COTE DE TEXAS: Antique Shopping in Austin: A Recent Visit!!

Antique Shopping in Austin: A Recent Visit!!


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Whenever I go to Austin, Texas, the first store I hit is Shabby Slips on 6th Street.  A branch of the store in Houston owned by Renea Abbott, it is much smaller and more intimate than the original.   But – that’s alright.  This store is every bit as beautiful and full of wonderful eye candy as the Houston one.   Look how charming the outside is – with its antique “OPEN” sign and white curtains blowing in the breeze. 



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OK, let’s go in – I already see a few things that have caught my eye from the window.  I’m really on a mission this day.  We’re staying at the Four Seasons and it’s a UT football game weekend, which means the city is full to capacity.  Add to that it’s ACL weekend, Austin City Limits, a huge 3 day music extravaganza which is why we are here to begin with.  Our daughter has invited two girlfriends to go to ACL.  So, rooms with views of Lady Bird Lake are completely sold out, except for one smoking room, which the hotel promised they would refresh.  Except when we check in, it still stinks like someone has just smoked a pack of unfiltered Camels in there.   Ben has sent me out to find a scented candle to burn.   Wow – that’s a first!  Ben telling me to buy a scented candle!   Oh-K, no problem,  I aim to please.


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How gorgeous is this sofa?  OK – I’ll take it, wrap it up.  Tufted in the most extremely luscious way – this is one sofa here that won’t be slipcovered.  And that cute white Jeep Commander outside the window?  ha!  That’s the Cote de Texas blogmobile.  White, of course – with caramel colored interior.  True love.


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This is a standard chair for Shabby Slips with the English saddle arm, down back and bottom cushions.  This is not slipcovered yet – but it still is beautiful in its bare state.  Love the Kelly Wearstler pillow.   Will we ever tire of that fabric?


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I love this Spanish influenced desk – it’s so versatile – it could be a bedside table, or a sofa table, a buffet in a dining room, or a coffee table in front of a large sofa.   The faux bois vase is from Oly Studios.   But, check out the chair – with its beautiful linen, waterfall slipcover.  And look at the crown on that down cushion!  That’s pretty high!   I love the decor here – the white, white walls with the seagrass matting – so fresh and clean looking.  It really makes the merchandise look great.


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Glamour comes to Shabby Slips – the mushroom velvet sofa has one back and one bottom cushion – my favorite combination.  The chairs with the t-cushion arms are a perfect pair for the sofa.  I love how they put the two empty frames flanking the antique mirror.   The poor orchid needs to be retired though.  I mean, really.  Toss it already.


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Love this vignette with the oversized mirror and the matching floor lamps – which I adore.  Also, on the table are faux rosemary plants, which are just about the only fake plant I ever use.   These look great in a kitchen if you can’t grow the real thing.


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I love this antiqued-mirrored coffee table, it’s diminutive size is great for an accent piece.  The sofa, again, waits to be sold before the slip is sewn.    Silk velvet tiger pillows are a hot alternative to zebra skins.   



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Another dining table, this time large glass apothecary jars as centerpieces.  Barry Dixon, the interior designer, uses these bottles filled with vividly colored water to great effect.  Mercury glass cylinder lamps are topped with square shades.   


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Great mirror, sconces and antique buffet.  The chaise is a great size – contemporary lines, not too big. 



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A romantic wood framed love seat, with ice blue pillows.  I love the pair of sconces, but the real stars  here are the antique Venetian mirrors!  These are great looking ones that would work in a classic or contemporary interior.


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Rarely is there ever not a Princess and the Pea bed on display in Shabby Slips.  Here, twins with upholstered headboards and lots of linen fabric.   I love the entire vignette – from the small crystal chandelier – what a great idea instead of a lamp – to the small sunburst gilt mirror.   A pair of framed intaglios hang above the beds.


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I mean – just look at the gorgeous dust ruffle!!!!  Shabby Slips always elevates their beds to create this long drop.  Also, they are sewn with a double ruffle – twice the amount of gathers that a normal workroom does.  This double ruffle is great to use on chair skirts too.  Alright, candles bought – had to get a few since I had an open order to buy. 


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Next stop is always Whit Hanks Antiques, an upscale mall further down on 6th Street. 


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.Just look for the famous Treaty Oak – right  in front of Whit Hanks.

There’s a fence around it now after a crazy person poisoned the tree in 1989.  They weren’t sure it would survive, but it did.    This oak is the last surviving one from a group of 14 that served as a tribal meeting place for Comanche and Tonkawa Indians over 500 years ago.  Before the poisoning, the tree’s spread was over 127 ft.  Now only 1/3 of the tree remains, though it finally started producing acorns again in 1997 – for the first time since the poisoning. 


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My favorite place in Whit Hanks is The Antique Swan which is probably the best place to buy English smalls any where except Portobello Street in London.


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Shelves and shelves of transferware.  I once bought a set of 20 brown and white transferware plates here – they were such a bargain I couldn’t resist.    Most of them are now hanging in my dining room.  I spy two Masonware vases on the top shelf of this dessert cart that I really could use for my collection!  Oh well, I’m sure they are out of my price range.



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Someone needs to call Charles Faudree quick – this is such a great selection of English Staffordshire figures.  He loves to make lamps out of these pieces. 


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Aw, cute authentic  Toby Jugs!!


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 There is lots and lots of Majolica for those who collect it!  Alyse!!!! 


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Next, at a French antique booth, Fray has recently invested heavily in painted pieces.  This was a pair of consoles which they allowed to be broken up.  A shame – though I can’t even afford the one!   But isn’t this a beauty?


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I like this chest with the gilded candlesticks on top.   The newest thing in display in antique stores is placing mirrors and sconces on top of antique doors – just like they have done here.


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These are functional pieces – a pair of demi lunes used as consoles or together as a small table. 



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Moving through Whit Hanks’  other booths, I find this piece that is hard to resist – a gray painted French settee in pink silk – charming!



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And a great Duchesse de Brise – perfect for a bedroom with a fireplace.


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I loved this – Princess Eugenie, Napoleon III’s wife.  The original by Winterhalter is in Rome.  This large canvas measures 10 x 7.  I would love to design a room around this painting!   I just need the client.   Anyone interested?


OK, I’m done shopping for the day.   More on my tour of Austin’s great places to shop another day!!   To visit Whit Hanks online, please go here.   And Shabby Slips, Houston has a gorgeous web site here.


  1. Gorgeous things in Shabby Slips. If I had room, I could take most of what you've shown. Particularly like the oversized mirror and the mercury lamps, (how clever and unexpected to contrast with the oblong shades).

  2. "Ben telling me to buy a scented candle! Oh-K, no problem, I aim to please."

    Love it! LOL!

    I don't even know where to start, Joni, other than to say I loved it ALL. I want it ALL. The store is a treasure trove. In addtion to the wonderful upholstered pieces, I spotted a small plexi-glass table that caught my eye. I loved the trumeau (sp) mirror over that little sideboard. The Kelly Wearstler fabric, of course, is still our favorite. And in addition to all of the furnishings, Joni, I love the color of the walls. I know that these pictures on the internet aren't always true on various monitors, but that's a great color (what I'm seeing on mine).

    Mr. Magpie's grandmother had a pair of the most wonderful chairs with those English saddle rolled arms as you referred to them, and the chairs ended up with his uncle. I keep eyeing chairs with those arms and thinking I will find a pair that want to come live with us! ;-)

    Thanks for this post. I feel like I've truly been shopping with you.


  3. I always have the BEST time when I visit you, Joni! Of course, I'm drooling all over my keyboard at all the luscious things (LOVE those Venetian mirrors), but that's a small price to pay. ;)

  4. Gorgeous as always, Joni! But oh, Treaty Oak. I remember when that happened! People were holding vigils. I'm so glad it survived! Maybe there is hope for your tree, then?

  5. oh joni,

    i wish i had gone with you.
    about now i would love some change....

    you went to the antique swan !!!!

    and that shop, the silver leaf mirror and EVERYTHING else was so purrrr-fect.


  6. had me at the spanish desk and that gorgeous chair with the waterfall slipcover!

    LOVE your shopping excursions...they never cost me a dime!

    Which candle did you get?? LOVE a good one!

  7. Shabby Slips looks to be a treasure trove on all levels! Gorgeous items throughout. I really liked how all the vingnettes were done. Makes one want to buy every accessory to go with their big purchase in a particular area!

  8. What a wonderful way to start my day! This post is beautiful. I can't wait to get to Austin this spring and visit my daughter along with good shopping.
    Your talents amaze me...add shopping tour guide please.

  9. Yummy -how I would love to go shopping with you -such beautiful stores! I was a little wary of the first few photos of the outside of that first store but the inside is PERFECT, i could move right in. I especially love those antiqued mirrors and that FAB-U-LOUS mirrored coffee table! ME LIKEY!

  10. It sounds like such a fun weekend! Seriously, I am going to have to come down to Texas again soon!

  11. I love those stores, Joni. In fact, we had company over the weekend, and guess where I took her? Yep, Whit Hanks & Shabby Slips. Next time you come, though, you'll have to give me a shout!

  12. Must be great to be so close to such great shopping!

    Love the pair of chairs with shared ottoman, and that pair of single beds. I have a symmetry fetish :) to slipcover everything in my house in linen!


  13. Thanks for sharing pictures of Slabby Slips in Austin! Heaven!

  14. Thank you for the visual romp through those lovely store too far for me to visit. Now, I'm off to their websites!

  15. You make me eager for my next trip to Texas!

  16. What a great post. Love that Shabby Slips store. Wish I was there with you!

  17. Wow amazing post. I love everything. I really do nned to plan a trip to Texas. I haven't been there in over 10 years! I would love to follow you around for a week. Such great finds!

  18. Shabby Slips looks amazing! I love so many of the pieces you posted.

  19. That mushrooom velvet sofa and the antique frames!! Gorgeous. Joni, do you recall how much the frames were?Shabby Slips is wonderful!

  20. Those princess still my heart! Of course i can hear my husband saying, "With 2 cats and a dog getting in bed, and me drooling in my sleep, woudln't stay that pretty!" Sheesh. The guy has no romantic decor fantasies at all!
    But that cabinet filled with Staffordshire...oh. my. God.
    I swooned. I am a huge Faudree afficianado so that is no surprise huh? : )

    Such gorgeous stores filled with so much eye candy! Thank you for the tour Joni!


  21. love these first photos of the austin storefronts - i have always heard that they had great shops, guess i must go!
    xoxo from las vegas

  22. What fun to find your great blog ---
    and especially a perfect trip down memory lane to two of my Austin Favs: Shabby Slips and Whit Hanks ! I'll look forward to following your wanderings -
    Judith T.

  23. The best way to clear stale cigarette smoke — a shallow bowl with steaming water and vinegar.

  24. Fun shopping in Austin! When I first saw the blog "on location," I wondered if you'd hit Whit Hanks - and you highlighted a family favorite spot in the shop: Antique Swan.
    When I was in college, I would scout majolica for my mom at Ann Martin's fantastic booth (I was an exceptional personal shopper). Mom bought dozens of pieces sight unseen knowing that between Ann & I , we'd come up with the best stuff. Ann has an amazing eye for English antiques. I bought my first bit of English transferware from her 15 years ago (in college, I spent all of my baby sitting money on dishes!) and my collection is going strong, 100's of pieces later. Glad to see Ann still has the Swan going at full throttle!
    How about an Austin home shoot ala Antique Swan?

  25. I bet, Joni, if you set up a shopping trip, either in Houston or Austin, it'd fill quickly! What fun! Breaks at Starbucks of course...

  26. You are soooo lucky to live close to all of these wonderful shops!!! LOVE the mirrored coffee table!!! and the Majolica!

  27. Wow to all the upholstered seating! And I don't know if its a sign of getting old or just my taste maturing, but I love love the Staffordshire figures...something an old friend of mines mom use to collect when we were younger which I thought was an old lady thing:-)

  28. I NEED some clients so I can go shopping! Slow Slow Slow!!!
    This shopping adventure looks FAB!
    Crossing my fingers 2009 will be BRIGHT and filled with ugly homes to be decorated!

  29. Oooh Jon! You can decorate my home any time you want to. I love all of the pieces you showed us.
    I have a soft spot for those painted consoles.
    Those Shabby Slips beds look so inviting.
    What a fun day.

    I feel like I have been spending a lot of time with you.
    Last week we went to Brown, this week we went antique-ing. What are we doing next week? I can hardly wait to find out.


  30. I love the white sofa, the green pillows and the desk!! Whenever I visit your site I feel like a kid in a candy store I want it all!!! Thanks...

  31. I have been searching for a Duchesse de Brise. LOVE IT! NEED IT! Merry Christmas to ME! :)

  32. I love these shops , they have fantastic things . I wouldn't know what to choose ...may be the pink louis XVI sofa

  33. From my first glimpse through the window, I wanted to see more and more, Joni!

    I really wish I could use more white in our home, but alas...Molly. Floating Black
    Lab hair and white. Is this a problem we can overcome?

    I love the mushroom sofa. Do I dare discuss furniture replacement with J?

    Thanks again for taking us along, to fabulous places!

  34. That first diamond-tufted sofa is gorgeous!!! I'm addicted to diamond tufting lately. Can't seem to get enough of it!

    Shabby Slips looks fantastic. I'll definitely have to plan a trip. Oh, and I think that Virginia above had the most fantastic idea. I'd definitely take part to find out about all of these great little shops that you seem to find.

  35. Feast for the eyes!

    Heaven on Earth. I'm going back for more now.

  36. How divine, Joni!! Fabulous, fabulous shops and so much to see! I loved it all! And you're right, Charles F. would have loved the staffordshire and the toby jugs too.

    Yes, yes....lots of eye candy here! Back for more!

    Great, great post, Joni! BRAVO!

  37. Why cant they have stores like that up here in Boston? They look like so much fun to poke around in, love all those pictures!

  38. Joni - thanks for the tour - wonderful spots, both - I've heard that Austin is wonderful, but folks are not usually talking about the antique and interior world. I have a good friend with a house in Santa Fe and she adored the Shabby Slips there.

  39. Thanks Joni. Austin is on my long list of must-see cities. . . and I might be passing through Texas next Spring. So it's nice to know I can add an antiquing stop to the music/nightlife/capitol itinerary I'd always imagined my visit would be about. And if I don't make it to Texas in May, sign me up for your shopping tour! Great idea, Virginia!

  40. How I would have loved to have gone with you! Edward as well!

  41. That tufted sofa looks luscious! When I used to watch films from the 50s and early 60s I would always imagine owning a home with a round tufted banquette. (Okay, to this day I still dream about it). I grew up in a very small town in Georgia and our "fancy" "beauty parlor" had such a piece. I would be so happy to go with my mom to get her hair done. Thank you for the shopping trip.

  42. just loved this post and discovered Cheap Chic all in the same day. I've tagged you for a Your Blog is Fabulous award. I'm sure you're way past these, but I nominated you all the same because you're fabulous.

  43. HI There
    We love your design blog - all the way here in Africa! Please can you tell me, do you know whose fabric those divine leopard print and tiger prints are?

  44. Oooh, ooh! Some of the best eye candy I've had all day!! What would I give to spend a day shopping with you? Hmmm...

  45. LOVE the large glass apothecary jars! I have been on the hunt for them here in Scotland!!!

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  49. Do you know if the Eugenie Napoleon picture is for sale?

    Thanks for the pics.


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