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The Real Story Behind That Strange British Phone Booth on the Side of a Texas Highway

It Leads To More Than You Think

BY // 03.21.16
photography Jerry Herring

We know you’ve wondered about the big red British phone booth perched atop a white pastoral fence on State Highway 237 on the way into Round Top. For Brit McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors owner Sean McLaren, the phone booths are a talisman, and antiques are his birthright: His parents were in the business in England, and he grew up immersed in the world of antiquities.

He opened McLaren’s more than 30 years ago to the trade, and retail stores followed — three in the U.K. and three in Texas (two in Houston on Lower Westheimer, which he closed in 2003). He took a break from the U.S. for a few years to develop designs and focus on manufacturing reclaimed industrial pieces in England.

Three years ago, with enough inventory and inspiration to make a return to North America, McLaren secured his current space on SH 237 and is open during spring and fall Round top Antiques Fairs. McLaren’s is 20,000 square feet of handsome and sometimes quirky room vignettes that mix industrial finds with antiques.

Based in London, McLaren spends the rest of the year combing the globe for treasures, from Spanish iron gates to British chesterfields and French interior doors. His workshop in England produces handcrafted reclaimed pine tables and kitchen islands, among other wares.

Unlike many of the antiques show venues, admission and parking are free. McLaren’s Antiques & Interiors, 1745 N State Highway 237, 917.741.7041. Open March 18 – April 6

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