Visit Round Top

How to Shop Round Top - Tips from Design Pro Maureen Stevens

Photos courtesy of Maureen Stevens

Photos courtesy of Maureen Stevens

Based in Austin and New Orleans, Maureen Stevens loves history and architecture. She describes her aesthetic as “modern classic,” and looks for pieces that have history and character to bring her spaces soul and life. Her projects vary from modern to traditional, but she always prefers the classics, nothing cookie-cutter. Named one of Austin’s Top 5 Designers to Watch, her work has appeared in Tribeza MagazineDesign & Decor/Urban Home, Make it Over, Romantic Homes, the Austin American Statesman, Wall Street Journal, and popular design and decor giants such as My Domaine, Rue, Domino, HGTV.com and RealSimple.com. Her buying trips have been bringing her to Round Top for 10 years, and here’s how she does it.

 1. Get your accommodations early, early, early.

Whether it’s a bed and breakfast, or an Airstream trailer, there are many interesting places to stay, but they go quickly. It’s best to book six months to a year in advance.  

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 2. Do your homework. Research the venues, and narrow down the markets you want to go to. If you are going for a day or two, you can’t do it all. Plan accordingly, especially if you are on a schedule.

3. Market Hill is a must. It has everything under one roof in an easy-to-navigate floor plan. There are seating areas and refreshments. It’s a breath of fresh air away from the usual bustle of Round Top. The vendors are well curated. Some favorites are Antica (she’s been doing this a long, long time); Don and Marta Orwig (fun Americana theme); and, Provenance (really great, unique finds).

 4. As for what to wear, be comfortable. Be as laid back as you can. There will be lots of A-list designers, so if you want to dress it up, go for a music festival outfit a la Coachella. A fun hat, a dress, and cowboy boots; it’s Texas, after all, and most places can get muddy, even with a little rain, so walking boots are an appropriate choice.

 5. Have a good breakfast. Bring water. Bring snacks, too, especially if you have a certain diet.

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 6. How to take it home with you: If you are filling a house, or looking for large pieces like a credenza or an armoire, bring a pick-up or rental truck. But it’s not necessary as the sellers have worked with freight, and shippers and will help you with that.

 7. As for the art of negotiation: If you really love it, you have a price in mind and what it’s going to take to get it. You can negotiate, but be mindful and respectful. It takes time to source something and to bring it here. You have to respect the vendors for their craft. If you are an avid shopper, you can develop relationships with vendors.

 8. Many vendors accept credit cards, but if you pay with cash, you may be able to get a small discount. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to carry large amounts of cash, so it’s not that big of a concern as long as you are mindful and careful about stowing it.

 9. A tip is to take a picture of the vendor’s business card and a picture of an item in their collection so it’s easy to recall who it is and where it was because there are so many.

To view Maureen’s work, visit maureenstevens.com/projects. Her portfolio is also on Dering Hall and Houzz. Follow her on Instagram @maureenstevensdesign.

Dream Team - A Q&A with Kimberley Miller, CEO, Duncan Miller Ullmann

Photography by Ben Garrett

Photography by Ben Garrett

Founded in 1989, Dallas-based Duncan Miller Ullmann has grown to become one of the preeminent hospitality interior design firms in the world. CEO Kimberley Miller and her team have been coming to Round Top for years, shopping for their biggest clients. Most recently, it was for Hotel ZaZa Memorial City in Houston. We caught up with Kimberley, in advance of her next trip to Round Top for Hotel ZaZa Austin to talk about her team’s vision, process, strategy and inspiration.


Market Hill: Tell us about your firm and what brings you to Round Top.  

Kimberley Miller: We work with lifestyle brands. We know what each brand needs. For Hotel ZaZa, it’s irreverence, whimsy, especially in reference to a particular suite. That’s what Hotel ZaZa is known for: its concept suites, which our firm helped create. For the last project, [Hotel ZaZa Memorial City in Houston], there were 12 specialty suites. We used Round Top to bring special pieces into these themed spaces.

Beach House suite at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City

Beach House suite at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City


MH: What kind of pieces were you looking for on this trip?  

KM: We design not just spaces but experiences, whether it be in a restaurant or in the lobby. We are looking for unique pieces to create an experience. We sometimes take a residential approach, but we’re looking for out-of-the-box, something you can’t find at a furniture store, catalogue or elsewhere. Custom, stylized, one-of-a-kind, out-of-the-ordinary pieces with memory value.


MH: What do you love about Round Top?

KM: Outside of Texas, maybe people think of Round Top as cowboy artifacts and folk art, but it’s a great mixture of new, vintage and true one-of-a-kind pieces; we can fill 12 themed suites in one trip. What we also love about Round Top is that everybody knows everybody. Paul Michael is especially great at that. If we go in looking for 50 copper bowls and he doesn’t have them, he can point us to a person three miles down the road who does. You can find almost all of your needles in a haystack here. Paul has the best connections to those people.

Asian Beauty suite with a unique headboard found at Round Top.

Asian Beauty suite with a unique headboard found at Round Top.


MH: What should shoppers know about Market Hill?

KM: Market Hill is a place of unique pieces but also the things you just need – new products in multiple quantities like sets of dining room chairs. The great thing about Market Hill is the wide range of items, old and new, that’s what I like, that it has so much. And that you can eat there [she laughs]. Also, that it’s inside. It’s nice to not be slogging around in the rain. We’ve done that. Each vendor has a unique style. We’re buying a massive amount of stuff, and they are all so nice, so helpful.

The Passage to India suite at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City includes a custom designed sofa commissioned from a vendor at Round Top.

The Passage to India suite at Hotel ZaZa Memorial City includes a custom designed sofa commissioned from a vendor at Round Top.


MH: Tell us about your shopping strategy.

KM: We have a list of places we go. We have a spiral notebook with dimensions, budget and floor plan. We go in with very specific needs, like a 60-inch round dining table. We walk through every store on our list, and we keep our antennas up. We have a detailed concepted mood board for each suite. For instance, for a seaside suite, we might be looking for a shell table, but we leave ourselves open to be inspired.  

We once found a refurbished gas pump, not on our list, but it made its way into a themed suite. There was once a suite that we went into the shopping trip thinking would be themed Blue Door, but then we saw all of this campfire ephemera, and we changed it to Cabin Fever. At Market Hill, we found this gold leaf deer head, and we knew we had to have it. We didn’t know where we’d put it, but it found a home in the ballroom and is now a memorable fixture. Again, it comes back to the idea of a memory.


MH: How do you stay inspired?

KM: We look to travel, being exposed to different places, fashion, the trends we are seeing, the hot new shows and set designs. I recently watched Vanity Fair. One of the rooms is an Orient Express train theme. It’s fun to see a set design and get inspired by it. These kinds of trips help with inspiration. We use Round Top for inspiration.

To learn more about Duncan Miller Ullmann, visit DesignDMU.com.

Like Burning Man for Designers – HurleyHafen Finds Round Top

Photos by HurleyHafen

Photos by HurleyHafen

With a lifetime of worldwide travel between them, HurleyHafen partners John Hurley and Justin Hafen have just about seen it all. Prior to venturing into real estate development and design, they created and operated 13 restaurants and bars in the Bay Area. There is a spirit of generosity and hospitality in everything they do, including their original brand of “curated homes” in Napa Valley, built to admire but, more importantly, to comfortably live in.

Photos by HurleyHafen

Photos by HurleyHafen

For their curated homes, HurleyHafen acquires prime vineyard land, designs an extraordinary home, builds it, and then furnishes it, “down to the toothbrushes,” Justin says. “The idea is that the day you buy one of our curated homes, you have everything you need to throw a glamorous dinner … all you need to do is bring your clothes!”

This is the core concept of their business, but they also work directly with clients who already own land and need them – and their team of architects, engineers and contractors – for the design and construction oversight part of the process.

They also do full-service interior design for luxury homes throughout the country.  It is for this reason they decided to make their first trip to Round Top last fall on the recommendation of (and in memory of) their dear friend Barbara Colvin who passed after a long battle with cancer.  

“Barbara was a very acclaimed designer and had always wanted to go to Round Top. We had talked about going together for years and just never made it,” John says. “But after she passed away, our mutual friend Michelle Cheatham  [Architect’s Daughter at Market Hill] was going, so we said ‘let’s all go in Barbara’s honor,’ and, needless to say, we did and were blown away!”

Photos by HurleyHafen

Photos by HurleyHafen

“The first person we met was Paul Michael. He took us around his beautiful store inside Market Hill, and personally introduced us to all of the other vendors inside his building. Then every day, we would go out shopping with him all over Round Top finally returning to Market Hill at the end of the day to start drinking and partying,” John laughs.

“We had no idea how much fun it was going to be. It’s like Burning Man for designers,” Justin adds. “That’s what makes it so unique. It’s a party!”

“Round Top introduced us to a venue like no other. It’s not just the old stuff, it’s new stuff, too,” John says. “ It’s like this great combination between the Paris flea markets and the big shows in High Point, Las Vegas and Atlanta … but all in one place.  Who knew this rustic little town with a population of 90 people had so much to offer?”

Photos by HurleyHafen

Photos by HurleyHafen

As for what they are looking for this spring, “We have a huge shopping list for both clients and our curated homes. But I’m sure, as we discovered on our first trip, we will also end up finding beautiful, unique pieces that we don’t really need, but simply cannot pass up.”      

The design duo will make their return March 22-26 with clients and lots of friends in tow. “We fell in love with the whole deal, so this time we’re bringing a big crew!”

Look for their crew at Round Top, and, in the meantime, learn more about their design team, their curated homes and other creative projects at HurleyHafen.com and on Instagram @hurleyhafen.

For the Love of Vintage - A conversation with designer Claire Zinnecker

Photo by Ali Burgoon

Photo by Ali Burgoon

Austin-based designer Claire Zinnecker wears many hats, working with clients on residential and commercial projects for Claire Zinnecker Design.

Her work has brought her to Round Top for years, sourcing one-of-a-kind finds.

What matters most to Claire isn’t necessarily what you’re looking for (although she can help with that), but why you’re looking.

“It’s the idea that we don’t need to buy things from big box stores. It’s a nod to these pieces that have stood the test of time. When you think about the history, the stories of the pieces, of the vendors, there’s so much magic that goes into the finding,” she says.

“That’s why I love Round Top.”     

Claire has written for Domino, among other magazines, chronicling her experiences, including a recent dinner she planned and cohosted at Rancho Pillow.

She will return to Round Top in the spring to shop for a pop-up she is planning, March 30-31, in Austin. For these events, she curates vintage pieces, home décor and clothing to create experiences that connect you to the objects.  

Photo by Ali Burgoon

Photo by Ali Burgoon

One of the places she shops for these finds is Market Hill.

“If it’s your first time in Round Top, you need to go to Market Hill. It’s so well curated with the perfect vignettes; everything is impeccably placed. It allows someone who’s not an everyday vintage goer to see how it’s styled.”

In a similar way, she brings this vision to her events and into her spaces. Whether it’s clients’ homes, businesses or workplaces, she styles them in a way that truly showcases an important piece, a piece of history, that might otherwise be overlooked.

“It’s about bringing awareness to how important and worthwhile vintage shopping is. It’s about respecting craftsmanship. It’s about being thoughtful in your decisions.”

For more info on the upcoming Austin pop-up, follow Claire on Instagram @clairezinnecker.  


The Restaurant at Market Hill

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When it comes to the amenities at Market Hill, the restaurant is a big one. Not only because of the fresh, home-cooked food that comes from Chef Preston Higgins’ kitchen but also because it brings people in from the fields and around the table. It is here that people can truly connect, sharing stories about their day over a meal and a beer or a glass of wine.

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If you know Paul Michael, he loves bringing people together and feeding them. His pig roasts are now tradition at Market Hill. People gather round in anticipation, to watch, to learn and to wait until dinner is served. This spring, Paul will host two pig roasts, March 23 and 30. In addition to these signature events, Chef is cooking up a few special dinners as well, including prime rib and shrimp, March 22 and 29; Mediterranean night on March 28; and Mexican Monday on April 1.

Open daily for lunch and dinner service, the restaurant offers healthy, delicious meals, including hand-pressed burgers, marinated chicken breast, Paul’s pulled pork, wraps, bean medley, oven fries, marinated salad, dressed greens and coleslaw.

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Everything is prepared fresh and in-house. The meats and vegetables are grilled, roasted or smoked; there is no fryer. When you walk up to the counter and go down the line, making your selections, you’ll see Chef in the kitchen with a smile on his face, likely pulling out a batch of his oven fries. After you make a plate, you simply move down to the cashier where you can choose from a variety of beer and wine options as well as homemade desserts. Then you find a table. Long tables are meant to be experienced family-style where you can sit down, rest, relax and enjoy good food and conversation.

For those who are short on time, Chef shares something new for spring, what he calls “Market Fresh” meals to-go: variations of fruits, nuts and cheeses, green salads, fruit salads and wraps. These will be easy to-go options for shoppers and vendors.  

 It really adds to the Market Hill experience to be welcomed in from the elements, to be treated like family, to be invited to the table, to be served a home-cooked meal and Southern hospitality and to do it again the next day. Market Hill is more than a shopping destination. It’s your home away from home in Round Top.

Carson & Thom Go to Market - Market Hill Hosts Bravo TV’s Favorite Design Duo 

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Carson Kressley is everywhere – even Round Top. The Emmy Award-winning TV personality, style expert, fashion designer, and New York Times bestselling author made an appearance as a celebrity designer in support of Designer Dream Spree. Founded by Houston-based designer Julie Dodson of Dodson Interiors, Designer Dream Spree was created to attract A-list interior designers, introduce them to Round Top, and raise money for local animal shelters. Having been to Round Top previously, he brought along his “TV husband,” and co-host of Bravo’s Get a Room with Carson & Thom, Thom Filicia, a top interior designer, TV personality and author, who also participated in the spree, for which designers shopped the fields and venues all around Round Top to create vignettes. 

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

            “Market Hill was our first stop,” Filicia says. “It is this indoor-outdoor almost agricultural building with a big breezeway. There was a mix of antiques dealers, art dealers, vendors with old signs, vendors bringing things from all over the world. They hosted a big lunch for us. There was this Southern shrimp cocktail in a mason jar. Everything was thoughtfully and beautifully executed – very Southern in its hospitality and presentation. It was a great springboard for our visit.” 

            “It’s gigantic,” Kressley says of Market Hill. “Such a large space filled with so many treasures, antiques from Europe, pieces of Americana. It feels like you hit the jackpot.” 

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

            “One of the myths I busted in Round Top,” Kressley adds, “is that it’s hard to bring things home. That is absolutely not true. I found a great pair of wooden tables with marble tops. I used them in my designer vignette and had to have them. There are great high-quality shippers. The tables arrived by truck to my home in Pennsylvania a month later. Any time someone asks about them, I happily tell them they came from Round Top.” 

            “It’s a world’s fair of people and things,” he says about this special place. “You have these really high-end designers, and you’ve got the local flavor. It’s something unusual, very unique. One vendor had a longhorn outside of their exhibit, so there’s a photo of me riding a longhorn. That is something that would only happen in Round Top.” 

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

Photos courtesy of Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia

            “Everywhere you turn, there’s a surprise, and a feast for the eyes,” Kressley says. “There are plenty of places to stay; there’s great food and hospitality. I always try to bring someone who’s never been. It’s so fun and friendly. Everybody is your new best friend.” 

            Speaking of new friends, Thom says one afternoon over Mexican food and Margaritas, he and Carson started inviting people to a local watering hole. They decided to throw a party that evening, totally off-the-cuff, hoping 10 people would come. They had 50 people show up, and they sang karaoke until 2 a.m. Again, only in Round Top. 

            Carson and Thom can be seen on Bravo’s Get a Room with Carson & Thom, which returns this spring. Carson also returns for Season 11 of VH1’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. Follow their adventures on Instagram, @carsonkressley and @thomfilicia.

2019 Round Top Round-Up

The Stone Cellar features 25 craft beers on tap.

The Stone Cellar features 25 craft beers on tap.

Driving in from Austin, the highway is dotted with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush, the first signs of spring. As you get closer to Round Top (population: 90), another sign of spring comes into the picture. In cow pastures typically occupied by Texas longhorns, there are big white tents and people, lots of them (some 100,000 of them). This scene stretches on along Highway 237 for some 30 miles and extends into surrounding towns of Warrenton, Rutersville, Fayetteville, Carmine, Brenham and La Grange. It’s Antiques Week, an event that happens twice a year, in the spring and fall. Celebrating more than 50 years, what began as a weekend of antiquing has expanded into two weeks’ worth of shows. Here’s a round-up of what to see and do and where to stay and play while you’re here.  

LODGING  

Armando Round Top Houses

Renowned Houston restauranteurs Armando and Cinda Palacios 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 mid-century modern space with pop art dotting the walls. See more at RoundTopHouses.com.

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The Carmine Coop

Five minutes from downtown Round Top, the Carmine Coop offers three different lodging options – The Farmhouse, The Cottage, and The Airstream. Located on two acres and surrounded by corn fields, your neighbors are horses and cows, and your alarm clock is a rooster. While the lodges are appointed with rustic country charm, they do offer modern luxuries like HDTV and WiFi. For photos and more info, visit Thecarminecoop.com.

Flophouze

Matt White and his team, Recycling the Past, offer six flophouzes, old shipping containers-turned-overnight accommodations, all accented with salvaged materials, antiques, original art and vintage touches such as a record player and vinyl records. 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 modpool, an above-ground swimming pool made from a shipping container, and the Round Top Ballroom. Outfitted with antiques, artifacts and odds and ends from Recycling the Past, it’s a large space that has hosted farm-to-table dinners, weddings and parties. Learn more at Flophouze.com.


The Prairie at Round Top

Formerly The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell, founder of Shabby Chic, The Prairie at Round Top is a new chapter for this 46-acre property dating back to the 1880s. There are five houses on the property. Holly has added her own signature style to The Prairie while keeping design elements added by previous owners, all with the help of dedicated property manager Danny Riebeling. Danny was one of the original contractors who renovated it. His love of this place is evident in every nail and board. He is fun-loving, enjoys hosting guests and cooks a tasty breakfast. Book your stay at ThePrairieatRoundTop.com.


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 showcases 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 heartfelt, soulful, mystical and intentional where cool people go and good vibes flow. Feast in the Field is hosted on October 1 and 2. Fantastic chefs prepare the family-style meal served outdoors on the ranch. Purchase your ticket, or book your stay online at RanchoPillow.com.

The Raleigh

Shane Brown of Big Daddy’s Antiques offers this 2,650-SF 1890s Victorian farmhouse with a new 30-foot pool and huge deck. It comes equipped with a full kitchen, four bedrooms (including a master suite), and two bathrooms. It sleeps nine people. The interior design is exceptional throughout with a beautiful mix of modern and antiques, and a Paul Michael Company piece or two. Book your stay on VRBO.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

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, the second cottage named Boho was built in the style of an industrial farmhouse. Both properties are available for rent. The Hulls also host private parties, weddings, special events and workshops year-round. Be inspired by their modern vintage aesthetic at TheVintageRoundTop.com.

At Wander Inn sink into a velvet sofa or slide into a rocking chair on the porch for views of longhorns. Photo by Kelly Chrstine Sutton

At Wander Inn sink into a velvet sofa or slide into a rocking chair on the porch for views of longhorns. Photo by Kelly Chrstine Sutton

Wander Inn

Previously available only to friends such as country singer Miranda Lambert, Junk Gypsies Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes-Smith have opened their guesthouse to the public. Wander Inn is luxurious but not about luxury. It’s about the land, the road, the magic of Round Top, and the feeling of arriving at a place, taking your boots off and staying awhile. Designed with comfort in mind, sink into a velvet sofa or slide into a rocking chair on the porch for views of longhorns in the pasture and the sun hanging low in the sky. Choose from eight beautifully appointed rooms at Gypsyville.com/wander-inn.

The Red & White Inn, part of Black Bird Farm

The Red & White Inn, part of Black Bird Farm

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 BlackBirdTexas.com.

DINING  

Dinner and live music at The Restaurant at Market Hill.

Dinner and live music at The Restaurant at Market Hill.

Market Hill Restaurant

More than a shopping destination, Market Hill is a fun place to eat, drink and hang out. Open daily during the show, choose from a variety of lunch and dinner specials including Paul’s famous homemade red sauce and pasta. Market Hill also has live music nightly. Grab a cold beer or glass of wine, and enjoy great music and good times after a day in the fields.

The Garden Co.’s Feed and Firewater

An outpost of the original Garden Co. Marketplace & Cafe 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.

London Bus Café

McLaren’s Antiques celebrates its English heritage with the London Bus Café onsite. An original London double-decker bus has been outfitted into a café, serving lunch and afternoon tea. (It’s air-conditioned, too.) No reservation is required, just come on in. Lunch is served from noon-3 p.m., and offers a variety of English favorites. Traditional English High Tea is served from 3:30-5:30 p.m., with freshly made sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries.

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.

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 and then hand-battered. It’s served family-style with mashed potato casserole and creamed corn.

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.” Our kind of place, it’s a relaxing wood-fired pizzeria with a variety of craft beer and wine, with live music every Friday and Saturday.

SHOPPING

The Paul Michael Company showroom at Market Hill. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange.

The Paul Michael Company showroom at Market Hill. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange.

Market Hill

Open twice a year in the spring and the fall, Market Hill curates the world’s best antiques, furniture, home decor and decorative arts, set in an atmosphere of genuine hospitality and hassle-free shopping in a beautiful, air-conditioned facility with clean restrooms, free Wi-Fi and easy loading areas. The Restaurant at Market Hill serves home-cooked meals, a great selection of beer, wine and other refreshments. It’s open daily during the show with live music most nights.

Townsend Provisions

The large collection of vintage boots is the biggest attraction to this small, well-curated shop in Rummel Square. A permanent fixture in town, the store is open year-round, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and on Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Owners Nick and Ryann have a passion for old relics and handmade goods – something that runs in the family. Ryann’s mom, Sharon, helps the young couple hunt for vintage treasures for the shop. Nick’s mom, Linda, is the “boot queen” and is often found fitting folks in the famous boot room. Stop by, and make their acquaintance during the fall show. You might just find your new favorite pair of boots while you’re at it.

Curate by Stash makes small, luxe leatherworks including items like this Minimalist Maker Apron

Curate by Stash makes small, luxe leatherworks including items like this Minimalist Maker Apron

Curate by Stash

Another spot open year-round on Rummel Square is Curate by Stash. For more than a decade, Texas brand Stash has been making small, luxe leatherworks in a century-old mattress factory. Founder/designer Cheryl Schulke creates with the intention of mindful production over mass production. Walking into her first retail space in Round Top, it smells of leather and Texas lavender, and feels like a place you never want to leave. As the name suggests, it is artfully curated with a select few pieces from independent designers.


SIGHTSEEING

The Listening Room at The Bugle Boy where concerts are held on Friday & Saturday evenings.

The Listening Room at The Bugle Boy where concerts are held on Friday & Saturday evenings.

The Bugle Boy

Housed in WWII army barracks in La Grange, the Bugle Boy is an intimate concert hall that brings Americana, country, folk, blues and jazz to the stage on Friday and Saturday nights. Coffee, wine and beer are served. Thebugleboy.org.

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. Festivalhill.org.

Rohan Meadery

Blissful Folly Farm is situated between La Grange, Round Top and Fayetteville in some of the most beautiful countryside in south central Texas. Located here, Rohan Meadery is Texas' oldest meadery, producing one of mankind's oldest fermented libations – mead.  All products that come from here are small batched and homemade onsite. The tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, noon-6 p.m. Rohanmeadery.com.

Round Top Family Library

Round Top is the smallest incorporated Texas town to have a public library. It 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. It’s a great local resource, preserving history and offering community programs for kids and adults. Ilovetoread.org.

Paul Michael Company - Where the Magic Happens

A craftsman at the Paul Michael Company creates a meticulously measured antler leg table by hand.

A craftsman at the Paul Michael Company creates a meticulously measured antler leg table by hand.

From Little Rock, it’s a two-hour drive to Lake Village, Arkansas, a farm town in southeast Arkansas that’s home to the Paul Michael Company. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Paul and Salvador create a frame from an original piece of art. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Paul and Salvador create a frame from an original piece of art. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

It’s a cold February day. The sky is gray, and the fields are flooded. A train cuts across the flat land, and we pass time talking about the graffiti on the train cars. We also wonder aloud what Paul Michael will show us on this trip. Maybe it’s a new painting or a few new Paul Michael Exclusives, original pieces of furniture handmade in his woodshop in Dermott, Arkansas. The woodshop is where we’re headed, but first we meet Paul for lunch at his favorite sandwich shop, the Amish & Country Store.

The sign out front says: Pecans Banana Bread Fried Pies. Inside, it smells like fresh baked bread. We order the Paul Michael Special and wait for him to arrive.

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When he sits down at the table, there’s blue paint on his hands. He’s been working on something. Turns out, it could either be from a canvas or from a set of French Colonial doors, a special project for Vincent Peach, a vendor at Market Hill. At the fall show, Vincent produced a drawing of a showroom, like the true artist he is. Paul redrew it to accommodate the raw materials that were available to him, an example of his ability to create on command, taking inspiration from others.

Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Every stand is handmade to fit the crystal. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Every stand is handmade to fit the crystal. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

“I went out that day and found the doors in Round Top,” Paul says. “Where else are you going to find 12 matching doors like that?”

“It’s magic. There is this happiness,” he says of Round Top. “It’s like a vacation for me. People come from all over the world ... [At Market Hill,] we have people from California, Santa Fe, New York, Chicago, Miami. If you have a high-end boutique, it’s where you go, but everybody leaves pretension at home.”   

Paul will return to Round Top next week, he tells us, to install Vincent Peach’s booth.

“My opinion of architecture is my opinion on design,” he says, “it has to be functional.”  

“So many times you see an interior, like in a design magazine, and you get the feeling, ‘It looks okay in the magazine, but would I want to live there? Can I put a cup of coffee on the coffee table?’ You get the feeling it’s for people who don’t know how to live. It’s the same conversation that relates to architecture, so many times the emphasis is on how it looks from the street, but, in reality, it’s built out of plywood and cheap carpet, and it doesn’t last. You have to ask, ‘Who are you trying to impress?’ The first person you want to impress is yourself,” he says.

On designing and building Market Hill, Paul says, “I wanted to impress the vendors. I wanted to keep them dry. Keep their merchandise dry. Give them a place to load and unload their stuff. If I have a facility that provides for their needs, I would have a chance to attract the very best vendors. Everybody wants the best vendors; why would they come to me? Because this building is functional.”

“I believe in what’s real. A place you can be inspired, relaxed, where you can entertain, eat, drink and rest.”

Beautiful natural crystal on a handmade base by the Paul Michael Company. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Beautiful natural crystal on a handmade base by the Paul Michael Company. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

As for what he is bringing to Market Hill, Paul says he spent six weeks on the road with trips to Dallas, Atlanta, Vegas and Tucson. In Tucson, he bought an entire lot of 52 slices of black petrified wood. He decided to make small tables with them, pairing the petrified wood with natural wood. He engineered a prototype but didn’t like it. He says they are reworking the design at the shop.

He tells us of large, spear-pointed crystals he also found. “From South America. Brazil. Phenomenal crystals on these metal bases that were ugly and unworthy of the crystals.” He describes his plan to remount them. With that, he says, “let’s go to the shop, so you can see them.” It’s just a few minutes’ drive to the woodshop where the shop cat, Paloma, greets us outside. We arrive to the sound of saws and smell of sawdust. In every corner of the shop, there is industry, purpose and focus with multiple projects happening all at once. This is where the magic happens.

Paul leads us to the crystals in the metal bases. It appears he bought the whole lot of them. There are rows upon rows of quartz crystals of all sizes on two long tables. His top welder and metal worker is in the act of hand-fitting each individual component to create new bases worthy of the crystals.  “Every piece has to be hand fit,” Paul says.

We walk through the shop and see additional projects underway, including Vincent Peach’s doors, 12 of them, some drying, some in the process of being painted “Cathedral Stone,” a pretty blueish gray.  

There’s a boulder atop Lucite. He calls it the “Flintstone table.” When asked where the rock comes from, he says, “northwest Arkansas” … and what kind of rock it is, “the kind that comes out of the side of a mountain,” he laughs. He tells us he was on his way to look at a deer camp when he saw the boulders and bought two truckloads of them.

Another piece Paul is proud to show us is an ottoman made of wood. “I was in the Apple Store, and I saw an ottoman I liked, and I thought I could make one better than that.” Like the inspiration piece, his version is essentially a wooden box with a slight indention on the seat and open in the middle. Inside, he stuffs a black sheep’s wool poof. “It’s for people without a lot of room. You pull it out, and now you have two seats instead of one,” he says.

For Paul, inspiration can come from anywhere. “I don’t think any artist came up with their own original idea. It was inspired by something. Creativity happens when you have collaboration and outside influences.”

And yet many of the pieces in the shop, Paul comes up with on the spot, and this is where the real magic happens. An example of this is a large clamshell from China, which Paul says he’s had for 12 years, and now has an idea for it. The clamshell, weighing some 300 pounds, is rolled out on a dolly. His son, Jake, and right-hand man Salvador lift it to its resting place atop two vertical slabs of reef from Indonesia. Paul stands back as the men adjust the piece to the precise angle, the proper form.

Boulder coffee table by the Paul Michael Company. Boulder harvested from Northwest Arkansas. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

Boulder coffee table by the Paul Michael Company. Boulder harvested from Northwest Arkansas. Photo by Ashlee Nobel

“It’s all about form,” Paul says. “When something is in form, you know it. It’s natural to you. When it doesn’t look right, it’s wrong. A curious part, it’s almost a universal and uniform acceptance of what is right. When it’s wrong, everybody has an opinion of why it’s wrong, because you look at its various parts. Everybody agrees when it’s right, because you see it as a whole.” The piece is adjusted, just right, and he says, “That is powerful. This is what I live for.”   

When asked how he comes up with this stuff, Paul says, “Sal came up with a way to cut the bottom off of it. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have used it. Could I have done that without him? No. It was collaboration.”

Paul’s phone rings, and he takes the call. It’s his friend, Craig, and he says, “You better come down to the shop. We’re doing something pretty amazing.”

“We’re just like children,” he says. “Do you see the glee? This is what we do for fun.”

It is fun to be in the shop, to be in the presence of pure joy, creativity, hard work, imagination, experimentation and play. The magic comes from Paul and his team – the woodshop is where the magic happens as it goes from brain to build, draft to design. And Market Hill is where magic comes together, the people and the pieces, under one roof.

2019 Round Top Spring Show – The Market Hill Experience

Market Hill shoppers dine and socialize while listening to live music at Market Hill in Round Top, TX during Texas Antiques Week. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Market Hill shoppers dine and socialize while listening to live music at Market Hill in Round Top, TX during Texas Antiques Week. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Market Hill in Round Top, TX. Photo by Elizabeth Michael

Market Hill in Round Top, TX. Photo by Elizabeth Michael

Upon first arriving at Market Hill, the first impression is that it’s huge. Cars are coming in and out of the parking lot and yet many spaces remain, which shows you how big and accommodating it is. The Paul Michael Company sign is a welcoming sight. You know you are in the right place, and that Paul Michael and his team will take care of you.

Walking out of the Texas sun and into the space, the air-conditioning feels like the ultimate luxury, but that’s just the beginning. The Paul Michael Company takes up 11,000-SF and is well-appointed with art, plush sofas, agate-topped tables, beautiful rugs and large cowhides. It sets the tone for the experience you can expect as you explore the rest of the venue. Inspiration is everywhere.

The remainder of the 130,000-SF space is occupied by the best vendors at Round Top. Each vendor is different. Each one has their own aesthetic and their own impressive collection of antiques, lighting, rugs and accessories. What they all have in common is their passion for this. They are all eager to meet you and answer any question you may have.

Shoppers in the breezeway at the DASH Houston Party at Market Hill in Round Top, TX. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Shoppers in the breezeway at the DASH Houston Party at Market Hill in Round Top, TX. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Walking through the breezeway, Market Hill also contains a restaurant and dining space and plenty of areas to rest and relax, like Pinky’s Bubbyle Lounge, where you can sit on velvet sofas and sip champagne.  

“We love being at Market Hill,” says Stacy Graubart of The Select Pick. “Both as a seller and a buyer for our design clients. It is not only the best venue with food and places to relax your feet but is a great community of people.”  

It’s really about bringing people together. And there are many ways Paul and his team do this every day and night.

Live music at Market Hill entertains shoppers and vendors alike. Live music takes place most nights. It’s one of the things first time vendor Michelle Cheatham is most looking forward to. “I look forward to the music after hours. I love socializing and making connections with new friends from everywhere,” she says.

Market Hill welcomes back the Heart Collectors, March 30 and 31. The international folk band is based in Australia and has played South by Southwest in Austin the last couple of years (receiving a “Top Bands to See at SXSW” nod by the Austin American-Statesman), eventually finding their way down to Round Top.  

The Restaurant at Market Hill with Live Music, Wine, Beer, Fresh Food. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

The Restaurant at Market Hill with Live Music, Wine, Beer, Fresh Food. Photo by Natalie Lacy Lange

Another event that has become tradition at Market Hill is Paul’s Pig Roast. It’s become so popular and memorable, that it will take place twice during the spring show, March 23 and 30. The pig roast brings community together. People gather round to watch, to meet and greet each other, to drink and of course to eat. This is just one of the special events around food and community at Market Hill. Chef Preston talks more about what he has in store for the spring show on the following pages, The Restaurant at Market Hill, but it is a point of pride to have home-cooked meals made in-house. Something new Chef is introducing this spring is “Market Fresh” meals, variations of fruits, nuts, cheeses, green salads, fruit salads, wraps and other to-go options for shoppers and vendors on the go.

Come enjoy the food and fellowship at Market Hill.


Location and contact info:

1542 Highway 237

Round Top, TX 78954

customerservice@paulmichaelhome.com

800-732-3722


Hours

Open daily

9 a.m.-9 p.m.

March 21-April 7


The Mixology of Design

Vintage barware and bar cart mixed on modern day tray invites your guests to relaxin in your home. Photo by Michael Hunter

Vintage barware and bar cart mixed on modern day tray invites your guests to relaxin in your home. Photo by Michael Hunter

Just like a cocktail mixologist creating a signature drink with an interesting twist or garnish, the mixology of design is in combining different styles of interiors and architecture. Modern furnishings and art blended with architectural details and antiques is one of my favorite combinations. Oftentimes finding that unexpected piece can be the perfect ingredient for some of the best design elements in your home.

An antique French enfilade paired with a vintage Hugh Acton chair in shearling, marble pedestal and a modern rug creates the perfect blend of new and old. Photo by Cristin Miller Photography

An antique French enfilade paired with a vintage Hugh Acton chair in shearling, marble pedestal and a modern rug creates the perfect blend of new and old. Photo by Cristin Miller Photography

Every fall and spring, visitors eagerly await the opening of the highly anticipated Round Top Antiques Fair to search for unusual finds and new trends in design. One of the crown jewels of the festival sits at Market Hill. This venue, created by Paul Michael, hosts dealers who bring in everything from European lighting, architectural antiques, modern furniture and accessories. It is here where you might find the perfect design trifecta by uncovering an Italian Murano glass hanging fixture from the 1970s and a modern glass coffee table that can add the perfect touch to a home hosting an 18th century European fire surround. Paul and his carefully curated collection of dealers will welcome you into their booths.

The glistening of mirrored glass counters married with aged stone floors and an antique lantern creates unexpected details and makes the room feel like you are unwrapping a present as you enter it. Photo by Michael Hunter

The glistening of mirrored glass counters married with aged stone floors and an antique lantern creates unexpected details and makes the room feel like you are unwrapping a present as you enter it. Photo by Michael Hunter


I encounter clients and friends who like many different styles of architecture and interiors. Blending those can be a challenge. Throughout my 20 years of architectural consulting and interiors, I have watched these ever-changing design trends take a front seat in our world. I encourage you to let your mind wander as you meet the dealers in Round Top, and hear the stories behind their travels that bring both timeless and trendy treasures from every corner of the world.

My philosophy at Sarah West & Associates is based on the blending of historical and modernist details which creates a perfect springboard for creativity where rules of the past don’t always apply.

The fusion of antique doors from Round Top, reclaimed floor tile and sink paired with a modern bench and clean lined vanity is a perfect recipe for the mixology of design. Photo by Michael Hunter

The fusion of antique doors from Round Top, reclaimed floor tile and sink paired with a modern bench and clean lined vanity is a perfect recipe for the mixology of design. Photo by Michael Hunter

Uncovering special pieces at Round Top can be the common thread that runs through the fabric of my design plan. Embracing the challenge of making each project different, whether it is a blend of contemporary, English, Spanish or Country French, can always be enhanced with special finds from these bluebonnet-blanketed fields of Round Top.

Whether you are a professional or simply a novice mixologist, I invite you to be daring, take chances, mix it up and enjoy the view.






The Urban Cowboy Comes to Town - How Lyon Porter Does Round Top

Photo by Ben Fitchett of the Midnight Rider Suit at Urban Cowboy in Nashville, TN.

Photo by Ben Fitchett of the Midnight Rider Suit at Urban Cowboy in Nashville, TN.

A big red truck pulls into the gravel parking lot. Through a cloud of dust, three doors spring open and out pop three beautiful women in cowboy boots. There is purpose in each step; these girls are on a mission. With them is a man – young, tall, handsome. He points to this chair, that table, those sofas, and the women pick up each item, carry them out and throw it in the back of the truck. When the truck bed is full, they pile in and peel out, leaving just as quickly and deliberately as they had arrived. These people know what they are doing. These people get things done. Come to find out, these people are Lyon Porter, Jersey Banks, Shawna Watterson, and Bobbi Rich a.k.a. Mama Hot Dog. This clearly isn’t their first rodeo, but it was their first trip to Round Top. 

Jersey banks (left) Lyon Porter. Photo courtesy of Lyon Porter

Jersey banks (left) Lyon Porter. Photo courtesy of Lyon Porter

Lyon Porter is a designer, real estate broker and hotelier best known for Urban Cowboy in Brooklyn and Nashville. Urban Cowboy is more than a place to hang your hat. It’s a home-away-from-home for nomadic creatives, an intimate bungalow where artists, thinkers, dreamers and doers arrive with curiosity and leave with inspiration – and new friends. The Brooklyn concept came first in 2014; then followed, in 2016, the eight-room Victorian mansion-turned-B&B in Nashville with a come-as-you-are bar and restaurant called Public House. Entirely self-designed by Lyon, these spaces are thoughtful, intentional and incredibly beautiful. The guest rooms feature intricate woodwork and tilework, rich textiles and striking accents such as clawfoot tubs. There’s a sense of whimsy and play, like the swing on the tree outside of the Victorian mansion. Starting at $350/night, you stay here for the experience – for its magic, in hope a tiny bit rubs off on you.  

The Parlor at Urban Cowboy in Nashville, TN. Photo by Ben Fitchett

The Parlor at Urban Cowboy in Nashville, TN. Photo by Ben Fitchett

What’s next for Lyon is his biggest project to date: a 23-room motel in East Nashville, formerly the 1956 Key Motel. This is what brought him (and his lady gang/design team) to Round Top: a buying trip for the motel. He also had an invitation from his friend Sheila Youngblood to stay at her place, Rancho Pillow, a 20-acre compound with a barn and teepee that’s more fantasy land than boutique hotel. Much like Lyon’s Cowboys, Sheila’s Rancho captures your imagination; it’s a cosmic community where you feel right at home. 

Arriving in Round Top, Lyon describes it as having: “No direction. We were just walking the fields.” Until they found Market Hill.

Jersey Banks, Lyon Porter, Shawna Watterson, and Bobbi Rich on the porch at the Rancho Pillow in Round Top, Tx.

Jersey Banks, Lyon Porter, Shawna Watterson, and Bobbi Rich on the porch at the Rancho Pillow in Round Top, Tx.

 "Market Hill became a home base for us. It was such a warm welcome. Jake [Michael, Paul Michael’s son] took me under his wing and helped me navigate the whole experience. I was immediately in the inner circle. It showed me what kind of community this is.” 

“There was an instant feeling of kindred spirits,” he says. “A sense of friendship with other people who have decided to join the circus.”

“There’s a common bond between people who have eyes for found objects. And who share an affliction for loving these things and giving them up.”

            When asked about his process and decision-making, Lyon says, “I go completely on inspiration. I don’t create a moodboard, because you don’t know what you’ll find. If you go in with a preconceived notion, you may miss something.” 

“I pick by feel,” he adds. “Jersey is good at seeing things that I don’t. I love surrounding myself with strong women. Jersey, Bobbi and Shawna are very unique individuals.” 

 Instead of recalling the 50s-style of the original motel, Lyon is going for a funky, down-and-dirty, 70s vibe complete with a dive bar and a 60-foot swimming pool. Each room will have something he calls a “party on a switch” with music, a disco ball and lava wall. 

In Round Top, Lyon was looking for pieces that were “very specific,” “not so precious” and “a bit beaten up or look like they could stand a beating.”  

Public House, a restaurant inside Urban Cowboy in Nashville, TN. Photo by Dave Krugman

Public House, a restaurant inside Urban Cowboy in Nashville, TN. Photo by Dave Krugman

“I’ve been on a lot of picking trips — Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York — I was not prepared for this. I was like a kid in a candy store. We found so many gems. We filled a 30-foot truck. It’s all sitting in Waylon Jennings’ old staging warehouse, waiting to go into the motel.”   

Among the many gems: an amazing group of couches and a piece of wood art in the likeness of Elvis Presley.

            “It was a wild and fun trip. Exciting, exhilarating and exhausting. We learned some stuff about making this big of a trip. Jake helped me so much, repacking our truck in the back of Market Hill in the middle of a torrential Texas thunderstorm.”

            “It’s a magical town, an amazing experience. We made real friends. We’ll be back in the fall.”  

In the meantime, check out Lyon Porter’s work at lyonporter.com, and the door’s always open at urbancowboy.com. Take a peek inside @urbancowboybnb on Instagram, and Lyon shares personal projects and motel updates in his stories @lyonporter. Hopefully, he'll let us know when the pool is open.  

The Restaurant at Market Hill

Chef Preston Higgins. Photo by Lacy Lange and courtesy of Market Hill

Chef Preston Higgins. Photo by Lacy Lange and courtesy of Market Hill

Even the most casual shopper will work up an appetite in Round Top. The Restaurant at Market Hill is open daily for lunch and dinner service, and provides an atmosphere of comfortable dining where you’ll want to sit around the table, share stories from the day, and make new friends. 

When you get to know Paul Michael, you will learn he has a passion for bringing people together. He has a brick oven that he built himself in his office in Lake Village, Arkansas, for baking and breaking bread with family and friends. It’s in this spirit that he wants to host annual pig roasts at Market Hill. Hearing him talk about it, he enjoys the seven-to-eight-hour process and the way people gather around to watch. There’s real curiosity, camaraderie and community around the fire pit. This fall, the restaurant will add a state-of-the-art, stainless steel rotisserie hog roaster.

What you can expect each day at the Restaurant is a similar passion for people and for food. Preston Higgins, chef and owner of Baxter Catering Company in Bastrop, Texas, has 20 years of experience in the industry and takes great pride in his work. Everything prepared in his kitchen at Market Hill is grilled, roasted or smoked (there is no fryer) with the intention of preparing fresh, healthy, delicious meals for Market Hill customers and vendors. 

The special meals to be had here include Paul Michael’s signature whole roasted hog. Photo by Lacy Lange and courtesy of Market Hill

The special meals to be had here include Paul Michael’s signature whole roasted hog. Photo by Lacy Lange and courtesy of Market Hill

Daily lunch specials and dinner offerings include lamb, beef, chicken, fish and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and potatoes. 

When you walk up to the counter, go down the line and pick out which items you’d like, you’ll see Chef in the kitchen, working hard with a smile on his face. 

After your plate is made, you move down to the cashier where you can choose from a large selection of beer and wine or sparkling water and other beverages – anything cold sounds good after a day in Round Top – and homemade desserts. Then you find a table – the long tables in the restaurant are set up to be experienced family-style – and enjoy good food and conversation. Meet again at dinner. There’s also live music most nights during the show. Market Hill is more than a shopping destination; it’s a gathering place.

Making the Rounds at Round Top 

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My life has been somewhat of a treasure hunt. At a young age, I took off to design school in New York. I would frequent the Upper East Side and West Side consignment shops during the week and comb the 26th Street Flea Market on Saturday mornings. After acquiring a proper education and amassing quite the collection, I moved back down South to open my shop and interior design business, Shabby Slips.

Whether it be in New York, Paris, Atlanta or Round Top, my favorite place to be is a flea market. Here in Round Top, folks have organized one of the best places in the world to go on that elusive treasure hunt. The Round Top Antique Show started 50 years ago in The Big Red Barn, and the show is still alive and thriving today – and what an antique metropolis this tiny Texas town has become! It brings in people from all over this country and as far as Europe.

Since the beginning, many shows have been added to the lineup, The Marburger Farm Show, the Arbor Show and Warrenton to name a few, with the newest being the Market Hill Show. Market Hill brought a more permanent presence to Round Top making it easier for dealers and buyers to shop in good lighting, climate-controlled environment (air-conditioning is much needed!) and a great restaurant to meet a friend for a glass of wine after the shows. 

At Market Hill, dealers have a home, for years to come, making it an annual go-to event in the spring and fall for me. I arrive early and stay late. There is a huge variety of things to buy. I shop for design projects I am currently working on, or pick up store fillers. You name it; it's there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional like me, or just looking for that one small treasure, you are bound to find it and more. I hope this year will be another stellar one, after all, Paris is a much longer trip. See you in the fields! 

Renea’s Picks  
The important faces and places at Round Top    

Mark Massey of The Compound, Henkel Square and Rummel Square
Curtis Ann Davis, The Arbor
Armando Palacios… he is around somewhere... 
Marburger Farms – the best two Tuesdays of the year!
Mark Dooley of Excess, both sides of Hwy. 237
Warrenton (old timers) and Vincent Peach Pearls
Paul Michael of Market Hill, the Neiman Marcus of Round Top!

Renea Abbott and her mom, Barbara Carlton, started Shabby Slips in 1991 as a custom slipcover shop. Over the years, they have grown their Houston-based interior design business and have continued to travel, collect, purchase and import high-quality antiques and products from all over the world. Learn more at myshabbyslips.com

The Restaurant at Market Hill

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Chef Preston Higgins

Chef Preston Higgins

Paul Michael is a Renaissance man. In addition to having four Paul Michael Company stores, an exclusive line of handmade furniture and his recent new development Market Hill, he loves baking bread, making pizza (with his famous red sauce) and even has a brick oven that he, of course, built by hand inside his office on Main Street in Lake Village, Arkansas. He is a maker and a baker. So, when it came to imagining what Market Hill could be, a restaurant was always part of the plan. 
    Paul’s culinary vision led to Preston Higgins, chef and owner of Baxter Catering Company in Bastrop, Texas. Preston has 20 years of experience and takes great pride in his food. Everything prepared in his kitchen at Market Hill is grilled, roasted or smoked. There is no fryer. The intention behind this is to prepare fresh, healthy, delicious meals for Market Hill guests and vendors. When asked about the Market Hill experience, every vendor mentioned the restaurant. 
    The Restaurant at Market Hill features daily lunch specials and dinner options with a variety of proteins – lamb, beef, chicken and fish – and vegetables – brussels, spinach, broccoli and asparagus. “We toss the potatoes with a little extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper and we bake them,” Preston says. It’s simple, real food with good flavor, nothing artificial. “I love the transformation of raw product to what you see on your plate,” he says.  

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 There’s also a great selection of beer and wine and homemade desserts. 
    The long tables in the restaurant are set up to be experienced family-style. It’s a great place to gather, enjoy a meal, share stories from your day over a glass of wine. 
Market Hill brings people together. The Restaurant at Market Hill feeds them. 

Gather ’Round

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Feast in the Field-Sheila Youngblood sets table-Michael Lucas Photography.jpg

Sheila Youngblood welcomes all to sit at her table under the big Texas sky. 

Feast in the Field
March 26 and 27
Rancho Pillow 

When owner Sheila Youngblood opened Rancho Pillow to the public in the spring of 2016 during the Antiques Fair, she welcomed all to sit at her table for the first Feast in the Field. 
“I thought it would be a wonderful way to introduce people to the property for the first time, taking tours, telling stories and connecting over a home-cooked meal under the stars, as I would with my own family,” she says. 
More than a meal, it’s a feast for the senses too. Arriving at the 20-acre, technicolor compound, it’s more of a fantasy retreat than boutique hotel. It’s spacious and secluded with plenty of room to wander and to dream. There’s something imaginative, artful and fun everywhere you look – neon signs, a teepee, the large three-story Dutch barn filled with antiques, collectibles, books of poetry, bongos and cowboy hats; there’s the “Love Shack,” “Red House, “Tower House,” a bathhouse, swimming pool and fire pit. Getting the lay of the land, drink in hand, there’s this kind of cool, calm, communal vibe that wraps itself around you like a Mexican blanket. The guests you meet there; they get it too. It’s a feeling of finding your people when you didn’t even realize you were looking for them. 

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Then there’s the food. For the upcoming feasts, Sheila has selected San Antonio chef Steve McHugh of Cured at Pearl restaurant to prepare the meal on March 26 and, the following evening, on March 27, New Orleans chefs Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, of Coquette, will do the honors. 
"The menu is completely up to the chefs. I only ask that one part of the meal is prepared over an open fire in the field,” Sheila says.  
“[We’ve had] paellas in giant pans, chickens roasting in the wood-fired oven on wheels, whole pigs on a spit, vegetables on a grill over a small ground fire, pineapples hanging on a Frances Mallmann-style cooking dome. Our guests love interacting with the chefs doing what they love and being with them in beautiful country in a place full of heart. Every chef impacts people in meaningful ways, and it is lovely to see.”

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When it comes to the table, true to Sheila’s nature, every detail is thoughtful, intentional and arranged with love. Prepared for 100 guests, the place settings include mismatched china, flatware, glasses and jars in all colors. Bright florals and flickering candles add to the ambiance. 
How the evening unfolds: The gate opens at 5 p.m. Guests are invited to a welcome cocktail and are encouraged to roam the property, sharing stories from their day. The bar opens; the wine flows and light bites are brought out from the kitchen and passed around the party. As the sun begins to set, guests make their way to the table. Dinner is served family-style with multiple mains and sides. Some folks leave after dessert while others shuffle over to the fire pit where guitars come out and intimate conversations strike up.  

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“Rancho is about celebrating authenticity,” Sheila says. “I invite our guests to connect with one another in a deeper way. Connecting, sharing, laughing, inspiring – and deeply listening. We discover more about each other (and ourselves) that way.”
For tickets to Feast in the Field, visit RanchoPillow.com. Tickets will sell out, so make sure to follow @ranchopillow on Instagram for other opportunities like pizza pop-ups on the property during the Antiques Fair. 

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.