Haege: Dream gifts for next year’s list
Now that you have opened all your gifts, there are probably a few things you wish you would have gotten this year or had thought of for that someone special on your list. So the crack Master Handyman gift research staff looked far and wide for some practical, not-so-practical and just downright outrageously expensive and eccentric gifts you could consider giving someone next year. I like to call this the “Over-the-Top” gift giving guide. Happy Holidays!
Let’s start with the kitchen, and for the true coffee aficionado, Franke (coffee.franke.com) makes some of the finest beverage machines in the world. The company’s FoamMaster FM800 Espresso Cappuccino Machine combines dual coffee bean grinders, hot and cold milk foam, with three syrup dispensers and a 10.4 inch touch screen to create 100 programmable beverages in four drink sizes. Make sure you have room on your counter and in your checkbook. Prices for the FM800 range around $24,000.
For the bathroom, here’s an outrageously eccentric gift that will be a conversation piece in anyone’s home. The Dagobert wooden toilet throne is a tribute to King Dagobert, who reigned as ruler of France from 629 to 638 AD. It was inspired by the popular French expression “to go on the throne”, which means to use the toilet. Consider the Dagobert wooden toilet throne from Herbeau Creations (herbeau.com), priced at only $21,000.
Not to be outdone in the living room, for the lover of African safaris or old Tarzan movies, the handcrafted sofa from Hammacher Schlemmer is a life-size replica of a hippopotamus combined with a sofa that takes more than 400 hours to make due to its intricate design. The seat and backrest are made from full-grain leather while the rest of the hippopotamus is covered in pebble leather-like polyurethane that simulates the texture and look of the animal’s hairless skin. The handcrafted Hippopotamine sofa available from Hammacher Schlemmer (hammacherschlemmer.com) for a cool $95,000.
Moving outside, chefs and critics call them “the best grills on the market” and Michigan-based Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, (kalamazoogourmet.com) has all the bases covered with their Hybrid Fire Grills. These heavy-gauge stainless-steel grills are expertly formed, welded, finished and assembled by hand. Grill masters can customize their experience by choosing any combination of gas, charcoal and wood by using the Grilling Drawer. Freestanding models have up to a 1,012-square-inch grilling surface and when combined with options including a chain driven rotisserie and infrared burners, prices can top $25,000.
Know a “gear head”? Comedian Jay Leno, former host of “The Tonight Show,” is one of the biggest. His CNBC show “Jay Leno’s Garage” features large murals of vintage automobile advertisements on the walls. What you don’t know is that Detroit expatriate Jimmy Katranis is the artist. He’s done more than 50 of them for Leno and now creates custom paintings of collector cars. His works were seen at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
A scenic artist for “The Tonight Show,” Fox and Warner Bros. Studios, the family relocated to California in the early 1970s from Lycaste Street in Detroit. “Since high school I try and get back to Detroit every year or so and remain a Lions fan to this day. I still call Detroit my home,” Katranis said.
And while a portrait of your favorite ride is unique, it can also be very involved. Instead of traveling from his studio in Simi Valley, Katranis can work from digital photographs. For example, a 5 foot by 4 foot framed painting could start in the $6,000 price range. You can contact Jimmy Katranis though his website jkpainter.com or call 805-368-9344.
It is never too early to start thinking about next year’s perfect gift. And at these prices, it is also never too early to start saving enough money to buy them.
If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.