Smart homes must learn from their masters. Technological advances, with their sharp lines and remote offerings, look promising but don’t forget to roil in tradition and fine craftsmanship. The warmth of hand-turned wood and the opulence of a champagne ritual cull emotions bolstered by high-tech clean-burning fireplaces and reimaged record players. Easing modern life at home takes a mélange of the old and the new.
EcoSmart Fire Stix. Fire furniture; not quite chimneys or hearths. Instead imagine freestanding, open flame fireplaces sans vents. In the case of Stix, Barcelona-based Japanese designer Hiroshi Tsunoda evokes the traditional campfire with his functional, sculptural work of art. Stix contains a few handfuls of tubular brushed stainless-steel or powder-coated black steel ‘branches’ with an ethanol burner at its core. Flames will dance, and nostalgia will certainly creep. S’mores optional. The bioethanol doesn’t produce typical smoke or ash but instead discover this movable indoor or outdoor fireplace, feast not included. From $1,656 | ecosmartfire.com
Jeffrey Douglas studio line Aaron dining table. Elegant yet provocative, Jeffrey Douglas’ Aaron dining table features a knife edge quartzite top with inlaid bronze detailing, a thru line that extends to the solid bronze base, which is either architectural or oil-rubbed. The craftsmen who worked on the stone had to leave their cutter on overnight to slice through the hard surface, despite the fact that the stone is polished to a paper-thin 3/4” top edge. A definite showpiece, the Aaron table is also practical; each leg achieves its narrowest at knee-height, offering maximum space with a lighter weight. Eating on it is merely the tip of the iceberg. $30,000 | douglasdesignstudio.com
The Rug Company x Alexander McQueen. Chiaroscuro refers to the undulating juxtaposition between dark and light, most often in a drawing or painting. But to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the venerated London-based brand The Rug Company collaborated with Alexander McQueen, among others, to create the TRC20 capsule collection. A limited edition handwoven Aubusson, the aptly named Chiaroscuro rug culls inspiration from 17th century Dutch floral paintings while paying homage to the late theatrically-minded fashion designer and his studio. Hand-blended then woven from natural yarns, the rug is sumptuous, evocative and so finely detailed that one may mistake it for a photograph. While the Chiaroscuro is limited to 40 editions, there are eight other patterns in the collection. Chiaroscuro stars at $9,456 for a 6’x4’. The additional rugs begin at $2,400. | therugcompany.com
Molekule. Molekule’s Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) technology works at its namesake level to eliminate indoor air pollution. Yawn? Good. Inhale deeply and note that it took two decades for research scientists to develop this air purification system. PECO utilizes free radicals—the same radicals used to kill cancer cells—to oxidize pollutants. By using nanotechnology, PECO destroys pollutants 1,000 times smaller than traditional HEPA filters (0.1 nanometers versus 300 nanometers). Made from machined aluminum, Molekule sucks in pollutants from every angle at floor level, double filters it and releases out the top like Old Faithful. $799 | molekule.com
Otto. If cars can go keyless, why not houses too? A digital, battery-operated lock named Otto wants to phase out the traditional deadbolt in favor of one created from seven different types of stainless steel. Bid adieu to the sound of jangling keys, Otto will unlock with the press of a button via smartphone app or four-digit entry code. Firmware updates are automatically pushed to Otto, ensuring the latest in security and features and providing entrée to a whole new round of knock, knock tales. $699 | meetotto.com
The Tranquility Pod. Consider this a bomb shelter of wellness. The tranquility pod is an egg-shaped fiberglass encasement that holds a six-foot wide octagonal waterbed encircled by 50 LED lights and a biofeedback system that synchronizes with the users’ heartrate via a pulse sensor. Cue the mind-calming mood lighting. Underneath the temperature controlled waterbed sits a subwoofer that generates soundwaves – a musical massage – controlled by a four-speaker 80-watt sound system managed by your smartphone. The unit also comes with a pair of ultra-suede pillows and a memory foam cushion. $30,000 | hammacher.com
Preszler Woodshop Canoe. The waters of 2017 were more often rough than smooth, both metaphorically and literally. Why not outfit for future storms in the chicest of ways with a hand-cut and molded canoe? Finished with cast bronze trim and bespoke stitched leather seats, each canoe is privately commissioned and takes a year to complete. Trent Preszler, Bedell Cellars’ CEO by day and a self-taught wood worker by night, unabashedly cites Nick Offerman’s character Ron Swanson in the television show Parks and Recreation as his watercraft inspiration. Plus, paddling into the sunset is both metaphorically and literally stylish. $100,000 | preszlerwoodshop.com
Stephen Webster French Beast champagne saber. Champagne simply tastes better when sabered. The St. Regis Hotels & Resorts believes this principle, as does jeweler Stephen Webster. The Brit crafted his version from bronze and steel, fusing his aesthetic with legend. “The Napoleonic Hussars regiments started slicing bottles of champagne open with their sabers, some say while still firmly on their horseback. It is widely accepted that the hoi polloi and nobility of England developed a taste for the tipple instantly. The saber’s handle is the nod to the great little Frenchman from an Englishman,” according to Webster, who himself successfully wielded a saber at the Chapel Down Bar in Kent.
Limited edition of five by commission only. $10,000 | stephenwebster.com
Clear Audio Statement TT1. Without going too far down the audiophile rabbit hole, Clear Audio’s Statement TT1 (which stands for tangential tonearm,) is a game changer in terms of analogue music reproduction. The construction and technology of its tangential tonearm tracks an individual records grooves. The result: each record plays as it was cut – in a straight movement with no curves. And that’s just the top of the record player. Two models, the Statement and the Master Innovation both serve as eye catching bases, with features such as stainless-steel pendulums and bulletproof wood, should you require your record player to take a hit. TT1 tonearm from $29,600. Statement V2 from $142,000. TT1 MI from $26,000. Master Innovation from $27,200 | clearaudio.de
Zephyrus by GG-loop for Roche Bobois. Composed of a body and two wings, the Zephyrus is an inanimate object designed to transform. While that sounds like a bit of a conundrum, the sculptural sideboard consists of two winged doors and five drawers, three in the body of the unit and a duo of drop-front ones. Because the core is perfectly symmetric, and the wings mirror each other, Zephyrus can be recomposed or modularly removed to change both the outline and user experience. Inspired by the shape and movement of a butterfly (or a DeLorean DMC-12, depending on who’s looking) there’s no front or back; it’s a choose-you-own modular furniture adventure. Limited to 55 signed and numbered units, all in Saphir Blue.$22,840 | roche-bobois.com