Home & Lifestyle Winners

Our 2023 Made in Virginia Awards for Home & Lifestyle.

Nearly 10 years ago, in December 2012, Virginia Living presented the first annual Made in Virginia Awards, featuring 15 in-state makers “whose attention to detail and artistry remind us that craftsmanship and quality really do still matter.” And while a few things have changed over the last decade, the heart of Made in Virginia remains the same: exceptional creations made with care in our Commonwealth, each telling a compelling story. We hope you love learning about this year’s 30 winners and a little bit about the people behind them. Share your favorites by tagging us on social media @VirginiaLiving and #MadeInVirginia2022.

Small Batch Fire Starters

The Firestarter Co., Richmond

You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to start a fire for s’mores or a weenie roast. The Firestarter Co.’s kit of 18 fire starter sticks makes it as easy as lighting a match—and can make up to 36 fires. John Lyman and his wife, Leslie Hodgin, co-founded the brand in May. One of their inspirations was Lyman’s father, who had been making firestarters since the 1980s. The couple says the idea was “born out of a desire to create an authentic everyday product with minimal waste.” Made from natural wood fiber and unscented candle wax, they can be used with fireplaces, grills, and campfires. 

$14.99–$26.99, TheFirestarterCo.com

Knit Blankets

Elite Hive Company, Chesterfield

Cuddle up in textile artist Jayla Johnson’s chunky knitted blankets made from chenille yarns blended from cotton, silk, wool, and rayon. Super-soft and cozy, they come in a variety of sizes and colors. The smallest throws are perfect as baby blankets or lap throws, while Johnson’s largest blanket fits a queen-sized bed. Choose from all sorts of colors like Spiced Persimmon, Spa Blue, and French Lilac, or opt for rainbow stripes. Each blanket is custom-made by hand. Elite Hive can be found on Etsy, and at Richmond Farmers Markets in Carytown and Capital Square. $50–$200, Etsy: EliteHiveCo

Pixie Chair

Alexander Brothers, Timberville

For the four Alexander Brothers, “learning traditional methods of artistry—blacksmithing, woodworking, and leather crafting—was never a chore.” Coming from a long line of craftsmen, Drew, Shea, Josiah, and Gabriel grew up in a household that fostered an artisan spirit. The Pixie Chair features hand-cut mortise and tenon joinery, octagon-shaped spindles, a non-toxic oil finish, and comes in black walnut or maple. Lumber is milled on-site in Timberville from locally sourced trees. And like all of the Alexander Brothers’ wood furniture, the Pixie Chair is made to withstand a journey through generations. $255, AlexanderBrothers.com

Animal Portrait Greeting Cards

Cassandra L. Kim, Richmond

“By taking inspiration from paintings of the past and replacing the people with animals, I seek to have my audience reconnect with the traditions of portraiture,” says artist Cassandra L. Kim. From raccoons in brown boots to ducklings in dresses, it’s as if Rembrandt collided with Beatrix Potter—classic 17th-century portraits with a modern wildlife twist. A Virginia native, Kim got her degree from VCU and worked as a muralist and graphic artist for Trader Joe’s for 14 years. Currently a freelance artist, she has works in galleries in Charleston, Buffalo, and San Francisco, and has transferred many of her paintings to the miniature as greeting cards. $4.99, CassandraLoomisKim.com

Hand Forged Custom Cutlery

Pittman Knives, Montpelier

Beautifully crafted blades meet bespoke handles thanks to Ben Pittman’s craftsmanship. From cow bones and mammoth ivory to woods like big leaf maple and ringed gidgee, Pittman pairs custom, handmade handles with the power and beauty of Damascus steel blades. Known as Persian watered steel for its unique wavy design, Damascus steel’s hallmarks are its sleek look and beautiful aesthetics. Pittman’s knives, designed for the “kitchen and the field,” have quickly developed a following, with his bowie knife earning a 2022 “Best Damascus” win at Blade Show Texas. Keep an eye out for him at artisan shows like the Waterford Fair. $600–$3,000, BenPittmanKnives.com

Curated Giftboxes

Bluebird Giftbox, Richmond

A wonderful surprise for your favorite someone—whether they love gardens, the beach, or even the color pink—Bluebird’s stylish giftboxes are a joy to send and recieve. Themed boxes ship anywhere in the U.S. and include “By the Sea” which comes with a premium Turkish beach towel, Swedish Dream® sea salt soap and hand sanitizer, and sea salt and bay breeze candle by Sydney Hale Co. “A Little Something Blue” includes a pair of Chinoiserie blue dish towels, miniature greeting cards, and hyacinth-scented candle. For custom boxes, Bluebird will happily collaborate to find the right mix. Even the beautiful boxes, equipped with magnetic closures, feel like a gift. $75–$125, GiveBluebirdGiftbox.com

Georgian Outdoor Wall Light

Colonial Metalcrafts for Shades of Light

For over 50 years, Colonial Metalcrafts has been handcrafting colonial-inspired light fixtures, in a painstaking effort to preserve a piece of Virginia’s historic past. Favored by architects and homeowners as the authentic resource for period-correct lighting, each piece is benchmade to order and entirely hand-cut and hand-finished by skilled artisans at the company’s Richmond headquarters. 

Colonial Metalcrafts can be seen in historic homes in Richmond and Williamsburg, at Monticello, and the Omni Homestead Resort. A collection of the brand’s outdoor lighting is now available through home décor retailer Shades of Light’s catalog and in both companies’ Richmond showrooms. 

In addition to historic lighting for traditional homes, Colonial Metalcrafts also collaborates with clients and designers to create custom light fixtures. One popular design began as a napkin sketch by an architect. The Georgian, an updated version of a classic historic design, has become a bestseller in the Colonial Metalcrafters’ lineup. In addition to the double-light version shown here, it’s available in single and triple-light versions, and as a garage door sconce, hanging lantern, or outdoor post light. $699, ShadesOfLight.com

This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue.

June 11, 2022

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