Gorgeous bluebonnets now blooming are not the only things singing praises to spring in Round Top.
The Vintage Round Top booth, owned by Houstonians Paige and Smoot Hull, opens its doors during the 47th Original Round Top Antiques Fair with an ode to nature theme, "Flora and Fauna," featuring everything from pressed botanicals from Provence to glass-encased specimens of butterflies from a Lone Star State source to decorative moss to add a touch of green to your home. And there is much more — in its permanent space in Round Top Vintage Market, 1235 N. Highway 237.
This year's shopping marathon runs April 1-4 in the quaint Texas town, but the Hulls have already started the celebration (going from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today) and are extending their own marketplace dates through April 5. The couple returns to the annual spring antique extravaganza after two years in a temporary tent at Marburger Farms Antique Show. The darling duo now operates its permanent booth from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"We're offering a 'study in botany' this year," Paige says. "It's a play on spring, and we have objects from Provence to individual collectors here across Texas."
She adds with a laugh, "Shopping is an ongoing job, but what better situation to be in to hunt for shopping opportunities?"
"I like to find unique pieces that show not only authenticity, but origin, a sense of history and where they came from."
A recent tip led the Hulls to old warehouse filled with Shudde Bros. hats, molds and other related vintage pieces untouched as the storage facility had been locked shut for 40 years. While most of the hats are now sold, with the last of them snatched up by buyers visiting The Vintage Round Top's online retail boutique, many of the wooden forms to shape head gear will be at the Hulls' booth with price points at around $75 each. The couple displays the millinery pieces as plant holders, office organizers and as interesting home decor objects.
Waiting for the warehouse to be emptied was an exciting adventure, Paige says, and much different from her trip to France, where flea markets take on a serious first-come, first-served attitude.
"Here, you get in your car, drive to the flea market and visit the tents," Paige says. "In France, the flea markets are enormous and all over the place. You get there early to find big vans in the lot, the gates open at 8 a.m. and the vendors just start unloading the vans. It's a mad dash to see the items and get them before other shoppers do."
Some of those treasures Paige did bring back that will be showcased at The Vintage Round Top include amber-hued glass apothecary jars at $135 for a set of three; French clay pots for $35 each; hand-carved wooden rosaries from the 1800s for $135 each; and many items with French labels or French writing on them.
"I like to find unique pieces that show not only authenticity, but origin, a sense of history and where they came from," Paige says. "I'm such a believer in purchasing vintage because they are often one-of-a-kind, they have a story and they have an energy to them from being handed down from family member to family member. Those are the pieces that become conversation pieces."
Another fab discovery Paige brings to The Vintage Round Top are box sets filled with 150 individual pages of maps of Europe. These "Carte De Cabinet Des Pays-Bas Autrichiens," as the beautiful labels say, can be kept as is or used as wallpaper, to decoupage, to frame or to show off in a large bowl or tray on a coffee table.
And, of course, Paige continues to offer her popular accent pillows handmade from "crazy quilts," a textile art that became popular in the late 1800s and produced a patchwork design using exotic pieces such of fabric like velvet, satin or silk. These fun additions to any home are joined by handmade Swiss Army-emblem accessories.
"Our overall look is French bohemian, industrial chic and vintage luxe," Paige says. "And all our inventory can be placed in any style house in small doses, from cottage to traditional homes."
After the spring market, Paige and Smoot are taking their school-aged children, also their No. 1 helpers at The Vintage Round Top and budding collectors themselves, on a vacation — and a shopping trip to Provence, Barcelona and Paris.
"We have it all scheduled for vacation time in between weekends at the flea markets. So we'll have a fresh load of new finds for the next show."