THE VINTAGE ROUND TOP
Hip Rental Home Defines Modern Vintage with Crisp Interiors Accented by Repurposed Antiques
By Barbara CanettiWhen you hear oxymorons such as “open secret,” “jumbo shrimp” or even “Hell’s Angels,” does it make you smile because of the incongruous, contradictory effect of the words? What about “modern vintage?”
Paige and Smoot Hull, a Houston couple with connections to Round Top, have embraced that phrase and in fact, decorated a lovely industrial farmhouse (another oxymoron?) in the Hill Country that they rent and make available to others.
To Paige, modern vintage is a hip style that marries sustainability with soul, giving home interiors a clean, modern look and furnished with vintage items that appeal to both men and women. The soul relates back to the history and stories in every piece she finds.
“We decorate with just the right amount of vintage — it is not overdone,” says Paige, explaining items she found at garage sales and refuse piles were rescued, reconfigured and reused as lights, tables, bed frames or unique and quirky art in the house.
The Hulls got into the rental property business in Round Top in an unusual way. They were looking for a weekend getaway from Houston for their family when they came upon a 14-year-old house that was a mile from the Round Top square and within walking distance to venues for the twice-annual antiques show. Although the house was rather ordinary, almost a tract-style house, they rolled up their sleeves and got out their tools.
They removed walls, raised ceilings, installed more windows and changed the style, character and personality of the 2,400-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house. They recently painted the exterior black, with white trim and shutters and contrasted with the bright, white tones on the inside. They named the house “1450.”
They knew rental property was needed during the busy show season as well as other times of the year, so they began advertising and renting their house. It was an instant success, and they soon will add a second rental to the property named ‘Boho,” which will also feature bedrooms and a large party room or conference center.
As visitors come into the house through an entryway, a large chandelier is one of the first things they see. Talk about sustainability! The light fixture actually is an inactive wasp nest, which has been wired and suspended over a small desk with a vintage typewriter and guestbook. This leads into the great room, a large white space with high, high ceilings and an oversized fireplace — the focal point of the room. The cement floor is painted gray and the fireplace redone to remove its rock facade. A mantle was installed and above it, two window screens stand, framed in wood.
“There was so much space and we needed something large. I found these screens at a garage sale and just leaned them up against the white wall,” says Paige. “I just love them!”
The coffee table actually is an old Army trunk, with a Houstonian’s name imprinted on it, along with stickers indicating where it has been.
Entrance to the sleeping loft is accessible from the great room. Up the 14 steps (you know how many steps because they are numbered) is a peaceful room with aged, multi-colored shiplap ceiling, two beds and lots of light. To give lounging guests some privacy, the Hulls created a wall of antique leather valises and arranged them in a geometric pattern, inspired by Santa Fe collage artist Gail Rieke.
Back downstairs, the open and fully stocked kitchen has a small sitting counter with three metal industrial barstools purchased in Round Top. Above the bar are three dangling lights. Paige says these triplets were actually used in a chicken coop to keep the eggs and chicks warm. Adjacent to the bar is a heavy post, roughhewn and unpainted and probably from the 1800s, used as the supporting timber for the upstairs entrance to the loft.
THE “PIZZA HUT ROOM”
The separate dining room, with a long wood table to comfortably seat eight, is in what probably was an enclosed porch in the front of the house. She calls this the “Pizza Hut” room because it looks like the restaurant chains’ original building style. The room is surrounded with windows, making the white walls, white table and white chairs contrast with the long leaf pine floors, which also were rescued from a junk pile. Everything in the room — table, chairs, flooring and light fixture (once the top portion of a steel barrel) — has a story.
“The tabletop came from a carnival group. They would set it up every night with saw horses,” says Paige, noting the history again: The tall man, the bearded lady, the sword swallower, all carnies who lived and traveled together shared their meals at this table.
The master bedroom is on the main floor as well. A hanging barn door separates the en suite bathroom from the sleeping area. Paige spotted a trio of metal spigots and installed them as towel holders outside the shower. In the bedroom is a huge framed mirror that monopolizes the room, purchased from Old World Antieks in La Grange and trucked in with lots of prayers for safe transport.
The family gets to use the house when it is not rented.
THE VINTAGE ROUND TOP
“We love Round Top and wanted a country home, but we didn’t see having a rental at that time. The opportunity arose for us to share the house, and it has been so rewarding,” Paige says. “We are honored and humbled by the reaction from our guests because we didn’t see it coming.”
Although the Hulls used to have a shop in Round Top, they now only sell their vintage wares and VRT home goods line that includes candles, soaps, textile bags, aprons and pillows at pop-up stores in the house and online. During the spring antiques week, they are hosting a one-day sale in the house on March 28 with a conference on social media and branding the following day.
“We offer something unique that has resonated with so many people,” she says. “Our guests are embracing modern vintage.”
August Antiques, barn door
803 ½ Heights Blvd.
Old World Antieks, mirror
5414 W. State Highway 71, La Grange
Habitat for Humanity Restore
13350 Jones Road
IKEA, farm sink
7810 Katy Freeway
LIGHTING FOR MAIN ROOM
John Petty Antiques
2032 Westchester Drive, Garland
The Vintage Round Top
1450 N. Highway 237, Round Top