Skip to main content

From a hanging pendant light for growing plants to an owl-shaped, music-playing crib hanger

1 of 8

When her son was born eight years ago, Vancouver-based designer Marja Koskela welcomed him with an owl-shaped, music-playing crib hanger. She wanted a way to serenade him that was less girly than her childhood pink music box. Koskela knew it was a hit when her son didn’t want to give up the felt toy, even long after he had outgrown his cradle (he kept it in his bed with his other stuffed animals until he was four). Now she sells them all over the world – and not just to new parents, but to the young at heart who want a quirky piece of decor to hang. $30 through

2 of 8

A French-style rolling pin is ideal for pastry with its tapered ends and slender profile. Carpenter Brenda Watts has been making them at Cattails, her Hermitage, PEI, studio, for the past decade. She started making them because her sister, who is a baker and worked at a kitchen store, wanted a French pin for herself. Watts, who studied woodworking at Holland College, uses locally harvested flame birch and brings out the wood’s naturally flamboyant grain by sanding it to a sheen then finishing it with sunflower oil and beeswax from a local beekeeper. $50 through

3 of 8

A few years ago, Ryan Taylor’s kitchen was starting to look more like a greenhouse than a space for cooking. He loved having ferns, herbs and succulents around, but had run out of places to put them. So the Toronto-based designer decided to create a new type of planter. His hanging Babylon pendant is a resplendent way to add greenery without losing square feet. The white aluminum casing is particularly elegant, with echoes of mod, Sixties style. Plants aren’t included, but anything that can grow in shallow soil, such as small orchids, moss and cacti, would do well. $448 through

4 of 8

At the Cumulus Project – the online concept store of B.C.-based artist Carey Ann Schaefer – only one, one-of-a-kind item is posted at a time, and it doesn’t get replaced until it’s sold. A ridiculous business model for an e-commerce site? Maybe. But there’s something refreshingly simple about having only a single, serenely crafted option to consider at every visit. The latest is the Cross Legged Basket, a hamper that looks like a stack of water-worn river stones. But the pile is actually quite plush – Schaefer crocheted it out of colourful stuffed nylons that were sewn end-to-end into a giant-sized piece of yarn. $420 through

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 8

JustPotters’ garden markers are slender, ceramic stems with that rough-edged quality that comes when something is hand spun. The Vancouver-based pottery shop was started in 2006 to give people who face barriers to work – mental or physical disabilities or problems with addiction – a way to make money and learn new skills. Most don’t come into the studio with a background in clay, but under the training of expert potter Jasmine Wallace, who has a master’s degree in ceramics from the University of Minnesota and has exhibited across North America, they take in the nuances of the craft. From $21 through

6 of 8

To design group Six Point Un, the contrast between the metropolitan and the mundane burbs is endlessly inspiring. Formed 2 1/2 years ago by Quebec City natives Claudia Despres and Jeremy Couture, the studio has turned skateboards into swing sets and picket fences into coat racks. A series of birdhouses designed in collaboration with graphic artists Matel and Avive is a particularly pointed mash-up of seemingly different worlds: generic, pitched-roof suburban houses (or churches, as it were) covered in the type of wild, energetic graffiti one would only expect to find in the middle of a city’s downtown. $150 through

7 of 8

Patty Johnson is a master furniture designer with a deep sense of social responsibility. At her Toronto studio she crafts playful-but-sophisticated pieces, while also spending considerable time in such places as Haiti and Botswana helping to promote and develop local artistry and furniture production. The recently released Haida chair was inspired by the year Johnson spent working in the Pacific Northwest. The curved back takes its form from the Haida tradition of steam-bending cedar; the structure is held together without any fasteners like nails or bolts. Price available upon request through Mjölk, 2959 Dundas St. W., Toronto, 416-551-9853.

8 of 8

In 2006, when Carolyn Cameron was expecting her first child, she decided her baby would only ever be fed using all-natural, non-toxic bottles, plates and utensils. After struggling to find reasonably priced, BPA-free products on the market, the Vancouverite decided to create her own line, Onyx. Her Ice Pop Molds are both pretty to look at and ingeniously practical. They are made from food-safe, 18/8 stainless steel, which has higher nickel content for extra rust-resistance. And the reusable sticks are bamboo – a sustainably harvested wood with antimicrobial properties and child-proof durability. $39.95 through

Report an error Editorial code of conduct