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9 Cool Things in Fredericksburg – Furniture, Wine and Wildflowers (Part Two)

17 Apr

As you will undoubtedly recall, Mr. Handsome and I took a trip out to Fredericksburg in December to enjoy some R&R and do a little scouting for our loyal followers.  For such a small town, it really is amazing how much great stuff there is to see out there.  If you haven’t been in a while, you’ll find it has definitely evolved –with some funkier stores alongside the traditional ones, more art galleries and a new focus on wine. You had me at “wine”.

Since we’re having a late and impressive wildflower season (according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center), it seems the perfect time to share the rest of the highlights from our trip.  Be sure to check out Part One for the first five finds.

Phil Jackson’s Amazing World of Things

Phil Jackson's Amazing World of Things

I want to have a “World of Things” store someday.

I included this mostly because I loved “Amazing World of Things”.  I think the real name of the store is “Phil Jackson’s Granite and Stone Store”, but that’s boring (although I suppose more descriptive).  Combining the promise of both names, there is some amazing granite in this store.  There was one sea-blue granite table that I just wanted to lie on.  Given the multiple children in our house, one of the first things we wondered is what would happen if the table tipped over.  For normal people that would probably be almost impossible, but I bet a 12 year-old boy could do it in about 15 minutes.

Lincoln Street

Lincoln Street Wine Bar FredericksburgA friend of mine got married out in The Burg several years ago, and the night before the wedding most of us ended up at Lincoln Street.  It was one of those magical nights of wine and good friends, and I have a huge soft spot in my heart for that place.  When Mr. Handsome and I went out for our first romantic weekend together, I took him there and now it’s de riguer.  The best time to go is in the winter (or as we say in Texas, “winter”), when you can sit by the big outdoor fireplace with your glass of wine and chocolate truffles.  But the inside is cozy as well, exactly how I think a wine bar should be.  And of course the wine selection is great.

Double R Dry Goods

Double R Dry Goods stoveThis is one of the more traditional old-school Fredericksburg  stores, with lots of Hill Country-style stuff but also plenty of kitchy finds . From boots to taxidermy, you can get your Texana fill here.

Check out this amazing refurbished old stove – they had several. I don’t know where I’d put one or what I’d burn in it, but I want it.  Imagine the weenie roasts you could have with this thing!  You’d have to have a silver-plated stick though.

Galleria 19 Fine Art

galeria_19_fine_art_fredericksburgWe also wandered in to an gallery in the west end, which is becoming the “art” section of town.  We chatted for a while with Jesse, who recently moved the gallery from Mexico (quite a change!).  They chose Fredericksburg because of the growing art and wine community.  The gallery features more international artists than many of the traditional galleries in town, but still has a nod to the P.S. There is an artwalk every first Friday, and the galleries stay open till 8! Let’s hope this catches on; it’s very frustrating to watch the sidewalks roll up at 5 on a Saturday.  I mean, we’re practically elderly but even we can shop till 8.

So. gas up the car and head on out!  Be sure to tell us if you find any more great places, we’d love to hear about them.


Miss Part One?  Read it here.

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Pick Fabric First

9 Apr
Bolt Fabrics samples

Don’t let the wall color keep you from a great combo like this! (courtesy of Bolt Fabrics)

Knowing in which order to do things is one of the big differences between an amateur and a professional.  For example, would Jeeves* have put Wooster’s shoes on before his pants?  Of course not! Rookie mistake. Order is also important when designing a room.  This week’s Pro Tip is inspired by the folks at Bolt Fabrics, an interior fabric store on South Lamar.

Pro Tip

When redesigning an entire room, start with the fabric.  While there are hundreds of fabric choices, there are thousands of paint colors, so it will be easier to match paint to fabric than vice-versa.  In fact you can usually get paint custom-matched to your fabric if necessary. Plus, this prevents the tragedy of painting a room, then falling in love with a fabric that clashes.  Just trying to save you the  heartache.


Jeeves and Wooster is a British comedy television programme adapted from P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves” stories. It aired on the ITV network from 1990 to 1993, with the last series nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series. It starred Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster, a young gentleman with a “distinctive blend of airy nonchalance and refined gormlessness”, and Stephen Fry as Jeeves, his improbably well-informed and talented valet. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Gormlessness, best word ever.

See more Pro Tips; and be sure to connect with us so you don’t miss anything!

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Round Top Antique Festival: Wow (Or: Things We’ve Learned from our First Visit)

25 Mar

Round Top Antiques Festival hoof lampAfter living in Austin for 16 years I still had yet to visit the Round Top Antique Festival (for those in the know, simply “Round Top”).  Given my furniture obsession of late, it seemed like this was the year to remedy that omission.  I naively thought that I could run out there for a few hours, then write a concise and supremely useful story for our loyal followers about the event. What a noob.

Unaware of my folly, I packed up 10 year-old Mr. Enthusiasm (who has a love of all things weird and old) gassed up the car and headed east. I had looked up some information online and was already a bit overwhelmed, so we decided to start at the Blue Hills Show to visit our friend Chotsie of Reworks.  We had a blast wandering through tents housing at least 100 vendors—finding treasures from a 8-foot-long carved and inlaid chest to an (ahem) unique cloven-hoofed lamp. We lost track of time and had to race home after several hours, managing to not have spent a penny!

Round Top Antiques Reworks booth

Reworks’ gorgeous booth.

Well, my friends, apparently we went to the Louvre and only saw the Mona Lisa. The Blue Hills show, with its 100+ vendors, is actually just a tiny fraction of the full event.  By the first week in April there will be literally thousands of vendors, tents and shops, all spread out in somewhat random fashion between Highways 290 and 71.

It’s amazing and oddly charming that, in this day of overproduced and orchestrated events, Round Top still seems to be somewhat organic.  There isn’t one “official” organizer; it’s evolved over 40-some years to be a loosely-collected set of individual shows.  Some venues charge an entrance fee, some don’t. Some have porters, some don’t.  There are no official hours that I can find.

Seven Things to Know about the Round Top Antique Festival

So even after a visit and lots of research I’m still kind of confused, but definitely intrigued.  Here are a few things we’ve figured out so far:

  • “Shows” begin appearing as soon as March 22nd and continue to pop up over the course of the next three weeks
  • The “official” Round Top Antiques Week is April 2nd through 7th , at that point everyone is there; all the food trailers, big dealers, mimes, etc. (OK, no mimes thankfully).
  • There are five big main shows; the original Big Red Barn and Big Red Barn Tent, the Marburger Farm Antiques Show, the Continental Tent and Carmine Dance Hall.
  • Smaller stores, shows and tents stretch from Carmine to south of La Grange.
  • Most shows feature a wide variety of styles, prices and vintages; some are known slightly more for one thing than another, but it’s generally a happy mix of treasures.
  • A few of the shows charge admission, but only $10 or so.
  • A very comprehensive (although also overwhelming) magazine is produced about the show, available as a PDF or to pick up at most of the venues.  There’s a great pull-out map section that will give you a sense of the scope (flip to page 67).

Round Top Antiques Festival magazine

Tips for Enjoying the Round Top Antique Festival

So we’re definitely going back, just like we’re going back to the Louvre. It’s clearly impossible to become an expert after one short trip; I’m guessing it’s almost impossible to become an expert at all…that’s part of the fun.  But based on our limited experience and the advice of some much more seasoned sellers and shoppers, we’ve got a slightly random collection of tips to help you enjoy your trip:

  • Head out as soon as you can, things get bonkers as the weeks go on.  Maybe even plan on two trips.
  • Don’t get caught in a speed trap on your way out there, there are lots of tiny towns between Austin and Round Top with overprotective police forces.
  • Wear comfy shoes, and ones that can handle some dust.  Many of the floors are gravel or dirt.
  • According to our sources, the Blue Hills area has the best bathrooms and the BBQ from the United Methodist Men is not to be missed.
  • Royers Round Top Cafe has great food and takes online reservations, a visit to the JW Steakhouse is also recommended.
  • While there are no official hours for the free shows, most vendors are open from 9-ish to dusk.
  • There are some fun-sounding evening events, check out page 27 of the magazine. Just be careful with the wine, you may come home with the hoof lamp!
  • This is not always the bargain-hunter’s paradise. While there are deals to be had, most amateurs will probably miss them.  Go for the amazing selection and variety, not necessarily the price.
  • Do not carry a large bag.  You will knock something over, probably something expensive that you would not buy normally.

If you decide to go, let us know what you discover! Maybe we’ll see you out there next week. See Pinterest for some more pics of our trip.

A few more helpful links:

Another calendar with slightly different info

Round Top Folk Art Fair (run by the original founder of the Festival)

The “original” Round Top Antique Fair

Local restaurants

Sneak Peek: Southern Living Showcase Home Austin (Lago Vista)

6 Feb
Fireplace in the living room.  Taller than my house.

Fireplace in the living room. Taller than my house.

We were lucky enough to be invited by interior designer Heather Harkovich out to Lago Vista (when are they going to build a bridge?) to get a super-secret sneak peek of the Southern Living Showcase Home. Heather was selected to do all the design work in the house–which is a huge honor–and she had the chance to show her efforts off to a few select luminaries.  You know me, a Select Luminary.

Wow.  It was easy to assume that the house would be a traditional Hill Country Tuscan, but this house belied all the stereotypes. It’s a bit hard to describe, but the interiors feel like a marriage of beach and barn, if the beach was in the Hamptons and the barn was in the French countryside.

The interior was done in mostly shades of white, with accents of beachy blues. The furnishings were beautiful, but I was completely smitten by the materials used throughout the house.  Whitewashed horizontal-planked walls in the living room, incredible marble tilework in the kitchen and baths, navy grasscloth in the study (swoon).

Here are pics of a few details you might miss if you don’t look carefully:

Guest bath shower ceiling

The shower ceiling in the guest bath. Both Mr. Handsome and I blurted out “how the heck to they get that up there?”

Living room interior windows

Interior windows reminiscent of a barn…although not many barns have chandeliers.

Marble mosaic in kitchen

The “entertaining” kitchen. The backsplash is marble mosaic tile. Gah.

Guest bed light fixture

This unique light in the upstairs guest bedroom made beautiful patterns on the ceiling.

Here are a few other things we noticed but forgot to get photos of:

  • An electric staircase to the attic, just push a button and it slides down!  No more jumping for that dumb string that’s always just a little too short.
  • An herb garden at the entrance to the house (on the left side). You can’t have your basil too close!
  • The lamps on the buffet in the main room are corbels bought in Round Top and wired by Austin’s Re-Works Works.
  • The “entertaining kitchen” concept.  I’ve noticed this in several high-end houses lately;  builders and designers are finally accepting that everyone is going to end up in the kitchen at a party.  So there is a super-sparkly one that is in the main traffic flow and has lots of counter space for serving, and there is a second catering/family kitchen for prepping and storage.

(You can read more about the design process here on Heather’s blog).

So, of course you want to go.  The official Tour opens this Saturday and runs through the 24th.

Southern Living Showcase Home

Tickets and Information

And of course you also want to go to the new Heather Scott Home and Design Store!  Here are a sampling of some of the wonderful things they have from the Market.   Now go get inspired!

green striped rug

Green striped rug

greywashed wicker cabinet

Greywashed wicker cabinet

Leather and chrome nesting tables

Leather and chrome nesting tables

9 Cool Things in Fredericksburg (Part One: Gift Ideas)

5 Dec
Didn't see any longhorns!


Last weekend was time for a little post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas getaway.  Since time was tight, we decided to head out to Fredericksburg and kill two birds with one stone: bird 1) relax, bird 2) research for an eventual Fredericksburg section on the Market. We hadn’t been out in about 6 years, and things have changed quite a bit. For one thing, there are about 1000 wineries out there now.  Well, OK, maybe not 1000, but more than there were before.  And we’re all for that!  This trip we didn’t stop to take a tour, because we had a shopping and rockin’ agenda (to be covered in Part 2), but next time we will.

Since it was a quick overnight we didn’t get very far off the beaten path, but we still managed to be reminded of why The Burg is such a mecca for home goods.  We made a few other discoveries as well, and this week we’re sharing a few that offer unique gift ideas.


Birdcage lamp

Not made from antlers, but that’s OK.

If you think Fredericksburg is all antler art and bluebonnet paintings (of which there are plenty and we’re not complaining) then Red will come as either a welcome surprise or somewhat of a shock.  But this super-cool, vintage-meets-rustic-meets-modern store on Main Street suggests a change in Fredericksburg.  Lots of reclaimed-type and mid-century stuff, plus a great selection of smaller gifty items.

Gift Idea: The nifty 3D cardboard animals.

D’Vine Wine

Divine Wine

First stop, wine!

As we were driving in we noticed all the new vineyards, but also that the vines were pretty young (being wine connoisseurs, we can tell this type of thing, naturally).  So this winery buys grapes from elsewhere, but makes the wine right there.  We did the 6-sip tasting and ended up buying a bottle of the Broken Spoke Red, which we loved.  I don’t see it listed on their website, so maybe it’s available only in the store, but we also loved the sangiovese if you want to try to order something.

Gift Idea: You can actually custom-order wine! Pick the type you want (with their expert guidance), design a label, then come back in a month or two to bottle and label it with the staff. You can bring a friend or two and make it a party.  What a great gift this would be for the oneophile in your life.

Amish Market


Fine furniture and cheese.

I wouldn’t have thought I would have been so smitten with this store, but I was.  I appreciate the simple lines of typical Amish/Mennonite furniture, but it’s not usually my style.  But the stuff they  had in this store was so beautifully crafted, I had to reconsider.  The thing that struck me most was not the quality of the wood (which was exceptional) but the quality of the finish.  It was like satin, which sounds cliche, but it really did feel that soft and smooth.  As someone who has tried do do a little refinishing, I was impressed.

Gift Idea: All sorts of Amish food treats, try the sweet onion cheese.

It’s aGlow

Honeycomb calcite candle

All this glow from a tealight!

I’m a sucker for rocks, the mineral room is always my favorite at the Natural History Museum. So of course this store caught my attention – all they sell are items made from Honeycomb Calcite.  They had an assortment of items, but from my perspective the best use is as a faux candle.  See, I am not sure I approve of battery-operated candles that are all the rage right now, call me Amish.  On the other hand, I am tired of tealights constantly blowing out on my outdoor lanterns and drippy wax on my candleholders.  So these calcite things (really, they’re just cylinders) allow you to use a real tealight, but somehow they amplify the light while also protecting the flame from the wind.  I bought two just to test, but I think I’m going to get a whole bunch of them and use them exclusively from now on.  Plus, no fake vanilla scent.

Gift Idea: The whole store.



You can sort of see the doors in this picture…

I am so in love.  This furniture store-gallery-bistro somewhat defies definition (although I guess I did an OK  job right there) and also is definitely not of the old-Fredericksburg mold.  The first things that stopped me cold on the street were the massive front doors; they were just incredible and I’m so sorry I didn’t get a better picture for you.  Drawn in as if mesmerized, I wandered through the main level trying to look as if I could afford some of the fantastic pieces in the furniture gallery.  I floated down the iron-railed staircase to discover the wine store and bistro, only to be devastated to discover they only served dinner on Mondays (by reservation).  I was so distraught that I didn’t even realize there was a gallery on the upper floor.  Our next trip will definitely include a Monday night.

Gift Idea: Make reservations for the Monday night dinner, then walk a few doors down and stay at Eden’s Gate.

Don’t miss Part Two; in which there is more wine and shopping!