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Round Top Antiques Fair: An Expert Shares Her Finds

Round Top Antiques Fair: An Expert Shares Her Finds

This past week was my umpteenth time heading to Round Top. It’s always a great time of year, a wonderful way to help my autumn projects further along and a unique time for me to have a nice long day of full, direct time with my clients. Really the ideal way for me to spend a prolonged period of time with them, and help go through fun items like the discovery and education of a piece.

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And this is really where I find great pleasure. One of the more significant reasons I got into interior design, is because there simply is so much more than just picking a piece for that piece’s sake. Good design – strong design, understands context, origin, quality and why a piece is made the way it is or how that piece will impact a space or tie into to the architecture.

Round Top is a unique place to get more deeply into this, because it is one of the largest antiques market in this part of the country. And believe me when I tell you, for a girl who grew up going to markets in most central European countries (and at the absolute crack of dawn mind you), the fact that we have access to pieces of caliber here, is a really good thing. Certainly with our busy daily lives, some things need to be short-lived. Not all pieces in a home need be of measure, but this societal direction we are headed toward, tempted by throw-away and constantly exchangeable pieces, does such a disservice to our lives, how we experience them, and what we become nostalgic for.

It’s simple: better pieces are better for the soul.

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As a Belgian, I am of course partial to certain things that come from there and are connected to excellent quality, heritage and manufacturing know-how. With that in mind, I long ago established relationships with some of my favorite Belgian vendors at the fair, so I enjoyed once again perusing their stellar wares.

So, what is it that I experienced this time around and what is it that I feel is most helpful to my clients? Let’s explore:

My initial stop at the Compound yielded some great area rug options. I fell hard for many – but this one in particular has such an unusual color palette. This deeper, smoky green is not as easily found. And that it’s not easily found must be valued, since it makes a home feel more specific to the homeowner who has come upon such a treasure.

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Then to Marburger, where I love to linger. The level of quality in pieces here, makes it a wonderful place to find real intrinsic beauty; beauty in the piece and the materials from which it was made. A stone mortar bowl such as this one below may be missing its pestle, but its deeply aged hand-touched patina gives you everything you could need in finding a solid, long term object.

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Polished nautilus shells naturally yield a distinctive variety – not to be overlooked as a lovely moment in an entryway for example. And anything in alabaster is something that will always remain luxuriously classic. This particular example is quite exquisite.

Belgian linens come from old farms or households that left their mark through the embroidery of initials. If you think about it, the number of times they’ve been washed, and worked with – they soften and better with age. The strength of a good quality linen, only improves over time which makes it a workhorse in any modern home, not to mention is why we still find these pieces around. Think about that - they continue to stand the test of time, and their softened beauty signals that.

Antique silver is something I collect and very good quality silver ranging in estate sets to hotel silver is available throughout the show. Why do I love antique silver? Because, it’s been used and softened. Its aged beauty gives us the functionality to get our silverware out of the drawer and on to the table – not save it for some obscure special day. Aged silver insights us to live now. Did you also know that softened silver sits better in our hands, since edging has relaxed over time?

Paperweights are something else I hold dear. I love that they come in all shapes, sizes and weights and each serve as a small piece of art to beautifully sit on a desk (or anywhere else for that matter). Glass paperweights began to appear in the mid-1800s   - a wonderfully fanciful way to keep hand-written papers well gathered. My eye caught this modern one. Have you ever seen this shape before in a clear glass weight?! Not something I often see.

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For this specific trip, I was specifically seeking out items for 4 projects. You can always come with a list, but of course the best things happen when you least expect it and you have to be attuned to seeing treasure where you least expect it. That is why I suggest you go with someone who can bring that out in you. A friend or expert that knows where to dig, what something is worth, and how to negotiate for it. It’s personally something I love to do and why, as I mentioned above, I love taking clients on adventures like these. Experiences are what shape our lives, our homes, our lifestyles – and heading to Round Top is a great way to gain expert experience with that.

I go twice a year - with or without clients. This year, a client took the time to explain to me why these specific searches were something so important to her in how we create her home.

The main thing is, it’s [Round Top] huge! It’s just so overwhelming. If I went by myself, I would find all sorts of things that I like because I know what I like. But I would become confused —I probably wouldn’t get anything because I wouldn’t know which ones would work.
— Turnstyle Design Client

Whether she is with me in person or not, she, like others, she seeks an professional understanding to get the big picture of her home right. With the specificity and clarity of finding things that are truly remarkable, unique in their own right and not something anyone else has, one ends up with a home.

You [Lieve] have the context and the vision of how things would fit design-wise. So going with you to Round Top, you can spot things and when I spot things I like, I can turn to you and say ‘what do you think about this?’ It’s an instantaneous affirmation.
— Turnstyle Design Client

That is why I truly, madly and deeply love crafting a lifestyle for a client. It’s the opportunity to really tell the story of who they are and ultimately what they want to be; the epitome of their ideal home.

Here are some favorite Round Top vendors in case you’d like to check them out:

-       Sean Hanrahan’s Sold on Dixie

-       Misty Fowler at Misty Fowler Antiques

-       Portobello Antiques

-       Amelia Tarbet

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Hats off to you all —happy treasure hunting! xLS

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