Not far up the road from the Hill Country Galleria, where big box stores butt up against rolling hills, a simple-yet-inviting rustic storefront houses a design-focused furniture shop that sells eclectic, reconfigured pieces. Delete all notions of country kitsch. Revival, as the retail space is known, is about turning the old into something new.
“We took old stuff, painted it, gave it new life — resurrected it, if you will,” said Tara Camp, who co-owns Revival with her husband, David. Missing from this bastion of stylish finds are antiques (actually, you might come across a few imported pieces from Europe), doilies and tin cups. Inside Revival, beautiful lamps crafted from old architectural iron pieces sit atop dressers made from reclaimed wood. Colorful collages are framed in repurposed windowsills, and vintage chairs look smart dressed in stylish fabrics.
Passion for Revival
A few years ago, the 30-something couple moved with their three daughters to the Austin area from the Cayman Islands, where David worked in real estate. For about a year and half, they settled in, making new friends, hitting estate sales to decorate their home, and searching for their next big project. In November 2010 the couple turned their passion for reviving furniture into their livelihood. They purchased two and a half acres in Bee Cave and opened shop.
They set out some vintage chairs they had painted with a metallic finish and reupholstered with brocade fabric. They had a few old doors and gates, which quickly sold. So they brought in more architectural pieces. “David is super creative, but he also has a strong business side. He’s the one who took it to the extra level of what Revival is,” said Tara. The Camps don’t have a background in selling furniture or degrees in design. “We’re two people who love what they do,” she explained.
A magnet for unique pieces
How do the Camps find all of their cool things? Tara wouldn’t give away all of her secrets, but she did say the couple goes on buying trips generally twice a year. “Last time we took a family road trip through the Midwest,” she said. “We buy whole barns, and then we take that wood and make reclaimed tables.” Revival employs two full-time carpenters to work on projects. “They’ll take something and turn it into something totally new, cool, and relevant.”
The Camps also spend time making connections. Most of the enormous gates and intricately carved doors are brought in through a dealer who operates out of Europe. A local artist does layered collages. A gentleman from Alabama travels a circuit and brings his architectural lamps to the store. “He found us,” explained Tara. “Now that we are open, people find us.”
It’s about the experience
The store is bursting with artfully crafted pieces — metallic cowhide rugs, an oversized clock, French radiator lamps, old cheeseboards, decadent chandeliers — and the outdoor space is littered with gigantic iron gates, light fixtures hanging from tree limbs, repurposed tables, and doors of various shapes and sizes.
But there’s still room for a thousand or so people to hang out, listen to live music, eat, drink, shop, and swap stories during Revival’s annual market, where artists, vendors, and growers come together and pitch tents to showcase their wares. Tara doesn’t sell much furniture on those days, but people tell their friends about Revival. It is a good way to get the word out about the store and its additional services such as custom furniture building, design work, and Revival University, which offers classes on painting and gardening.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re fun. People describe it as an experience. They come out. They say, ‘This place makes me happy.’” That’s what Revival is all about.