Start with a farmhouse from the 1800s, set back off a gravely road seemingly pulled from so many movies. Don’t touch those captivating bones, they can’t be improved upon. Factor in a century and a half old potting shed, plus an artist cottage and some pool bungalows. Decorate the interiors with whimsy and a will to host in an unexpected hybrid of hip and historical, countrified and contemporary. The result is something infinitely intimate, farmland sprawled, and vintage electric. The destination is The Frenchie.
I had been to Round Top, Texas, population 87, barely a square mile, once prior. It’s a tiny town that stayed with me in a big way – think Cotswolds, with cattle. Something in that ship lapped, sun soaked, stone worked antiquing nirvana sent an internalized memo to my soul that yes, oh yes. I would be back. This was small town ecstasy.
The Arcadian entry is your first invitation. Just past the parked pastel blue Fiat 500 – a prop? A ride? Who cares, it’s perfect. Wagons are lined up for your luggage toting pleasure. That pop of turquoise on the barn door – your inclination that some efflorescent equivalent awaits you behind it. Inside, the daring, darling, and downright divine blend of rustic and ravishing, it radiates from every corner. All the while, the air is infused with something intoxicatingly lavender. In every room it greets you.
I love this part of visiting somewhere new. The heart starts beating a bit faster. Viscerally you feel yourself escalate and elevate around each corner. I am always on the hunt for places and moments that kindle creativity. This was definitely both.
Colors are bold. Primaries and pastels play like best friends. Aesthetics are antique and modern and updated and preserved and designed to surprise. They mess with scale. They mess with style. With century. They are bound by nothing more than their flair for fun and an artistic whim. And everything kind of feels that way.
In the Art Studio, where we stayed (“we” being myself, my sister, and my pal), a king bed is backed by a wall in the softest dove grey, petal pink silhouettes, and flanked by a set of fluorescent green nightstands. The marshmallow bed is banked by a tufted sofa in the deepest forest, beneath a gilded candlelit chandelier. Two twin beds face it, iron pink bedframes and signature bedding. Between it all, a gracious iron table with seating for four.
The bathroom is an homage to the hexagon, with schoolhouse pendants and a Venetian cut mirror lighting and reflecting the space. The floor tile, glossed pink hexagons, had to be vintage, reading very Paris Apartment. Outside those fabulous French Doors (too beautiful to have not been reclaimed), a pastel table and chairs, steps from a swimming pool that stepped right out of your Instagram feed.
Fire pits and pasture, roving rosemary and horses just barely beyond the vista. A gorgeous gourmet kitchen available to all guests should inspiration strike, a pink, stocked SMEG fridge, a hot tub hugged by a natural frame of palm fronds, and a bespoke collection of aqua and white umbrellas that positively pacify my senses from the outside in. The scenic and the serene comingle here as the best kind of extra.
Amenities are no exception. Chef Brenna McBroom, and her spectacular Culinary Institute of American pedigree, is available for private on-property feasts. In house massages are easily booked. And a driver is available for wine tours.
Round Top is midway between Austin and Houston, and an easy drive from either airport (just over an hour). The charm of this town is almost impossible. Little freestanding antiquaries brimming with salvage. A coffee shop that is open and is the one place open for breakfast, where everyone turns to say hello when they hear the screen door. It is a flea marketers mecca. It is original everything. It is the quintessential girl’s trip.
The Frenchie promises paradox in every inspirational way, the pastoral backdrops pop art, vintage prints contrast wild wallpapers, chevrons, mounted moose and mosaic tiles. It’s so much fun. Unapologetically girly. Owners, pals and powerhouses with a vision – Katy Bader and Kristin Light have created a destination so dynamic it holds hospitality to a higher calling, answering it with an accessible amalgam of history and haute design.
The Frenchie Boutique Hotel, 311 N Live Oak St, Round Top, Texas 78954, United States.
Tel: +1(979) 208-9851
Round Top is midway between Austin and Houston, and just over an hour’s drive from either airport. From Austin-Bergstrom Airport take HWY 71. You will find plenty of free parking available at The Frenchie.
Type of Hotel: Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 13 rooms in total. 6 rooms in the main house, the cottage (2 story house), 3 rooms in the bungalows and 3 rooms in the art studio. Plus, that perfect little potting shed. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout.
Price Band: Medium
Insider Tips: Round Top is an antiquing haven, truly. Plan on doing some shopping, if you’re local, bring a truck. Keep in mind most everything shutters Monday to Wednesday.
A quintessential small town, Round Top has a population of 87. Most restaurants and vendors are only open Thursday to Sunday, so best to check ahead based on when you’re visiting. The town shuts down for the most part outside of that window.
Everything about this place says Girls Trip! And, if you’re here on a Wednesday, do dinner at Duo Modern: The Restaurant at Market Hill. You dine inside an enormous design house (which stays open for shopping and browsing), and both the service and the vibe is relaxed and fun.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.
Photographs By Jolie Loeb