COTE DE TEXAS: Round Top, Texas

Round Top, Texas

Round Top, Texas - population 77, except for the first two weeks in April and October each year. This is home to one of the largest antiques fairs in the United States. Started 40 years ago by Emma Lee Turney, the festival has grown from one location into a festival that overflows to all the tiny towns that surround Round Top. During the festival, large temporary, makeshift tent cities spring up where thousands upon thousands of dealers sell their wares. Once, the Round Top Antique Festival meant Americana and Texana antiques. Today, French, Swedish, and English antiques have overtaken the prominence that Americana and Texana once enjoyed. Now highbrow antiques share space with the very lowbrow: vintage, bric a brac, and just plain junk are plentiful in areas where the rent for stalls is cheap. If you love antiques and love to have a good time - Round Top is something to experience at least once in a lifetime. Situated between Austin, San Antonio and Houston, Round Top is a few hours drive through gorgeous countryside. The spring show is an especially nice time to go because the Texas wildflowers are in full bloom and the fields are a vibrant shade of blue from the bluebonnets. Until Round Top has been experienced, it's hard to explain the vastness of it all, and yet, despite it's size, it's still just down home Texas at its core. Web site of the Round Top Register is a good place to start if you plan to come next spring.

Round Top is a charming, tiny town halfway between Houston and Austin. Usually it's a sleepy, quiet place.

Round Top, before the invasion, nice and quiet.

The Big Red Barn. And no, that woman is not in my party!

Country Home Magazine always has a booth up front.

and Mary Emmerling always comes to sign books.

White ironstone is everywhere. I love ironstone and collect it.

Garden antiques and furniture were popular this year.

Trend alert: Silver domes.

My idea of heaven: English ironstone, Staffordshire, transferware and Mason.

I collect Mason ironstone and just had to buy a few pieces for my collection.

And two transferware plates. Notice the vendor excitedly adding up my purchases in the back.

Leaving the Big Red Barn, we head to a different area of vendors. Stuff is everywhere, overflowing.

A pumpkin patch of antique vases.

This tent city advertised itself as European Antiques, one tent of many.

Swedish sofa and French chair. At this point I am wondering why I wasted two hours in the Big Red Barn.

French settee. Painted antiques are much more in demand now than those with typical fruitwood finishes.

A Swedish tall clock. I want one of these, but pass this up.

Another booth with more painted French antiques.

This booth was huge and specialized in European antique linens.

A petite French woman owned this booth filled with both Swedish and French antiques. She has stores in L.A. and Dallas.

A yard full of muslin covered furniture.

Further along, we come to Marburger Farms. Relatively new to the Round Top festival, this tent city has grown from one tent to six huge ones.

A booth at Marburger Farms. Known for a more European look than that at Round Top, Marburger Farms has become a huge presence at the festival. It takes at least two days to cover it properly. I tried to do it two hours and only made it to one tent.

Of course this sign lured me in here.

Trend alert: large clock face.

Antique books by the yard. Had to pass these by, no more room for books that only look good, but won't read.

This statute was a standout at Marburger Farms.

Trend alert: Faux deer heads and intaglios.

This booth was one of my favorites. African and Eastern goodies. Kelly Wearstler has dozens of these Chinese calligraphy brushes in her home. I have one now.

More African goodies.

Ethiopian crosses. George Cameron Nash showroom sells these at quite a markup.

The best was outside behind the booth. A stack of zebra rugs which I could not say no to.

Now, this is a gorgeous chandelier: wood, gilded column and crystals. Too pricey, but a one of a kind piece I hated to leave behind. At this point I'm really regretting the money I spent at the Big Red Barn. Note to self: skip the Big Red Barn altogether next time.

This sofa reminded me of my new one.

Display of antique bottles.

I love French settees. If I had the space, I would have a settee in every room.

This dealer became incensed when I politely asked if something was a reproduction. Sorry, I still don't believe him. His prices were too cheap. All I could think of was how disappointed in me House of Beauty would be!

Hollywood Regency: there is virtually none here at Round Top and there is no mid century modern that I saw except for the junk from grandma's attic type.

Leaving Marburger Farms, tent cities pop up all along the way to Warrenton, Texas.

Only in Texas: A suburban with a longhorn rack on it's hood. Edit: Liberty Post asked me whether I saw the Junk Gypsies, a trio of vintage-styled glam ladies who set up shop in Warrenton during Round Top. This suburban actually belongs to them. Thanks Liberty for the reminder. Check out the Junk Gypsies' web site for all kinds of wild merchandise: chandeliers, t shirts, pillows and coffee mugs are a small offering.

Warrenton, Texas: fields and fields of vendors everywhere. Lured by the low rental rates, thousands of people sell mostly bric a brac and vintage goods in Warrenton. You couldn't see it all even if you spent days looking.

Going home: Wait, one last stop! The Lone Ranger sells Swedish antiques out in the open in Warrenton. He informed me that he had sold a truckload that morning to top Houston interior designers who had beat me there. I couldn't say no to a gray Swedish clock that is now living on my landing. Imagine how I felt when I got home and discovered the insides had been replaced by a battery operated chime. Ebay anyone?


  1. Oh how I love the Round Top antiques fair, such a quaint Texas town!!

  2. What a treasure trove! Tell me, do you purchase things to have on hand for future projects (and future clients)? I am really loving the whole casually elegant painted French antiques that you show in the pictures.

  3. North Carolina Houstonian...Thank you for your Round Top entry. I haven't been in 15 years...with 2 kiddos it's tough to make it to Texas in Oct and April. It's the best.

  4. Joni! I'm so jealous!!!! I ALWAYS forget about round top......every time I go to Austin, I tell myself to remember to go, but alas, I forget, and I end up missing it! I gather that you had a wonderful time...I'm also WAY jealous of your swedish clock although it's been tampered with :(


  5. Hi - thanks for all the great comments! This post was a terror. First, it posted before I put any comments on it. Subscribers: sorry! You were probably saying, WHA?????. Then after I added all the commnets, it just disappeared and I had to repost the entire blog again. Blogger is getting on my nerves lately - is there a better blog server I don't know about?

    And to Sarah: No, I don't buy antiques in advance of jobs. The Swedish and French painted antiques are so expensive, I just can't afford to warehouse them. I wish!!!


  6. What a wonderful fair . I wish one spring I would be able to be there .May be with you . It seems so great. In France we have this king in Lille in september and Leman . I love to go there.Thank you for sharing

  7. What a wonderful fair . I wish one spring I would be able to be there .May be with you . It seems so great. In France we have this king in Lille in september and Leman . I love to go there.Thank you for sharing

  8. How are the prices over all?

  9. Wow -- that looks *amazing.* What are the prices like?


  10. Very charming! I have already made my pick of what I like :)

  11. Joni, I've read of and dreamed of Round Top for years! Thank you for this post. I enjoyed it so much and feel I was there. T'would be fabulous to visit, just once!


  12. Leah - the prices vary wildly. Expensive in Round Top proper. Cheap cheap cheap in Warrenton and Shelby. It just depends on the merchandise. THere are some bargains to be had that's for sure. If you've never been, you need to come this spring!!!


  13. The CLOCK, OMG the clock of my dreams....I lust after the clock!!!

  14. You have the greatest sources down there in Texas! What a fun event it looks like a great time all around. Hope you picked up some great stuff.

  15. Wow! I didn't even know about sounds amazing, and i love Texas,,,, I gotta put that on the schedule for Spring!

  16. For spending such a short time there, you did a GREAT job capturing the spirit and variety to be found there! Good job my new and long lost friend!Ann

  17. Round Top is over the top.. I went a few years ago.. I walked my legs off.. ate too much ..saw Mary Emmerling and enjoyed my self .. you did a good job of showing how big it is .. just the tip of the iceberg! go if you can

  18. I am so envious! You are right about the silver dome lids as a trend alert. Two of my designer friends in Atlanta have recently hung clusters of them on their walls. I would love to know the source of this if anyone out there has an idea...

  19. Joni, what a post! I feel like I just took a mini trip again. I love it.

    Looks like you found that zebra rug for me, and the Ethiopian crosses and brushes and on and on. Not to mention so many other timeless European things.

    Whenever I see a King Charles spaniel now I think of you, instead of Aerin Lauder :)

  20. Oh and I read that you gave Melanie a subscription to Southern Accents -- you are a kind and generous woman Mrs. Webb.

  21. Am I able to find these or similar vendors during the "off" season? I'm looking for quality flea markets or the like. I'm in Austin so I can drive anywhere in the area. Thanks!

  22. Hi Joni!
    This Roundtop fair looks amazing! You have to be THE blogger who creates the "Mother of ALL Posts"! I love how thorough, detailed and extensive your posts are - so many photos and such good info. I think you do a great job!

  23. OMG what a fabulous market! I would love to go in the spring...such wonderful things!

  24. I love Round Top, too! I haven't been in several years and would love to go back. I used to go to Canton for antiques and the like, but quit going about 10 years ago because of all the "junk". Just wasn't the same. Great post, Joni! Loved all the pictures! Thanks a bunch for sharing your adventure.

  25. Oh, that looks like so much fun! Thanks for the virtual tour.

  26. Thanks for the wonderful tour Joni! I collect ironstone too, but just the white. I could stay for a week! Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

  27. Oh goodness. These are LOVELY finds, Joni! I love how much work you put into each and every post.

    You are fabulously talented, Joni! Keep up the good work!!!

  28. I have heard of Roundtop & have always wanted to go! I had no idea the town is so small...
    Thanks for sharing all the photos!
    Now I really want to go...

  29. Joni-thank-you for posting so many photos! I really enjoyed visiting this fair with you!xx

  30. OMG, I absolutely wanted EVERYTHING in the African stand. I don't think I could have resisted. I really want my place to look just like that. sigh.

  31. Joni...what a fantastic event this looks like. I would love to come visit you for the spring market. I love the Zebra carpets. They look like the real thing? Is that possible. I have to have one!!!

  32. Joni I am so jealous! I couldn't go this October. I went in April my first time and bought my guest bed at the Junk Gypsies. I'm obsessed!

  33. wow ~ what a wonderful adventure you took us on. thanks so much for sharing all the wonderful sites. wish i could be there too!
    just found your blog & i really like it. southern charm with chic charisma. the perfect combo! and i can say that with authority since i was a country girl from arkansas & am now an interior designer in san francisco. ;o)

  34. Hey, rather then the standard wooden stands, the iron ones are a great idea for displaying the horse hair calligraphy brushes! Usually people display them lying on a table or something. Never thought about individually hanging them on iron stands ... Chinese calligraphy brushes seem to be a hot seller though recently. Definitely a good decor item. We have had so many of them ship out this past year or two. Check out our own asian design blog for more...

  35. Question: Is this at the same time every year? The round top antiques festival? I'm dying to go!

  36. Where did you get the zebra rugs? Can you share the vendor?


  37. what is the name of the plant that almost every booth uses as decoration it looks like a vern or some type of vine with small green leaves i came up there resently for the antique show in october and i didnt get to get the name of the plant so i can buy some for christmas can someone help me out?

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  39. Authentic Provence offers the most distinctive in regards to the tradition and authentic French lifestyle. All garden antiques, planters and French limestone fountains and French limestone mantels are imported from France, Italy and England and are of highest quality. They offer an extensive inventory here in the US thereby eliminating delivery time delays with shipping provided by reliable transport companies across the US, the Caribbean and Canada. They have very friendly, knowledgeable and effective customer service. The owners are European and Wolfgang is an actual Art Historian. They also can study a specific request and if needed have the items custom made to the clients specification. Visit for more information.

  40. Hi. What can you tell me about Mason's patent ironstone from china...numbered...luary 7....bowl and plate...mandarin?

  41. This is really late but can you tell me the name of the company with the burlap/muslim furniture. I cannot remember for the life of me!!

  42. I met a family in Tulum that sales auntique bedding from India. She lives in New Jersey & has 2 teenage sons. Hoping to get in contact with her.