The gasps could’ve been heard from three tents away. It was collective at first: a resounding “oh my goodness!” signaling to the shop owners and passersby that a treasure had been unearthed. It’s the call of victory in Round Top, where vintage items such as the newly found Venetian mirror drive hordes of antique vendors, shop owners, and junk lovers to the pine-tree-and-wildflower-lined, eleven-mile stretch of tents and barns for two weeks every March and October.

The silver mirror, resembling a stretched octagon in shape, is etched with floral designs and has a scalloped edge. Found in the Summit Mercantile tent at Blue Hills, the piece officially became the first thrill of the day for interior designer Audrey Scheck and her eight-woman team of treasure hunters. If one of the women wasn’t going to keep it for their personal collection, a client or possibly a buyer from social media was sure to snag it, as the mirror fits perfectly with the Anthropologie-esque grandma-chic market as of late. 

Based in Austin, Scheck launched Audrey Scheck Design (ASD) in 2021 after moving from Los Angeles back to her home state of Texas. In three short years, she’s grown from a one-woman band to a team of twelve that does everything from remodeling and renovations to staging and styling services. The majority of the office is on its first Spring Show trip to the sleepy town of Round Top (population: ninety) for the uniquely Texan antiques event that brings in vendors from all over the world. Typically, Scheck sources about 40 percent of her inventory at Round Top each year. 

The three-day trip doubles as their second retreat as a team, and the night before I met them they played a game of truth (no dares) to get to know each other better. (Mission accomplished: Blair Thayer, Scheck’s social media and marketing director, shared she was pregnant with her second child.) Scheck and company graciously allowed me to follow along on one of their busiest days of their year—the other being the Fall show.

From what I gathered over the span of eight hours, there’s a difference between liking interior design and being an interior designer. Sure, anyone can get their credentials from Pinterest University, but Round Top is a surefire way of separating the real from the dupes, if you will. Scheck is in tune with each piece she selects. Whether it be dried flowers from a farm in Oregon or a piece of art from her favorite Austin artist Megan Parker, of Moving Altars, each item has purpose and intention. She’s the only person I know who gains speed the longer the day wears on. By the end of our day together, she was snapping up faux plants, fabrics, and other wares like a well-oiled machine.

9:35 a.m.

I meet Scheck and her team at their first stop, the Cotton Shed, a little vintage store in Blue Hills. I came prepared with an energy drink already down the hatch and an outfit that showed some personality, or so I thought. Turns out, I was essentially the only woman wearing pants (metallic and glittery, mind you) in a twenty-mile radius. Scheck had warned me that the event is like the “prom of Texas” earlier in the week, but it seemed more like Coachella in 2017: wide-brimmed hats, flowy skirts and dresses, and lots of brightly colored cowboy boots. The fashion matters here, almost more than the antiques that over 100,000 people traipse to the Hill Country each year to source. “You could really just go and, like, look at people’s outfits all day long,” Scheck said. 

Alex Kleiman, a stylist at ASD, is the first to welcome me into the fold. “You’ll come to find out most of us are Virgos and most of us are left-handed,” she says by way of introduction. Minutes later, we’re met with the glorious Venetian mirror, sitting gently upon a large solid wood dresser. I’m told this specific mirror is on the day’s shopping list, which also includes chunky but small coffee tables, California-inspired sitting chairs, and solid wood or concrete vessels (catchalls, bowls, trays). Since the mirror was already on the firm’s wishlist, there was little discussion as to whether it would be purchased, even though the price was steep. I’m told these types of mirrors are a huge hit on social media, where Scheck’s Instagram (@audreyscheckdesign) has 15,600 followers. Social media is a big part of her business; according to Kleiman, about eight out of ten clients have found ASD through Instagram. 

Like ants from a hill, the women disperse to browse the rest of Summit Mercantile’s selection. “I love the vision that you all have,” one says, to no one in particular. As they walk around, they picture each piece in a client’s home or glean inspiration from the way the vignettes are displayed and styled. As we hop around the dozens of tents, I notice different variations in style and, more overtly, smell. The usual worn, musty scent of a thrift store won’t be found here—the market is an open-air venue—but the number of lit candles in each shop is enough to make your head spin. 

At Tomlinson Antiques, one of the designers notices a still life painting that could work for a project. What they thought would be a $600 to $700 painting turns out to be $1,500. “See, that’s your first lesson of Round Top,” ASD chief operating officer and lead designer Kim Weatherby tells me. “Sometimes you’re very surprised by the prices.” 

As Scheck peruses the aisles in a neighboring tent, Old World Antieks, flitting around hundreds of paper-mache bowls and faux twigs, one can practically see the tab running in her head. Twenty-six dollars for the large bowl, $60 for the terracotta planter from France, $45 for the catchalls, etc. I follow her to the cash register, where she makes a promise to swing back around to pick up her goods on our way to the next stop. 

10:11 a.m.

A ginormous, blue block-printed fabric balloons over the Mirth and KD Weave shop like a jellyfish. The owner of Houston-based Mirth, Katie McClure, explains to me the traditional process that seventh-generation makers in Bagru, India, carry out. First, the artist places the pattern onto the soft linen with a muddied stamp. The mud is coated with sawdust, and then the textile is dipped into indigo vats. The finished product is one of a kind. 

“We use these a lot in our bathrooms,” Scheck says, caressing a hand towel. Essentially, what ASD does is “modern-day foraging,” ASD designer Audrey Mehrl tells me. Scheck showed me a list of wants that her current client had sent over via text message—it read like the clues of a scavenger hunt.

On a call earlier in the week, Scheck had predicted that block prints will be a trend at the market. She wasn’t wrong; every other pillow I touch is patterned this way. 

11:40 a.m. 

For one of our last stops at Blue Hill, we head into East End Salvage, a shop that brings Parisian items to Texas. A large white iron hat stand at the entrance holds cowboy hats, and when I look to the left, Cinderella-esque floral arrangements lay before me.

“I love being inspired by the way these shops stage their items,” Scheck says, admiring the crushed flowers sprinkled around lovely vessels and platters. She often stops at the shop to pick up bouquets of dried florals from a mother-daughter farm in Oregon. The repeat visits are strategic: she values cultivating relationships with vendors and genuinely loves learning about their product processes.

Scheck is now standing at the register, her breakfast (a Dr Pepper) in hand, as I consider buying a few bundles of brightly colored peachy-pink flowers for myself.

18 Hours at Round Top With an Interior Designer
Audrey Scheck poses with her favorite items—a Blueberry Hill cocktail and linen towels. Karissa Widder
18 Hours at Round Top With an Interior Designer
Stone pieces outside of Prize Home and Garden in the Horseshoe. Karissa Widder

12:54 p.m.

About ten minutes away is the Horseshoe—a venue housing another round of shops that was spearheaded by the owner of Prize Home and Garden, Steve Rogers. “I’m based in Kansas City, but I source these beautiful pieces from around the world—Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, all over the place,” Rogers says. Prize, a perfect name for the establishment, is always a must-stop for Scheck. Its wares are on the pricier side, so only a select few pieces will make it out of the showroom and into a space. 

The next stop is the M, brought from Blue Hills to the Horseshoe by Rogers. Scheck meets up with her photographer, Karissa Widder, to take some shots of her for her Instagram. She fluffs pillows and moves the same decorative duck around over and over. “[Taking photos] is my worst nightmare,” Scheck says, though she’s clearly a natural. 

2:29 p.m.

The women are becoming more susceptible to the thrill of the find. Rose and Grace Market is one of those shops where you just have to pick up and admire everything, and where I hear the most coaxing of purchases. “Buy it!” Weatherby says to one of her teammates.

Scheck seems to think she’s a slow walker and shopper, but she’s swift to bring stuff to the cash register. I notice she has a thing for hand towels, napkins, and the like. “Hand towels, faux foliage, and cocktails,” Scheck says. “That’s me.”

Back at the M, Scheck is measuring chairs for her California clients. The owner of the shop explains the unique restoration process that said chairs underwent; lots of talk about stitching and shearling. Scheck doesn’t usually manage projects herself, but makes exceptions if a request has an especially healthy budget or an aesthetic that is particularly inspiring or more of a challenge for her. We stand and stare at the shearling chairs before us, noting how they resemble the color and texture of a Goldendoodle, while Scheck takes down measurements and texts back and forth with her client. As we prepare to leave the second stop of the day, Scheck shoves a rattan coat rack into the back of her BMW.

3:29 p.m.

The group moves on to Excess II, a so-called junk dealer right off of the main strip of markets, and is met by a cowboy bartender who doesn’t know he’s about to serve a large round of drinks. As Scheck orders a slew of Moscow mules and lemon-lavender spritzers, another large group of women dressed to the nines in statement pieces—bright pink felt hats, bright turquoise jewelry—walk up. “It’s like the Met Gala of the designer world,” ASD procurement manager Savannah Cryway says. 

The group moves as one to go to a beloved home goods shop, Box Road. Last time the team was here, they found bedside glass carafes that most took home for themselves. As we walk, the designers recap their finds. “What’s a stool called when it’s half moon–shaped, is small, and has only three legs?” one asks.

“Uh, a crescent-shaped stool with three legs . . .” says Scheck.

At Box Road, the store owner’s eyes light up when Scheck and co. arrive. The women immediately begin to fawn over his curated treasures as the owner watches with a huge smile on his face. It must be fulfilling to see someone else’s excitement for something you have found, whether it be little ceramic chicken shakers, worn knickknacks, lots and lots of amber glass, or woven baskets.

18 Hours at Round Top With an Interior Designer
Nautical decor at the M. Karissa Widder
18 Hours at Round Top With an Interior Designer
The ASD team (clockwise from top left): Audrey Mehrl, Shannon Pearson, Savannah Cryway, Alex Kleiman, Blair Thayer, Kelsey Laurenz, Kim Weatherby, Audrey Scheck, Mitzi Smith. Karissa Widder

4:04 p.m.

We cross the heavily traveled road to Excess II with cocktails in hand. I’d wager that the alcohol is not what brings the fun out of this group, but rather the spirit of the find has taken the mood from all business to “maybe we’re good at this after all.” At Excess I and II, you’ll find better pricing than at the more-curated shops in Blue Hills and the Horseshoe. The flip side is that it’s known to be “more of a hunt,” Scheck says.

When we aren’t browsing Knock on Wood, with their pendant lights that resemble floppy straw hats, the team is trudging through mud and narrow aisles to look at a large variety of wooden chairs. As the crew lingers between Knock on Wood and surrounding vendors, Thayer receives a phone call that brings tears to most everyone’s eyes. It’s a boy!

5:23 p.m.

“The hunt is never over,” Cryway says as we part ways. I leave the group with their arms full of Parisian pots and a solid wood lazy Susan as they set their eyes on an evening of enchiladas and hot-tubbing.