Wan­der and Won­der

Old World an­tiques meet cre­ative in­te­rior de­sign at this breath­tak­ing store.


IF YOU EN­JOY HIS­TORY, AN­TIQUES WITH A STORY, AND HAVE A STRONG BE­LIEF IN THE POWER OF RE­DEMP­TION, you sim­ply must meet Carol Hicks Bolton. She and her hus­band, Tim, spe­cial­ize in find­ing oth­er­worldly ob­jets, in­clud­ing beds that look like they came out of a novel, ro­man­tic linens, in­trigu­ing what­nots, re­li­gious icons, cab­i­nets and much more. You’ll find 30,000 square feet of the stuff, cu­rated in a way that has made Carol Hicks Bolton a renowned name among Texas de­sign­ers in their Fred­er­icks­burg, Texas, lo­ca­tion.

Yet Carol didn’t orig­i­nally as­pire to be a style pro­fes­sional. “I was go­ing to be a nurse! My dad wanted me to be a doc­tor,” she says. But that same dad hired Tim to help the fam­ily start a fur­ni­ture busi­ness, and en­tre­pre­neur­ial Tim soon dis­cov­ered the stylist within his fu­ture wife.

There had been inklings of cre­ativ­ity and dis­cern­ment, though. “One of our philoso­phies here is go with­out if you can’t have some­thing good. Well, I went with­out a bed for five years as a teenager be­cause I couldn’t find the right one,” says Carol. “So, I just had a lit­tle pal­let on the floor. I would do that now. That is my phi­los­o­phy: Wait. And don’t set­tle. If you come in and are look­ing for a cof­fee ta­ble and find an old French corker you love in­stead, get that and put your cof­fee on that. Don’t buy some­thing new and lam­i­nated sim­ply to fill a space. I’d rather pull a tree stump out of a field and use it as a night­stand.”

Their store is lo­cated in an old 1940s mo­hair ware­house. “In a Ger­man­town area, they built the busi­ness very hon­estly, and as the fam­ily

grew, they would add on,” says Carol.

She pauses. “Things are added on in cu­ri­ous, un­ex­pected ways.” Wan­der and won­der through the huge, flag­ship store, which has layer upon layer of pieces from France, Bel­gium, Hun­gary and In­dia. And when you can’t take any­more, it’s time to ex­plore two more ad­ja­cent stores the Boltons run: Room No. 5, which is all white, peb­ble, cream and a lit­tle kiss of char­coal, and Gus An­tiques & Won­ders, which is farm­house rus­tic. If you get hun­gry from so much shop­ping, there’s a lit­tle bistro, Wo­erner Ware­house Café, serv­ing farmto-ta­ble cui­sine.

“The flag­ship has lay­ers of color and tex­ture thrown in,” ex­plains Carol. “You might find a Bul­gar­ian log bench with a French chan­de­lier hang­ing over it. It’s a sunny mix­ture of lux­u­ri­ous and rus­tic. And lots of it. Depend­ing on what kind of buyer you are, it might take you a while to get through. It’s still cu­rated, though.” They spe­cial­ize mostly in Euro­pean an­tiques—ev­ery­thing from 18th-cen­tury early church pieces to 1940s in­dus­trial. Carol and Tim are the buy­ers; she is the stylist; and there is an in-house de­signer if you need one. “If some­one comes in for a night­stand, Tim is prob­a­bly not go­ing to lead them to a night­stand; he’s go­ing to steer them to an in­trigu­ing solution,” says Carol. Af­ter all, “We buy what we love. Things that make our heart beat hard.

And we find new places for the pieces we love.”

In­sider’s tip: Pay at­ten­tion to events, such as the French con­tainer un­load­ing sale, at the ware­house, which is an old peanut fac­tory.

301 South Lin­coln St. Fred­er­icks­burg, Texas, or visit car­ol­hicks­bolton.com.

“Wait. And don’t set­tle... Don’t buy some­thing new and lam­i­nated sim­ply to fill a space.”

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