The Round Top Antiques + Design Show can be overwhelming, but longtime shoppers and pros like Lauren Wills Grover of Houston-based interior design firm Wills Design Associates know it’s all about exploring, and staying true to your heart when it comes to finding treasures. 

Grover has been an avid Round Top shopper for more than a decade and has been collecting antiques and vintage items for as long as she can remember. The designer’s Round Top treasures are prominently featured in her projects, which stretch from Brenham to The Hamptons and Montreal. 

Each season, Grover scours the Round Top Antiques Show for items with a story to tell. Organic textiles and pieces made with natural materials and nature themes are among her favorites. They’ve now become a part of her signature style. It is only after returning home to her studio, however, that Grover begins incorporating her finds into upcoming projects. 

Here are some of the designer’s favorite Round Top finds and how she used them in her design projects: 

Grover has learned never to pass up a special treasure. She has found that it’s always best to grab pieces that speak to her and wait for the perfect project to incorporate them. Grover purchased these hanging lights and scalloped flush mounts from ReStyleandCo at Marburger Farm two years prior to finding the perfect place for them to call home.

Another Marburger Farm dealer — artist Mary Maguire — is also a favorite of Grover’s. Maguire’s colorful, often nautical themed works pair perfectly with Grover’s vacation home designs. The designer has collected several of her pieces and incorporated them in multiple projects. Maguire’s sailboat artwork and a piece entitled ‘Hammock’ were the perfect fit for a Northeastern beach house. 

Grover is also a big fan of Atlanta artist Savanna Kidd of Morning Glory Inc. Kidd, who shows her work at Blue Hills in Round Top, works with a group of French artists to produce large-scale, limited-edition prints created from her original artwork. Grover found the perfect home for a Morning Glory piece she had on hand when a client requested bold art for the primary bedroom of a weekend home in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

It was love at first sight when Grover found these four vintage chairs at Prize Home + Garden. (Prize can be found at two Round Top venues each season: The Horseshoe and Marburger Farm.) Grover was able to split up the set for two different projects. In this Southold, New York project Grover paired the chairs with a vintage game table from another one of her favorite Round Top dealers Amelia Tarbet.

You can find Tarbet in Market Hill.

Most interior design projects require the use of textiles, and there’s no better place to find beautiful vintage and imported fabrics than Round Top. Grover has a passion for seeking out unique textiles on her Round Top shopping trips. The designer purchased several vintage blankets from Karma Living and transformed them in different ways for two second home projects.

In these projects, the blankets were turned into both a bed coverlet and cushion covers.

Many stores are open year-round in Round Top, but most antiques and vintage vendors are still seasonal only. With this in mind, Grover packs her vehicle to the brim each season. On a recent trip, Grover stopped by Terracotta Cowboy and found a pile of incredible wicker fish that she knew had to be turned into pendant lights. Unable to pass them up, the designer found herself driving back from Round Top to Houston with the pile of giant wicker stacked to the ceiling in the front seat of her car with one tail sticking out the window.

She later found a home for the fish in the attic bedroom of a Northeast vacation home. The room also features a rug from The Arbors dealer Heja Home and table lamp from Period Modern, Grover’s go-to for chic Danish table lamps each season. Period Modern is located at the ExCess II venue.

If a piece is too large to fit in your vehicle, or over budget, always take a photo. This point is especially useful when it comes to larger scale, investment pieces that can’t be easily transported. For example, Grover took a photo of this armoire at Karma Living while shopping Round Top for inspiration.

During a later walk-through for a project in Southhold, New York, Grover showed her client the photo of the armoire. Her client loved the piece, and it eventually found a home in the bathroom of the client’s daughter. 

Karma Living armoire at home in project by Wills Design Associates Southhold. (Photo by Studio Thanasis)

Shopping like a pro in Round Top is easy, fun and all about the mix of old and new. Whether you’re a designer or simply passionate about design, these inspiring expert tips will help ensure that your Round Top treasures find you. Then finding the right place for them in your own decorating projects becomes part of the fun.