Paris in Houston, Part Deux

My favorite landscaping company in Houston, pictured above, is Thompson + Hanson. Yes, you read that correctly, I said landscaping! The best part about shopping for plants at T+H is their antiques. OK, that sounds strange, I know, but believe me, their antiques are more gorgeous than their plants. Culled from trips overseas to France, their assortment of goods includes: armoires, chandeliers, settees, chairs, mirrors, bath goods, candles, and books, among other things. New or old, there is something here for every part of your home and body. The building, an old, restored stone-clad structure - is a delight in itself. If I were to start over and build a house today, I would base it on this design. It is a gorgeous space, the ceiling is raised to the rafters, the windows are all steel french doors that open onto an outdoor pergola-covered patio. The floor is stripped to its bare concrete foundation - cool on a typical hot Houston day. I want to live here, I say every time I come.

Outside, the walkways are paved in small crushed stone, just as is done in France - the basis of their design sensibility. Because the landscaping is French in feel, you won't find a lot of bright, blooming plants here. The focus is more on grasses and succulents than on azaleas and crepe myrtles, the typical mainstays of Houston landscaping. Large pots made of stone or tin are filled with grasses that quietly sway in the breeze. A large fountain is pouring water into what appears to be a huge animal bath, made of iron, not the usual stone. Nothing is typical here, nothing is expected. And no one does this better than Thompson + Hanson. Located on Saint Street in the hot, new upcoming design area of town. Neighbors include Indulge, Design District, Pile, Chateau Domingue, Krispin, and the soon to relocate, M. Naeve, featured yesterday.

The gorgeous interiors - hard to believe their main business is landscaping!

French antiques are everywhere - I love this daybed.

My reason for coming back time and time again: the up to date collection of Betaplus books, the only place in town you can buy them.

This gorgeous screen would look so good over a sofa.

Swedish antiques peek out amongst the French ones.

Typical elements of Thompson + Hanson design: stones, succulents, and perennials.

Their plants take on a contemporary feel, as do their landscapes.

No bright colors or new gauche pots, the simple - the better.

Modern pedestals contrast with antique urns.

Massed for effect.

The wildly inventive fountain.

Entry to the nursery is through a pergola holding up a water tower.

Evergreen wisteria climbs up the patio's pergola.

The best part: picnic table and wicker chairs set under a gorgeous antique chandelier. Takers, anyone?

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