22 October 2007

Beadboard UpCountry - Brenham, Texas

It's no secret that Texas is a huge state, just to drive from one end to the other is a journey that can't be done in a day. It is so large that we have 254 counties. Several books have been written about the architecture of all of our courthouses. There is even a web site, where a man named Ted has taken a picture of each of the courthouses. Many of them are old buildings that are registered with the Historical Society while others are newer structures that replaced the older, smaller courthouse as the county grew more populated.

Drive through any small town in Texas where the county has it's seat and you will find the proud courthouse erected right in the middle of a small, antiquated downtown. One of the prettier counties in Texas is Washington County whose name to Texans will evoke visions of rolling hills and fields of bluebonnet flowers. Brenham, Texas, the county seat of Washington County, has a population of just 13,500 and is also the home of the famous Blue Bell Ice Cream. Unfortunately, Brenham's courthouse, pictured above, is not one of the old ones as it was built in 1939. The downtown of Brenham is being revitalized and it's filled with charming shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and a few romantic B&Bs. In order to satisfy the design needs of all the ranch owners and chic people who either live here or have a second home here, a new store, Beadboard UpCountry opened up last year, right on the town square across the street from the courthouse. Location in Brenham doesn't get any better than this.

Maryanne Flaherty, the brainchild behind Beadboard UpCountry, runs the store with the help of her husband. Their store has helped put Brenham's downtown revitalization on the fast track. Last week it was announced that the 2007 recipient of the Best Commercial Interior Design Award, given by the Texas Downtown Association (TDA), is none other than Beadboard UpCountry! Maryanne is a friend of mine and she emailed me to share the exciting news. The TDA, the organization behind the revitalization of downtowns around the state, hands out several different awards each year, and Beadboard UpCountry is most deserving of their top award. Located in a former bank building, Maryanne worked hard to restore the space into the charming, sunny shop it is today. To Maryanne, a chic redhead, her shop is the culmination of years of dreaming and planning. Prior to opening her store, she commuted the hour to Houston to work at local furniture stores. Now, her clients travel to see her. Beadboard UpCountry is bright, with high ceilings, and white stucco walls. For sale is bedding, tableware, accessories, candles, and furniture in white and linen slipcovers. The shop is so atmospheric, you might just think you are actually in France instead of a small Texas town.

The charming storefront: outside a chalkboard advertises the specials inside. I adore the awning almost as much as the store's name. Who could resist coming inside?

The walls are stuccoed white, with the old brickwork peeking through.

Against one wall are shelves of creamy plates and assorted tableware.


A view towards the back, you can see how high and airy the ceilings are. Notice too, the black and white mosaic tiled floor.

Besides accessories, Maryanne sells furniture and offers interior design services.


My favorite: a big round slipcovered ottoman that doubles as a coffeetable. Behind it is a white, slipcovered sofa. Seagrass, linen and white slipcovers: I am in heaven!



A view of a tablescape with shelves of goods in the background. The tableware is mostly either white or cream.

Friendly and chic Maryanne, the proprietress of Beadboard UpCountry. In this picture, you can just see the restored wooden ceiling.

If you would like to visit Beadboard UpCountry, it is located at 1o1 South Baylor Street, Brenham, Texas 77833. You can call Maryanne at 1-979-830-8788 or you can email her at beadboardupcountry@sbcglobal.net If you are planning a trip to the Round Top Antiques Fair this April, be sure to visit Maryanne as Brenham is just a short drive from Round Top.