STYLISH GIFTS: FOR THOSE WITH A WILD STREAK

by Marisa Marcantonio

Animals have such presence. Make them presents, in their many varied forms. From feathers to horn, animal prints to zebra stripes, any time of year is a good time for the wild side. Every few years, animal prints come back into favor, and for good reason. When used right, (i.e. sparingly) their impact is memorable. For those that appreciate this lively look, here are gifts to enthrall.

Photo courtesy of Dransfield and Ross

Don't ruffle your feathers, look at them on Dransfield and Ross's chic convex mirror.

Photo courtesy of Natural Curiosities

Bring wonderous creatures into interiors with this stately elephant print from Natural Curiosities.

 Photo courtesy of Jayson Home

Having fresh flowers around makes everything look better, so why not add an interesting vase to a friend's collection? This rustic double horn version from Jayson Home has room for two small arrangements.

Photo courtesy of Branca

Urban and country dwellers can enjoy a bit of alpine style with Alessandra Branca's striking red and brown embroidered Stag's Head Cocktail Napkins, sold in a set of six.

Photo courtesy of Tozai

A Zebra hide rug real or faux adds a worldly wise exoticism to an interior.  I found this wonderful eco friendly printed canvas version designed by the talented Dransfield and Ross boys for Tozai. Trimmed in felt, it makes a chic addition to any area that needs a bit of pattern.

Photo courtesy of Jen Going

For the gal that loves blue and white, Jen Going's cobalt blue and white Zebra Pillow with contrast blue trim.

Photo courtesy of Asha

Malachite gives me wanderlust for the great African game reserve camps and chic safari style. Slide necklaces were so popular in the 70's, I am glad Asha is bringing them back, her design Isabel is a quatrefoil pendant featuring malachite in the center.

Photo courtesy of Kayce Hughes

I don't tend to wear a lot of leopard, I have 2 pairs of shoes, Belgians and Stubbs and Wooton, that have carried me through the trend resurgence over the past 10 years. Maybe its time to add a tiny bit more, with Kayce Hughes clutches trimmed in a bright hue. I like the subtle contrast and classic shape.

 Photo courtesy of Pologeorgis

Here is another way to inject a bit of leopard into your evening wardrobe without going overboard- a little Rabbit Fur Stole from Pologeorgis resembles the real thing but with a gentler price.

Photo courtesy of Iomoi

With a Cheetah spot border, the handsome leather and canvas monogram tote from Iomoi is a perfect bag for running around town. 

Photo courtesy of Sugar Paper

Mixing a gold foil printed liner  in a small leopard spot pattern and a hot pink border, letterpress cards from LA's Sugar Paper have pizazz.

Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren

It is hard to resist a gift that helps with organization. Ralph Lauren Home's swanky leather and leopard printed letter holder assists in keeping desk clutter to a minimum.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Paul

Butterflies have been in style for some time now, and every time they get prettier. Elevating melamine, Thomas Paul's oval tray looks elegant but can go rough and tumble outdoors.

TRULY GIFTED GIFT GUIDE: THE NEW STONE AGE

by Marisa Marcantonio

From geodes to agate,  malachite and minerals, gemstones and natural elements are leading the way in decorative objects.  Capturing the beauty of the natural world, these one of a kind earthly accessories with incredible diversity in shape and color  make you realize how precious, wonderful and varied nature can be. Give the gift of the unique this year.

Photo courtesy of Tozai

Dransfield and Ross for Tozai created Malachite Shadow Boxes with gemstones found all over the globe. Perfect for those needing a gemstone primer.

 Photo courtesy of HSN

Encourage a friend to take their flower arrangements to new heights in interior designer Richard Mishaan for HSN's purple Amethyst Vase.

 Photo courtesy of Tory Burch

Rock out in Pietra Doro Earrings from Tory Burch.  Mixing Lapis and Mother of Pearl they are made with an inlay technique from the 16th Century, Pietra Dura.

 Photo courtesy of Noble House

This Noble House Designs Santos Cuff with stones like agate, jasper and rock crystal has had me smitten for quiet some time. Totally divine. That Sarah Lowery Ng really has a great eye.

 Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Need that special gift to awe and amaze? Ralph Lauren Home's Malachite Bianca Box sheathed in hand-cut malachite is gorgeous.

 Photo courtesy of Eduardo Garza

When only the best will do. Amethyst set in a gold leaf surround sits atop a black lucite box created by artisan Eduardo Garza.

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Photo courtesy of Anthropologie

Melissa Joy Manning created this Raw Pyrite Hook for Anthropologie. Adding a bit of chunky stone chic to your walls, why not give them to a friend to hang  their necklaces?

 Photo courtesy of Hillary Thomas Designs

Give a lamp new life with the addition of a cheery finial. Hillary Thomas Designs circular Spiffy in orange Howlite is just the thing.

 Photo courtesy of Kelly Wearstler

For that friend that has it all, Kelly Wearstler's gem encrusted brass Bottle Opener is sure to jazz up their bar.

Photo courtesy of HSN

A little bit new agey, Richard Mishaan for HSN's blue Agate Obelisk can spruce up any tablescape.

A limoges porcelain Malachite-patterned lidded box houses a fragrant pink champagne-scented candle by L'Objet from Williams-Sonoma

FALL 2012 HIGH POINT MARKET ROUND UP: 15 SMALL OTTOMANS WITH BIG APPEAL

by Marisa Marcantonio

Whether it has an x-base or is fully upholstered, small benches and ottomans are a great addition to the end of a bed or in seating arrangements. Providing an extra perch or a place for a bag or throw, they serve a smart dual function role. Small pieces were aplenty at High Point Market, and here is a round up of some favorite pairs for bunching  and to use stand-alone pieces.

A pair of white Consulate x-base benches in turquoise upholstery at Century Furniture.

Slatted x-base Rockwell benches at Century that feel very Spanish in derivation.

Century's upholstered Canter Ottoman with nail head trim and tapered leg.

A diminutive low footstool at Hickory Chair.

Mr. and Mrs. Howard from Sherrill has these cut corner upholstered benches with cushioned tops and storage inside. All I could think of is that they would make the best dog beds for a pair of dogs.

Wesley Hall had an upholstered pair of curved ottomans, version 75, with skirted base.

Bernhardt's wooden base bench with leather top is very French 40s.

 Resembling highly coveted vintage finds, Drexel Heritage had the Eve Ottomans. Tufted, upholstered stunners with an arched leg merge the best of old and new. 

Thibault Furniture's Preston Ottoman with a cushion top and bamboo ridged white leg are perfect for country and coastal settings.

Ralph Lauren Home's classic x-benches with tight seat and nailheads in a blue fabric.

A pair of 69W Parsons-style upholstered and tufted x-benches from Wesley Hall have got it going on with contrast trim.

Upholstered in a graphic geometric fabric with orange trim.

Mr. Brown debuted a quatrefoil tufted ottoman with contrast trim on bobbin legs and casters that sits next to an upholstered clean-lined one with button tufting, both in natural linen.

Studio A had a metal bench with an x-base and dog head finials called The Bow Wow Bench.

 In a zippy red, Arteriors x-base upholstered Tennyson Bench with nail head border is a plush option.

PATRIOTIC STYLE

by Marisa Marcantonio

It's time to kick back, relax and watch the fireworks. With great looking red, white and blue showing up everywhere this summer, you can easily incorporate it into your everyday life, not just patriotic party time.  With the Olympics on the horizon, this palette will be around again soon.

Hey, every body's All American!

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn 

Whether you place it on your wall, in a barn or on your porch, this recycled pine America Flag from Pottery Barn has a wonderful authentic Americana vibe.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler 

Put your feet up and relax. Cool your heels on Jonathan Adler's American Flag Needlepoint Stool. 

 Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler

Serve it up in style with a Jonathan Adler George Washington melamine tray you will want to have around for the super patriotic types. 

 Photo courtesy of World Market

And we have to have some ubiquitous ikat on the table! World Market's Red Woven Ikat Mats and Napkins will carry you through a summer of heavy entertaining.

Photo courtesy of World Market

The hits just keep coming with World Market. They have the best stuff that is always really well designed. Take this striped Drink Dispenser-- I mean come on. So good.

 Photo courtesy of Horchow

Come summertime, I am rarely without an iced tea in hand. These red and blue over sized glass goblets from Horchow hold enough tea (14 oz. worth) that I won't have to constantly refill my glass.

 Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren

These Ralph Lauren Home American Flag Mugs will be just the thing to use when you are watching the Olympics drinking your morning coffee.

Photo courtesy of Horchow

This is the beach towel everyone has been going crazy over. Maslin's Zebra Beach Towel looks like a rug but made from terry it is beach ready. It comes in the coolest leather sling so you can hop on your bike with it and go catch the waves.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler's George Beach Towel in a red white and blue geo pattern is beachy keen.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Adler

I have this Duchess bag and it is the best! The coated canvas is rain appropriate and it takes the knocks from city living.  There is a row of pockets inside to keep everything small accessible and of course, the colors are great. From Jonathan Adler in the George pattern.