Architect Murray Legge Gives Gifts That Elevate the Everyday

By Ian Zunt / Published by Dwell
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Garden shears, pet products, and house plants are all on the Austin designer’s list of objects that make the ordinary extraordinary.

The cofounder of Austin-based design firm, Murray Legge Architecture, loves to highlight the extraordinary within seemingly ordinary spaces. His gift guide is no exception, giving us 11 exceptional ideas for the holiday season. Take a look through the architect's favorite products.

Looking for something else? Check out the rest of our holiday gift guides here.

Maude Street House by Murray Legge Architecture.

Photo by Leonid Furmanksy

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"Aesop is a wonderful company. We’ve long been fans of the products, branding, and brick-and-mortar stores. They have created some great interiors. Their products are cruelty-free and never tested on animals. We love the Aesop Animal—our little dog Lucy has sensitive skin and with her long hair she needs frequent baths!"

Aesop Animal

A mild skin and fur wash with deodorizing properties; cleanses gently yet thoroughly while calming sensitive skin.

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"Elegant design that is both traditional and modern. We really love design pieces that are fresh and new but could have been made 100 years ago. We love the Serif Bench in Oak—its clever design makes for easy assembly and it is quite affordable."

Burrow Serif Bench

Meet our mudroom masterpiece. Just because you’re most likely using it while you tie your shoes, pull off your boots, drop your groceries, and other humdrum purposes, our Serif Bench classes up any mundane activity with a solid hardwood, precision milled seat with elegant metal accents. Whether you have a true foyer or just an apartment hallway, this graceful bench from our classic Serif Collection is the perfect addition to your home.

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"Chronicle Books is a wonderful book publisher and their selection of books makes for a great gift for readers. We’re fans of these sketchbooks and journals and use them daily. The wonderful Polaroid notebook cover design is based on the iconic 1960’s Polaroid package design by Paul Giambarba."

Polaroid Notebook

This blank notebook features Polaroid's iconic 1960s rainbow-striped packaging design (by renowned graphic designer Paul Giambarba). It's perfect for sketching, writing, or other creative pursuits.

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"As designers we are huge fans of landscape and look for opportunities to bring plants inside. We love having trees indoors—there’s a kind of magic to that, like a children’s fairytale where you wake up and find trees are growing inside the house. Plants are good for the soul."

The Sill Norfolk Island Pine

Decorate your home for the holidays with our Norfolk Island Pine Tree. A lively addition to your home all year round, the Norfolk is actually a tropical evergreen native to Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean. For a festive vibe, consider decorating it with ornaments of your choice.

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"We have several Menu lights in our home and in our office. We love this portable rechargeable LED lamp, in fact, I gave one to my wife as a gift for her birthday. The fixtures are beautifully built and the color temperature is spot on."

Menu Carrie LED Lamp

The concept of an interior lighting fixture that delivered an aura of warm, pleasant comfort resulted in the Carrie LED Lamp by Menu Lighting. Designed by Danish-based design studio, Norm Architects, the Carrie LED Lamp reflects the company's philosophy of creating a warm atmosphere through the means of a streamlined, minimal Opal Glass Shade and powder-coated steel frame. Fixture comes with USB cable and adapter for easy portability from bedrooms to living rooms and offices.Menu, headquartered in Denmark, partners with designers to develop and produce a broad assortment of Scandinavian living accessories for the dining room, living room, kitchen, and garden.

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"Hasami porcelain dinnerware is wonderful. The mugs are beautifully designed durable objects that you can use every day. We have a set of black 11 oz Hasami mugs in the office. They bring joy every day. The 11 oz glazed mug is nearly a prefect object."

Hasami Porcelain Mug, Black

Simple and unadorned, the pure, clean lines of these Hasami Porcelain pieces evoke Japan’s traditional forms, emphasizing beauty and innovation. Created from porcelain made from natural Amakusa pottery stones mixed with potter's clay, the appeal of Hasami Porcelain lies in its textured feel on your lips and in your hands. This mug is much more sleek and refined than earthenware, yet compared to ordinary porcelain its texture is pleasantly organic-feeling.

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"We created this prototype Soft Dog Den for a charity event to raise money to support animal shelters. Soft Dog Den is a comfortable indoor dog house made from 3/4" industrial felt with a colorful inner lining. It is formed from a single flat sheet of felt, wrapped into an ovoid den and fastened in one location. The inner lining is removable for cleaning, and can be swapped out for other colors."

Murray Legge Soft Dog Den

Soft Dog Den is a comfortable indoor dog house made from 3/4” industrial felt with a colorful inner lining. It is formed from a single flat sheet of felt, wrapped into an ovoid den and fastened in one location. The inner lining is removable for cleaning, and can be swapped out for other colors. The fastener is easily removable so that the 3/4” shell can be flattened and vacuumed.

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"We spend a lot of time cooking in our house. I make bread every Sunday using this Dutch oven. In an era when we throw things away it’s a great feeling to use a tool on a regular basis that will last several life times. The Dutch oven, which was given to us as a gift, is an indispensable tool. They are also beautiful design objects, solid cast iron. Ours is ‘Marseille’ blue. Its deep blue rich glazed color lives up to its name."

Le Creuset Oval Dutch Oven

The iconic Le Creuset Dutch oven is indispensable in the kitchens of home cooks and professional chefs alike. Expertly crafted from enameled cast iron, the everyday versatility of the Dutch oven makes it ideal for everything from slow-cooking and braising to roasting, baking, frying and more. The oval shape is particularly suited for larger cuts of meat, whole chickens and for baking oval-shaped loaves of bread. Individually crafted by French artisans from the finest quality materials since 1925, the Le Creuset Dutch oven is beloved for its perfected design and exceptional heat retention that locks in moisture and flavor to produce superior results from stove to oven to table. Designed for generations of durability, the easy-to-clean vibrant porcelain enamel requires no seasoning, minimizes sticking and is dishwasher-safe.

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"I’m from a family of gardeners. My mother Marion is an extraordinary gardener. She picked up those skills from my grandfather. My daughter has picked up the gardening gene too. Gardening tools are a great gift for the gardener in your family. We love these Japanese flower scissors for their functional, direct and lyrical design. We aspire to create buildings with this level of clarity, purpose and beauty. They are an inspiration."

Banshu Hamono Koryū Flower Scissors

Traditionally used in Japanese flower arrangement, the blades are set at an acute angle in order to cut flowers with out crushing the plant fiber which allows flowers to absorb water easily and live longer. Koryū translates to “old style” which is in reference to pre Meiji restoration. The blacksmith industry in the Banshu region in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan was said to have started long ago when a Katana factory was located there. What began as an industry producing straight razors in 1744, now manufactures a variety of products including utility knives, traditional Japanese straight razors, Japanese gripping shears used for cutting thread, pruning shears, and floral shears. Each piece is painstakingly made by hand by skilled craftsmen using the same techniques that have been employed for generations.

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"We’re fans of the classic 60’s design of Marimekko. The prints and super graphic textile design are extremely memorable and translate across different objects, from mugs, to table cloths to dresses. My wife Deb owns a couple of vintage dresses that were given to her by her mom JoAnn. My daughter has taken to them as well. My daughter loves the Sija Pioipensas dress. More than just a piece of clothing these dresses are bold supergraphic design objects. I don’t always get it right but I love to buy clothing as gifts for my wife and daughter."

Marimekko Sija Pionipensas Dress

The Sija dress is made of viscose satin in the Pionipensas pattern. The dress has three-quarter sleeves, topstitched central front and back seams, and a slight A-line cut.

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"Felt is a wonderful material. Wool felt in particular is sustainable and extremely durable. I’m a fan of the lowly trivet. It’s a simple but very functional tool for place setting or while working in the kitchen. Wool is the ideal trivet material and comes in a range of wonderful colors."

Graf Lantz Felt Trivet Stone Medium

River stones evoke a kind of peace and ease we've always envied. Maybe it's intriguing for soft angles and polished edges that seldom happen in nature. Maybe it's because seeing them in their natural habitat means we've taken a break from our own. Our stone trivets provide the perfect opportunity to carve out organic display areas while keeping surfaces scratch-free. Made from premium grade 100% Merino wool felt. Merino fibers have been optimized by nature for thermal protection, stain-resistance, water-resistance and antimicrobial properties. Perfect for the dinner table, coffee table, counters, shelves, drawers and desks. Every surface Is a sculpture - carve out yours to offer protection and luxury to any space.

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