Flea Market Décor

Wander and Wonder

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

- BY KATHRYN DRURY WAGNER PHOTOGRAPH­Y BY ANNE LORYS PHOTOGRAPH­Y

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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