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Houston’s Biggest Antiques Show Morphs Into a Whole Design Weekend

Now It’s Treasures and Star Power

BY // 11.13.17

Peddling crocheted coat hangers, magazine subscriptions, and a lottery for a mink stole, as Kappa Alpha Theta’s Houston alumna did in the 1930s and ’40, just wasn’t cutting it any longer. Inspired by a group of New York socialites, the group took a gamble and raised the bar in 1952 with the launch of the first Theta Charity Antiques Show, held at the Shamrock Hotel.

It was a runaway success. Since that time, the show has raised more than $7 million, annually donating the proceeds to local deserving charities. After 65 years, the committee chairs felt it was time for another pivot. Antiques remain a cornerstone of the rebranded Theta Design Weekend, but they’re now paired with additions of art, architecture, landscaping, home decor, lighting, and textiles.

The Theta Design Weekend stretches over three days with appearances and lectures by national designers, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center Friday through Sunday, December 1 through 3.

Among the 70 exhibitors are global antiques purveyors, as well as dealers and shops from Austin, Atlanta, and Houston. Theta tapped L.A. designer Mark D. Sikes — the reigning prince of blue and white — as the weekend’s honorary chair. A ticketed luncheon with Sikes on Friday, December 1, kicks off the weekend. He will engage in conversation with Atlanta tastemaker Danielle Rollins.

Additional luncheons with guest speakers include architectural group McAlpine with Bobby McAlpine, Susan Ferrier, Ray Booth, and David Baker on Saturday, December 2, and The After-Party author Anton DiSclafani on Sunday, December 3.

National design talent Meg Braff, Amanda Nisbet, and Carleton Varney (owner of Dorothy Draper and Company) join panel discussions with Houston-based architects Curtis and Windham’s Bill Curtis and Russell Windham, designers Bailey McCarthy, Paloma Contreras, Ronda Rice Carman, Lindsey Herod, Hallie Henley Sims, Sarah Eilers, Bill Stubbs, and landscape designer Suzanne Longley, as well as Flower magazine editor Margot Shaw. Art walks, designer-led tours, a pop-up bookshop by Blue Willow Bookshop, and vignettes of merchandise from local designers Ben Johnston and Courtnay Tartt Elias of Creative Tonic round out the weekend.

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Beneficiaries include Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens/Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Child Advocates, Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation, Yellowstone Academy, The Jung Center, WorkFaith Connection, TIRR Foundation, Crime Stoppers of Houston, and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets $20 to $250, at thetadesignweekend.com. Preview party November 30, 7 pm. General Admission Friday to Saturday, December 1 to 2, 10 am to 6 pm; Sunday, December 3, 11 am to 5 pm.

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