When Donna Temple Brown first opened The Gray Door – the name was particularly fitting. Chosen as a play on words, the name both alerted clients of Donna’s love of painted antiques and helped clients remember its location on West Gray Boulevard. After more than a decade on West Gray, Donna recently moved to West Alabama, an exciting and busy shopping destination. They say that competition brings in customers and West Alabama is teeming with both decor and antique shops, perfect for attracting more shoppers. Now on West Alabama, the name The Gray Door connotes a shop full of mystery and riches that lay beyond the front gate. How true it is.
The new shop, located inside a mid century designed building, is large and filled to capacity with French, English, Swedish, Belgian and Italian antiques hand picked by Donna on trips to Europe. There is a large amount of the gray painted pieces, along with the beautiful fruitwood finishes associated with French antiques. All the furniture is freshly recovered in a creamy muslin or linen – creating a sea of bright and light in the showroom. Donna runs a welcoming business. She is friendly and warm, and most important in this business, honest. She and her long time business partner, Linda Gale White, have a wonderful eye for finding exactly the antique that is desired for this moment. Now settled into West Alabama, Donna deliberated on how to make it better, if at all possible. Fate stepped in and recently she invited two new dealers to share the space. As usual her choices couldn’t be more right.
Houstonians who visit the Round Top Antique Fair will be very familiar with the two who now share space at The Gray Door: A. Tyner Antiques from Atlanta and Roussett Antiques and Textiles from Austin via New Orleans. Both are antiquarians of note. Alice Tyner who owns A. Tyner specializes in Swedish antiques and her merchandise fits in perfectly with The Gray Door. All the painted gray and white finishes, the sexy and curvy lines of the Mora clocks, the chests, the desks, the settees of Swedish antiques visually blends with The Gray Door’s Louis XV and XVI furniture.
Kathy Alexander who owns Roussett Antiques and Textiles closed her popular New Orleans shop after Hurricane Katrina and settled in Austin, opening up a store there on Burnet at The Courtyard Shops. An expert on antique textiles, her antiques are mostly fine French and Italian. Scattered throughout The Gray Door, her regal merchandise add a certain class.
With both Roussett and A.Tyner now in Houston, a trip to Round Top may no longer be needed. I know I used to go to see the Swedish antiques that A. Tyner brought because we don’t have a dealer in Houston with such extensive Swedish inventory – until now, that is. Donna couldn’t have made two better choices to join her on West Alabama than Roussett and A. Tyner. If you haven’t visited The Gray Door lately – be sure to stop by. All three, The Gray Door, A. Tyner and Roussett are also on 1st Dibs.
The main showroom at The Gray Door. All the furniture is newly recovered in creamy linens and muslin – creating a soothing and cohesive atmosphere.
The Swedish corner cabinet is one of two. The Swedish settee is period Rococo – one of the finer pieces from A. Tyner.
Swedish cabinet and day bed – to die for!
Painted Swedish chairs mix well with French antiques. I fell in love with this vignette. The table has a beautiful patina.
Roussett Antiques and Textiles specializes in 16th and 17th century tapestries. Roussett also has a fine collection of vintage Fortuny fabrics.
The Italian chandelier over this pair of demi lunes is huge and gorgeous! Perfect for a two story entry hall or large dining room.
Donna says she would put this console in a kitchen. Pictures of Donna’s own beautiful townhouse follow.
This pair of lanterns caught my eye, as did the chairs and ottoman.
I love the santos mixed with the rustic garden table and dressy Swedish chairs.
There are beautiful pillows made of antique fabrics from Roussett scattered about. As always, I love using a high end table as a tea table since there are no true antique coffee tables.
Great mirror and beautiful chairs left uncovered – their insides somehow are prettier without new upholstery.
A. Tyner has a huge selection Mora clocks. If you don’t see what you want, just ask, there’s more.
Centuries old set of vellum books. Whoa.
Old doors with beautiful hardware were made into two matching cabinets.
The curves of this sofa are so appealing. If I could take just one piece home…….
More great cabinets – these are filled with a line of new basket accessories that The Gray Door carries.
This cabinet is painted gray and is shallow – good for tight spots. The French chairs are upholstered in old tapestry.
Roussett has a great selection of Fortuny covered shades. The table is one of a pair.
Beautiful hardware makes this piece exquisite.
Great breakfast table or coffee table. The settee has wonderful lines.
One of three showrooms that make up The Gray Door.
Another beautiful Italian chandelier.
This Spanish styled table is covered in fabric with large nail heads!!! What a wonderful game table.
These chairs are stunning. So is the table.
And lastly, there is a good selection of painted headboards.
It’s obvious from The Gray Door, that Donna Brown has impeccable taste and it is no surprise that her townhouse has been featured in several magazines and books. Donna has filled her house with antiques from the store – I’m not sure there is even one new piece of furniture anywhere! The house is bright and airy and although very sophisticated, it is warm and inviting. It’s one of those houses that when you leave you wish you could bomb your own house and start over. Trust me on that, I’ve been there. Here, from Veranda is her front courtyard that you walk through to get to the front door. I love how she used antique and vintage furniture outside – so much more interesting than store bought sets.
Walking into the front door is a staircase on the left and the living room/dining room on the right. A large collection of Chinese export plates are displayed on the wall.
To screen off her staircase, Donna hung a piece a fabric that is semi transparent. Such a great idea to copy!!!
Her living room and dining room have traded spaces (although Donna told me she recently changed it back again!) I love the old, rustic shutters instead of the regular built in shelves found in townhouses. Gorgeous dining room chairs surround a skirted table. And her chandeliers here and in the living area are drop dead gorgeous.
Another view of the dining room – with sconces added in this picture.
The dining room looking out towards the front courtyard. She slipcovered the wood bench. Every piece of furniture, table, lamp – is so wonderful!
The living room – love, love, love!!! I love the French tea table, the iron side table, the gorgeous tapestry, the lamps, the chandelier – I love Donna’s taste. Period.
Her famous kitchen. She completely torn out the brand new kitchen that came with the townhouse. The cabinets are stored in her garage, ready to be replaced when she sells. This is an earlier picture – she now has a skirt attached*to the console next to the stove.
A view of the sitting room off the kitchen. Beautiful!!! I love the wine tasting table, the stool, the painting above the chest – everything!
Another updated view of her kitchen and sitting room.
Beautiful sitting area in the guest room. I love all her little iron tables throughout.
The master bedroom – that giant hydrangea is gorgeous.
Swedish bookcase and French chaise and chair.
The charming guest room with French headboards.
AND: in other news:
My daughter’s recently remodeled bedroom – featured on the blog Color Outside The Lines.
Artie, who writes the blog Color Outside The Lines about his house and life near Niagara Falls, NY, has written a long blog story about ME! Artie is so sweet and talented. Sometimes I just click onto his blog to listen to his music playing.
AND the new Skirted Roundtable featuring architect Bobby McAlpine is now up. Go listen, bring your brain along with you. You’ll need it.