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Fresh start


Delicious design, fabulous furniture and more than a few glorious gifts.


Have a cow

This aluminum and wood side table by West Elm reimagines the traditional milking stool for everyday use. It’s a different kind of sidekick to a sofa, chair or bed. This update on the humble three-legged milking stool also serves as a chair in a pinch, no matter if your home leans more toward farmhouse or high-rise. E.H. 

 $179; westelm.com

Turn, turn, turn

You hate to turn your back to the view. But you also don’t want a chair facing the window as if it’s a giant TV tuned to a particularly slow-moving show. A chic swivel Tory chair rotates 360 degrees on its pedestal. Turn to take in the view, join the conversation or watch an actual television. V.M.

$1,295; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams


Light reading

Any devotee of steampunk fiction would flip a page to read by the light of the Steam Punk lamp by Jamie Young.  The gunmetal finish and concentric circle base capture the style of those fantasy stories set in Victorian England when steam power was high tech. V.M.

$363; Bedford Brown, Bravado in Portland

Nut job

Maybe it’s the harvest. Maybe it’s the annual deluge of the children’s ballet, but we have nuts on the brain. These acorn-shaped accessories, including salt and pepper shakers, trays, bowls and serving dishes by Vagabond House, look like just the thing to drop beneath the tree. The pewter company also has accessories shaped like seashells, deer, alligators, antlers and more. V.M.

$50-$300; Marguerite, Pendleton Woolen Mills in Portland




Up a wall

So wallpaper is back but you’re afraid of commitment? No problem. Check out the peel-and-stick design ideas on Wall Pops! A package of colorful stickers can turn a quiet corner into a unique focal point. Change your mind? Rearrange or remove them without leaving sticky marks. V.M.

$16 for package of four 13x13-inch squares or 13-inch circles, or one 6-inch-by-12-foot strip; Lowes, Miller and Rodda paint stores in Oregon

Abstract art

Portland artist Jennifer Mercede depicts colorful, whimsical scenes that seem to jump off the canvas. We especially like her paintings depicting wildlife with cheeky words to match, like a giraffe imploring you to grow, or a slightly melancholy dog saying, “Oh thank you for loving me.” With the look of children’s artwork on acid, her paintings can blend in with eclectic surroundings or lend a burst of color to a more modern abode. E.H.

$10-$88; etsy.com/shop/jennifermercede


Pillow talk

Flowers, ferns, succulents and stripes adorn the hand-printed pillows by Appetite Home. Portland artist Erin Albin creates perfect throw pillows that are high design at a low price. Her punchy designs come in bold colors yet remain versatile. She concentrates on sourcing materials locally whenever possible, and uses nontoxic inks that are designed not to run. E.H.

$28; appetitehome.etsy.com




Modern baubles

Melissa Stiles, the Portland artist behind Stubborn, dabbles in a bit of everything, making jewelry, bags and sculptures in her patented monochromatic style. Her ornaments feature everything from chrome icicles to animals such as squirrels and lambs, yet their modern style avoids being cutesy. E.H.

$14; stubbornworks.com

Made to last

Studio of the Last Attempt at Greatness is a collaboration between Portland artists Sara Huston and John Paananen. Their ornaments made of scrap hardwood are made to last long enough to be passed down between generations, a move away from the typical consumerism that so often defines the holiday season. E.H.

$30; tlaag.com


Holiday shopping

Some people are jolly enough that they think Christmas should last more than a day. Connie Nicoud, the owner of Oregon City’s Christmas at the Zoo, is one such person. No, we don’t mean starting to sell Christmas décor in October or peddling goods as “perfect gifts” as some big box retailers do. Christmas at the Zoo sells holiday cheer year round. With more than 20 trees filled with ornaments and an entire wall of nutcrackers, there is something for everyone, no matter the season. E.H.

524 Main St., Oregon City; christmasatthezoo.com



Leading light

Joe Futschik, the designer behind Portland-based jefdesigns, dabbles in everything from prints and panels to handmade wood lamps, all featuring his signature clean-lined, modern aesthetic. The lamps from the multidisciplinary artist suit our fancy just fine, whether you choose to light your home with the rich, opulent colors of rosewood or zebrawood, or go for a more laid-back look with bamboo. E.H.

Prices vary; jefdesigns.com

Prints charming

The rare collection of Japanese prints on display at the Portland Art Museum has given us art envy. Antique images of traditional geishas may be too precious for our walls, but the accompanying book would fit nicely on the coffee table. The Artist’s Touch, The Craftsman’s Hand: Three Centuries of Japanese Prints includes essays by scholars and a color catalog of the 257 prints from the show, which closes Jan. 22, 2012. V.M.

$45; Portland Art Museum Shop



Natural beauty

Furniture maker Austin Heitzman of Five Fifths Furniture uses old-fashioned, solid craftsmanship to create beautiful pieces designed to last generations. Bring the forest inside your home with pieces that mimic the natural beauty of burls and wood grain. We especially like the Tilt Top Chair, based on a design found at Plimoth Plantation. The end table takes up little space and easily converts to extra seating when needed, perfect for 17th century cabin inhabitants as well as modern-day apartment dwellers. E.H.

$1,200; fivefifthsfurniture.com



Fancy felt

Jeanie Lai’s Portland design studio Moufelt uses simple wool felt (one of the oldest known textiles, 100 percent pure, and a sustainable and renewable resource, of course) to create endless design possibilities. Besides beautiful graphic coasters and trivets — which would make perfect gifts for just about anyone — her garlands are great as laidback holiday décor. E.H.

$14-125; moufelt.com


Table of contents

King Arthur was right. There’s something special about gathering around a circular maple table where no one  — or everyone — holds the power seat. Enjoy nights at this round table. V.M.

$7,500; marsiaholzer.com


Pure linens

Put a little luxury in your everyday routine with the Air Weight towels by Coyuchi. Coyuchi was the first company to bring organic bedding to the U.S., and now they have expanded into making super-soft towels from organic cotton. Going along with their organic-is-best ethos, the towels’ colors are also inspired by nature, available in warm colors like terra cotta and mustard or earthy graphite and juniper. E.H.

$7-63; coyuchi.com



Nostalgia in a bottle

Old is the new new. Barr-Co., the vintage apothecary from K. Hall Designs, packages luxurious, natural bath products in reusable glass milk bottles. The nostalgic bottles have so much appeal the company also sells empty versions with snap lids. Also look for natural candles and home fragrances. V.M.

$9-30; khalldesigns.com; in January at Anthropologie

Drop a line

With all the gift exchanging going on during the holiday season, it’s important — no matter how old you are — to remember to write thank-you notes. The fanciful cards from Jill Bliss are perfect for the task, lush and gilded without being Christmas-y. The Portland artist’s anima note cards show native Pacific Northwest fauna, their bodies filled with images of their native ecosystem for a beautiful, inside-out take on nature. E.H.

$29 for a set of 9; jillbliss.com


Clay displays

Artist Katie Bramlage tames wood, cork and clay into organic shapes that are made to be functional. Her honeycomb-like ceramic bowls are great for holding fruit year-round or piling a few of your most prized ornaments in for a simple holiday display. The combination of texture and subdued hues is perfect. E.H.

$85; katiebramlage.com



Baby bedding

Pastels are fine and dandy colors but why limit the crib crowd to pink and blue? Pine Creek Bedding in Aurora lets you create a custom ensemble of baby bumpers, crib skirts, coverlets and more from a choice of 200 fabrics. The company, founded in 1991 by Charlotte Cheadle, also offers custom twin, full and queen sizes. Sleep tight. V.M.

Pine Creek Bedding, starting at $400; Fletcher’s for Children in Eugene, and Goodnight Room in Tigard; pinecreekbedding.com

Oh, Maya

Thousands of years ago, some smart Mayans came up with a rather complex calendar. Apparently it runs out of pages in 2012. Coincidentally — or not — Dec. 21, 2012, is also the first time in 26,000 years that the sun aligns with the center of the Milky Way. Some people think this means the world is coming to an end. Might as well go out fancy. Set the table with an intricate lace Maya calendar tablecloth. And feel good knowing that shop owner Kathy Kleczek practices fair trade when dealing direct with crafts people in Mexico. V.M.

$95; La Luna Loca in Cannon Beach; lalunaloca.com


Shadow boxing

Float like a butterfly. Fancy winged insects behind glass recall the Victorian-era curio cabinets. An orange-and-black Monarch flutters over an 1895 reprint map of Oregon in this 6-by-8-inch wood-frame shadow box. V.M.

$81.25; shabbyapple.com

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