Houses & Parties combines party spirit with tent shopping in Round Top

Houses & Parties combines party spirit with tent shopping in Round Top

Rebecca Gardner knows how to throw a great party. So shoppers can expect a festive atmosphere at her pop-up at the Blue Hills venue during spring antiques shows in Round Top.

Gardner’s Houses & Parties business combines residential interior design and event planning. Her e-commerce site,, sells party goods from tabletop items to barware and even a variety of inexpensive little gifts that Southerners like to call “sussies.” 

“I have been planning my own parties since I was 7 years old, including birthday parties that were fashion shows staged in the driveway of my house in Corpus Christi and I was the bride in white polyester at the end. Parties have always been my passion, whether it was my vocation or not,” said Gardner, a Texas native who attended the University of Mississippi and the Savannah College of Art and Design without graduating from either, likely because she was having a little too much fun.

Outside of Christmas pop-ups at the Carlyle in New York, Gardner sells her wares online, so setting up a tent full of fun back in her home state prompted her to tap into her event-planning talents for what she promises will be a memorable shopping experience.

The terms that guided the planning of Gardner and her staff — which includes her director of retail Colby Goetschius, who was a buyer for Kuhl-Linscomb when he lived in Houston — are “the spirit of vagabond party animals” and “folkloric charm,” so expect a fairly wild ride. Once you’re at Blue Hills, look for the 60-foot red-and-white striped tent with pink streamers coming out of the top, then listen for loud music and the sound of champagne bottles being uncorked. 

What: Retail venue under a red-and-white striped tent

When: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. March 23-31

Extra: Gardner will host a cocktail party on March, 27, so expect later shopping hours that day.

Where: Blue Hills venue, 1701 Texas 237, Carmine


In addition to party crackers, tabletop items, parlor games and party hats designed by and manufactured for Gardner, she’ll also have updated antiques, the result of a collaboration with her uncle, Bill Gardner, a longtime Houston antiques dealer with a shop on Ferndale.

She plucked items from her uncle’s inventory, then updated them in her own fabrics. One example is an Empire-style bench she recovered in chartreuse duchess satin, “not a practical choice for an antiques dealer, but part of the joie de vivre for my shop,” she said.

She described her uncle as her design/style muse — her very own Glenda the Good Witch — expanding her world through his own travels and showing her how homes full of fine antiques can also be stylish and colorful.

“I have been begging my uncle for years to let me do something like this. I had to give a detailed presentation for his consideration and his criticism, and I wrote him a heartfelt thank-you note before he agreed to do this. Organization and flattery were my most powerful tools,” Gardner gushed. “We are taking things from his shop that speak to folkloric charm, but none of it is without the approval of Uncle Bill. In the spirit of mentor and mentee, I’m on a short leash.”

Her home goods inventory will also include Easter baskets and things to fill them with; vintage silk ribbons; table lamps; and lampshades made from vintage textiles. 

“I take my business very seriously, but my business is joy and delight. I want it to feel like a salon of unexpected delight,” said Gardner. “We know there are beautiful things and fabulous shops all over Round Top. What we are bringing, really, is a retail destination that is … something new and fresh for Round Top.”

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