Rhode Island Rustic: The Perfect Gift for the Modern Tree Hugger

rusticHave a sustainability minded  interior designer type on your holiday gift list? You might want to check Rhode Island Rustic out. Whether you’re a lifelong Rhode Islander, a seasonal visitor or just driving through, you’ll find no shortage of state pride, natural appreciation and environmental values in this brand. It might even offset your carbon footprint a bit.

Rhode Island Rustic was launched in May and has a seaside-slash-modern-loft-appeal. Signature materials are either found, sustainably harvested, upcycled, recycled or naturally died, and there is a sincerity and natural simplicity in each product. Your tree hugger will be thrilled. A personal favorite were the branch hooks, which are positively genius while sending you into childhood treehouse reminiscences. Although it might ignite your own DIY propensity, the logistics of making them (if you think about it) will make them worth well beyond the $26 you’ll spend to instantly have a gift that will work in both a cabin or a modern home.

Leigh Medeiros and Mark Baker, the husband and wife designer-maker team, produce everything they sell out of their home in North Kingstown. Their partnership is the result of meeting in art school and capitalizing on Mark’s experience in craft and woodwork and on Leigh’s business sense. Their online store reflects an appreciation for Japanese aesthetics and an interest in minimalist conversation pieces like their curvy and elegant blanket ladders made from dried, debarked, cured and hand-assembled natural wood. When talking to Leigh she spoke of her appreciation for Rhode Island and its natural beauty “from coastal forests, farmlands, to the unique way driftwood is weathered by the sea and the air” and how this naturally infuses raw materials with a strong sense of place.

The store’s best seller is their upcycled serving trays. With a focus on sourcing materials and the connection between collector, maker and consumer of goods, Leigh and Mark find pride in face-to-face conversations with suppliers of upcycled materials, or with the natural landscapes where they are sourced. “I would call myself an environmentalist, but I’m not fond of labels. I’d prefer to think of it as personal responsibility [as a vendor] selling beautiful and practical goods that are kind to the earth. It’s not the easy way, but it’s worth it,” said Medeiros.

Gift Guide:

A great stocking suffer, hostess gift, or treat to yourself are the hand died Shibori Dish Towels ($18 each) or Napkins ($28 for a set of two). These vibrant pieces of fabric boast a traditional Japanese dying technique using a non-toxic plant-based dye, and add an instant splash to any dinner table.

For a mid-range gift, the Wood Serving tray is sure to please ($95 including shipping). This leather-handled, one-of-a-kind gift is made from upcycled wood pallets, but you wouldn’t be able to tell. It would make a great holiday gift for anyone from your mother-in-law to that boss that gave you a promotion this year. Or buy it for yourself!

The beautiful Blanket Ladder ($145) is an heirloom-in-the-making that accentuates and showcases your most precious textiles. It is not for climbing and makes a delicate statement despite its durable build.

Rhode Island Rustic has branch-hooks at various retail locations throughout Rhode Island, and has a deeper inventory on their website (rhodeislandrustic.com) and on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/RhodeIslandRustic). Not into online shopping? Catch Leigh at the Holiday Home Show they are hosting on November 22. Find out more about this event on their Facebook page (facebook.com/rhodeislandrustic).


One response to “Rhode Island Rustic: The Perfect Gift for the Modern Tree Hugger”

  1. Thank you to Motif for featuring us, and to Tracy Jonsson for such a thoughtful write up! Happy holidays!

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