Restful Rejuvenation in Round Top
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]There aren’t any “wrongs” when it comes to making your own home beautiful, but it’s terribly wrong, in my opinion, to neglect the comfort and rejuvenation the body needs.
Pandora de Balthazár[/pullquote]
Pandora de Balthazár understands the power of luxurious rest. In an era where life is defined by skyrocketing stress and accelerating busyness, her exquisite linens and customized sleep systems offer a respite for the harried.
Since 1998, she has brought her singularly beautiful and effective wares to Round Top. Each show season, she sets up a majestic white tent on the grounds of the Arbor Antiques & International Design Show. It has become a landmark for those navigating the show and a destination for those seeking rest for their bodies and souls.
Once inside, guests are enveloped in inviting possibilities. The soothing scent of lavender wafts through the air. The distinctive textiles—bedding, bath décor and sleepwear—invite touch. Knowledgeable sales associates offer refreshments, expertise and sleep lessons, which introduce Pandora’s revolutionary European Sleep System.
Pandora de Balthazar in Round Top
Pandora oversees it all. As a child of the South, hospitality is as much a part of her character as entrepreneurship. She began her professional life as a financial planner, but a devastating car accident in 1986 left her in constant pain—and changed the course of her life. As part of her recovery from a delicate spinal microsurgery performed in Hungary, Pandora was confined to constant bed rest for six months. As a result, she discovered the important role properly supportive pillows and high-quality linens play in healthful rest prompting her to commission special-sized pillows custom-made from Hungarian goose down, which has greater support volume.
Following her recovery, Pandora returned to the States, sharing her discovery with friends and clients. The glowing word-of-mouth reviews spawned a boutique luxury linens and bedding business. The European Sleep System was first offered to merchants in High Point, N.C., in 1995. The System included custom embroidery and antique linens as well as the ultra-supportive pillows.
While everyone can benefit from a good night’s sleep, Pandora is passionate about assisting those who suffer from physical and mental health challenges such as insomnia, diabetes, hiatal hernia, breast cancer, and recovery from orthopedic surgery, especially back and neck surgery.
More than 50,000 European Sleep System sets have been sold, allowing Pandora to deliver the gift of restful health to clients across the nation.
Pandora’s Round Top Roots
As a visionary entrepreneur, Pandora secured the roots of her bedding system in the home furnishings markets of High Point, N.C. and Pensacola, Fla. Then she hit the road. Her stops included both new furniture and antiques shows.
Tiny Round Top was not on her radar until David Alexander, a friend, employee and then-publisher of the Antiques Gazette, recommended she participate in the growing show even though the dates conflicted with the high-visibility High Point market. David felt so strongly that he and his mother Nancy wrote letters of introduction to Round Top’s legendary promoter Emma Lee Turney suggesting she invite Pandora to the show.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]”Finally we received the Grand Dame’s invite to participate in the Big Red Barn,” Pandora said. “Unfortunately a hurricane prevented us from attending and the following season Miss Emma Lee didn’t have room for us. Disappointed, I thought it just wasn’t going to happen.”[/pullquote]
On a whim, Pandora picked up the Gazette and made some calls. Curtis Ann Davis, the proprietor of the newly established Arbor Antiques Show at the American Legion field on Highway 237, answered.
“That incident describes Round Top for me—God works in such mysterious ways,” Pandora said. “Round Top is a very spiritual place for me. I simply love it.”
It was 1998. At the time, Curtis Ann had three small tents all full. She offered to add a tent and Pandora requested a 20′ x 40′ space, not knowing it wouldn’t include a floor, air-conditioning or running water.
Despite the rustic conditions, the show was the most lucrative Pandora had ever hosted in the United States—until the last day. A deluge washed part of the tent and part of her inventory, including some one-of-a-kind rugs, down the hill. It was a textile disaster.
“I left that show in tears wondering would I ever come back to Round Top,” Pandora said.
Then Curtis Ann called Pandora. She asked if a tent with a floor would solve the problem. She even suggested Pandora seek out another venue that would benefit from the presence of the high-end merchandise.
Pandora thought about it.
“My mind kept going back to the incredible plaza and buildings at Festival Hill, where I often ate my supper or sat still under the stars wondering just what God had in store for me in Round Top,” Pandora said. “Apparently, He wanted me to stay where I was because I’ve been at Arbor with Curtis Ann ever since.”
Today, the tent encompasses 2,100 square feet of air-conditioned show space, which requires nine to staff.
“Our pillows and sheets are on the beds of celebrities and famous chefs because of Round Top,” Pandora said. “Our textiles grace the homes of governors and rodeo clowns, and are found in hotels and bed and breakfasts because of the Round Top connection. Newscasters, warriors, ranchers and rockers have visited our tent, brought by friends, word-of-mouth, and international articles highlighting the best of Round Top.”
During the spring and fall shows, Pandora hosts pajama parties, offers cocktails and other refreshments during the nearly three-week shopping experience, making it a top destination for many. Return visitors often ask: What’s going on in Pandora’s beds?
“We looked forward to the great adventures Round Top brings—and to the wonderful new clients and projects our own clients introduce to us,” she said. “As the saying goes, ‘Build it and they will come.’ Thankfully we have the most gracious of clients, patrons, vendors and friends who keep us coming back year after year!”
Editor’s Note: The Round Top Register welcomes Pandora de Balthazar as a special advertiser in the Spring 2016 issue of the magazine.