles are famously complex creations, existing less to express an ingredient or set of ingredients and more to evoke a sense of time and place. With its heady base notes of tobacco and leather and top notes of bergamot and rum, the Ernesto positions itself in a Havana bar that’s hazy with cigar smoke during the height of revolución. (This isn’t MR PORTER’s olfactory analysis, but the description from the brand’s own website.) One of Cire Trudon’s most popular scents, it comes repackaged for the festive season in a sleek, frosted hand-blown glass vessel.
FOR THE HOMEBODY
Thanks to their ability to immediately make a room feel more homely, soft furnishings – cushions, throws and so on – make especially thoughtful gifts for new homeowners. Just bear in mind that your recipient might already have their own vision for the place, and so anything you give them ought to be roughly in keeping with their plans. (If, for instance, they intend to turn it into a palace of austere minimalism after Messrs Tadao Ando and John Pawson, that velvet brocade Versace cushion you’ve got your eye on might not be best received.)
If you’re unsure about their preferences, the best approach is to choose something with a bit of a story behind it. We’ve picked out a couple of things here that should do the trick. Blue Blue Japan’s indigo cushions are exclusive to MR PORTER and employ a traditional dyeing process called itajime shibori, in which wood is clamped to the fabric in order to produce unusual geometric patterns – such as the Mount Fuji-inspired one, here. The mohair scarf is from Jupe By Jackie. Founded by the Dutch designer Ms Jackie Villevoye in her early fifties after the youngest of her five children flew the nest, the brand makes a range of characterful soft furnishings in collaboration with embroiderers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
FOR THE HOST WITH THE MOST
The festive season means radically different things to different people. If you’re not a Christian, you won’t necessarily associate it with Christmas; if you live in the southern hemisphere, you might not immediately think “snow”. If there’s one image we can all relate to, though, it’s the sight of a beautifully laid table ready to welcome its guests. Sharing a meal with family and friends is ultimately what the holidays are all about, and that’s true regardless of where you come from or whatever belief system you ascribe to. Gifts for the table will always make sense at this time of year, then, because they speak directly to the occasion. We’ve singled out this stylish range of glassware from Asprey, the Bond Street purveyors of all things opulent, which comes in a deep shade of lapis blue and is hand-engraved with a twisting pattern of octopus tentacles.
Roman & Williams Guild + Nousaku Sorori Burnished-Brass Vase
Best Made Company Enamel Gift Set
Tom Dixon Orientalist Scented Candle, 260g
Amalgam Collection Limited Edition Jaguar E-Type Series 1 1:8th Model Car
R+D.LAB Luisa Bon Nuit Carafe and Glass Set
The SkateRoom + René Magritte Set of Two Printed Wooden Skateboards