1) These serve-ware imports, handcrafted from olive wood, are shipped directly from Alessandro Cheli, a family-run mill in the Tuscany region of Italy. Their organic appearance sets a rustic and autumnal mood for entertaining. Bowl set of four, $200; serving set (not pictured), $42, at The Italian Dish, Birmingham; 248-593-8299, theitaliandish.com.
2) The premise of a book doesn’t get much simpler than that of Chairs (Conran Octopus, $65), by Judith Miller. The antiques expert chronologically details more than 100 of her favorite seating designs from throughout history, reaching as far back as 1680. The concept may be simple, but like the Eames DAR chair (1948), Miller reflects beauty. Through area booksellers.
3) Alyssa Ettinger worked in magazine publishing for two decades before 9/11 prompted her to make a career change. The potter’s Knitware line of ceramics is available in a variety of “knit” styles and comes in celery, cream, slate, and natural unglazed matte colors. $35/tumbler, $50/two espresso cups; plates, bowls, coasters, and vases also available; alyssaettinger.com.
4) Sherlock Holmes could have used these vintage ophthalmic plastic letter openers to unseal fan mail and search for clues (or to help him read the fine print). The practical accessories, circa 1930s and ’40s, can be fitted with a magnifying glass and are available in smoky topaz, tortoise, and amber. $89 (lens sold separately) at Optik, Birmingham; 248-646-6699.