April is the month to be green but as chic consumer who loves interiors and aesthetics being green isn’t always so easy. So why not chose a sustainable, fashionable way to shop that is safe for the environment? Reuse, repurpose, recycle and up cycle by styling your world with antiques and vintage finds. Real people with real businesses are making a real difference in small town Texas. Who would have thought Texas farm country could be so green?
Antiques, food, music, drinks and fresh country air set the stage for the semi-annual Round Top, Warrenton, Marburger Farms Antique Fair. Designers, dealers, antique lovers and treasure hunters descend upon more than 43 acres of fields in 10 large tents and 12 historic buildings, setting the stage for an all-out buying frenzy.
A buying frenzy is green? When it includes vintage goodies and antiques, it is.
So is being green more expensive? Not at Round Top. The range of style, price and quality of antiques is as enormous as the venue. There is something for everyone including architectural, English, Continental, Asian, industrial, garden, Americana, painted furniture, fine art, early Texas, mid century modern, French, silver, jewelry, textiles, paintings and prints.
The vendors are as international as their pieces, telling stories, creating a mystique, making you feel as though you would miss out if you passed up on this “rare” and one-of-a-kind piece from a local Texas town to a European castle. The biggest hint of all: Don’t forget to negotiate and remember cash is king, after all it is green.
When it comes to Texas Antique shows, the original granddaddy of them all is the Round Top Antiques Fair now in its 43rd year. Talk about sustainable. Round Top, TX with a population of 90, according to the sign welcoming you to town, is the host. The Big Red Barn and the Carmine Dance Hall display antiques and collectables in an informal, eclectic atmosphere differing from the air you might feel walking into a specialized and civilized big city antique store. Why buy something new made to look old when you can have the original piece and save the environment at the same time?
Pieces range with inexpensive reproductions to museum quality big ticket items in form of petite one offs to grand and spectacular. Century old antique silver, glamorous glass, coveted crystal, lovely linens and beautiful china abound. There is something for everyone, no matter what your style.
Remember, it isn’t all about the antiques — Royer's Café is a must for any Round Top shopping day. Top it off with a slice of their famous pie to complement that appetite you grew with a big day of shopping.
Marburger Farms has become a favorite of mine offering a more culled and creatively displayed source for antiques for over a dozen years. The show begins with early buying on Tuesdays. I have heard the opening of the tents can create frenzy similar to the annual discounted shopping day for bridal gowns at NY Department stores. If you feel that competitive spirit, set out early Tuesday morning to make it there by 10am for the early shopping until 2pm at the special price of $25. Or take your time and enjoy the discount of a smaller price for admission, $10 the remainder of the week until Saturday. If you ask me, the early bird gets the worm, especially when it comes to hunting antiques.
As a Round Top devotee since the 1980’s I have traveled with my mom, cousin Carol and best girlfriend Lesli for years. On Friday our pilgrimage to Warrenton continued and did not disappoint. As much as I love a uniquely styled collection of beautiful pieces, if I had to choose, I prefer looking for a needle in a haystack in the fields of Warrenton. Admission is free and so should your spirit be.
In my years of vintage treasure hunting, my all-time top rare find was a pair of Chanel Doors from a Chanel Boutique in St. Louis, MO. My most coveted vintage wardrobe piece came in the form of a vintage off-white mink and leather coat, al la Carrie Bradshaw, circa 1970’s.
Warrenton has also provided its fair share of 1950’s prom dresses and wedding dresses. By up-cycling them from their initial state, making them more current, I cut off the bodice and transformed the dress to a skirt. Something old becomes new again, with a little edge worn with cowboy boots and t shirts. And a day of treasure hunting would not be complete without a few special vintage jewelry finds, every style, any price, any scale.
This year my unneeded, yet obsessive find, was a silver leather settee with rhinestone button tufting perfectly suited for a boudoir setting. However the most unusual piece I have ever found to date, came in the form of a Mardi Gras head dress, fit for any Vegas Showgirl, bedazzled in sequins and a gleaming Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. It is makes for a fabulous piece of pop art on a wall or an amazing back drop for a Paris inspired fashion show. Talk about up-cycled and repurposed.
If you are a fashion designer, interior designer or artist looking for inspiration, take a quick trip to the Central Texas farm country and find little pieces from around the world dropped like bread crumbs in a field. Make sure you have great walking shoes, refuel on Texas BBQ, snack on a snow cones, enjoy a cupcake from “Muffin Tops”, or sip champagne from Zapp Hall. After all, what better way to have a Texas “good time”?
Although the Spring weather is much more enjoyable than the sometimes 90 plus degree October heat, mark your calendar for late September to early October for one day or two or three of antique treasure hunting and green sustainable memorable fun.
The Round Top Antiques Fair happens April 4 - 7, 2012. Admission is $10 for all locations and all events.