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Gone to Market: Meet Phillip Lantz, Chicago-based interior designer who’s becoming a Round Top regular.

Phillip feels right at home on a private ranch in Texas as he prepares fro a day of shopping in Round Top.   Photo by Ashlee Nobel, Lee Lee Arts + Design

Phillip feels right at home on a private ranch in Texas as he prepares fro a day of shopping in Round Top.

Photo by Ashlee Nobel, Lee Lee Arts + Design

Meet Phillip Lantz, Chicago-based interior designer who’s becoming a Round Top regular.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Phillip Lantz is a one-man interior design show, specializing in custom residential interiors. He describes his design philosophy as “architecture first.”

“My background is in architecture, so my first critique on any project is to review the layout of spaces. Before color or style is even considered, it’s critical to make sure the home functions well for the current user,” Phillip says. “I feel it is my job to show clients ‘what can be’ with what they have to work with and, even then, we sometimes add space to achieve the best results. Only after we get the architecture and space right can all their interior dreams be fully realized. I take pride in cultivating interiors that are timeless but with flourishes that are specifically unique to the owner. This, to me, is what makes a home a home, and ultimately, is my only goal.”

In recent years, Phillip has added Round Top to his calendar.

“I've been to Round Top twice now, both spring shows in 2018 and 2019. I have wonderful clients in Austin and Dallas who love the hunt. Texas has a much more relaxed vibe than the traditional homes of Chicago and its suburbs. Both of these clients encouraged me to visit Round Top, and we’ve found so many wonderful, original pieces.”

The people he’s met and the memories he’s made also stand out in his mind.

“I have never in my life been surrounded by freer people. I'm from the big city and was afraid that Texas wouldn't accept any outsiders, but I am embarrassed and elated to say that I was wrong. Could it be that Round Top is building bridges in the design community? I danced my a** off at the Junk Gypsy prom last year, and I felt like I was surrounded by love and creativity. I remember saying to my client, Heather Raymond, that my faith in humanity was restored. (I might have yelled that out loud while drinking sangria and dancing to 80s hip hop with a group of middle-aged women dressed up as the Golden Girls, something we typically only see in the gay community!). I kept thinking that not only would my pals in Chicago relish this, but my actual blood sisters in Arkansas would make more friends here than a feather boa has feathers.”

In addition to the warm welcome he’s received around town, he’s also made Market Hill his home base.

For his Austin client, Phillip was searching high and low for the best antique rugs. He ultimately found the antique rugs he was hoping for at Nomadic Trading Company at Market Hill.  Photo by Ashlee Nobel, Lee Lee Arts + Design

For his Austin client, Phillip was searching high and low for the best antique rugs. He ultimately found the antique rugs he was hoping for at Nomadic Trading Company at Market Hill.

Photo by Ashlee Nobel, Lee Lee Arts + Design

“As you know, it’s hard to spend too much time at any one place, but I know that given the opportunity, I could spend all day, every day there. Not only is the array of selections so broad for any shopping venture, it really seems to be a collection of some of the best. I remember finding it difficult to focus because there were so many wonderful considerations. I think, honestly, having food and wine there reminded me to enjoy the shopping experience a bit more. When I'm in Round Top it’s for work, but slowing my roll and taking a seat to listen to some live music and chat with locals as well as other travelers makes it seem less like work and more like a vacation.”

“Can we talk about the fashion of the live music group this past year? I feel like it was Dolce & Gabbana SS 2017 to a T. It did not go unnoticed! I don't recall their group name [editor’s note: The Heart Collectors], but they were so effing chic. So, yes, inspiration from everything. I'm buying a brocade vest tomorrow.”

For his Austin client, Phillip found some incredible pieces at Market Hill.

“After much consideration, because there were so many to choose from, Heather bought some beautiful rugs from Nomadic Trading Company. The collection of colorful Moroccans got us giddy and made us reconsider our entire design concept on the spot.”

When it comes to his design concept and where he finds inspiration, he says it’s all about research, research, research. 

Photo by Ashlee Nobel, Lee Lee Arts + Design

Photo by Ashlee Nobel, Lee Lee Arts + Design

“The more I see, the more I refine my personal opinions on what is 'good.'  Fashion, hair, makeup, landscape, architecture, technology, and interiors all inspire me and surge my creativity. While I truly consider myself an artist, I honestly feel the core of my job is to educate clients on smart investments, because, make no mistake, a cultivated home ain’t cheap, but if I didn't have my finger on the above, there is no magic in my work, and that is what makes it special.”

When asked if he’s returning to the show this fall, he says, “Absolutely! The way I see it is if you go in with a specific intent, searching for any one specific item, you will almost always fail; but, when you have an open mind, and, say, accidentally come across the best boots in all of Texas and in your size, well, you come home a winner.”

The Sights and Sounds of Round Top

Photo by Ashlee Nobel of Lee Lee Arts + Design

Photo by Ashlee Nobel of Lee Lee Arts + Design

Celebrating 50 years of fabulous, the Round Top Antiques Show is a big deal for this small Texas town. It’s a tradition every spring and fall, and it’s only getting bigger and better over time. It’s a traveling circus or world’s fair of sorts where some of the world’s rarest antiques are presented by some of the world’s most interesting characters. 

Photo by Ashlee Nobel  Black Cat Choir entertains a dancing crowd after dinner at Market Hill

Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Black Cat Choir entertains a dancing crowd after dinner at Market Hill

While antiques continue to be the main attraction, it’s become an exhibit of original art and an expression of creativity across all mediums, including music. Market Hill hosts live music most nights. Past performances have included The Heart Collectors from Australia, and The Black Cat Choir, a local rock band from Round Top. The Black Cat Choir returns to Market Hill this fall for a two-night stand, Sunday, September 29, and Monday, September 30, at 8 p.m. Austin-based country singer Kimberly Dunn takes the stage on Tuesday, October 1 at 9 p.m. All concerts are free. Come early for dinner and drinks, and stay for all of the fun. 

It’s not Texas Antiques Week without the Junk Gypsy Junk ‘o Rama Prom. As legend has it, during the show, many moons ago, the Junk Gypsies noticed a pile of vintage prom dresses at market. They decided to play dress-up, giving these old dresses another twirl and hosting their very own little prom night under the Texas stars. What started as an homage to a handful of forgotten prom dresses took on a life of its own. Fifteen years later, the Junk ‘o Rama Prom is the biggest night of the antiques show. Held twice a year, it attracts anyone and everyone. You might even see some famous faces – like Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Willie Nelson – in the crowd. In true Junk Gypsy spirit, it’s quite the shindig with live music on a makeshift stage and a photobooth made from an old outhouse. This fall, the hootenanny takes place on Thursday, October 3, at the Zapp Hall. Dress to impress. 

Photo by Denise Withington  Round Top Dance Hall has live music every Friday and Saturday.

Photo by Denise Withington

Round Top Dance Hall has live music every Friday and Saturday.

Once the show comes and goes, there is still live music and performing arts to be found. Other music venues in and around Round Top include The Stone Cellar and the Dugout in Warrenton. The Round Top Festival Institute is a world-renowned summer music festival presented for six weeks in June and July featuring chamber and orchestral concerts each weekend, as well as monthly concerts and educational forums during its “August-to-April” series. Located at the picturesque Festival Hill, it’s an international destination for performing and learning. 

Photo courtesy of Festival Hill

Photo courtesy of Festival Hill

The 22nd Annual Theatre Forum at Round Top takes place November 1-3. This year’s theme, Footlights and the Silver Screen, explores connections between theatre and film. The three-day forum includes tours of the Festival Hill grounds and buildings with morning walks and open-air lunches in the gardens as well as performances and lectures. The event concludes with an evening reception and formal dinner. For more information, visit FestivalHill.org.  

Follow Market Hill Round Top on Facebook and Instagram for more music and event announcements during the fall show. 

Round Top Round Up

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Where to eat, drink, hang out and hang your hat in Round Top, Texas

Turns out, not everything is bigger in Texas. With a population of 90, Round Top is one of the smallest cities in the Lone Star State. Twice a year, in spring and fall, however, more than 100,000 people descend on this tiny town for the Antiques Fair. Now in its 50th year, what started as a weekend has expanded into two weeks’ worth of shows with vendors lining Highway 237 for some 25 miles and into surrounding towns of Warrenton, Rutersville, Fayetteville, Carmine, Brenham and La Grange. Here’s a round-up of what you’ll find in and around Round Top. 

WHERE TO STAY 

Armando Round Top Houses
For more than 35 years, Armando has been a name in fine dining, renowned for the Houston-based Armandos Restaurant. Armando and Cinda Palacios now invite patrons to travel from River Oaks to Round Top where they have a trio of beautifully restored vacation homes. Dating back to the 1830s, the Winn is the oldest of the three and was the first property Armando purchased on a whim back in 1979. The circa 1880s Bybee Cottage was then acquired from the Bybee Foundation, an organization that preserves German immigrant heritage in Round Top. The Palacios kept the original patina of the place while lovingly adorning the old farmhouse with new amenities and luxe accessories. The Nest was once a 1930s home set in Houston’s West End and is now a midcentury modern, light-filled space with pop art dotting the walls. Choose from the three homes based on your style at roundtophouses.com

Black Bird Farm
A series of historic properties in nearby Fayetteville comprises the Black Bird Farm lodging experience. Here, you’ll find romantic well-appointed interiors in an early Americana style. Choose from accommodations at the Grand Fayette Hotel, Market Street Inn, Red & White Inn, Bird House, 1850 House, Sealy House or Blackbird Cabins. Herring Hall, the event space, hosts live performances. Take a tour online at blackbirdfarmtexas.com

Flophouze

Flophouze

Flophouze 
Old shipping containers have been transformed into artful accommodations at Flophouze. This super-cool concept by Matt White and his team, Recycling the Past, consists of six “funky little outposts,” known as flophouzes, all accented with salvaged materials, like old bowling alley countertops, and original art. Any of the décor you see in your flophouze is available for purchase – just inquire, and they’ll make you a deal. Each unit also comes equipped with Chemex coffeemakers, Mexican Cokes, Topo Chico, handpicked vinyl records and hammocks for kicking back and watching those famous Texas sunsets. If you like your flophouze so much you want to keep it, the company can custom-build one to your specifications and ship it to you anywhere in the world. Also on the property is the Round Top Ballroom. Outfitted with antiques, artifacts and odds and ends from Recycling the Past, it’s a casual space that has housed farm-to-table dinners, weddings, big parties and intimate gatherings. Learn more at flophouze.com or roundtopballroom.com

The Raleigh

The Raleigh

The Raleigh
Shane Brown of Big Daddy’s Antiques has opened his newly renovated, 2,600-SF 1890s Victorian farmhouse to overnight stays on VRBO. The Raleigh sleeps eight guests and comes complete with a full kitchen, four bedrooms and two bathrooms. The interior design is exceptional throughout with a mix of modern and antique, including a Paul Michael Company piece or two. To check availability, visit vrbo.com/931462

Rancho Pillow

Rancho Pillow

Rancho Pillow
This 20-acre compound features multiple overnight options on the property, including four main lodges and a well-appointed, air-conditioned teepee. Each dwelling houses hand-picked furnishings, paintings, books of poetry and other thoughtful touches. Outside, there’s plenty of room to roam and make new discoveries, like neon signs, a playground with zipline, hammocks, bathhouse, swimming pool and a fire pit. Formerly available by invite-only for friends-of-friends, it’s now a more inclusive space where all are welcome to tap into the spirit found here. It’s much more than a place to hang your hat. It’s heartfelt, soulful, mystical and intentional where cool people go and good vibes flow. Feast in the Field is hosted on March 26 and March 27 by Rancho Pillow. Purchase your ticket, or book your stay online at ranchopillow.com

Round Top Inn
The history of this place is evident in its many existing structures, including the only remaining building from the state’s once thriving cigar industry. Three of the guest cottages are 1880s originals built by prominent Round Top resident Charles Henry Schiege of Schiege Cigar Factory. The property includes the gate house, a collection of farm houses, the little cottage, the loft and other rooms for rent. Explore it for yourself at roundtopinn.com.  

The Vintage Round Top

The Vintage Round Top

The Vintage Round Top
Paige and Smoot Hull developed The Vintage Round Top in 2012 when they opened their first renovated cottage, No. 1450. The 2,400-SF home was designed with sustainability in mind and is comprised of reclaimed materials and vintage finds, creatively repurposed into light fixtures, furniture and decor. In 2016, they added a second 2,000-SF cottage named Boho into the mix. This home is designed with their signature modern vintage style, featuring upscale amenities and materials. Both properties are full home rentals that may be reserved together or separately. This summer, they will add two additional 400-SF cottages with another outdoor patio for games and lounging. In addition to lodging, the Hulls also host private parties, intimate rehearsal dinners or cocktail receptions, retreats and workshops year-round. Be inspired by their modern vintage aesthetic at thevintageroundtop.com where you will also find details on the property, events and shop.

Wander Inn
The Junk Gypsies, Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes-Smith, are opening up their guesthouse, previously available only to friends, like country singer Miranda Lambert, as an eight-room hotel called Wander Inn. Sign up for their newsletter to keep up with details on their progress at Gypsyville.com/wander-inn

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK 

The Garden Co.’s Feed and Firewater
An outpost of the original Garden Co. Marketplace & Café in Schulenburg, Texas, Feed and Firewater brings fresh ingredients to the table for fun appetizers, bright salads, yummy soups and a variety of creative lunch and dinner options, all in a beautiful bistro-style setting. For a look at the menu, visit thegardencoandcafe.com

Mandito’s
New to Round Top is Mandito’s, a concept by Armando and Cinda Palacios of Armando’s in Houston, which will occupy the building at the “corner of Main and Main,” across from the town courthouse. Fresh margaritas and Tex-Mex will be served. The couple also presents Lulu’s, an Italian pizzeria at the former location of The Stone Cellar. Details to come. Check lulustx.com and manditos.com

Market Hill Restaurant

Market Hill Restaurant

Market Hill Restaurant
More than a shopping destination, Market Hill is a fun place to eat, drink and enjoy yourself with friends. Open daily during the show, choose from a variety of lunch and dinner specials, including Paul’s famous homemade red sauce and pasta. For a peek inside Market Hill, visit markethillroundtop.com

Prost on Block 29

Prost on Block 29

Prost on Block 29
An intimate wine bar and shop housed in a stone cottage that happens to be the oldest building in Round Top. Order by the glass, bottle or case (to take home with you), and choose from handmade cheeses, farm-to-table vegetables, tapenades and charcuterie. Sit inside at the bar or at a small bistro table, or hang out on the outdoor patio around the fire pit. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Learn more at prostonblock29.com

Rohan Meadery
Texas’ oldest meadery, Rohan Meadery specializes in the recreation of mankind's oldest fermented libation - mead. The tasting room is a popular stop for visitors coming into Round Top. For hours and more info, visit rohanmeadery.com

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Royer’s Round Top Café and Pie Shop
Burgers, sandwiches and fresh-cut fries are some of the favorites here, but the real star of the show is the pie. Choose from apple, buttermilk, chocolate chip, pecan, cherry, strawberry rhubarb and more. Royer’s famous chicken dinner is served on Sunday from noon until they run out – the chicken is marinated for 24-hours in buttermilk and garlic then hand battered. It’s served family-style with mashed potato casserole and creamed corn. See the full menu at royersroundtopcafe.com.  

WHAT TO DO 

The Bugle BoyHoused in a World War II army barracks in La Grange, the Bugle Boy is an intimate concert hall booking Americana singer-songwriters as well as country, folk, blues and jazz bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Coffee, wine and beer are served. For a calendar of events, visit thebugleboy.org

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Festival Hill Concert Hall
Founded in 1971 by world renowned concert pianist James Dick, Festival Hill is a 210-acre campus containing multiple performance facilities, historic houses, gardens, parks and nature preserves. Visit festivalhill.org for events. 

Round Top Family Library

Round Top Family Library

Round Top Family Library
Round Top is the smallest incorporated Texas town to have a public library. It’s a great resource, preserving local history and offering community programs for children and adults. The library consists of two buildings, the main library in the former Hope Lutheran Church, a 1925 gothic-style building, and the Rummel Haus, which serves as an activity center. Learn more at ilovetoread.org

Round Top Family Library

Round Top Family Library

The Stone Cellar & Round Top Dance Hall
An authentic 1907 Texas dance hall has been relocated to this site. The sign on the door reads, “Must wear boots inside the hall at all times.” Live music on the weekends. The Stone Cellar serves pizza, cold beer and wine. To view the menu, visit stonecellarwines.com.