The Junk Gypsy’s Wander Inn

I recently was invited by my sweet friend, Audrey (follow her instagram here, and her blog here) to tag along with her, and three fellow instagrammers, (follow them, too! They all have beautiful, inspirational feeds: AmyCindy, and Jill) and bloggers, for a complimentary stay at the not yet open to the public, Wander Inn! It was such an honor and I was pretty much over the moonto be included.

Jolie, me, Amy, Jill, Cindy, Audrey, Amie

The Junk Gypsies have a show on HGTV (Check out their show here), a line at Pottery Barn Kids, a successful, fun and funky store in Round Top, and now, the Wander Inn, which will be featured in the upcoming Christmas issue of Country Living Magazine. (Get yourself a subscription here, so you won’t miss it! )

We were invited by Amie, and Jolie, the Junk gypsy gals themselves, and the Virginia Dare Winery (the Pinot Noir was my favorite) to attend a happy hour. Everyone was so lovely, and such gracious hosts.

With all their success’, they have remained kind, generous, relatable and down to earth. It was a pleasure to meet them and be treated to a stay at their beautiful Inn.

Shared living area. Look at that sectional, and that repurposed drum, turned coffee table.


                                                    That “speaker” is a mini fridge!
That funky chandelier!


My room! Another fun light fixture.

Staying here was such an absolute treat, and I can hardly believe I had the honor of being included. I HAVE a blog, but these gals are BLOGGERS, and influencers on Instagram.

Find out more about the Junk Gypsy gals and Wander Inn here, go buy their bookJunk Gypsy: Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder and Wander  and go check them out on Instagram. You won’t be sorry!!

As always, thank you for reading! Stay tuned for a post about my finds in Round Top and how I’ll turn my “trash” treasures to treasure treasure. 😉

XO, Steph

How to Turn Old, Enamel Bowls into Pendant Lights!

Good morning! Back before we moved in, I asked, on this blog,  for opinions about our pendant lights. While at the design center, we were offered several choices of pendants. Here arose another of those moments where we were able to choose something that ‘was fine”, or “we liked” but is “it’s fine” why people build? We decided to pass (and accept a insulting “credit”) on the design center options and find some we loved. Due to the large, open layout of our floorplan, the pendant lights seemed like the ideal opportunity to make a statement. Here comes the pressure….Here are the options we were considering this summer.

Buy it here, on AmazonHandblown Bell Shade

Since we moved in, back in January, we have been pendant-less and feeling just fine about it. After all, there are plenty of projects on the Smiths to-do list: there’s three piles of uprooted cedars in the backyard, and the cows are practically ON the porch since we still don’t have a fence around the house….I’m not complaining. We may not always feel like doing these things, but those things were motivators for being here: learning new things, working with our hands, establishing our home, leaving a legacy…well now you’ve got me all teary. Anyway, pendant lights.

We kept going back and forth but never could “click the button”. It wasn’t love. If pendant light love is a thing?!

Last month, on the way home from Houston, we stopped at pretty much every antique store/mall for the whole 150 miles.  At one of our stops, in Paige, TX, we found a unique light fixture made from an old ladder with three pendants hanging down. The pendants has old, white enamel shades on them. Eureka! A white enamel covered light bulb lit up above our heads. (Get it?! Too much?)

pendant lights at shop

We tried negotiating with the shop owner-a good idea at these places-but she wasn’t willing to disassemble her light fixture. Understandable, since all we wanted were the white shades. But, we now knew what we were hunting for.

A few weeks later, in Round Top (read about our trip to Round Top), our heads spinning, Brian spotted some rusty white enamel bowls. They weren’t well marketed or styled in any way. They were pretty much disregarded, laying on the ground in a pile. We snatched up 3, and negotiated the price down to $15. FOR ALL THREE.

Here they are, the beautes, ready to achieve their destiny.


We bought three pendant light kits from Home Depot. Get them here.


Next, we needed to drill the holes in the base. Make sure to measure your hole from all sides of the base. Too far to one side, and the bowl will hang slanted.  We used thisRyobi Carbon Hole Saw Set as an attachment to our drill for this part. PSA:  I would recommend wearing eye protection and a mask when doing this. I can tell you this from the other side. You don’t want metal shards in your face/down your throat. You will notice we are not wearing said precautionary safety items. Like dummies. Do as I say, not as I do.

Once the holes were drilled, we used a file to file down the edges to ensure a perfect fit for our light kit.

We used a file to file down the edges of our circle just enough for the kit to fit through. You can also find this at Home Depot.

drill bit

Then, while you’re upstairs, helping your daughter with another fun project (more on that later) your handy husband will have connected, and hung all three lights. He will have given himself only one minor shock, and you will both feel so proud of him. I’m kidding, he didn’t really shock himself. I told you, he’s handy.

This island has the most “gather game” of any place in our house. Our family, our friends, bible study gals, have all gathered around this island to talk and eat and laugh… there’s always laughing. These lights haven’t changed the good conversation, problems solved, homework finished, chips and salsa eating, what would you dos?,  That are destined for this island. But now all of those treasured times to come will just be well lit under the light of three new (to us) pendant lights.

This has been another one of those projects that just feels so darn satisfying. We made bowls into lights! For like $60! No one else has these lights. They are Smith originals. Ha. That would work better if our name wasn’t Smith….you know what I mean.

It really drives home the philosophy that good things are worth the wait, AND here I go again, it’s so gratifying when you can do things with your own hands. People were meant to work, and create.


Thank you for reading. I appreciate everyone who reads, asks about my next post, encourages me to blog. Thank you.


XO, Steph

The Smiths Do Round Top

Through the years, Brian and I have shared a love of garage sale, flea market, and antique store shopping. When we were dating, and first married, in college, we would hit up this flea market outside of Nacogdoches on Saturday mornings. We got his clock there:

I’m pretty sure we paid less than $10 for it (Brian says $5). It’s lived with us in our apartment in Nac, our house in Houston, our house in Cedar Park, and now Driftwood. It still works and everything.

These days, our ‘people’s old trash’ shopping experience is limited to the yearly Settlement Home garage sale in Austin ( Plug: The sale raises money for a great cause, The Settlement Home for Children, so if you’re looking for a great place to donate, here’s some ways you can help: Brian and I look forward to this all year. We have found many treasures there. Some vintage finds, like our antique desk, and this washboard, hanging on the stairwell gallery wall:

But, we also got our food processor and weed eater there too. I pretty much outfit my kids for the whole year from that sale. Like cute, boutique stuff and matching Christmas pajamas. Yes, please.

Anyway, all that said, Brian and I have been really wanting to get some “new” (and by new, I mean new to us) things for this house. The challenge is that you have to be hunting for these items for as long as it takes. This requires patience, and acceptance, of your current space which doesn’t quite align with your vision yet.

These days, you can re-do your whole house in a few hours at a furniture store. (“These days”?! Excuse me while I put on my bifocals, and get out my crossword. Is it cold in here? I need my sweater.) -Not knocking that at all by the way. Not everyone wants dead people’s stuff in their house. If I was offered a Pottery Barn shopping spree-forget it. I take it all back. I love new stuff. (that’s not sarcasm-my first language. That stuff is awesome.)

But, making things, re-doing old things, and finding those things takes time.
As part of the hunt, about once a week, or so, Landon and I hit up the Goodwill nearest us to, “look for treasures”. And, I have found some. Like this crate, for example:
Landon also found a Buzz Lightyear toy. I’m sure he would say was that was our greatest accomplishment on those trips.
But, this week, Brian and I did something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. We went to ROUND TOP. If you don’t know, Round Top refers to about 10 miles of tents and shops in and near Round Top, TX. All filled with vendors peddling their wares. Many vintage, antique goodies, some rustic-looking creations, furniture….some of it is in the style of a garage sale:  a large table with a mound of tetanus, errr…rusty knobs, and old keys. Some of it beautifully styled, and usually more pricey.
In one word: overwhelming. I think I was lost the whole time. “You’ll give me a million dollars if I can point to where we parked?” Can’t do it. I’m surrounded by chippy, rusty, dusty treasures and I can’t, and don’t want to, find my way out.
We walked from shop to shop from 10 AM-6 PM. My pedometer (on my phone. No, I didn’t wear one on my belt.) clocked us at about 20 miles. So, if you’re thinking of going, wear good shoes, take your water, and put on sunscreen.
And, if you’re like me, maybe bring your flare gun/smoke signaling equipment.Soooooo, here’s some of the things we found in Round Top:

Side Table
Living Room Rug
Oktoberfest Table

That table right? We have had our eye on outdoor eating furniture/blogs about building our own, since we moved. We have two huge porches, and gorgeous views. The guys we bought this from were German, and informed us that the tables/benches are used by breweries for Munich’s Oktoberfest (big party of tents with thousands of these tables drinking all day). They had like a thousand of these tables and benches you could mix and match. We sorted through many of them, but ended up being happy with all three pieces. We love that the table, and the benches can fold up, so they can be stored/moved easily. But, they are long and skinny, so they fit really well on the porch without taking up too much space.

We left feeling happy with our purchases, and had so much fun. I would go back tomorrow, but I think Brian would settle for next year.

Thanks for reading! XO, Steph
(Originally Published March 26, 2017)