23 February 2009

Houston Shopping: The Bissonnet/Kirby Corridor Antique District

Every few weeks or so, I get an email from someone coming to Houston and wanting to know where to go shopping for antiques and decor.  So, I’ve been thinking for a while about putting together a short series on the best shopping areas to go see the most in one afternoon.    As luck would have it, I recently had a few visitors to test out my itineraries.      Of course, this series won’t cover every shop in Houston – there are too many to name, and how boring would that be anyway?  But, there are several distinct areas where numerous antique and decor stores are clustered, thus making it worth your while to venture out for a few hours.    My visitor is Stefan Hurray, a young architect from Pennsylvania now working in Washington D.C.  Stefan is the voice behind the very interesting and always intellectually stimulating blog - Architect Design - concentrating on, what else, but architecture!    It is so much fun to meet another design blogger in real life after building a friendship through countless emails, and without fail, it feels like you’ve known that person forever.   It must be due to the kindred spirit found between design bloggers and the readers too.   Last Saturday, after a few missteps, Stefan and I met up for lunch at Raven Grill on Bissonnet – a perfect place to start off on a shopping adventure in the Museum District.   Finishing lunch with a drive through at a convenient Starbucks, we are ready to test out the newly named:  Cote de Texas Bissonnet/Kirby Corridor Shopping District.  First Stop:   AREA.

 

AREA:   5600 Kirby

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The front lobby:   old and new, trendy and classic – the perfect recipe for a successful interiors store.

 

AREA is a large store, owned by interior design extra0rdinaire, Don Connelly, and run by the man in charge - Daniel.   Daniel’s been with AREA from day one starting at the original location on Shepherd.   AREA is a wonderful mix of antique and modern design, with a heavy dose of trendy.   It’s a great store to pick up accessories and lamps, candles, and vases.  There are always interesting sets of dining chairs and tables,  along with antique consoles and chests.  Be sure to look up at the ceiling  - their selection of lighting fixtures is one of the best in town.  Introduce yourself to Daniel once, and he’ll never forget your name – it’s a gift that’s helped make AREA one of the more successful decor stores in town.   Don travels to Europe and Round Top and the markets to stock the store, so there is always a generous amount of the old mixed in with the newest.

 

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There are interesting vignettes around every corner:  lamps and tables, pillows and artwork, and  hard-to-find coffee table books.

 

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  Whenever I have an installation, I stop by AREA first to pick up accessories like baskets and urns.

 

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AREA has a great assortment of trays and boxes for tablescapes.

 

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And there’s the cute as can be Stefan, nursing his Starbucks!  I think he really enjoyed AREA.

 

 

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Smile!    Handsome Daniel, the energy and brains behind the store.   He should write a book on how to greet and treat your customers the proper way!  OK, we are moving on - next stop is Watkins and Culver.

 

 

Watkins Culvers Antiques and Design:  2308 Bissonnet

 

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Babs Watkins and her daughter Nelta run Watkins Culver – an antique store that will make you think you actually are on Magazine Street in New Orleans – not Houston.  The store itself is sometime to see – the walls are fauxed painted by the brilliant Jay Iarussi which give the shop an appearance of having been built in another century.  Truly beautiful!  Of course, so are the antiques, handpicked by Watkins from France and Italy – this store has been at the forefront of developing the French look in Houston that is so popular with Veranda and Southern Accents readers. 

 

 

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Besides all the antiques bought abroad, Watkins Culvers carries the BViz line of specialty pillows from New Orleans.  Each pillow is handmade by Rebecca Vizard using antique textiles and each is a work of art. 

 

 

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Watkins Culver has many mirrors of all sizes, lamps, and chandeliers.   The design is mostly French here, but Swedish pieces have been creeping into the store for the past few years.

 

 

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Out back in the alley are the design studios of Babs and Nelta, and the Watkins Culver annex.   Hey Stefan, finish up the coffee already!

 

 

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The annex’s merchandise is just a bit more relaxed – be sure to notice the Zuber papered screen.  Watkins Culver have the best antique Parisian lanterns that are so hot right now.  

 

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Watkins Culver has been carrying the oh-so-hot wood chandeliers and metal tables for years – they were way ahead of the trend with these items.    Watkins and Culver Antiques and Design is available online with 1st Dibs here.     OK,  time for the next stop - right next door.

 

Shabby Slips:  2304 Bissonnet

 

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Shabby Slips is owned by Renea Abbott, a much in-demand interior designer with several Veranda covers under her belt.  She recently repainted the walls going from dark to white and the effect, along with all the mirrors and crystal chandeliers is stunning – the store absolutely sparkles!   The ceiling is filled with the crystal chandeliers and the Venetian mirror shown above has to be the prettiest one I have ever seen!  Shopping here is such a treat – a true eye candy experience.

 

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Right in the middle of the store is this limed table with these stunning shell chairs!   What a find!    When Shabby Slips first opened, the focus was on slip covers, but that has long since changed.  Today, the focus is on the finest antiques for the younger set.  To be sure, the store is still stocked with wonderful slipcovered furniture and there are beautiful pillows tossed about, but the antiques take center stage now.    The trendy new lamps and accessories mix in with the old.    The chandeliers and mirrors are exceptional, and there is a large selection of them to choose from.

 

 

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Most of the furniture is upholstered in white – making these black and white striped chairs pop in the store. 

 

 

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Mixed in with all the antiques and upholstery is a nice selection of modern art.  In fact, one of my favorite galleries in town, the Jack Meier Gallery, is just two doors down.   Shabby Slips always has great pillows like these shown above.   And, while we were there, we learned that the little house behind Shabby Slips, that was once an annex, is just now getting the final touches done on a total remodel and will be back open for business soon!   Can’t wait!   OK, time to cross the street.

 

Neal and Co:  4502 Greenbriar

 

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Right across the street from Watkins and Culver and Shabby Slips, is Neal and Co. – another high end antique store dealing mostly in French product.  Cindy Neal, a veteran of the business, moved several years ago to the corner of what has t0 be the heart of  Houston Antiques, and she’s been a great addition.   Sweet and affable, Cindy is very knowledgeable about what she buys and is happy to share her expertise with you.   The store is large and full of wonderful French and Swedish delights.  Not everything is out of the world expensive, which is I why I love to shop here.  She carries lots of smalls, French candles, dishes, and confit pots – perfect for those of us who are on a budget.   But, there is plenty for those who aren’t!   I love this canapé covered in a gray check – the back is almost prettier than the front.  And look at those green lanterns – I lusted after those – and the metal side tables, on the right – the best! 

 

 

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There are a lot of nooks and crannies to the store, owing to the fact that it used to be several different businesses, until Cindy bought the entire center, tore down all the walls and made it Neal and Co.    So, be sure you don’t miss anything hiding around a corner.  She carries wonderful botanicals and has a large supply of French wood tables.

 

 

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Here’s another wonderful set in Cindy’s office that she explained was one man’s lifetime collection.  Besides being an antiquarian, she is also an interior decorator! 

 

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As with all the better antique shops in Houston, there is a good selection of Swedish antiques available.

 

 

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 Neal and Co. carry the entire Les Indiennes fabric line AND they have a huge selection of Dash and Albert rugs to pick from.   Neal and Co. is available on 1st Dibs, so be sure to check them out here.

  

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OK,  Stefan needs to leave now, but hopefully he’ll be back in Houston soon.   So I’m on my own to finish the CdT Bissonnet-Kirby Corridor Shopping District.   Next stop, down the street:

 

M. Naeve – Antiques and Uncommon Luxuries:  1926 Bissonnet

 

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Without a doubt, one of the most charming antique stores in Houston, M. Naeve is a must see when visiting.   Carrying hand picked inventory from France, the antiques are relaxed – not stuffy or dressy in any way.  But, make no mistake, they are beautiful – the entire shop is breathtakingly beautiful.   Every chair, every table, every fixture, every lamp – your heart just aches to take it home.   Visiting M. Naeve is almost like a religious experience – such exquisite beauty!!!

 

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The owner is the very young and very adorable Margaret Naeve and she is just perfectly matched for such a shop.   I mean, just look at this settee – with its original linen batting and nailheads – could it get any better?   Well yes, look at the fireplace behind it!

 

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Everything in the store is painted crusty cream…….

 

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or Swedish gray…

 

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or green!!   Be sure to visit  M.  Naeve when in Houston, located right next to the Raven Grill.  Website is here.    Next stop, Carl Moore Antiques, a few blocks down.

 

Carl Moore Antiques:  1610 Bissonnet

 

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Carl Moore Antiques is located on Bissonnet in a large, old, two story house.  Since the famous Carl Moore has moved on to selling art, Geoffrey Westergaard is at the helm, buying for the store all over Europe.   As a result – Carl Moore has a wonderful, well –rounded array of antiques:  English, French, Swedish, German, and Asian!  There isn’t much they don’t carry, which is a huge part of their appeal.  A powerhouse, a mainstay, the ultimate in class!

 

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Carl Moore is the best place in Houston to find Biedermeier pieces. 

 

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They carry a large array of chandeliers, lamps, and oriental accessories.  The store is well-stocked and the sales people are helpful and friendly – a definite asset to the shop.

 

 

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And they carry my favorite, French, of course.   On top of antiques,  they have reproduction dining tables available, which is great when the real thing is price prohibitive.  Carl Moore Antiques has a very comprehensive web site for online ordering, so be sure to look at it here.   And finally, we are on to our last stop on the CdT Bissonnet-Kirby Corridor Antique District – but you need your car, we’re headed back towards Kirby:

 

Found for the Home:   2422 Bartlett

 

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Found, owned by Aaron Rambo and Ruth Davis is “industrial chic” and a whole lot more.  It is located in a former factory, right off Kirby, and is filled with objects from each era.  Besides the usual French antiques, there are French industrial items, vintage upholstery, and objects made of found objects, hence the name.  It’s an eclectic assortment – you never know what you will see here, but it will all be great, to be sure.  Those pillows look familiar!

 

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The upholstery is all remade vintage.

 

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The complex where Found is located is itself worth a peek.  Carved out of a former factory and an old apartment complex, many of Houston’s finest interior designers are renting space upstairs, while below are several retail  shops.  In this picture, you can really see the unique space and how the owners have taken the old factory and made it their own.

 

 

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I’ve got my eye on the pair of Gustavian settees, myself!

 

 

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Charming!   Rambo and Davis are both very friendly and helpful which makes shopping here so much fun!   Found for the Home is also on 1st dibs, here.

 

We’re at the end of the Cote de Texas  Bissonnet-Kirby Corridor Antique District – what a mouthful!!!  While you are out, Houston’s museums are located nearby at the end of Bissonnet and are definitely worth visiting.   There’s also a wonderful independent bookstore close by, the Brazos Bookstore at 2421 Bissonnet and next door is Jaya – specializing in Asian furniture.    Below is a map for easy driving.  If you are coming to Houston for shopping and need help – be sure to email me for more information!    

 

A.  Found for the Home

B.  Area

C.  Watkins Culver and Shabby Slips

D.  Neal and Co.

E.  M. Naeve

F.  Carl Moore Antiques

 

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74 comments:

  1. Shoot me now, so I can come to heaven -- because this is surely it - Everything you showed here. LOL.
    xo Isa

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  2. Finally a reason to visit the in laws!!!! Can't wait until my next trip to Houston and now I have it all maped out - Thanks to Joni!!
    xxx-
    Gina

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  3. what fun !!

    super shopping !!!

    stephan is so cute !

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  4. I am so jealous of all the fabulous shopping and sources you have in Houston.. Atlanta is the closest place to me to find such great things. I will seriously plan a trip to Houston soon. Thanks for all the insider info!

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  5. Wonderful photos of wonderful shops. I sank into some of those vignettes and had a difficult time leaving them! ~Mindy

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  6. OMG! I have to be in Dallas July 15 for business and you have just convinced me to book a 3 stop ticket so I can visit these stores! I was in Atlanta last week and was drooling over the stores there too.

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  7. Thanks for the tour, Joni. Just makes me to visit Houston, that much more!!

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  8. What a great guide - thank you! I really, really need to make the drive from Austin to do some exploring in these fabulous shops!

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  9. Joni, this is so great! You featured some excellent stores. I can't wait to revisit some and see others for the first time. I am looking forward to the rest of your series!

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  10. My old stomping grounds - but this is a world that I never knew when I was in college (given the transformation in Houston since I was in college, many of these stores did not exist yet).

    I did visit Houston in the fall of '07 (I was too new at blogging and too shy to call you) and tried to visit a few stores you had recommended early on in your blog days. I made it to M. Naeve, but it was closed for the day (preparing for a shipment); I tried to find Shabby Slips, but went to the old location and it was not there; and I went to some garden store that also has a great little store within. Oh, and another store very near to the garden store - the one that used to sell Blanc de Ivoire.

    My next trip to Houston I will definitely give you a heads up! I like the look of Shabby Slips the best.

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  11. You should do what Eddie Ross does and take people on tours!

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  12. What a wonderful tour guide you are. I'll have to make a stop at these outstanding shops next time I'm in Houston.

    Lisa

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  13. Wow haven't been to Houston in years....I think I will need to plan a trip...looks like fabulous antiquing...thanks Joni for a wonderful shopping trip!!!

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  14. Good post...a couple of corrections Babs Watkins is now retired. Nelta Culver is a partner..not a daughter.That would be Julie Baker. She is the designer who has her office in the back alley.
    Kim Nathan really is the one who runs Watkins day in day out. Whew.Nelta and Julie do the buying.

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  15. Wow! What a whirlwind! Great little virtual tour!
    Love the goods on the tour!
    Leslie
    lamaisonfou blog

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  16. We simply don't have these kinds of stores here in Vancouver! You are so lucky to have them where you live. It makes it easier to make your clients homes more beautiful!

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  17. Screamed ZUBER ZUBER (my first words) over that Zuber Niagra Falls portion of the Scenic America Screen.....AKKKK

    Love and going to STEAL and make those planters at M. Naeve. I am sure I can't find the exact hardware, but those are great. So is the color.

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  18. Oh how I wish I could really walk through all those shops. But taking your tour was the next best thing! Thanks so much. :)
    xoxo,
    Mary

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  19. What unbelievable shopping. We have nothing like that in the desert. I could spend weeks looking at everything. Such a great virtual trip. Hugs, Marty

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  20. Oh, I adore that Zuber screen and that beautiful birdcage! Great haunts, Joni!

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  21. Joni, There are so many things I just love about you and your blog. First of all the education. I learn so much from you about many things related to design - current topics and not. Secondly, you never give any indication that anything is out of anyone's reach. Despite the fact that it has taken me 25 years to furnish my home, your posts make me feel like you are my personal designer and you just want to share all the secrets with me. Your blog is the best and I have enjoyed sharing your posts with friends and family. Thank you for the shopping secrets. One of these days I just might get out to Houston and thanks to you I will be armed with a shopping agenda. As I said in a previous post, somehow great blogs such as yours has replaced some of my magazine reading and for that I feel a bit guilty BUT, I love your blog!

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  22. thanks, joni- lovely tour! i think i need that bird cage!

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  23. Joni....what a fabulous tour....I am drooling on my computer! I cannot wait to make a trip to Houston...can you say Girltrip?!

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  24. Wow... I really couldn't pick a favorite, they all look so amazing!!! Great tour & I really will have to come to Houston some time!!

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  25. I so want to come to Houston now...will you take me shopping?!!!

    Thanks for the sidebar link! I feel famous!!! LOL

    That yellow/grey black painting at the gallery was amazing! I am adding it to my image library.

    Thanks again :) I took you for a pj girl...so funny...soon as I come in the door, I'm in them!

    No, seriously...shopping! When do I come?!

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  26. Joni!!!!

    While our outing a few weeks ago was second to none, I am thinking that another special trip to dear Houston is nearing. I have never been able to spend enough time to do the Bissonnet area and I've been DYING to!

    I'll probably do a two-dayer in the next month or so and we can tour the hotsy-totsy design district. AND!! Eat at Tiny Boxwoods AGAIN!!! OMG. So delicious!!

    Thanks for the eye candy :)

    ~A

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  27. I believe I'll take that Zuber screen, Joni. Will you please wrap it up and charge it to my sugar daddy. Yeah, right... ;-)

    XO,

    Sheila

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  28. What great sources you have available in Houston. I'm about to embark on my own mini tour of Bangkok for a friend from Hong Kong in need of silk. Well, there's obviously plenty of that, and by the sound of it she needs it. As well as taking her to the obvious sources for that I'm going to include a few accessories shops too, and I'll try and do the Bangkok equivalent of what you've done.

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  29. If I could come to Houston, after this post Joni, I surely would. And you can be sure I will be emailing... xv

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  30. Great post! Add the new Mecox Gardens - ask for David - and the list will be complete.

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  31. Oh what fun that the 2 of you met!
    Loved the tour!
    pve

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  32. The tour is fabulous! I love the photos!

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  33. WOW WOW WOW Joni...thank you so much..you make me feel speical! I am deeply honored...~blush~!
    Blessings...

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  34. Wow! Such fabulous shops! I am green with envy. I have always thought Houston had THE best design shops (so much better than Dallas!)and this post proves that right!!
    Happy shopping!

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  35. Oh Joni,

    I didn't want the tour to end. Please do more of this. I will definetely make a trip to Houston to do some shopping before the house is built.

    Thanks,
    Deb

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  36. What a tour! Thanks for taking us along!

    I would be in heaven with a shopping day like this!

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  37. Hi Joni,
    I haven't been to "Found" yet, but now I really want to head over!! (the things I keep meaning to do....)
    If you ever want to explore what used to be my neck of the woods . . . head to the Heights. I like Heights Antiques on Yale. And a friend just told me about a new store -- perhaps you've heard of it? -- called Installation. French industrialist. Tres chic, I hear. On 22nd between Shepherd and Lawrence. ciao -susan

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  38. Oh how I wish I lived in the real world -- or your world, anyway. How I would love to have such resources for decorating my home. Maybe I'd actually get it done and without such angst!
    Joni, this isn't really related, but I'm curious. Most of the slipcovers at Shabby Slips are white. Do they use true white or creams? Also, do you use true white? I'm trying to make decisions.
    Thanks for another great post,
    Kerry

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  39. SOOOO BEAUTIFUL! Now I know why, when I go down there, I put on my blinders and go visit my Dad - and then put the blinders on again and leave! ha ha..

    As for the house my daughter is looking to buy - No, the neighborhood is not Windsong. It is up around the beltway and West road. Cute subdivision though! It will be a good place to buy a starter home.

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  40. Isn't it wonderful that Houston has that Magagzine Street magic too?? It has more to do with the spirit of the shopkeepers I think than the actual demographics of a street. I am sure that they all subscribe to our New Orleans tagline "laissez les bon temps rouler" - and especially today!! Happy Mardi Grad Joni!

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  41. Very very cool!! I just feel like I went shopping with you - and I didn't have to spend any money! ;-)

    How beautiful is that green linen setee???? It's absolutely heavenly, and had I been there, I would have been sad that I couldn't afford it!!

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  42. Do you know how lucky you are to have resources like this? It KILLS me. There is nothing like this within MILES and MILES of me. What a treat! Thanks for the virtual shopping... and I didn't spend a dime!

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  43. Oh my Joni you never disappoint. I swear everytime I click on your blog I'm in heaven. I need to plan a trip to Houston so I can get my own personal tour. Love all the shops you features. Shabby Slips was my favorite,but I did the horse prints from AREA. I just did a post on horse prints and I guess I have them on the brain.

    Love this. I will have to bookmark all these stores so I can hopefully visit them one day.

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  44. JONI! You are too kind! But, those are very dated sop photos!!!!! Thank you so much!!

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  45. wow, these furniture are antique! they are fabulous! tnx for sharing these great photos!

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  46. Dear JONI~~~ You are soooo VERY GENEROUS w/ your TIME, & SHARING your knowledge so openly w/ all of us~~~ I truly admire you for that kindness! And, I so appreciate it, ESPECIALLY if/when I ever get back to TX for a "lil' shopping spree". (Lived near Austin mannny years ago, for three years, & LOVED it!)...The furnishings/accents available in TX are so VARIED, & much of it most definitely fits my personal decor here in the AZ desert (altho I could probably EASILY switch directions when exposed to so many OTHER WONNNDERFUL choices!). This is a FABULOUS, INFORMATIVE, FUN and ENCOURAGING BLOG, as well as just BEAUTIFUL to peruse!!! Once again, I applaud & thank you! Warmly, Linda/ RMS "Mom of a German Shorthair"

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  47. GREAT post Joni!!!---I have been to them all (excpet M. Naeve) and lived right near the Raven in Southampton!!! I frequent all of them but in my humble opinion Watkins and Culver (although beautiful) is terribly overpriced. Thank you for sharing some of the places in our neighborhood with everyone:)

    Kim

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  48. Hi dear
    It is as if it is not the states ! please can you explain to me,
    I'm living in Kuwait and almost all the clients here are coming up with bulky oversized colorless pretentious Florida stuff . pretending it's Tuscan , I'm wondering if they even know that it’s in Italy and has nothing to do with all that outrageous décors they asking for . America is huge and thanks God full of tasteful people like yourself . Why is it the ugly that is exported in the entire region of the meddle east ?
    When I see those shops I feel at home ( France) I wish that style would cross the Atlantic not the made-in-china-bed-of-queen that we have to put up with .
    Sorry for my strait way of talking and my bad English .
    best regard
    Zelda

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  49. You hit all of my favorites! I didn't realize how much I miss everyone. I need to visit soon.

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  50. OH MY GOSH!!! I usually just stop in Houston to go to Chuy's (on Westheimer of course). There are STORES there too???

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  51. Thanks so much for the tour. My husband's best friend lives in this neighbourhood in Houston. Just the other night I actually dreamt I was visiting Neal and Co., which is practically around the corner from his house!

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  52. I found my way here via Vee - and I'll have to come back when I have a cup of tea and some time. What a lot to read and to take in - you'll do more for the economy with one blog than all the stimulus provided by all our governments!

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  53. Joni, I am so jealous of your great shopping...I live in a small town and we are so limited! I wanted to tell you that I used one of your pictures in my blog today. I hope you take that as the compliment that it is...smiles.

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  54. How very kind and thoughtful of you to do this post. Not only are you an amazing designer, but you are also a great tour guide! Multi-talented-I'm so impressed! Thanks for the tour and sharing Stefan with us--wasn't he lucky!? (Love the coffee too!)
    -GSG
    http://grannysmithgreen.blogspot.com

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  55. This 'is just like dying and going to heaven'. (With no disrespect intended.)

    What a fabulous tour!!!!!!!!!!!! I would be packing a pair of Rollerblades to ensure I wouldn't miss anything.

    With the sincerest appreciation.
    -Brenda-

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  56. Kerry: yes = I do use white slips, unless of course ivory or cream is called for. But white is a good pop color!!! thanks so much!!! hope this helps.

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  57. Oh, I am so glad I don't have places like this easily available to me. My checkbook would be so depleted, and my charge accts would be maxed! laurie

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  58. oh, how i love a little virtual shopping... these shops are amazing!

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  59. Your new dough table is wonderful (though I really liked the Irish table, too)! Beautiful home!

    Oh, how I miss antiquing at home. (No matter where I live, Houston will always be "home.")

    I forgot to post- but I LOVED your Africa post. OMG! I was in middle school when Out of Africa came out and all I wanted to do was go to Africa. I obsessed over it for years. I'm not sure if it was Africa or Robert Redford that I obsessed over... Oh, I loved the post... so dreamy!

    As always, thanks for sharing!

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  60. OMG!
    I am visiting my newly transplanted Houstonian daughter at the end of the Month and I can hardly stand the shopping prospects!!!

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  61. I love this post and this blog!! A Houstonian who posts REAL places I can GO!! How exciting. I am drooling all over the place... mmm chandeliers. :)

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  63. I am very happy you took the time and said this post!

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  64. This is a nice place you have here! I bet antique collectors visit your store regularly. That old-styled chandelier that uses candles is fascinating. A great place if you’re looking for collectibles!

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  65. Thank you, thats very interesting information. I need to share with my friends.

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  66. You often expect a hallway to be long and narrow especially in older houses but corridor-like hallways and entrance-ways can feel dark, poky and depressing

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  68. Thanks so much...we are off today to start some retail therapy before the surgery! I wish I could figure out to attach a pdf to show you our most recent home in a publication, but that is way over my head. Iris

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