COTE DE TEXAS: The Fabulous Flea

The Fabulous Flea

 Fabflea 016

The Fabulous Flea:  French antiques on Bammel Lane in Houston


Everyone loves their home, that goes without saying.  Your home is a reflection of who you are, what your style is, what colors you like, what kind of furniture you are drawn to.   Your home is your refuge, your safe place, the one spot you can go to and be with your family and feel contented, protected, and sheltered against the world.      We make our homes our nests and we're happy there.  But......(of course there is a but!) have you ever been  inside someone else's home and felt a pang of longing and desire, a thought that says "gosh, I could live here and be very happy, in fact I WANT to live here!"    And still more, "Gee, she's talented! What great taste she has.  Why haven't I ever done anything as stylish as she has?"   It's not a jealousy, it's an appreciation of beauty (ok, maybe it IS a jealousy - I'll be honest!)   And then, after your visit to this fabulous house, you go home, to your own beloved house that you've worked so hard on and fretted over, that you've designed and furnished .........and you think........"is there a gun anywhere?   I want to shoot myself!" 


I had just that feeling today while out antiquing.   A glimpse into another home, another style, another design aesthetic that gave me pause and made me think:      " hmmm.....can I please start all over again?"   Mary Daly lives in just that home, a wonderful resort inside the city limits, an architectural gem of a place, designed and built by none other than Houston great and legend Kurt Aichler.   I've yet to see an Aichler home that I haven't loved and this one certainly didn't disappoint.


Fabflea 001 

Isn't this the cutest license plate?


Fabflea 005

Even the delivery  truck is cute!


So, why was I torturing myself at Mary Daly's house today?     Mary is an antique dealer.  She goes to Paris several times a year to meet up with her partner Pat  Sadoux, Ohio born, but for the past 45 years, a French wife and mother.  Together Mary and Pat scour the countryside of the south of France and the flea markets of Paris, and just about everywhere in between to gather up a unique assortment of antiques:  some refined, some more rustic, some just fun, but all wonderful.   The business is called the Fabulous Flea and for a few years they showed their wares at Antiques and Interiors on  Dunlavy.  That was until there was turn of events:   Mary's elderly next door neighbors moved out and the Daly's purchased their lot.  At that point, Aichler was again recruited  to design a guest house and an outside entertaining pavilion along with a pool.  The  newly built guest house now houses the Fabulous Flea and fabulous it is.  One day, when Mary and Pat are through with the antique grind, the Dalys will turn the shop into a either an apartment for their children, or a place for their guests -  whomever needs it first.


So, today, I found myself shopping at the Fabulous Flea as  Mary and Pat were showing their new shipment before they pack it all up this weekend for Round Top, the Texas antique fair.  If you are going to Round Top, be sure to visit the Fabulous Flea.  They'll be in Marburger Farms, September 30 through October 4th, Tent B Row b6.  But, be sure to get there early - things tend to sell out fast.    If you can't make it to Marburger, call Mary for an appointment in Houston when she gets back home.   And if you don't live in Houston, enjoy these pictures and shop from their web site


Fabflea 004

The compound:  On the left is the Daly house:  The front door is through the arch.  On the right is the guest house aka The Fabulous Flea.  Behind the stucco wall is the garden, swimming pool, and outdoor pavilion.  This wonderful compound was designed and built by Kurt Aichler.


Fabflea 002

Close up of the guest house aka The Fabulous Flea.  You can enter the Fabulous Flea through either the "front door" under the awning, or through the carriage doors on the right.


Fabflea 007

A lantern hangs next to the Fab Flea's front door.   Vintage theatre seats, slipcovered in linen sit outside along with other items. 


Fabflea 006

I went in through the carriage doors.   Be sure to notice the doors - large and arched, with handsome hardware, they open in the middle. 


Fabflea 011

The view going in through the carriage doors to the first room.


Fabflea 014

One of two large rooms filled with  newly arrived purchases from France.  Along the back door behind the bookcase is a smaller pair of carriage doors that lead to the back garden. 


Fabflea 018

Matching lanterns in two sizes. 


Fabflea 020

This Swedish demi lune is one of a pair - they can be used as consoles or together as a table. 



Fabflea 021

A beautiful, painted armoire.


Fabflea 025

An extra large,  antique buffet, laden with  books and small, iron planters.  Slipcovered stools are underneath.


Fabflea 026

Across the back carriage door, an assortment of furniture.


Fabflea 027

Hanging are a pair of black pendant lights.


Fabflea 028

Looking from the  first room  into the second - notice the paneled doors that lead into the next area.


Fabflea 032

The large, second room, with an assortment of French antiques and accessories. 


Fabflea 037

A Charles V settee sits against the window over looking the garden and the main house.    You can just make out the antique door that leads into the house.   


Fabflea 034

Through these doors, lined up on an axis, is the outdoor pavilion. 



Fabflea 038

I loved this table, but it was already sold. 



Fabflea 040

Everywhere are beautiful vignettes.  Here a painted chest with mirror and flanking sconces.


Fabflea 045

An arched window sits next to a French chaise.   The metal display case holds jewelry and silver utensils. 


Fabflea 036

A hanging, painted console with mirror, one of a pair.   Reflected in the mirror is more merchandise.


Fabflea 041

And looking back into the first room, a pair of standing lamps flank the large doors.  Be sure to notice the hardware on the doors and the ceiling height  in the first room.  Beautiful!


Fabflea 055

OK!  Enough shopping!  I want to go see the backyard!  Here, outside the double doors is the path back  into the Fab Flea.  You can see Mary on the left, and Moi on the right, unfashionably still in white linen.  Mary and Pat refused to have their pictures taken for some reason odd reason - they both looked adorable I thought!    Be sure to notice the pathways lined in pavers against gravel. 


Fabflea 060

The outdoor pavilion over looking the pool and the main house.  The large arched building has an outdoor kitchen, dining area, and seating area.   Large lanterns flank the arches.  Through the arches on the opposite side  is a large courtyard.  To the right of this building is the Fab Flea. 


Fabflea 050

Inside the seating area.  Notice the beautiful ceiling.  To the left is the pool and  main house, to the right is the courtyard area. 



Fabflea 052

Close up of the fireplace.  I love the stacked wood on each side.   The horns above are just perfect for the space.  Isn't this wonderful?


Fabflea 053

The eating area.  Through the opening is  the door to the Fab Flea.



Fabflea 054

The view from the outdoor pavilion looking across the swimming pool into the main house.   Before the Daly's neighbor's sold their lot, the fence between their two properties was right at the edge of the swimming pool.  Hard to imagine now!    The pool, the outdoor pavilion, the Fab Flea guest house, and the courtyard area were all conceived by Aichler who designed and built the house and the additions.    




Fabflea 061

Going back into the Fabulous Flea through the back carriage doors in the first room.  Mary's beautiful daughter, Grace, is there to help.  



Fabflea 057 

Inside the same door, looking out to the courtyard.  To the left of the courtyard you can just make out the outdoor pavilion.  The paths around the courtyard are gravel.



Fabflea 062

The very friendly and sweet Gracie, helping her mom and Pat at work.    Gracie is enjoying her second week off from school due to Hurricane Ike, Monday will be her first day back.   The Dalys also have an teenage son. 


So, where's the main house?   Well, Mary gave me a tour of her house, and I was afraid of being too pushy and obnoxious, so I didn't dare even ask for pictures.  Suffice it to say, the house is beautiful -  understated and elegant at the same time.  The wood  floors are bleached, the walls are white stucco.  The interior is all linen and slipcovers with seagrass rugs, so you can imagine how much in heaven I was.  The details of the house are magnificent - the baseboards for example, I've never seen such wonderful baseboards!  The kitchen, well  - to die for.  The house is casual and comfortable, the rooms are human sized, not over scaled.  The ceilings are high and some are paneled.   Mary says that the more time she spends in France, the more she wants to edit, but surely she must know, that her house is already wonderfully edited.   Of course Mary was gracious and humble, but truly, I was overwhelmed by how perfect the house is.  I could have asked for the keys and moved in there today and never looked back on my own house.....eekkk!!!!  I have to go BACK there to live  forever??????  NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!    This feeling rarely happens, I don't usually fall so in love with a house, but I promise you, you would have too.   The Daly's house hasn't been published yet, but, not that they haven't been asked.  Hopefully, it will be soon and then you will get to experience it firsthand too. 


I had such a great time today with Mary and Pat and Gracie.  They were wonderful hosts and eager to hear all about blogging and such.    Since I wasn't given the keys to the house, I did want to take a piece of it home with me to remember the day.  So, what did I choose?  Can you guess?  It's something  in the picture below.


Fabflea 033


If you are going to Round Top, be sure to stop by the Fabulous Flea at Marburger, September 30 through October 4th, Tent B Row b6.  Otherwise, contact Mary for an appointment at the Fab Flea in Houston.    And also, be sure to peruse the web site for information and prices of the items shown here:


  1. This is fabulous indeed !!
    What a place !!
    I could do without the house...I'd moved straight in to the shop !!!
    I live near to france (ROME,ITALY)
    but I think I have to come to HOUSTON to go shopping !!!!
    I think you picked the mercury jar.......???
    Have a nice day,
    Monica in Rome

  2. Joni, get back there and get the pictures of the inside. I don't care if they have to be thru the windows, I have to see this house, tell me the address and I will fly in from Philly today.. I would sell my soul to live here. Thanks for the lovely post again, it starts my day off with a smile!
    Hope all is well with your Galveston friends.
    xo, MB

  3. KILLER! I wish i could have gone with you!!!

  4. Reminds me of when we lived in Surrey (UK) and went to Farnham to The Packhouse ( which was a centuries old barn chock full of antiques! I've spent many an afternoon there, especially with guests from the US, perusing their many rooms, looking for that "something special" and the thrill of finding it!

  5. Totally fabulous and totally frustrating. Houston is a very long drive and I don't have a truck to haul it all back.

    - Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Fabulous indeed! I can see a lot of these pieces in your home Joni!

  8. Fun going shopping with you, that place is just wonderful. I can see why you didn't want to miss it. And yes, I'd love to start over with more of the French style in my home, but it's way too costly to do that. So, I'll just have to drool over your pics!

  9. Wow, you are right, it IS a "resort within city limits"! They must have a wonderful time in France finding all these gems for their shop. what did you buy??? I think either the long pillow on the settee, or the hanging mirror with the shelf.. or one of the chairs.. sorry.. you didn't give us a budget!!! :)

    I'd like to relax by that pool this weekend!

  10. I'm guessing either the exquisite long pillow or the painted tray!!! What a beautiful heart wrenching home. I have felt that "I'm going home and spit on my house" feeling just a few times in my life and this could be the third. Thanks for the fun day. Ginny

  11. OMG you are such a tease, Joni! Now I want to see the house!!!! You can't just say you saw it but didn't photograph it then describe it in LUSCIOUS detail!! I hope you got that FAB mercury jar! Or the pillow....or the tea table..... it's all wonderful!

  12. Yeah, I agree with some others - the mercury apothecary is probably my best guess. I'm in love with that settee and the aubusson-esque pillow but I don't think you need that. Chairs are a possibility since I know you have tons of chairs - but where would you put these? I'm going to have to guess the mercury apothecary, or maybe that little hidden tray leaned against the settee. Am I wrong? Joni - I HATE to be wrong. Oh, and those curtains we were talking about - all wrong. I hung them, the green is much more olive and doesn't look good against the gray/green of the sage in my dining room. Ah well - back to the store they go.

  13. I agree with the others--you've got to go back and show her house! I want to see the kitchen!

  14. Beautifula and beyond. Houston is so close but yet so far. I need to road trip.

  15. What a gorgeous place! Can you imagine waking up to all that every morning?

  16. I'm in heaven. I'll take the demilune tables, the burlap covered stools/ottomans, those wonderful wall hangings with paintings of sea coral, a lantern or two or three, and that console. What a great shop! It is truly a very FAB-ulous Flea.

    Loved the tour. Thanks much.


  17. You know, Joni, when I click on your blog, I have to get my coffee first! I know that I am going to sit and read something fabulous! You always inspire. Your blog is like getting your favorite magazine in the mail! Thanks so much!

  18. J,
    This is the best thing in the morning, your blog! Could anyone imagine that being their wonderful compound and business. This would be my dream.

    Shes living the good life, this is for sure, your so lucky to get to go there!!!
    thanks, girly.
    coastal nest

  19. I think you chose that gorgeous large finial sculpture on that sideboard, waaaaa over on the right..


  20. Oh how I would love to take an outing with you!!! Fun day!
    I am guessing you bought the pillow.

  21. Two weeks ago I wasn't happy about living in Houston because of Hurricane Ike but after seeing this shop, I now am! I am heading there this afternoon if I can squeeze some time otherwise, after they get back from Roundtop.

  22. Joni,

    AHHHHHH! You know my deep love for any Aichler designed house!!!! I have read the Country Home story on the Dalys ranch and have saved those pictures for years. I will have to put the Fabulous Flea on my places to visit.

    My husband finally has a day off tomorrow from Ike duty, it is supposed to be a beautiful day, perfect for the convertible & trip in town. I have cabin fever from Ike with everything closing early. Its nice to get back to normal!!!

    I know we southern girls cling to the no white after Labor Day but I think the rest of the world has dispensed with that rule. Personally, I think it should be ok in the South for linen & white year round b/c its hot hear April through October at least.

  23. Celeste I'm moist!
    I guess the pillow, or maybe the sconce because I know you are a sconce queen .
    I was fantasizing about going to Round Top, and visiting you!
    But we have house guests coming on the first.
    Now I have another reason to make a pilgrimage to Houston! The Fabulous Flea!
    xo xo

  24. PS Will you please get me one of those coral prints that look like a botanical chart for a classroom? Or maybe the pair? I'll pay you back ;-)
    xo xo

  25. BEAUTIFUL!!!! Simply beautiful but I have to ask....whatdaya get???? :)

  26. Oh yes, I'm definitely drooling! I have had a few instances of house envy over the years. But they always seem to inspire me to move things around, or change out linens and pillows... nothing drastic.

    Now, of course, I'd love to start with a blank slate but that just isn't going to happen. And I'm afraid that fabulous French decor would just look silly in a small Cape Cod house.

    Having said that, I would just LOVE to have that antique buffet for my kitchen!!!

    You never fail to please, Joni. Terrific post!

  27. this is "living the good life". What a wonderful place...who wouldn't want to live there. I really love the outdoor pavillion. I think you got the table.

  28. Just for the record...Beverly Jacomini (a very well known Houston designer) designed her house in Round Top stated in the Country Homes article.

  29. I professed my love for this post on my own, hope that's okay! I just couldn't think of anything else I could possibly blog about, lol. I can't get enough of this place. Thanks again for sharing it!

  30. Note to self: schedule a trip to Houston - arrange to meet Joni - arrange to meet Joni at the Fabulous Flea. This place is amazing.

  31. Oh yes, I've felt that tinge of jealousy! I'd throw everything out and start over again if I could too but DH would have a coronary!!! He has a stroke every time I barely move the furniture! @@ What a fabulous shop...I want to see pics of the house too!!! Thanks for sharing :o)

  32. Well this was just painful. Those lanterns, that armoire, that arched window...I saw so much that I wanted!! I am now off to check out their website!

  33. This post is such a treat. I'm thinking you really must go back and take pics of the home. Let her know how much free advertising her store got on your blog. She's sure to let you back in. :-)

    Oh, and I think you got the mercury apothecary jar.

  34. WOW WOW WOW... can one say more than that... little hard to talk with your mouth hanging open in awe!

  35. OMG!!! Just Fab.There are know words.I want to go thereeeeeeee!Thanks for sharing this with us.Hugs Marie Antionette

  36. to bad texas wasn't next door - loved the post

  37. I am forever getting house envy. My poor husband has witnessed me come home from visiting friends or family and rearrange the entire house the moment I walk back in my door. Now I'm getting the rearrange urge from reading your blog. Oh boy, now I know what I'll be doing today.

  38. What a gorgeous place...I want to go shop there...saw, oh, about 100 things I would love!

  39. What an awesome place.
    Just gotta gotta come to Texas!
    Thanks for the post, wonderful!!

  40. Joni, don't you know many of US have house envy...of YOUR home! But, yes, this was a slice of Texas heaven a la Francais! Merci!

  41. You make this old North East girl wish she lived in Houston!

  42. What a great place & how awesome to have that business! I would love it!!!!

  43. I have never seen anything so beautiful!
    This is my first time visiting your site.
    What an introduction.
    Mary and Pat have quite a gift.


  44. I have never seen anything so beautiful!
    This is my first time visiting your site.
    What an introduction.
    Mary and Pat have quite a gift.


  45. WHAT DO YOU didn't dare ask for pictures. YOU, the stalker? Get back over there and scale the fence if you have to and get us photos of that beautiful house. That hurricane must have affected you more than I thought!!! Have a triple venti $tarbuck$ or something! Snap out of it!

    Only in Houston, Texas is such zoning possible. You couldn't have that attached to your home in Dallas. I kind of like the idea.

    Please wrap and send the Charles V settee. Great post.

  46. Halcyon's post was hilarious....I second that ...... haven't you got a telephoto lens or something?! Just kiddin', but then again...they sound too nice to have you arrested for trespass / stalking. LOL .... Love your blog Joni....I am guessing you got the murcury glass piece.

  47. It looks gorgeous - and how lucky they are - I'd love to work that close to home (especially if it looked like that)!

  48. You've done it again - caused me to laugh out loud when I read the following line -

    "And then, after your visit to this fabulous house, you go home, to your own beloved house that you've worked so hard on and fretted over, that you've designed and furnished .........and you think........"is there a gun anywhere? I want to shoot myself!"

    This is better than SNL. I could so identify with your statement!! You have a great sense of humor.

  49. Thanks for all the wonderful comments!!! ok - here's what I bought - a few guessed it, but I bought the tea table! It was meant to go in front of my family room sofa but my husband went nuts that he couldn't see the tv while laying down (he could) - so I moved it to the living room to replace a not so nice table there! I 'll take a picture to show soon.

  50. That compound and shop is amazing. You Houstonians have incredible style!

  51. New to your blog & I am officially hooked! Gorgeous!

  52. New to your blog & I am officially hooked! Gorgeous!

  53. What a fabulous store and home! It's totally filled with treasures! And how neat to have their store right where they live :)

  54. Are you bored with your cheap-looking home and office furniture or is it happening that you are about to lose on your client`s confidence due to your weak and unattractive office interiors? No need to worry at all, dear. With coming up with new and effective mobili per ufficio (office furniture) solutions, uninviting office interiors are a matter of the past era. Just log in to the website for everlasting solutions to your furniture problems.

  55. Oh my goodness, this is sooooooo beyond fabulous!!!!