Aussies James Ruig and Evan Shay, co-owners of reclaimed materials import company Salvage of Europe have embarked on a two-acre, $1.8 million retail and lodging project at Compound Lane. The development will bring a year-round showroom and European resort experience to Round Top beginning in the summer of 2024. 

An initial build-out phase that includes parking, landscaping, a single retail barn and two rental villas will be completed by next summer. The full project will be finished sometime in 2026. 

The Black Barns at Compound Lane will be comprised of two climate-controlled retail buildings totaling 7,000 square feet. The adjacent retreat will include six rental villas with a French style zinc-topped bar, an Argentine barbecue restaurant, a pool and a lodge.

All of that will be surrounded by formal gardens featuring burbling antique stone water features and ancient reclaimed fireplaces.

Artist rendering of surrounding loggias and gardens at The Black Barns

The interiors of each structure will also be outfitted with the reclaimed materials and architectural pieces that Salvage of Europe is renowned for. The exteriors, with their steep, sculptural gables will be clad in a striking combination of iron and Shou Sugi Ban (charred) wood. 

Salvage of Europe will serve as the anchor retailer in one of the barns, creating a second US retail location for the company in addition to its Malibu storefront. The new space will be a showcase for its vast selection of reclaimed building materials including French oak wood planks, beams and mantels; stones such as Belgian bluestone and European limestone; and terracotta floor tiles, brick, pavers and roof tiles. The company’s line of reclaimed French oak furniture and a collection of antique architectural elements will also be on display in the retail barn.  

Ruig and Shay plan to bring in a collective of sub-tenants for The Black Barns that specialize in architectural pieces and home building materials in sync with what Salvage of Europe currently offers. Vendors offering French hardware, iron doors, lime-wash paints, and joinery are on the wish list of potential future inhabitants.  

Artist rendering of interior retail space at The Black Barns

“Essentially, it will be a pair of showrooms where clients can come in and look through all of the items available to build their homes,” says Salvage of Europe CEO James Ruig, who has been salvaging materials all over the world for over three decades.

The bar at The Black Barns will be named Jimmy’s in Ruig’s honor. Salvage of Europe co-owner Evan Shay runs the American side of the operation and is expected to draw on expertise gained during a stint at a Soho House bar in London to carry out the vision for Jimmy’s.  

“It sounds odd – two Australian guys selling French stuff in America,” Ruig admits. “But Australians tend to travel a lot. We are global nomads and facilitators by nature.”

Salvage of Europe has brought on a pair of Texan partners construction and design partners out of Corpus Christi to help facilitate its Round Top venture. The company will continue to maintain a presence in the Round Top Antiques & Design Center in Henkel Square, where it has been testing the market for two years while simultaneously participating in several home building projects all over Texas and the United States.

Stay tuned for updates on The Black Barns project on Salvage of Europe’s Instagram.