Michelle Conrad loves her husband on every day of the year except for the ones that land on gift-giving holidays.
On those occasions – anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas and St. Valentine’s – she hates him.
Or at least she used to.
Michelle (not her real name) was like a lot of women whose otherwise thoughtful partners bought her lousy gifts. Worse, the gifts Michelle received from her husband were expensive – MacBook Pro, GoPro camera, the latest version of every iPhone, a Mercedes – so she couldn’t fault her guy for being cheap. Or negligent (he never forgot a special occasion, though the year he gave her an Xbox for Mother’s Day, she wished he had!)
Michelle would have been happier with a $30 bracelet from Etsy, an $8 greeting card from Papyrus or a $2 muffin from the local bakery – almost anything except an electronic gadget and anything that suggested her husband had at least the vaguest clue about the kind of gift that would make her happy.
Disaster and a Lightbulb Moment
After a dozen frustrating years – and an argument that culminated in Michelle drowning an iPad in the bathtub – she decided to solve rather than complain about the gift-giving crisis in her household.
Michelle made a list of the places her husband liked to shop (apart from the Apple store and auto dealerships). The list was short – appliance stores, hardware stores and golf shops – but it gave her an idea. If she gave her husband suggestions for gifts that could be purchased at places where her husband felt comfortable, maybe – just maybe – he’d buy her something she wanted.
And that’s how Michelle got a Sub-Zero Pro 48 side-by-side refrigerator for her birthday, a Dacor Discovery range for Mother’s Day and Kohler Vibrant Moderne Gold faucets for the Fourth of July. Once Michelle’s husband knew he could please, rather than insult her by buying fixtures and appliances as presents, he extended his gift-giving to all state and federal holidays. He even bought Michelle a Robert Abbey lamp she hadn’t asked for, but had dog-eared a photo of it in a magazine.
Practical Meets Romantic in Luxury Home Goods
While none of these gifts was romantic in the traditional sense, each brought the couple closer together rather than push them apart. And led to their joint purchase of a Pearson bed for their 13th wedding anniversary.
If you – or someone you know – need some luxury gift ideas for a woman who loves remodeling and renovating her home, here are 10 we think she’ll appreciate this holiday season.
1. Bertazzoni Oven
Almost anything item with the word “pro” or “professional” in its description will appeal to a male buyer, but the features of the Bertazzoni Professional Series double oven will appeal to cooks of both genders. Bertazzoni cooktops can be configured to include induction, gas and griddle cooking and come in bright colors such as orange and red as well as neutrals like black and stainless steel.
2. Waterstone Faucets
We agree with Michelle about the beauty of Kohler faucets, but we also like Waterstone for the bathroom, particularly the Gantry faucet in bronze.
3. Plain and Fancy Cabinets
Enhance her luxury powder room experience with bathroom cabinets from Plain and Fancy. The simple lines and superb craftsmanship say “I love you” better than a spa gift certificate or a basket of bath salts.
4. Bevolo Lights
Flatter the woman in your life with a gift that will make her even more beautiful – soft lighting. Bevolo’s French Quarter lantern on a hanging chain will add charm to your dining room, too.
5. Hickory Chair
Does she love to read? Does her reading keep you up at night? A lounge chair in your bedroom could provide the perfect solution, and the 9th Street reading chair by Hickory Chair can be personalized with your choice of fabric and finish.
6. Currey & Company Desk
Does she like to write? Currey & Co. makes a slim, simple Salon desk that would fit easily in a sitting room or foyer. Include a box of stationery, and she’ll write you a thank-you note for this thoughtful gift.
7. American Standard Bathtub
If the woman in your life has hinted at – or asked outright – for a real soaking tub, she may have the freestanding tub by American Standard in mind. And she may have you on her mind when she sinks neck-deep into it.
8. Bosch Dishwasher
OK, there’s really nothing sexy or romantic about a dishwasher, but if she put a dishwasher on her list, she’ll show you some love if you buy Bosch. The “best buy” kind of woman will like the Bosch Asenta, a top-rated bargain, according to Consumers Reports. For the woman with more refined taste in dishwashers, consider the Bosch Benchmark Series dishwasher, “the quietest dishwasher in North America” with a flexible third rack designed to increase loading space by 30 percent.
9. Thermador Refrigerator
Does she want more freezer space? As your family grows, does your refrigerator seem too small? She might like the reliability and flexibility of Thermador Freedom Refrigerators, which can be custom built to include modular refrigerator and freezer columns in widths from 18 to 36 inches wide.
10. Behr Paint
We saved the easiest to buy – and cheapest – gift for last. But if the woman you love has been following color trends for 2015, she’ll be delighted with a gallon or two of marsala (Pantone’s color of the year) or Benjamin Moore’s Guilford Green paint.
Why buy Behr? Consumer Reports rates both Benjamin Moore and Behr paints highly. Behr has an edge on cost and convenience – you can pick it up for about half the price at any Home Depot store. And apart from the label, she may not notice a difference between the luxury and store brand paint.
If she does, splurge on the Benjamin Moore – or remind her of what you would have bought her instead if you hadn’t had this list to guide your holiday home gift purchases.
What’s the worst gift your spouse has ever given you? The best? Would you be happy with a luxury appliance for Christmas or a newly painted living room for your birthday? Please share your thoughts – and gift-giving suggestions for the luxury-minded – in the comments section below.
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