One of my all-time favorite (but not necessarily sustainable) decorative product design distributors, NYC’s Areaware, recently unleashed its 2010 lineup. It includes plenty of just-released or soon-to-be-released gems like Rich Brilliant Willing’s Coat Rack, the wool-felt Icosa lamp from Ross Menuez, and Sjoerd Smit’s drool-worthy VANMOOF bike. My personal favorite? Jan Habraken’s playful yet practical Shovel Birdhouse.

Say what? The Shovel Birdhouse is built exactly as described …  it's a shovel with a simple little birdhouse built into the handle. I’m a huge fan of two-in-one utilitarian products that take up less space and require less resources and this one makes total sense. When not in use, lean it against a fence or a garden shed, and the shovel provides instant refuge for your feathered friends.

Reads the product description:

For people who multitask, this birdhouse multitasks too. As lighthearted as it seems, the design is a deliberate one. A bird's diet consists of seeds and worms. As children, we gather worms for fishing by wiggling a shovel in the ground. With this birdhouse, the bird can wiggle his own worms out of the ground by simply landing on the house and letting the subsequent momentum do the work.
Nifty. The Shovel Birdhouse isn’t available quite yet but you can pre-order it for $190. The price may seem a bit steep but think about it … you’re buying a quality shovel and a good-looking wooden birdhouse for the price of one. What do you think of the Shovel Birdhouse? Would you consider it a piece of ingenious design or would you prefer to keep your, um, shovels and birdhouses separate?

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

A birdhouse you can really dig (with)
A fitting gardening tool for multitasking, avian-admiring greenthumbs, the Shovel Birdhouse is just that ... a shovel with a birdhouse built into the handle.