Rollingwood business designs functional and artful housewares

With product names such as Grip, Slide and Orb, Finell Co.'s line of contemporary, luxury household goods is anything but conventional.

Following two successful trade shows in Chicago and New York last winter, the Rollingwood company's housewares are destined for Barney's department stores by August, founder Rebecca Finell said. Collectic Home and Urban Space has been selling Finell's products locally, and Finell plans to launch handbags in June, she said. Lighting, furniture and jewelry with the same neo-luxe look are planned for future product lines, she said.

"It's more of a lifestyle [we are selling] than housewares," said Finell, who uses and tests all products before they are sold. "If you like my housewares, then you'll probably like my handbags. If you like my handbags, then you'll probably like my jewelry line."

She stumbled upon the idea of creating artistic, functional pieces for the home while enrolled in an industrial design program at Arizona State University. As a young mother, Finell said she did not like the bath products that were on the market for children. She produced The Frog Pod— a green scoop in the shape of a frog that can be used to rinse out smaller bath toys and store them by adhering to a bathtub wall, Finell said. In 2004 the item was marketed by Finell's inaugural company, Boon, along with other innovative and colorful children's products, she said.

"[A new design] is always in my head," Finell said. "I see something and then see a better way to do it."

During the past 9 months, Finell Co. has produced 80 products in 16 housewares lines including silicone dishwasher-safe placemats ($110 per pair) that are so heat-resistant they can act as trivets for hot foods, Finell said.

The placemats are available in five colors and can be joined together to make a table runner.

"I wanted to design spill-proof, no-iron placemats that had an architectural element—not flat," Finell said.

Decorative silicone vessels with lids range from $70 to $140 each, and a folded-metal decorative dish will be available in April for $510.

Sod, a drying rack with green or gray polypropylene blades resembling grass, launched in January and will ship at the end of April for $160, she said.

"Instead of designing for a price point, I design using the best materials," Finell said. "I didn't intend to be in the luxury [market], but when you use the best materials, you are luxury."

Although Finell's original baby line of products was made of plastics, she uses exotic and walnut woods, solid brass, steel, leather and silicone for her Finell Co. products.

The new line includes Misfold—a 7-foot-tall, origami-like synthetic paper structure—influenced by Japanese art, Finell said. She said the decorative pieces appeal to event planners because they fold up into small units yet make a statement in the room.

"The aesthetic is more refined and very angular," she said of the Finell Co. line. "We are the future of modern. That's how I see it. That's what I set out to do."

Finell Co., 3101 Bee Caves Road, Ste. 325, Rollingwood, 512-298-1975,