Round Top’s Marburger Farm is one of those shows where decorators meet dealers in manicured booths, furnish houses on the fly, and then load up their trucks in a precarious game of Texas-style Tetris—all before noon. I’ve made three trips to Marburger: years ago, I led a guided flea market tour; later, I shopped it for my old column in Southern Living; and this time I was invited to sign books on opening day!




But before the shopping officially began, before the decorators did their deals, I was lucky enough to preview the show, putting my official stamp of approval on everything I loved. If only I could have loaded up a truck of my own, furnishing Edgewood Hall would be a whole lot easier!




That’s the draw here: you might have to pay a little more, but you’ll find a great selection of quality things. Walking the tents, putting signs on picks, I got to play dream decorator for the day. Here are the makings of two “instant rooms” with furniture, lighting, art and accessories all from Marburger.




First up: a dining room with colors inspired by vintage chintz curtains in a gorgeous floral which, by the way, did come home with me. For a sideboard, I’d use this wooden chest with crest keyholes topped with twin yellow lamps on acrylic bases with shades covered in a light blue, green, and white ikat. I’d do a mix of Queen Anne and Chippendale chairs, all in red, with the same seat fabric to tie them together.




For a dining table, I’d find something new with clean lines, like a Parsons covered in grass cloth, lacquered a pretty flax and topped with this gorgeous smoked Venetian glass chandelier from the show. I’d do dark wood floors with a Chinoiserie Art Deco rug, painted walls in a denim striae, and a high gloss ceiling to match the trim.




And when it comes time to party, there would be plenty of jewelry for the table, anchored by a figural set of pheasants I’d use for a centerpiece, adding whimsy to the room.




Now onto my next project as dream decorator for the day—a living room mixing traditional and modern furniture, art, and objects with dramatic appeal. Rugs make great beginnings: fall in love with a palette or pattern and you’re well on your way. Even though this one’s vintage, it has a cool, modern vibe with colors I can easily borrow for the room.




As a backdrop, I’d go dark—almost black—for a cocoon-like effect, varying value and sheen throughout. I’m thinking stained black floors, black walls in a matte and high gloss stripe, and a high gloss ceiling. I’d flank the modern chrome sofa with Chinoiserie parchment side tables topped with blue-and-white lamps and oxblood shades. This antique secretary stopped me in my tracks.




I love the idea of using it against dark walls, paired with a crest back side chair in a rich royal blue. I would do modern art above a fireplace, flanked by these brass and glass console tables with Italian gilded tassel benches and Venetian glass mirrors to bring light into the room.




Finishing touches are always my favorite part of decorating. Here, I’d use this faux painted malachite and brass cart loaded with decanters, a great pair of foo dogs to animate bookshelves, and a brass and Lucite planter with big, beautiful orchids in a deep magenta.




All of this decorating may have been just a dream, but those curtain panels definitely came in handy for the book signing. We were just about to wrap up Round Top when…




…this happened!


Photo Mar 29, 10 21 08 AM (1)


I guess even Sheriff Ron wanted to wrangle up some decorating inspiration.