A Bucolic Getaway in Texas, Complete With 19th-Century Bungalows

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Round Top, Texas, which sits between Austin and Houston, is something of an unexpected design destination. In the 1960s, Faith and Charles Lewis Bybee, a wealthy Houston couple with a conservationist streak, started transplanting historic farmhouses from other parts of the state there. Then, in 1968, it began hosting a major antiques fair that’s still going strong (this year’s spring edition opens March 28). The problem for visitors was that there weren’t many places to stay in town. But the married hoteliers Cinda Murphy de Palacios and Armando Palacios — who in 1980 purchased a home in Round Top that they’ve since converted to a restaurant — have changed that with Hotel Lulu. The property offers 14 rooms spread across six 19th-century bungalows, as well as three private cottages. It opened last summer after a 15-month renovation, during which the Palacios restored original plank wood floors and cedar walls. They partnered with the Houston-based Studio Imli on custom (and purchasable) cotton blankets handwoven by artisans in the Cholistan Desert in Pakistan, and worked with the artist Andrea Condara on a painted mural depicting pink birds and trailing greenery that stretches to the ceiling of the hotel bar, Il Cuculo. There’s plenty of natural beauty, too, and the Palacios hope the region will become the Cotswolds of Texas, luring tech people from the major cities to watch the sun set over the prairie from a perch by the pool. Rooms from $225, hotellulutx.com.


Whatever your personal thoughts on winter, by this point in the season, your skin has likely had enough. And so, for the frosty weeks still ahead of us, it’s worth seeking out a rich, calming moisturizer, such as Omorovicza’s Cushioning Day Cream. It sinks in immediately and contains marine plankton and microalgae, which are thought to strengthen the barrier quality of the stratum corneum, or the outermost layer of skin. With its blend of peptides, ceramides and snow mushroom — a gelatinous fungus that retains water — Cloud Cushion cream from Eadem also supports the skin barrier while helping to prevent dark spots. For slightly less parched skin, there’s Osea’s Seabiotic Water Cream, which feels like a cross between a mousse and a gel and was named for its blend of probiotics, prebiotics and seaweed. You’ll also find a bounty of oceanic ingredients, including antioxidant-rich red algae, in RéVive Skincare’s Moisturizing Renewal Day Cream, which additionally has SPF 30. Finally, those with super sensitive skin might want to try the one-two punch of Pai’s Resurrection Girl mask — a silky treatment that rehydrates in 10 minutes — followed by Avène’s Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Balm, which subdues the redness and tightness brought on by a day of skiing, or really any attempt at being outdoors in February.


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“There is that old saying that if you buy cheap, you buy twice,” said the Northern Irish visual artist and children’s book author Oliver Jeffers, who recently partnered with the Australian, New York-based shoe brand Feit on a pair of indoor vegetable-tanned leather slippers for both adults and children. They’re decorated with Jeffers’s playful illustrations of trees, flames, hammers, hands and feet — motifs that also appear in a slender children’s book Feit has published called “All That We Need,” which comes with each purchase of the slippers and tells a story about the importance of sustainability. It’s a philosophy shared by Feit’s co-founders, the brothers Josh and Tull Price. All of Feit’s shoes are handmade from only natural materials. “From the outset we have been focused on quality not quantity, craft not commerce, natural materials over synthetics, humans over machines,” says Tull, whose two sons wear the slippers when he and his wife, Feit partner Natasha Shick, read to them before bed. Adds Jeffers: “I’d be more intrigued to hear why people are not interested in sustainability, and if anyone could explain their reasoning without sounding lazy or selfish.” A convincing argument to buy once and have no regrets. $300 for youth; $350 for adults, feitdirect.com.


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In the 11 years since moving on from Libertine, the cult ready-to-wear label she founded with Johnson Hartig in 2001 that’s known for lively prints and an antique feel, the artist and designer Cindy Greene has brought her sensibility to interiors. Now, she’s launched her own line of home décor items, Sabel, which offers wallpapers, poplin pillows, and les poubelles: brass receptacles crafted with delicately hammered surfaces. Designed to be paired together, the pillows and wallpapers are covered with ancient symbols, garden creatures, whimsical characters or geometric shapes. The Anubis wallpaper, for instance, features Egyptian hieroglyphics and the jackal-headed god of the afterlife for whom it’s named, while the Medusa wallpaper shows a tangle of serpents. Clearly, Greene draws upon a wide range of sources. For this collection, she also referenced books she read as a child: See the lion-patterned Aslan paper, named after the “Chronicles of Narnia” (1950-56) character, or Greene’s favorite, a leafy motif with snails and intricate spider webs called Absolem, after the caterpillar in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865). One inspiration remains consistent no matter the print, however: “My mother was an amateur interior decorator,” says Greene. “There was nothing she couldn’t do, and watching her as a kid made me think I could do this.” sabelstudios.com.

The chef Chikara Sono grew up in Sapporo, on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, which is known as the breadbasket of Japan. “There are so many unique ingredients that you can’t get anywhere else,” says Sono, who adored such local specialties as sanpei-jiru (a salmon and potato soup) and jingisukan (a grilled mutton dish). He’s importing some of the island’s pristine seafood for his new, eight-seat kaiseki restaurant, Kappo Sono, which is nestled behind a curtain within BBF, his tavern on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “I often create dishes that remind me of things I had at home, or when I was a child,” says Sono, whose previous establishment, Kyo Ya, in the East Village, received a Michelin star. At Kappo Sono, these will include hotate kunyu-zuke, or smoked scallops, inspired by the versions dipped in olive oil sold by street vendors in Sapporo, as well as Jewelry Udon, a plate of uni and ikura (salted salmon roe) served with homemade noodles. Then there’s Sono’s polished Yumepirika rice with wakasa-style grilled kinki, or channel rockfish, a highly prized, fatty species that dwells hundreds of feet below the surface of the Pacific and is considered a Hokkaido specialty. bbfkapposono.com/sono.


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