I appreciate the old fashioned values that come with living in a rural area. I was born and raised in Southern California but found my home in La Grange, Texas. I love the people, the small towns, and raising my two kids here. The fact that they say “Ma’am” and “Sir” is something that I rarely heard where I grew up.
Before finding my way to Texas, I lived in a ski town in Colorado with three other roommates. I got a job as a waitress and was making (what I thought at the time was) really good money. It was my first taste of actually having some money to spend on whatever I wanted. It was with those paychecks from the Blue Moose restaurant that I started to buy antiques. There was a shop in town owned by a sweet old man named Bill. His store was perfect for me, as there weren’t too many high-priced items so everything seemed within reach, even if I had to borrow some money from a friend on occasion.
I don’t want to be mainstream.
My mom was an avid collector of antiques, and as a kid I hated going shopping with her. The shops were boring and she always took so long looking at each and every item. I thought I didn’t like antiques until I had the money to buy whatever I wanted. It turns out I inherited the bug from her! Antiques were, indeed, my thing. Little did I know that within a short time they would be my livelihood as well.
With my collection of antiques growing week by week, my roommates let me decorate the whole condo to my liking. I went all out and it turned out really cute! It was at this time in my life that I realized I had the knack for creating a warm space with pieces that have been around for much longer than I had. I loved it.
One thing that I feel strongly about when it comes to antique furniture is leaving it in its natural state. I don’t like the sanding down and painting of pieces that are already so naturally beautiful. Chippy white paint is not appealing to me. I am fully aware of the trends that come and go in the antique market. Some years everyone wants shabby chic, others it’s bleached out wood. I have come to realize that, just like in the fashion world, if you wait long enough your stuff will eventually come back in style. My natural pieces where you can see the grain of the wood and the knotholes may not be the in thing at the moment, but it’ll come back around. You can go with what’s hip, but mix it with items that you love and that speak to your own heart—whether they go with current trends or not.
You have to know what makes you happy.
I find a lot of inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest, but, again, you have to be careful not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. White couch and white carpet? It might look nice in someone’s post on social media, but you have to ask yourself if that really works for you and your lifestyle. I enjoy social media just as much as the next person, but what I really get inspired by is a magazine—a real magazine that I can hold in my hand, circle what I like, dog-ear the pages and even rip them out and stick in a scrapbook of ideas. You can’t do that with digital content.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that keeping up with the latest trends is not something I want to do. I want to think outside the box and encourage my customers to do the same. It doesn’t matter that so-and-so does it this way. That may not be your way and that’s okay. Women in this or any industry can help each other by simply being supportive of one another. There’s no reason to be competitive. Sometimes I feel like people are trying so hard to fit in when all they have to do is be themselves and stick to their own style. It’s like carrying your tray through the cafeteria hoping to be invited over to the cool kids’ table. No! Sit with the nerds! Think for yourself and you will get far.
My mom was such a huge influence in every way. Her decorating skills and passion for collecting definitely put me on the path that I am on today. Even though I hated going to antique shops as a kid, I still have fond memories of accompanying my mom. One of her favorite shops was owned by a man named Mr. Conklin. He put a Bible verse typed on a piece of paper the size you would find in a fortune cookie in every one of his pieces of furniture. That made an impression on me as a kid—and still does. I admire people who share their faith in such simple but creative ways.
“Be who you are and say what you feel.” —Bernard M. Baruch
In the spring of 2015, there was a guy just down the road who had silos for sale. I thought maybe I could turn them into guesthouses to put on my property and rent out during antiques week. I learned very quickly that you need to ask a lot of questions when purchasing something that needs to be torn down and reassembled. What I thought was a great price for four silos turned into a not so great deal once delivery and assembly were factored in. Take it from me—ask questions! I learned the hard way.
Once the silos were in place on our property, my original vision for the guesthouses changed. With the help of my fantastic builder, Judy Kurtz, we added a porch to the front of each silo and then an additional room and bathroom off the back. The first silo was the guinea pig. Once we figured that one out, the rest came together pretty quickly. No matter what I dreamt up (circular windows, wood on the ceilings, chandeliers), Judy and her team never said “no” to anything. They made it happen even when it seemed impossible.
I had so much fun gathering all of the materials and decorative items. I sourced every element of the silos’ interiors myself. Styling every detail to see out my vision has been so satisfying. I love the hunt for the perfect pieces to complete a room. Everything that went into the silos was purchased locally at the Round Top antique show, friends’ shops, and, of course, our own shop, Old World Antieks. How lucky I am to have a warehouse full of items to pull from whenever I need something! I also try to support my friends in the business as much as possible. For example, all of the bedding in my silos came from Junk Gypsy.
“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” —Bernard M. Baruch
When the silo project was completed and it came time to rent them out, I realized that part of the vision was more than I had bargained for! It was like we had suddenly opened up a boutique hotel. Rooms needed to be cleaned, sheets changed, trash taken out. My “rentals” then became guest rooms for friends and family—much easier to keep up with!
It has been such a blessing to be able to do what I have done. I love a new challenge and can’t wait to see what the future may bring. It’s always bittersweet when I finish a project because it leaves me yearning for whatever is next. The ventutre just over the horizon excites me and I can’t wait to jump in all over again.