Maximalism may be having a moment, but Dallas-based designer Michelle Nussbaumer has been going to town with sumptuous colors and eye-popping patterns for years. Known for mixing an eclectic set of influences with ease, Michelle’s unmistakable work spans design projects, her showroom Ceylon et Cie, a book, and numerous product lines, all of which have been featured in design magazines including Architectural Digest, Veranda, and Elle Decor. One look at this globe-trotting designer’s signature set of wheels (yes, that’s her ikat truck), and her golden design rule, “More is more. Less is never more. Less is obviously less,” makes perfect sense. We partnered up with this native-Texan to take on Round Top, Texas, one of the largest flea markets in the U.S., to bring you a hand-selected collection finds inspired by the American West. Walking us through her trip, Michelle divulges her shopping strategy, the goodies she always keeps an eye out for, and what you need to know if you’re looking to mess with this Texas flea.
You’ve shopped all over the world. What keeps you coming back to Round Top?
So many great dealers from all over the country bringing together unique finds that make my projects feel collected and interesting. One stop shopping.
Were you on the hunt for anything specific during this trip?
I’m ALWAYS on the hunt. I have a 20,000 sq. ft showroom in Dallas, FULL of antiques and vintage finds. Plus, I’m always sourcing for clients and my own homes (#highendhoarder).
Within all that hunting, is there anything you can’t seem to stop yourself from buying?
Antique textiles. I’ve collected them since the 70s and both of my fabric collections are based on and inspired by my collection.
Is there one type of find that you secretly always keep your eyes open for at Marburger?
Antique Persian and Turkish ceramics. I once found a 16th century platter for $30 that was worth $60,000.
Of all the things you bought for the Chairish sale, what were some of your favorite finds?
I really love the 1940’s cowboy. He seemed very stylish. The Mexican serapes are so versatile. I’d make a huge pillow out of the Mexican flag with tassels.
These big flea markets are huge and can be overwhelming to novice vintage shoppers. Any advice or strategies to share?
Bring a rolling cart, a friend (hopefully someone strong to carry your loot), comfy cowboy boots, water, Tylenol, sunglasses, your smartphone to take pictures and do online research on the spot. Don’t forget to photograph everything you buy and the booth it’s at so you can find your way back to pick up your larger purchases. Personally, I’ve never regretted anything that I’ve bought. Only the things that I didn’t. I am still dreaming about an 18th century English painting of a young, turbaned boy that I sadly left behind years ago.
Michelle’s 5 Round Top Tips:
1. If you decide to plan a trip…
“Spring is the perfect time to explore Round Top. The bluebonnets are blooming everywhere. Thank you, Lady Bird Johnson.”
2. Treat yourself to…
“A comfy hotel room with down pillows at the Junk Gypsies’ new hotel the Wander Inn. Just a few years ago, a trailer was my only choice.”
3. Once you’re there, make a beeline for…
“Marburger for the curated, vetted and easy shopping. But if you like to dig, like I do, the fields are full of treasures as well, but may need a little TLC, and be prepared for an adventure. And don’t forget your sunscreen. Don’t miss lunch under the big oak tree at The Garden Co.”
4. Round Top is a great resource for…
“18th century French Antiques, Turkish rugs, industrial furniture, painted country pieces and some good Texas BBQ.”
5. Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack…
“Your raincoat, rubber boots, a sun hat and lots of cash.”
Photos by Sarah Moore