We packed up and headed to Round Top, Texas this week where we left feeling delighted, exhausted and completely inspired. Established 48 years ago, the Round Top Antique Fair has evolved into one of the largest and most popular antique shows in the nation. Antique lovers travel far and wide to this charming Texas town hoping to find pieces with an interesting story, and we’re here to share the details of our Round Top journey [along with a few design tips for selecting the right antique pieces] so that next time you decide to roam to Round Top, you know where to go, what to eat, and the most comfortable places to rest your weary head.
Driving south down Highway 237, we were surrounded by countless tents, barns, and roadside shops. The excitement was electric and we were prepared to treasure hunt with the best of them. Our first stop was at The Compound, one of Round Top’s newer spaces and, with over 23 impressive vendors, this is a spot you don’t want to miss!
We kept heading south on 237 and found our way to the iconic Marburger Farm. Trickled with white tents and historic houses, there are over 350 vendors on the farm, and we could easily see it taking a week to get everything in. Luckily, you could probably stay the week and remain comfortably fed and well-hydrated, because the Marburger Farm café is loaded with delectable cuisine from hot spots like Blacks BBQ, Legal Tender, and Righteous Bros. Coffee Roasters.
Although we were mighty tempted to stay put on the farm, we decided to make our way to the Round Top town square, a picturesque little haven that serves as host to Round Top’s permanent storefronts, restaurants, and inns. It was the perfect spot to recharge before our treasure hunt continued!
Now, if all that food means you’re going to need a nap, we highly suggest you check in at Round Top Inn. Pleasant people, exquisite scenery, and a fantastic wine bar within walking distance all lead up to the fact that you may never leave the property, but it’s your Round Top trip, and we promise nobody here is gonna’ judge you.
We know you want to see the treasures, but rather than posting images of all of the things we fell in love with, we thought it might be helpful to explain what our team looks for in an antique piece so that you can hunt for the same things.
Whether it’s a modern piece or an antique, the first thing we always look for is quality craftsmanship. Regardless of how beautiful it might be, if it’s poorly constructed, it’s time to walk away. Selecting a quality piece means inspecting the hinges, bolts, and other joints to be sure they’re secure, checking the quality and weight of the materials used, and asking questions about when and where the piece was made.
We can’t talk about quality craftsmanship and neglect to mention rugs. While machine made rugs are beautiful, we want you to be able to spot a true handmade rug crafted from wool, silk, jute and other natural materials, that will stand the test of time and serve as an heirloom for generations. One of the best ways to tell the difference between hand and machine made rugs is to inspect the back of the rug. If the weaving and knots appear to be slightly uneven and not perfectly uniform, you’ve likely found a keeper. Rugs made with a machine will have backing that appears perfectly uniform and even, and those rugs will generally cost less than ones that are handcrafted. In addition to the weaving and knots, the more detail you see in the design on the back of the rug, generally relates to it being a higher quality product. Lastly, take a minute to look at the rug’s fringe. The fringe on a machine made rug is generally sewn on at the end of the process and serves as a pretty finishing touch, whereas the fringe of a hand knotted rug is actually an extension of the rug foundation itself.
Stop by the Bragatorium in Round Top’s town square to find antique Oushak rugs and other oriental pieces that boast exceptional quality. PS – Oushaks are a firm fave!
Clean, Structured Lines
No matter the design style, we are always on the hunt for pieces with clean, structured lines. This doesn’t mean it has to be perfectly sleek, but it should have a simple, yet powerful, shape. Aged architectural elements, wood beams, lighting, and mirrors are some of our favorite antique pieces that lend charm and interest to any space.
At times, we know exactly what we’re looking for and precisely where we plan to put it in our home, but more often, we fall in love with something and find a place for it once we get it home. For those moments, we opt for versatile pieces that could be used in a multitude of spaces. We’re talking mirrors, chairs, benches, and side tables that can be easily moved around your house as your style changes over the years.
Expert Tip: Get creative! Just because an antique lantern used to provide light doesn’t mean it has to serve the same purpose today. You could repurpose the piece as a planter or decorative accessory, and the same goes for so many of the antique pieces we saw in Round Top.
Finding the right antique is about so much more than knowing when it was made. It’s also about the feelings and memories the piece evokes and the details within that speak to you. Perhaps it’s the beauty of a hand carved corbel that reminds you of your grandmother’s home, or the texture of handspun pottery that makes you smile and differentiates your piece from others in the world; those sensations are what make the pieces so valuable. It’s always worth investing in furniture and accessories that speak to you, creating a home that tells your unique story.
After all of the digging, assessing, and buying, we have no doubt you’ll be hungry again and you’re in luck! Round Top’s charm isn’t reserved for its shopping alone; the entire town is filled with lovely restaurants like Royers Round Top Cafe, Los Patrones, Bistro Napoletana, Pie Haven, and Prost on Block 29. You’ll easily find something that suits your fancy and, while you’re sitting down to eat, you can peruse our list of “Top Shops” and “Places to Stay.”
Old World Antieks, The Silk Purse Inc., Artifacts, Side Door, Antica Collection, Jeff Litrell, Uber Chic Home, Antiquaire de France Inc., Eric Brown & John Berry Chandeliers, The Garden Company, Mecox, Bragatorium.
Places to Stay:
Keep scrolling for more remarkable sights from our trip! We hope our journey has inspired you to round up your best pals for a Round Top shopping trip of your very own!