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« Rusty Arena - Couture Fabrics and Wallcoverings | Main | Making Small Offices Beautiful »

The Dallas Market

Well, the Dallas Market was so much fun!!!  This was my first trip there, so there was a lot to look at. We met with so many wonderful people and loved seeing all the creative ideas and designs. Arm in arm, my office manager Karen and my daughter Kirby were on a mission to see the whole market!

This was one of the pop-up showrooms they had set up on the first floor of the Trade Mart.  In the main building, showrooms went up 15 floors, and then there was an entire building of cash and carry. With thousands of vendors, choosing what to buy and what was unique was a bit overwhelming!!! Actually, it was challenging just deciding what kind of store I want mine to be. You will see with all my crazy purchases that I was struggling!

The first purchase of the day!  These wonderful linen aprons were so cute I couldn't resist. They come in three colors and three designs - even a kids version - and I love the way they were packaged in a vintage bell jar. Such a fun gift!!!


 Amy Howards showroom had a fabulous mix of contemporary accents and nicely finished, painted furniture pieces.


She has a new line of furniture refinishing paints and materials that I was just enamored with! Beautifully displayed, there were pigments, supplies for antique mirrors, and much more.  I think this would be a perfect addition to my store, but unfortunately I missed Amy herself giving demonstrations on how to use her products.

Here is Karen on the left and Kirby on the right. Mark, the handsome man in the middle with the bunny ears, is a chocolatier that we fell in love with! After taking over his father’s small chocolate company in the 90s, Mark's been growing the business to a footprint of 60,000 with over 250 employees. Made in America, his yogurt-covered pretzels, as well as all the other chocolates, were divine. I never thought I would have purchased any food items for the store, but his seasonal Valentine candies were too delish! Let’s just hope I don't eat them all before I can get them on the shelves! Visit South Bend Chocolate Company which is now the fastest growing chocolate company in the USA.

And, of course, how could you go to market without visiting the Aidan Gray showroom! They always do an incredible job designing and finishing reproduction furnishings, lighting and accessories. I have been lucky enough to meet owner Randal Weeks and his beautiful wife Cathy... getting to know them makes you love their furnishings even more!

It’s a real treat to follow Aidan Gray through the Cote De Texas Blog, which has featured not only Randal and Cathy's personal home, but also hosts contests in which the lucky winners receive total Aidan Gray home redos with their furnishings!

I adore these chair cushions with the ties down the legs! These reminded me of a chair in a home that we plastered for designer Eleanor Cummings that was featured in Veranda!

Although different, the ties really add a unique detail to both styles. To see the entire house, go here

I really loved meeting this pretty lady and hearing her story of how she developed this partyware line. Nora has designed interchangeable, ceramic decorative pieces that can change the style, mood and theme of a single serving dish. One platter instantly becomes perfect for any occasion!!! This is such a fun idea - you can start the collection for a loved one and then add more to their collection every year! Nora started the company, and then hired her brother when he graduated college... now her Dad is also on board. Although I didn't purchase her wares, I think they'd make a great gift! To see more of Nora Fleming's designs and find out how to order, go here.

Starting at about 6 p.m., the showrooms start serving champagne and light bites which made the evening so festive! I really loved this display with cactus leaves and antlers on the tray - I think I may have to copy this for my next soiree!!!

Many showrooms, like the McEvoy Group, house several different lines.

One of their new lines is from Belgium and consisted of some really unique, reproduction accessories and dishware of that style at very reasonable prices. I also purchased some beautiful jewelry boxes and decorative containers from another line, Tios. My daughter fell in love with the sherbet-colored boxes.

OK, I really went off on a tangent here, but how could I stay away with such a pretty model! This straw hat and bag line was exceptionally well made, and I really loved the color combos and designs.

An end to a tiring day, we met one of Kirby's friends, Kristen (on the left), for dinner at SFUZZ - a fun atmosphere with amazing food. It was certainly a hip place - I was the oldest one there!!! 

I just couldn't resist picking up this jewelry line! Their necklaces have antique metal crosses and medallions, most from the 1800s and all with unique stories. My favorite was a cross that was given to a nun when she finished her training! The necklaces are made from sapphires, laborite, leather or pyrite. Simply exquisite!!

We stayed at the Warrick Hotel which was close to everything. The service was great, room spacious, and the air conditioning stayed really cold - we all loved that! The breakfasts was fantastic, but the dinner... I would recommend going elsewhere. Loved how they hung the frames and paintings over each other - Great idea!

We also bought a Portuguese linen line, some baby gifts, candles, vases, lamps, purses and hair accessories. Hopefully through this process, I will have a better idea of what kind of store I want mine to evolve into... or what I want to be when I grow up - haha! I would love to hear what kind of store your dream store would be!!!

This Saturday, February 2nd, I will be giving a lecture and booksigning at the Villa De Lux Designer Showhouse at 2 PM. The home, located at 1 Longfellow in the prestigious historic Shadyside community, is one not to miss.  All the proceeds benefit Preservation Houston. Hope to see you all there!! xo Leslie

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Reader Comments (7)

I loved this post! My favorite part, however, was seeing the Aidan Gray furnishings! You see, I just painted a breakfast table set and was concerned about the finish until I saw this! It is almost exactly the same finish! If it's good enough for him then it is certainly good enough for me! I am actually awake because I came down from bed to look at the table again! LOL! Good thing I went online!
I would love to see Amy Howard's refinishing paints! Maybe you can do a post on that in the future?!
Looks like you had a blast!



January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndie

Very wonderful post! I I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again right here regularly. Good luck for the next!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrandie Rocha

In another life, I went to many of these trade marts, primarily in NYC, for my dream store. That was decades ago. We sold a combination of antiques, artisanal jewelry and decorative items for the home. I enjoyed going down memory lane on your tour of the Dallas Market, and I'm excited for you as you develop your store's personality. Have fun.
XO, Victoria

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Athens

I loved this many gorgeous things to see!...Looks like you had a wonderful time!...The Showhouse sounds wonderful...just wish I were closer...

Leslie, You have such great taste. I feel like I was at market with you. I KNOW I would get overwhelmed with so many choices. I am in the process of planning a store right now. It will not open for a few years as I want my youngest to finish high school. The theme behind my store is entertaining in your home. I love to entertain and have found it hard to find items that I need that don't cost a fortune. I also want to make quality fresh flowers more easily available and offer classes on floral design. I am currently taking floral design classes and loving every minute of it.

I am still trying to define what I want my store to look like. There is a strong possibility my family and I will be coming to Houston in the fall and I would LOVE to see your store and meet you in person. You are an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your market finds!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGina Diamond


Thank you so much for taking us along on your shopping tour! Those aprons are fabulous!

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercindy hattersley design

Leslie I would love to go to market with you one day. Love seeing the Aidan Gray and so many other shops! Fun, fun, fun! This is what keeps me going...

2013 Artists Series

January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKarena

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