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Shopping & Fashion

Your Ultimate Guide to the Round Top Antiques Show

The secrets of how to shop the famed three-week affair from seasoned pros.
By D Home |
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Taylor Tomasi Hill shopping at Margburger Farm Show
Marburger Farm. Elizabeth Lavin
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Your Ultimate Guide to the Round Top Antiques Show

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Twice each year, over a stretch of three weeks in the spring and fall, Round Top, Texas, transforms from a sleepy town of 90 to a bustling, can’t-miss shopping destination that draws an estimated 100,000 people. But the Round Top Antiques Show wasn’t always such a spectacle. Since its inception in 1968, the biannual event has exploded, now boasting more than 4,000 venders across 11 miles hawking wares of all styles and eras. Sellers and shoppers come from all over the country, including a who’s who of the nation’s design elite. It’s a beloved shopping event, but how you begin to navigate it? D Home talked to Dallas design notables, who broke down their tips and let us in on their favorite places to shop, dine, and stay while you’re there.

A Quick Trip

During a time when the landscape is changing swiftly from dusty fields to air-conditioned complexes, now’s the perfect opportunity to experience Round Top icons. Round Top regular Coryanne Ettiene helps you plan your itinerary.

If you only have a day …

Beat the Dallas traffic and hit the road at 6 a.m. with a packed cooler and a playlist that will last you the four-hour drive. Start your day at Bar W, walking through fields packed with everything from rusty barbed wire to farmhouse sinks, and make your way to Box Road, where Donnie Volkart and Michael Ouellette have single-handedly elevated Warrenton with a newly finished property packed with curated finds from Mexico. From there, drive to The Compound and shop alongside some of Texas’ top interior designers in air-conditioned barns packed with mid-century modern and fine antique furniture. Pop over to The Garden Co. Feed & Firewater for lunch under the oldest oak in Round Top. After lunch, stop next door at Townsend Provisions for old boots and mercantile finds before hitting Blue Hills two miles down the road, where Dallas favorites like East End Salvage, Soho McKinney, The M, Gina Bowhill, Ettiene Market (ahem!), and more are located. Your last stop before you head back is LaBahia, where you will find everything from antique silver pieces to vintage home goods.

For seasoned pros:

Round Top Happy has a way of spreading to neighboring locations, so once you’ve hit the regular haunts, let adventure take you to Fayetteville for their town square antiques auction. Then feast in neighboring Bellville at 22 North Holland, where antelope dots the locally sourced, chef-inspired menu. If you are looking to escape the crowds, The Vine—located just outside the town of Industry—opens their tasting room every weekend. Alternatively, have a picnic in nearby Winedale, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you’re entertaining a crowd, attend a cooking class with Marcia Smart in her Kitchenette Farm, or arrange a private dinner for a bespoke Round Top dining experience. 

Ask a Pickin’ Pro

Coryanne Ettiene answers the Round Top questions you’re too embarrassed to ask.

Do I need a big truck?

No. Most of the larger venues offer a Distinguished Transport operation, or something similar, that specializes in getting your larger pieces home.  

What should I wear?

Round Top Regalia ShoppersThe majority of Round Toppers will be wearing a combination of boots, jewelry, and a hat adorned to impress. On any given day you may start dressed for winter, move into high wind spring, only to end the day a hot sticky mess. Layer, and understand that the glow of Round Top is unavoidable.

I’m here early and not all the restaurants are open yet?

The week before the fair is busy with shoppers trying to find good deals, but if you arrive before Thursday, you’ll be hard pressed to find restaurants open that are not understaffed, understocked, and packed with hungry shoppers. Mandito’s is always open on Monday, dishing up standard Mexican plates and frozen margaritas. Otherwise, load up an ice chest or stock yours in town at The Little Cheese Shop, Pop-A-Top Bottle Shop, and Round Top Mercantile.

Where to Shop

Marburger Farm

“One of the design world’s favorite resources, a singular experience, founded in 1997. Forty three acres, five days, twice a year. A Texas treasure. Some of my favorite vendors inside are Antevasins Imports, Patternmill, and Galere.” —Janet Gridley, Interior Designer

“Opening day of Marburger Farm is the top of my list, and if that’s the only thing you do, it would be enough! Spring for the early entrance tickets. I’m not about the mad dash where people elbow their way to claim their early purchases, but you do want to be the first in the tents just in case.”—Josh Pickering, Pickering House Interiors

“I think Marburger Farm is an unparalleled collection brought locally to Texas. Not to mention, Marburger brings pieces from different countries and regions each year, so you never know what types of treasures you’ll find at each visit!”—Javier Burkle, Burkle Creative


Market Hill

“Some of my favorite dealers under one roof. Susan Horne Antiques always has the best smalls and unique pieces. Antica Collection has the best Swedish Antiques with a little modern added. Schwung Home always has great bleached furniture and unusual reproduction pieces massed in quantity so you can buy and make a statement at great prices.” —Lisa Luby Ryan, Lisa Luby Ryan Design & Build 

“Paul Michael’s assembled a pretty great group of people in his shops at Market Hill. We love Amelia Tarbet, so she’s a first stop for us. Artist Paul Mayer has a beautiful showroom inside as well.” —Samantha Sano, Swoon, The Studio


Box Road

“Michael Ouellette and Donnie Volkart specialize in furniture and objects from around the world. We always overstay our welcome and leave with arms full.” —Taylor Tomasi Hill, Creative and Fashion Director


LaBahia

“I am always the first one at Rick and Allison’s booth in LaBahia when they open. It’s a scene!” —Carley Seale, Favor the Kind


Bader Ranch

“A small venue with only a handful of European dealers, but I love shopping the mix of pieces from traditional antiques to mid-century modern. But if you’re into garden ornaments, rustic farmhouse, or funky boho styles, there’s a good chance you’ll find something here, too.” —Kaci Lyford, East End Salvage


Blue Hills

“Another great collection of dealers. McKinney-based East End Salvage is one of my first go-to’s. They have the most unusual and interesting pieces and it’s so well curated you want to buy it all!” —Lisa Luby Ryan

“Good antiques.” —Jan Jones, interior designer

“Another great collection of dealers. McKinney-based East End Salvage is one of my first go-to’s. They have the most unusual and interesting pieces and it’s so well curated you want to buy it all!” —Lisa Luby Ryan


The Compound

“Favorite vendor: Eneby Home—European/Scandinavian modernism that flies off the floor on the first day.” —Janet Gridley

“We always make a stop at The Kneaded Fashion here. We love how she incorporates Hermes scarves and military jackets.” —Javier Burkle


Excess I and II

“Fun place to dig and a good assortment of all kinds of things.” —Jan Jones

“We love both fields at Excess. We always visit Mark aka Jersey Junker on Instagram. He’s been great at helping us source for hospitality.” —Samantha Sano

“Favorite vendors: Cyril Clerc (French/European modern), LooLoo Design (vintage antique porcelain and bath fittings), Firestation Guy (antique furniture and fun eccentric finds), Jersey Junker (for vintage parlor furniture and classic silhouettes, perfect to re-invent).” —Janet Gridley


The Big Red Barn

“Also known as The Original Round Top Antiques Fair, the Big Red Barn started it all. For over 50 years, the Big Red Barn has been showcasing early Americana, country antiques, folk art, primitive furniture and accessories. Each aisle is a history lesson. I always learn something new and leave with a renewed appreciation for all antiques, even if they are not my style.” —Kaci Lyford


Round Top Ranch Antiques

“The best pieces you’ll ever find, contrary to the rustic name. Open year round.” —Kelsey Sheets, The Loveliest Home


Warrenton Fields

“You never know what you might find. It’s not for princesses—come ready to dig!” —Janet Gridley


The Antique Rovers

“They are in an old dance hall in Fayetteville 10 minutes from Round Top. It’s a magical setting.” —Natalie Cross, Your House or Mine ceramics


Where to Stay

Festival Hill

“I like Festival Hill [an international center for performance, which opens its student residences and faculty housing to the general public during shows] because it is in town and you don’t have a long drive at night after dinner. And you can easily drop something off in your room during the day. The accommodations are not glamorous at all, but I don’t mind. I don’t spend time in my room—I am there to shop and have fun with my friends!” —Jan Jones, interior designer


Red Antler Bungalows

“Luxury bungalows and the sweetest owners, John and Greg, who mix a mean welcome drink.” —Janet Gridley


Rancho Pillow 

“A bohemian wonderland set in the Texas countryside. When I visit, I feel like I’ve stepped into a vintage, avant-garde California art scene. The outdoor lounging spaces, casually placed on the property, are cozy spots for soaking in a sunset.” Kaci Lyford


Hotel Lulu and The Frenchie Boutique Hotel

“Be prepared to make reservations several months out—or more! (But if you don’t get a room in time, The Holiday Inn in Brenham works too … I speak from experience!)” —Javier Burkle


Flophouze

“Converted vintage shipping containers and a pool overlooking a cow pasture.” —Janet Gridley


The Vintage Round Top

“Paige and Smoot Hull’s property is a lesson in how to transform unusual Round Top finds into statement decor pieces. I love to stay here when I’m shopping, as it primes my eye to see pieces in new ways.” —Kaci Lyford


Where to Dine

Royers Round Top Cafe

“It’s an institution for Round Top goers. Good food, fun atmosphere and interior. Sometimes you get seated with strangers, which can be a fun experience!” —Jan Jones

“We always stop here to get the shrimp BLT.” —Samantha Sano

“A long-time favorite! You can’t go to Round Top without eating lunch (you must order the shrimp BLT) or dinner there.” —Lisa Luby Ryan


Round Top Brewing

“My new favorite for lunch! It’s new to town, the food is delicious, and I hear their craft beer is really good. Great atmosphere and a perfect place to map out the second half of your day.”—Lisa Luby Ryan

“Their chef-driven menu changes daily, which is perfect for us, because we like trying it all!” —Kaci Lyford


145 Sisters

“For breakfast; in Excess I next to Jimmy Heron’s. Great coffee and egg sandwiches to eat on the go.” —Janet Gridley

“The Bloody Mary is a must!” —Taylor Tomasi Hill


Prost on Block 29

“We get there right when it opens to stake a claim on the Adirondack chairs around the patio fire pit. We always meet interesting people in town around this pit. Order pizza (the Hot Pig), cheese and charcuterie boards, our favorite froze, or from the well-edited wine list.” —Taylor Tomasi Hill

“Great wine selection and good food, especially the pizza and cheese boards.” —Jan Jones

“For a glass of wine and charcuterie board.” —Kelsey Sheets


Feasts in the Field 

“Pop-up, farm-to-table events held at the whimsical wonderland of Rancho Pillow. Each dinner hosts a guest chef and is a trifecta experience of food, drink, and music. Who’s Who is usually in attendance and without fail I run into someone I’ve wanted to have a face-to-face with. Don’t risk FOMO and make your reservations as soon as dates are released.” —Kaci Lyford


Mandito’s

“I love recapping the day with my team or meeting with colleagues for a drink at Mandito’s. Sometimes we stop by The Little Cheese Shop before drinks for a quick bite, too!” —Javier Burkle


Lulu’s Round Top

“Great food and good atmosphere.” —Jan Jones

“Dinner, charming. Italian by way of Houston.” —Janet Gridley


Duo Modern

“One of my favorites and a must in the late afternoon. They serve the best margarita—the perfect afternoon pick-me-up! I also have been known to buy several at a time and take to my favorite dealers in the fields.” —Lisa Luby Ryan


The Garden Co.

“The Garden Co. is a must for dinner. The atmosphere is charming!” —Josh Pickering

“We always make dinner reservations at Royers Round Top Cafe (always order their specialty pie for dessert) and The Garden Co. at Round Top. Both restaurants are some of my favorites in the state!” —Javier Burkle


How to Navigate Round Top

Practiced pickers have perfected the ins and outs of shopping Round Top. Here are their top things to know before you go.

“If you see something you love, you absolutely have to buy it on the spot. ‘The item you saw today and want to think about tonight will be sold later today, to the people who saw it yesterday and thought about it last night.’ ” Janet Gridley

“The best way to tackle Round Top is to work from one end straight to the other. I like to schedule a full day or half day for The Fields because it’s the real dig. Start at Excess II to visit my all-time favorite vendor, Mark Dooley. He has the best prices and makes the haggle banter fun. For the best deals, come at the end of the show’s third week. There’s less inventory, but vendors are more willing to negotiate. For the best selection, get there the first week. I love opening day.” —Taylor Tomasi Hill

“Visit your favorite shows more than once. Many dealers continually bring out new merchandise daily. Pace yourself. You cannot see it all in one day!” —Kaci Lyford

“Get ready for the dust! Hydrate, wear a comfortable pair of boots, and don’t forget your sunscreen and hat. Also, plan ahead and purchase your tickets for the bigger stall openings online several weeks before the shows. Marburger Farm is one of my favorite stops in Round Top and the VIP tickets sell out quickly. Also: Don’t go with things in mind you’d like to find; rather, let the pieces find you! You never know what you’ll see that you will love.” —Javier Burkle

“Get there early! Always be the first in the field or in line. Know what you are looking for and stay focused, but always buy that something that speaks to you that you weren’t looking for, otherwise you will regret it. Take a notebook so you can write down the tent number and item you purchased; by the end of the day, everyone and everything looks the same.” —Lisa Luby Ryan

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D Home

D Home

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