High Fashion Home: This 125,000-square-foot housewares emporium offers furniture, fabrics, and accessories at affordable prices. Professional decorators and novice designers have more than 10,000 rolls of fabric to choose from, including ready made draperies. Big-ticket leather sofas and red lacquer tables happily coexist with smaller pieces like luxe candles and bath towels. Stylish accessories, luxurious bed and bath accessories and toiletries, and designer lighting are also in store.
Installations Antiques: Husband-wife owners Becki and Jur van der Oord have been in business since 1995, outfitting their Heights-area warehouse with cool collections, refurbished finds and custom creations from Jur's native Netherlands. Where else can you buy vintage mail carts, repurposed as a rolling laundry hamper? Or how about a conversation-starting airplane wing, now used in an industrial-style couch? Stop in, if you have at least an hour to spare, because there's too much to see for a shopping fly-by.
Kuhl-Linscomb: Best known for its impeccable stock of items for the home, Kuhl-Linscomb also draws a loyal clientele with its masterful mix of sought-after items. The independently-owned shop has five separate showroom buildings-spread out in more than 60,000 square feet of space-offering gifts, accessories, beauty products, hip pet accessories and a vast array of home goods.
Memorial Antiques: Want to know where some of Houston's top interior designers find one-of-a-kind treasures to fill the homes of the city's well-heeled residents? Check out west Houston's Memorial Antiques and Interiors. Tucked away, on the south side of I-10, between Campbell and Voss, MAI boasts 9,000-square-feet of magazine-worthy vignettes. More than 45 (hand-picked) dealers fill the space, touting pieces pulled from countries all around the world.
Hamilton Shirts: Still owned by the family that started the business in 1883, Hamilton specializes in bespoke and made-to-measure shirts of the highest quality. Hand cut from double-ply Italian and Swiss fabrics, the shirts are made at the Richmond Avenue store by trained specialists who have been with the company for years. You can watch them work through a picture window in the store and see marvel at their artistry.
Dao Chloe Dao: Chloe Dao's boutique in Rice Village became a stop on many a tourist's to-do list, thanks to Dao's winning of the second season of Bravo's Project Runway. Of course, local fans of her smart and sexy clothes already knew she and her Lot 8 boutique were champs. Besides her own line, shoppers will delight in designs by Single, Dress, Abaco and Li Li Rose, plus plenty of accessories and shoes and a men's line called Adam's Apple. Success hasn't gone to her head either. Lucky shoppers can often find her still in the store hard at work.
Naked Body + Bath: Make-your-own lotions, body butters and other bath-products at Rice Village's Naked Body + Bath. The store stocks ingredients that are at least 95 percent natural and without fragrance oils and colors. All the shop's products are available completely "Naked" or with nature-friendly fragrance and color. Naked will even personalize cremes, lotions, salts and scrubs for guests with their choice of fragrance, color and mix-ins.
Tootsies: After 25 years, Tootsies has moved from its Highland Village space into shiny, new West Ave. digs. The 35,000-square-foot space is open and airy-bathed in natural light-with glossy, eye-catching accents sprinkled throughout. Shoppers will find new designers, an expanded accessories department and a private party room with space for your 30 nearest and dearest-complete with an adjoining catering kitchen.
Pinto Ranch: Modern western wear has come a long way from rhinestones and Rocky Mountains. Pinto Ranch exemplifies the changes with its array of clothing, boots, jewelry and yes, even saddles, at its Post Oak store. Socialites hit Pinto Ranch to stock up on the latest cowgirl gear before each annual Cattle Baron's Ball and, when the Houston Rodeo gallops into town, event-goers have plenty of options there, too. The jewelry cases are not to be missed.
Tejas Boots: The local institution has been outfitting presidents, governors and athletes for more than 25 years with custom cowboy boots, designed by Jose Gonzales. Sure, a pair will set you back around $1,000, but can you really put a price on the happiness that a perfectly-crafted set of black alligator boots will bring? Check out Tejas' other products including belts, buckles, shoes, skins, bags and wallets.
Texas Junk Co.: For more than 20 years, Robert Novotney's well-organized Fourth Ward-set store has been a local institution for Lone Star trinkets, knick knacks and vintage cowboy boots. Upon entering, customers will be happy to discover that although the place is truly filled with junk-broom handles, old picture frame parts, knobs-Novotney keeps it very organized. Wade past the oddities and find shelf after shelf of more than 1,000 like-new and pre-loved boot varieties, which start at $30.
Sloan / Hall (Pictured, above): For years, Marcus Sloan and Shannon Hall have combined their eye for design at their hip, Upper Kirby-set boutique, Sloan/Hall. The luxury lifestyle shop offers a gallery-like environment, ideal for displaying clever MikWright cards, coffee table tomes, home accessories and stunning jewelry. Don't expect run of the mill here. The duo has a reputation for showcasing hard-to-find goods and pieces by rising-star designers.
Bedrock City Comics: Richard Evans knows you're never too old to appreciate the magic of a funny book. The owner of Houston's Bedrock City Comics has been in the biz since opening his first shop in March 1990. Today, he maintains an impressive stock of the usual suspects from Batman adventures to the buxom Ms. Marvel and X-Men, as well as much-sought-after collectible editions. But it's not all funny books here. ("Does the Louvre only house works by Da Vinci?") Among Bedrock's well-organized shelves are action figures, manga, apparel, graphic novels and limited-edition figurines.
Cactus Music: Empire Records meets H-Town at Upper Kirby's vinyl emporium, Cactus Music. The old-school record store stocks new and used CDs, but the real appeal here is the vinyl, which can be test-driven, prior to purchase, on Cactus' dual turntables. Even better, the indie-shop also hosts in-store performances from local bands, complete with free St. Arnold's beer.
The Museum Shop at the Contemporary Art Museum: The exhibits aren't the only draw for visitors to the Museum District. It's also a prime (and often overlooked) place to find one-of-a-kind jewelry, accessories, books and gifts. Before leaving, head to the basement for a visit to The Museum Shop at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. There, guests will find an impressive assortment of artist and designer-made items and educational toys for kids.
Peel Gallery: Gallerist Steven Hempel shares his creative talent at Montrose's more than six-year-old Peel Gallery. Part exhibition space, part one-of-a-kind retail store, the spot features an always-changing assortment of contemporary works by emerging and established artists and designers. Big-names like Dror Benshetrit (you know, the one that collaborated with Target, Kiehl's and Cappellini) have shown there, as well as under-the-radar talent like painter Mauricio Limon and industrial designer Lindsey Adelman.
Bering's Hardware: For generations of Texans, Bering's has represented one of the most unique retail concepts anywhere. Bering's offers an incredible mixture of quality products, from hard-to-find hardware to exquisite gifts, everything for the kitchen and the yard, even china, crystal, gourmet coffee, chocolates and customized stationery. All complemented by the kind of old-fashioned service that seems near extinction.Canino's Produce: Have a hankering for fresh purple hull peas at 6 a.m. on a Tuesday? In Houston, you can find them at Canino's Produce. The Heights-area market has been delivering an endless array of fruits and vegetables-many locally grown or Texas-born-for more than 50 years. The 20,000-square-feet warehouse is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and stocks a wide array of produce and grocery goods at wallet-friendly prices. Before you go, venture out back to Taqueria Tacambaro for sweetbread tacos.
Frankel's Costume Co.: Located in East Downtown, within a giant warehouse, sits an enormous array of costumes, plus all the extras revelers to dress up such as jewelry, shoes and wigs. By far the largest costume shop in town, this Houston treasure has been around for decades. Frankel's stocks sizes for babies, toddlers, kids, teens, adults and plus sizes. From renting a costume for the night to purchasing your own, Frankel's has complete kits, body parts, accessories and much more.
Spec's Warehouse: Owned and operated by the same Houston family since 1962, Spec's is a true destination shopping experience. While there are Spec's stores located throughout Houston, Midtown's Warehouse Store is the crown jewel. With more than 40,000 labels of wines, spirits, liqueurs, beers, and finer foods, Spec's indeed fills all 80,000 square feet of selling space. The walk-in cigar humidor offers over 900 cigars-more than many tobacconist stores. The deli also offers the finest in deli meats, pates, domestic and imported cheeses, fresh caviar and a complete assortment of domestic and imported smoked fish and salmon.?
Wabash Antiques and Feed Store: Known in the neighborhood simply as the feed store, Wabash is really much more than that: a hardware store, a pet shop, an organic herb garden and an antique market. The store has a long history of supplying livestock for the Houston area and also places about 200 mixed-breed puppies and kittens each year. Wabash has one of the most extensive selections of organic gardening supplies in the city and also carries an array of country and farm-related antiques.