Last Minute Luxurious Gift Guide by David Lawrence
I met my friend David Lawrence after posting a house he designed in the Hamptons on the blog in 2008. The blue and white home was featured on the cover and inside House Beautiful. We worked for the same designer but not at the same time and shared a love of beautiful things so of course we became fast friends. David is one of few friends I speak to on the phone which is very old fashioned in our increasingly text only world. He has the best taste so he was the first person I thought of for a gift guide of luxurious presents for yourself or your loved ones.
I’m a big believer in giving thoughtful gifts, spending the time (ohhhh, the time) to think of that special something someone didn’t know they needed and subsequently can’t live without. But that doesn’t always work out. Gift-Guides come in handy here. I also love when I get the gift of something I actually use all the time (and then don’t have to buy for myself). Who would turn down a chic hoodie or a few extra Soul Cycle classes. Not having to buy those things for myself is kind of a luxury too. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite things. – David Lawrence
Classic Quilted Cashmere Slippers from Loro Piana
No one makes more luxurious cashmere anything than Loro Piana. These slippers are all I wear at home…to the point where the suede bottoms start to rip. And then I have to buy a new pair. A gift to myself years ago, I prefer the grey to the black because the black shows all the dust from the floor, no matter how clean your house is (not chic, get the grey).
Double-breasted Hooded Blazer from GARCIAVELEZ New York
Full disclosure, this uber talented menswear designer is my boyfriend. And for a while when he first started designing clothes, I was the company’s fit model. Needless to say, the clothes are kind of made-to-measure (but, actually). I wear this blazer like a uniform. Its beyond comfortable and looks great dressed up or down. It makes the perfect ‘boyfriend’ gift. I love it!!!
Circa Mineral Incense Burner from Cinnamon Projects
Andrew, Charlie and I have been friends for longer then I can remember, so they knew I would love this incense burner before they even gave it to me. A very special gift, forever burning in our house. So much nicer and longer lasting than a scented candle, especially with the black onyx center. I think these are limited edition so run, don’t walk.
Something/Anything from WYETH (like this Partners Desk by Edward Wormley)
According to The New York Times (and me) “Wyeth is arguably the premier midcentury-modern emporium in the United States”. I’ve thought that since I started shopping with John, Wyeth’s owner and a mentor to me for almost 20 years. I have had my eye on this desk (or one like it) since around 2002. A very special gift. Make sure to measure before buying and if you’re feeling extra generous, throw in a vintage Dunbar swivel desk chair.
Vintage Globe from Lee Stanton Antiques
The king of patina, Lee Stanton always has the most perfectly aged anything. Carlos and I started collecting these beautifully worn vintage globes from Lee a few years ago. He doesn’t have them all the time, but when he does we try to snap them up. This one is currently available.
Block Case from Apparatus Studio
I’ve collected decorative boxes since I was a kid. And I’m always looking for new interesting shapes because you can never have enough cool objets. This one by the dynamic duo at Apparatus Studio is fabulous and perfect for an Entry Console or a Coffee Table…to store…
A SoulCycle Class (or a 20-pack)
There’s nothing more luxurious than feeing GREAT! I tried SoulCycle for the first time 4 years ago and have never looked back. It’s the perfect place to sweat, sort out whatever’s going on in your head, and have your own personal dance party…yes, all of that in 45 minutes. People say instructor choice is personal. My two absolute favorites are Akin and Parker- their classes are the best workout, have the best music, best overall experience. I highly recommend them as a gift for a current SoulCycler or someone who’s never tried it.
Weekend at Amangiri in Utah
I’ve always loved the topography of the American West. The breathtaking expanse, the changing colors of the sky and the incredible rock formations (ahem, Grand Canyon) are other-worldly beautiful. About a year ago, I started to notice friends posting pictures on Instagram from Amangiri. Aman Resorts are my favorite in general (also the best in the world) so I can’t wait for someone to invite me for a weekend at Amangiri in Utah (hint, hint…)
Editor’s Note: I’m dying to go to Amangiri too. It looks like something out of a James Bond movie.
Ulysee Notebook from Hermes
The first thing I toss into my bag in the morning is my notebook. I can’t remember anything and while I’ve tried to embrace digital lists, I do better with messy handwritten notes. There’s something so beautiful about the leather of this notebook (Hermes, duh) and the rice paper pages are a dream to write on. I think it inspires me to be more organized. I have a few of them, color coded by category of things to do, each with ‘DL’ monogrammed, in case I forget my own initials. My favorite size is the MM, Hermes code for medium?
Francois Catroux Book by David Netto
I could never pick a favorite, but a beautiful book makes a great gift. Especially if you’re giving this one to a design lover. Francois Catroux in an international master interior designer based in Paris whose projects have been largely unpublished before this book came out a few months ago. I use it as reference, for inspiration, to awe. It’s also great for peering into the private world’s of the VERY fabulous.
What is the best present you’ve ever received?
My mom gave me an annual ‘subscription’ to all the decorative arts auction catalogues from Sotheby’s, Phillips, Christie’s and Wright20 years ago (still available). I studied every page for months and months. I still reference the modern masters like Jacques Adnet, Paul Kjærholm and Jean Royere for inspiration. I have no formal design education and learned so much about proportion, scale, everything really, from those catalogues. About a year later, I started an interior design firm. These catalogues were basically the gift that kept on giving.
What is the best present you’ve ever given?
Last Christmas, I gave my boyfriend Carlos a Jean Cocteau drawing. I searched high and low for the perfect gift but couldn’t figure out what to get him. Then I got creative, went ‘shopping’ in my own storage and came across this drawing I bought years ago in Paris (and forgot I had). It was in storage because the frame had broken. Christine from Bark Frameworks in Long Island City, NY reframed it- floating in a simple oak frame, indicative of how Cocteau works were often framed by the artist. To say Carlos loved this gift would be an understatement.
Do you have any favorite holiday traditions?
I have a lot of Latin friends who are like family at this point. Latin people typically celebrate Christmas Eve in the same way Americans celebrate Christmas morning. We have a Christmas Eve tradition of champagne and hors d’oeuvres at a friends home in New York. We exchange presents and then walk down to Cipriani for a delicious pasta dinner and that legendary meringue cake. Christmas morning I’m off to my (American) family for more.
Editor’s Note: The photo above is a sneak peek from a townhouse that David is designing on the Upper East Side.
If money were no object, what would you like to see under your tree this year?
I’ve been eyeing Alexandre Noll sculptures at auction for years and I’ve wanted one for a while. Feel free- any size, shape, color. Anyone…
Big thanks to David for his very luxurious gift guide.
Hope all of you have a wonderful Hanukkah and Christmas!