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West Elm unveils new winter and holiday collections

Holiday
West Elm’s largest holiday collection will premiere online and in stores Sept. 24.
(West Elm)

Did someone say “holiday” already? West Elm did, actually, along with a slew of other stores. With Labor Day behind us, the retail world’s winter and holiday “look books” highlighting forthcoming furniture, lighting and decorative accessories are landing with a flurry. Writer Lisa Boone, producer Dianne de Guzman and editor Craig Nakano share their impressions of West Elm’s new collections, which are available Sept. 24 and will fall into three themes: “Classic Cabin,” “Enchanted Forest” and “Snow Drift.”

PHOTOS: West Elm winter/holiday preview 2013

Favorite pieces

Foxed Mirror Bar Cart. With the holidays approaching, this polished nickel cart seems like it could mingle with a party crowd just fine. I don’t know how long the mirror shelves will last with tumblers tumbling and bottles scraping, but that’s what Chilewich is for. $399. CN

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Gold Pinecone Garland. This delicate accessory is versatile, adding instant holiday warmth to any room. Drape it over the holiday mantel or lay it out on a dining table with some mercury glass votives and voilà: holiday glamour. $26. LB

Starburst dining table. The color of the wood, those rounded edges, the understated star-burst pattern -- so many reasons to love this piece. It’s unusual and a great alternative to the square modern table. $699. DD

Value picks

Capiz Orb Pendants. Though new wool blankets from the Faribault mill were a close second, West Elm’s lighting still stands out as a top budget buy. Quality is hard to judge off photography alone, but the Capiz Orb Pendants look like good values, starting at just $129. CN

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Animal Plates. Rachel Kozlowski’s hand-drawn plates detailing dapper critters in human garb brought a smile to my face. So will the price: $8 apiece. LB

Party in a Box. The term drudges up visions of Dora the Explorer paper plates and napkins, but don’t be fooled: West Elm’s version of party decorations are whimsical yet chic -- six Champagne coupes and a metal cocktail shaker included. For $149, it’s an easy way to get in the party mood. DD

The surprises

Sebastian Conran Collection. I haven’t exactly been enthralled by West Elm’s expansion into kitchen and garden gear, but some pieces in this new line seem promising. Beech and silicone cooking implements look good, and I could see the steel and beech Small Wine Rack in a lot of space-starved homes, perhaps as a spice rack in the kitchen or catch-all above the desk. $60. CN

Multi pendant: I have long admired West Elm’s collaborations with the kind of independent artists you might find on Etsy. Here, Berkeley jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning creates a striking gold pendant that is a lot like jewelry for your home. Starting at $499. LB

Artist collaborations. Just when you thought you had West Elm’s style pinned down, the store manages to surprise, thanks to this year’s artist collaborations. I also liked Rachel Kozlowski’s dapper animal plates, as well as Shanna Murray’s feel-good message plates and Eduardo Garza’s jewelry tree (see gallery). West Elm shakes up its collection in a fresh way. DD

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