Today I'm recapping this year's adventure with my favorite fellow designer pals to shop for new products, meet new vendors, and survive the weather that just so happened to swirl around during our time at Round Top.
I admit, I'd never really heard of Round Top before I moved to Texas some twenty odd years ago. I'd heard of Brimfield Market, but Round Top was new to me. It all started as the Round Top Antique Show many years ago which you can read about here. Just so you know, it's relatively centrally located between Austin and Houston...about 90 minutes from either.
While there are some permanent shops set up for business year round, twice a year this sleepy town and surrounding areas come to life for a few weeks as design vendors from all over the country make their way to Texas to sell their wares (quite similar to High Point if you think about it).
These women below are some of the best in the industry, and I had the pleasure of meeting them all in 2020 at a business of design conference. Now I am honored to call them my friends. We all text or chat almost daily and zoom when we can all get it together - seriously love 'em all to bits! Not all the ladies could make this trip but we are all scheduled to reunite at Blair's wedding this fall and I. can't. wait! #goingtothechapelandshe'sgonnagetmarried!
Round Top happens twice a year in spring and fall. What does that mean to you if you're traveling here? Well, bottom line: expect the unexpected. Remember that weather I mentioned earlier? You can see what I mean below.
Plan for anything, rain or shine. Round Top is right in the middle of farm fields (in the red part of the map below), so be sure to take boots or shoes you don't mind getting ruined, regardless of the weather. You'll thank me later. A disposable poncho isn't a bad idea either. Pack in layers because in spring it could be chilly or it could be hot. In the fall, during Round Top time that is, the temperatures range from hot to hotter (9 months out of the year its as hot as a sauna).
One thing to know about this and, really any, of the trade shows, is that planning ahead will always pay off. We rented a house on VRBO 6 months ahead of time - totally worth it! We stayed just outside of Brenham, but there are B&B's and hotels like this one and super cute places to eat like this one where we had the best pizza and truffle fries...I mean so good, I would make the trip just to eat lunch there.
Big Tip: Cell service is also iffy, so your battery will drain fast - portable battery pack chargers are a must for your time here!
What (will you find?)
As you might imagine with stock issues and rising prices for everything this year, the hunt for furniture was on like a game of Donkey Kong. The goal for us all was to source unique case goods and upholstery if possible. Let me me start by saying in Round Top, you never know what you're gonna find...case in point...
Who doesn't need a vintage carousel on their property?! I hope my client Susan is reading this. Just saying ;) doesn't every weekend retreat in the country need one?
One of my favorite finds was a vendor I'd only read about, but was so excited to see in person...and I didn't even have to get on a plane!
If you have time to play, I highly suggest pairing up with a friend that has higher budget projects, and have a look at vendors that you may not necessarily use very often. If anything, it's great inspiration and you may see something that sparks an idea that could be in your client's budget.
High end vendors like that are so curated and each piece is absolutely unique and one-of-a-kind, but because of that, those pieces are available to ship out right away. You will pay a very pretty penny for them, but that is something to keep in mind if you are really in a time crunch when sourcing for projects.
I will also say that pricing overall has gone up at least 3x since I was here last year, and if transportation costs continue to go up, I don't see that coming down any time soon.
Notice not just the sink but the light pendant...gorgeous!
I wanted this painting but the vendor wasn't in his booth. Everybody was scrambling to prepare for the bad weather on this particular day.
Acrylic bar anyone?
As long as you're out here, I recommend swinging by Buc-ee's for gas in the rental car, just to witness the spectacle like the singer Pink did a few years ago! They have their own line of food (be sure and grab snacks and waters), the cleanest bathrooms, and more pumps than you can shake a stick at. For me, the cleanest bathrooms for miles are worth their weight in gold.
In Round Top proper, I also highly recommend Lulu's for some fine dining as a fun treat after walking miles and miles around during your treasure hunt. Speaking of treasures, herewith are my favorite finds from this trip to Round Top...
I have this thing for chairs...except for one you'll see in the mix...scroll through below and guess which one?
For this round, I sadly didn't end up finding anything I needed specifically for my design projects, but instead reveled in the high-fives from my design gals when they found exactly what they were looking for. The camaraderie and shopping with people who just 'get it' really will always be my favorite part of these trips.
Did you attend Round Top this year? What was your favorite find from your time here? Tell me all about it in the comments below. Inquiring minds want to know!