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Where to find those truly personal presents

Where to find quirky and handmade treasures for the house

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Where to find those truly personal presents

November 29 2010
Lucia van der Post

When I think back to the presents I’ve been given that I’ve loved the most, the ones I still cherish, they’ve nearly always been something beautiful, old, quirky or handmade for the house. So let me direct you to some of the shops where you’ll come upon such treasures.

First off, Guinevere. Here, my most recent delight has been antique white damask napkins monogrammed with our initials in great big beautiful letters (from around £120 for six). It also always has a clutch of throws made from antique textiles – a brilliant pink one (£120) graces one of my chairs.

Mint is a jewel of a shop for the design-aware and another cherished source of highly original presents over the years. Its visually enticing website showcases its wares, but to buy you have to go to the shop itself. You could choose from a wonderfully decorative Fiore mirror, in silver or gold and three different sizes (from £1,050), a small bird-shaped mirror (£435), some exquisite hand-blown glass jugs in pale pink or green inspired by 17th-century Dutch weaving techniques (£450), a limited-edition blown-glass cake or fruit stand (£600), vases hand-etched with bees and a beehive (third picture, £4,800) and charming porcelain cutlery by Kiki van Eijk (£480 for a set with spoon, knife and fork). Make the journey – it’s worth it – and round the corner is Priscilla Carluccio’s Few and Far. I love the grass-green ceramic teapot with glass beads (fourth picture, £195), the candlesticks made from stacks of brilliantly coloured glass (£98) and the beautiful gold-edged porcelain plates designed by Paola Navone for Reichenbach (from £55).

Rebecca Hossack’s gallery has a special Christmas show from December 16 to 24, with Candace Bahouth’s mosaic mirrors (from £3,000) and shoes (from £1,000) and Peter Clark’s wonderful collaged dogs (second picture, from £4,000) – a perennial favourite.

Dutch by Design has wonderfully original yet accessibly priced presents by – yes – Dutch designers that you can buy online. Its jewel-coloured Gypsy Mini Chandelier would be delicious in a bathroom, a girl’s bedroom or anywhere else that needs a bit of pizzazz (£45). It has some great book ends (“book” and “end” spelt out in letters) for £17.50 and a Tord Boontje Icarus Lamp Shade (£75).

Finally, don’t forget Graham and Green, which also sells online. Sumptuous faux-fur throws (first picture, £165), exquisite Kyoto paper candle holders (£3.95) and reindeer rugs (£145).