The Evolution of a Round Top Retreat: An Inside Look at Market Hill
Formerly a 15-acre cow pasture, it's a venue that’s now open year-round on weekends
Follow me,” says Paul Michael, adjusting his red-bandanna face covering as he leads a walking tour of the 135,000 square feet of Market Hill in Round Top. He wanders through the wide, covered halls that give way to individual storefronts with tall, sliding barn doors. Within these bright, airy spaces, the elements are held at bay and present blank canvases for the antiques, home decor, art and vintage finds amassed by the 25 dealers who call Market Hill home.
“I’ve been coming to Round Top for decades,” Michael says. “It’s been a prime hunting ground for me — for my American-made furniture business and for my own antiques and vintage interests. It’s a destination, and I see it growing in popularity. That’s why we put roots down in Round Top.”
Paul Michael Home is roughly one mile north of the Round Top city limits. Formerly a 15-acre cow pasture, the Michaels, over the past five years, have built a venue that’s now open year-round on weekends and by appointment other days. For the three main antique shows — winter, spring, and fall — Market Hill dealers are on-site daily.
“The pandemic has caused many of us to rethink our business plans,” Michael says. “We see growth in people coming to Round Top outside the shows, and we’re catering to those needs. When Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market closed due to COVID, we moved all of our Christmas and holiday goods to Round Top and welcomed our customers to the country. Round Top is a year-round destination.”
Michael and his team — including his wife, Debbie; daughter, Elizabeth; son, Jake; and their crew of craftsmen, logistics, retail, and staging experts — strive to provide a balanced offering of goods.
“We want our shoppers to have access to a wide array of Round Top’s best,” Michael says. “And we want shoppers to stay awhile.”
For those who may not have shopped Market Hill recently, two new special studios have been added to house jewelry designer Vincent Peach and artist Paul Meyer.
A couple of seasons ago, Michael — an excellent cook himself — decided to create a commercial kitchen within the venue. His professional chefs offer lunch and dinner, with beer and wine available.
Our kitchen is open for all to see,” Michael says. “Obviously, we’ve made adjustments due to the pandemic to ensure safety. I’ll put our chef up against nearly anyone. There’s always a salad or two available, vegetables, and hearty fare to fuel your shopping.”
This year, Michael has enclosed the dining area next to the kitchen as another health precaution and to enhance the dining experience no matter the weather. In addition to the full kitchen, the area is served by large, clean restrooms with hand-washing stations.
This is a great place for large groups to meet up after separating to shop in different areas.
“We want to be a must-see on the Round Top to-do list,” Michael says. “We have shoppers who come in from nearly every state in the country — and some foreign countries. We cater to designers, builders, and those who are rethinking or refreshing their homes, or searching for a perfect gift. We’re proud to be in Round Top.”