Holiday Gift Guide: Oil Baron Edition

Yo Yo Yo wassup big money?! Holla! We here at Design Crisis Head Quarters are big pimpin with our end of the week million dollar gift guide riz-ound up.  We've weeded out the bad (no swarovski, diamond or gold plated bling) and the impractical (who gives a couch for Christmas?) to bring you the bestest gifts 1,000,000 skrillas can buy. My first stop on the extravaganza was First Dibs, the purveyors of eye-popping price tags, I thought for sure they could deliver a few pricey trinkets:

I have to say, I was a little disappointed.  Not only did I go under my budget by a long shot, but those kooks wanted me to buy a $3,900 ribbed bucket.  Bitch Please.

First Dibs also tried to tickle my gift-giving fancy with a 19th century Vietnamese Emperor Bust for $5,714, an Italian Bronze Bust of Senneca for $3,500 (those eyes are tempting), and a Pedro Friedeberg Sculpture of a Caged Saint for $16,500.  That's Chump Change.

We need to go BIGGER!  More GRAND-E-OSE.  A little birdy told me that Nordtrom was trying to peddle a few exclusive gift packages in the roaring face of our bear economy:

For $50,000 Sam Jones will shoot your family portrait (right) or for $200,000 Ruben Toledo will paint a 12" x 24" custom portrait of whateverthehellyouwant.

Norstrom was getting the idea, but the gesture still wasn't sweeping me off my feet.  Plus, I had all this extra cash to burn.

Then I thought, you know, the best gift of all is time with your family.  Alone.  On a private resort.  Owned by Sir Richard Branson:

For a cool $329,000 Necker Island is all yours for a week-long stay.  Did I just hear someone yell Keg Stand?  Oh, you dudes are classy!

But, then again, why give your pal a week on an island when you can just buy them their own private isle?

Private Islands Online  lists several suitable private islands for our gift-giving pleasure.  The above, Dolphin Jump Key is a sprawling half-acre smack dab off the cost of Florida listed at $995,000.  

If your Christmas Dreams are more home bound, perhaps you could consider bringing the adventure to your friend:

For $100,000 Michael Phelps will come swim a few laps at your holiday pool party.  I bet a few extra dollars gets wifey's hand on his perfectly-sculpted abs.  If you want more BANG!  More PIZAZZ!  Consider shelling out an even mil for the Purple Pop Icon to sing your friend's favorite carols.  The gift may only last a few minutes, but the memories will last a lifetime.

Now that we've got the wheels turning on a couple of grown-up gifts, let's think about little junior.  If you don't give him the most AMAZING, UNATTAINABLE, BADASS gift around, when he gets older he will probably turn to drugs and spend his inheritance on prostitutes.  Better get him one of these:

Levitating Hover Scooter.  Yes!  Like In Back To The Future!  At only $16,999.95 you can even afford to get him an orange vest and a wacky scientist best friend!  If you're the kind of parent that's worried about "injuries" or "law suits" consider this stay-at-home, well cushioned 3-D motion simulator from F.A.O. Schwarz.  For $300,000 your kids can move around, just like in a real car!

And for little sally, skip the pony this year.  With all that cash laying around, you're really going to want to trump all the other parents on the block.  I suggest this:

For $138,000 this sweet little white lion cub could tear it's way into little Sally's heart. 

Now that the immediate family is taken care of, it's time to check everyone else off our list.  Have an outdoorsy uncle?  I have the perfect gift for him:

Grab him the word's largest uncut quartz rock for $100,000.  Then he can do all his rock climbing from the comfort of his own home without having to worry about such disrupting things as dirt, bugs and peeing outdoors.

If your uncle still insists on making his way to the wilderness, he should do it in Pamala Anderson's Love Stream, originally gifted to her by Hugh Hefner (see!  great gift!) 

Up for auction (right now!!) is this lovely retrofitted trailer once owned by the Bay Watch Babe herself.  While the price tag is unknown, I'm hoping, praying that you'll have enough leftover to hire a very professional cleaning crew.

For the culinary connoisseur let me suggest the world's largest truffle:

For $200,000 you can give a 2 pound tuber to your bestest friend.   Oh, just imagine the look on her face when she opens the box, it's going to be glorious!

I know this is running long, but, what do you expect, it's million dollar day and this here post is super-sized.  Let's go ahead and round up just a couple more things before I bid you adieu to finish your workday:

Want your pals to witness democracy in action?  No problem, for $62,500 and the capacity to sit through grid-lock traffic, you can buy 2 seats to the Obama inauguration.  Of course, I doubt it will be that crowded, so they could probably just show up.  ha.  right.

For your nephew with bright light / big city dreams, how about dropping $750,000 for the opportunity to audition to be the next james bond? 

Just like p.diddy or puff daddy or p'dad, or whatever he calls himself these days, little kenny can have his own audition reel shot, edited and submitted to the powers that be for his chance at the big time.

And finally, you might be thinking that the best gift you could give would be a giant suitcase full of cash.  Wrong.  You need to make it more fun.  Let me make one last suggestion:

How about one million chances to win one million dollars?  That's right!  For only $1,000,000 your friends could have hours of endless entertainment filled with the excitement and rush of adrenaline that only comes from rubbing the edge of a quarter against the sweet silky silvery side of a scratch-off.  And, who knows, they may even win a few grand!

End Table Remix

Ah, the sweet beat of BAR-GAIN, SA-VINGS, DIS-COUNT -- yes those words are music to my (admittedly tone deaf) ears. Call me DJ Tightwad. Hence the glamor of 1stDibs and all of its amazing tables, rhapsodized about in my last post, is a little marred by its very extravagance. So, for all you fellow cheapskates out there, I present a day of Dibsian diamonds at cubic zirconian prices, so you can keep your bling and not go blung. Diagram 1:


People, I made graphics to illustrate the awesomeness of bargain shopping. I even did some math and stuff so I could compare apples to apples for you, my dearest readers. So it's easy to see that $350 for a pair of tables from CB2 is, oh, I don't know, a slightly better deal than $3500 for almost the exact same ones from 1stDibs. Let's calculate, shall we?

Budget Check: $3500 - $350 = $3150 worth of white V-neck American Apparel tee shirts for every day (and club-filled night) of the year. Those things are expensive, right?

Diagram 2:


Now Edward Wormley was an awesome designer and those tables are no doubt solid rosewood, but I'd be perfectly happy with these classic knockoffs tables at Home Decorators which are inspired by the originals, and are oh so sensibly priced. But if you're a true tightwad, you'll go for the stunningly cheap version from Ikea for only $12.99. It even comes in red.

Budget Check: $4000 - $280 = $3720 worth of spinner rims for your fly Toyota Prius.

Diagram 3:

Warren Platner is one of my all-time favorite designers, but until someone starts paying me to write for this blog, I'll have to stick to the similarly awesome Tornado tables from CB2, which were pretty inexpensive to begin with, but now that they're on sale they are downright thriftacular! I almost feel like it's my duty to buy them, like I must for the good of bargain hunters everywhere, but I will admit that I'd spend a few extra dollars on oversized glass tops to give these babies some extra presence.

Budget Check: $3400 - $160 = $3240 worth of Stunna Shades. I wear my sunglasses at night.

Diagram 4:


The Deal Hunter blogged about tubular steel tables some time ago, and while I'm not totally convinced on their awesomeness, Overstock really does a great job of magnetically attracting my credit card number with their low prices, spectacularly FREE shipping (there's always a coupon online to knock the nominal $2.95 charge off your total), and rockin' customer service. No, this is not an infomercial, I really do heart Overstock. Too much.

Budget Check: $1800 - $130 = $1670 worth of high top neon Nike Dunks. If only Overstock sold those, too.

Diagram 5:

The ubiquitous Saarinen tables, featured in just about every contemporary decor magazine. Actually they're feeling pretty overused, but hey, I've got one (not an original!), so who am I to prevent you from getting one, too? Here's how to get your own: Pier One. Fo' realz. Spray paint that baby white and you're good to go. Of course there are so many different versions out there; CB2 sells one for even less, but I don't care for the legs on that one. Whatever -- you can cruise their site and decide for yourself.

Budget Check: $1100 - $129 = $971 worth of Kanye West itunes. Disseminate Stronger to the entire world, yo!

Diagram 6:


Ok, to get the original tables' look, this requires a little DIY action, but stay with me... you can do it! So the 1stDibs tables have marble tops and the lovely but plain West Elm versions do not. Why not grout and tile the tops of the less expensive versions? A mosaic would be interesting. Or you could wedge a cool piece of artwork -- like an abstract mod screenprint -- between a piece of glass and the tabletop. Can you dig it?

Budget Check: $2200 - $320 = $1880 worth of subwoofers. Try not to blow the glass off your new tables!

Diagram A Million:

Yeah, this one might take some vision, but I'm sure you can see the very large "FOURTEEN THOUSAND" in the picture above. Who are these people kidding? Driftwood, pine cones, seashells and white paint? Check, check, check and check, thanks in large part to After you finish your handiwork, you can laugh all the way to the bank.

Budget Check: $14,000 - $400 = enough to throw your friends a huge party, and maybe enough to book Prince as the headliner. Isn't fiscal responsibility fun?

I Call Dibs!

I have a confession to make... last night I started working on a totally different post but got a tiny bit sidetracked by 1stDibs, and after ogling 29 pages (no hyperbole necessary) of end tables, somewhere around midnight my glassy bloodshot eyes and I realized that a state of feverish, red alert addiction had come upon us me. Great, like I don't have enough vices already (I'm talking to you, Craigslist!). Well, now I am also hooked on insanely expensive, completely unattainable vintage furniture. But, wait... just a little taste won't hurt, right?

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(All photos in today's post are courtesy of 1stDibs)

What's that? You didn't realize until this very moment that you want some Moroccan spice in your life and Harvey Probber is just the man to give it to you? That trapezoids are FRESH and AWESWOME! That a gorgeously patinated two-tiered brass table by LaVerne is what you've been yearning for? That you NEED those 30's goatskin concave tables, because they are JUST like the ones Karl Lagerfeld used to decorate his apartment???

Yeah, I told you so. Oh, but people, this is just the teeny tip of the iceberg. Read on.

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How about some wee triangles for a scaled down space, or some snaky black 70's resin for a little disco decadence? Maybe parchment and wrought iron gets you off, and you know you feel an urgent need to get a little French Maison Bagues Foux da fa fa, don't you?


Uh, excuse me. Moving on. Yes, there's still more, because 1stDibs defies all expectations. I swear even Target has fewer items for sale -- it just keeps going and going, page after glorious page, and once you start looking, you can't just stop. Friends, no one likes a quitter. It was exceedingly difficult to whittle down all of their amazing end tables to just a handful of personal favorites, but for you I set my teeth and did the deed.

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Ok, so that's an handful... there's still another hand left, but what do you think? Those are some sexy red industrial tables, aren't they? What about the very urbane Milo Baughman zig zag tables? Or who knew that yellow lacquer could make such a statement? (I am stealing that idea, for sure!) And does the $6,800 price tag on that pair of brass wedge-shaped Tommi Parzinger tables make me want them even more?

I think it does. I feel so dirty, but I can't stop now.

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Hey there, hot little red drum tables with brass bottoms! That orangey red is my color crush of the moment... it really does go with everything. And those white tulip/box tables designed by architect Paul Williams are from Beverly Hills circa 1950 -- so glam, but not fussy. No fussy for me. Chesty end tables are always a practical option for all the junk you can put in the trunk, but both of those pairs get a shot of major moxie from their shiny surfaces. The vintage Sarreid brass pieces are among my most drooled over furniture finds; I just love brass studs!

Ok, two more favorite favorites... can you see how this has become a problem for me?

black and gold balls

So, yes, those are two big golden balls, but they are SPECTACULAR! I just know DH can duplicate them for me with his new manly table saw...


Ok, this is my other top choice. What do you think??? Half as sexy but twice as chic? I think a little industrial edge would go a long way towards alleviating the bad case of Grandma Regency I've contracted through excessive thrift store shopping. Actually, it might take more than just an end table or two to counteract GR's ill effects...

If you need me tonight, you know where I'll be.