Here in Austin it’s not hard to find home décor that’s decidedly “American West”; longhorns, cowhide, and weathered wood are never far out of reach. This is Texas, after all, and many designers seem anxious not to let us forget it. But if your tastes run more to the Old World, finding quality European wares hasn’t been as simple. Now, a newcomer to Austin is aiming to change that by bringing a taste of Europe here.
Red Rover Alley is the brainchild of Rachel Miller, who moved to Austin with her family a year and a half ago from London.
“I’d go on these trips and buy things, and come back to London, then sell them to my girlfriends who were living in London,” Miller says. “Then I started shipping things back to friends. When we moved, I told my husband that this is what I wanted to do, this is my calling.”
Miller travels to Europe quarterly, scouring everywhere from pubs to monasteries in England, France, and Belgium to bring both antique and modern pieces back to Austin.
The result is some truly stunning finds, and a wide range of size and price. You can buy an entire modular kitchen, as is custom in Europe – the Europeans bring their kitchens with them when they move, Miller says. If you’re in the market for something smaller, Miller has a stunning selection of antique silver. The television drama Downton Abbey has made that silver a popular item.
Roaming through Red Rover’s warehouse is a bit like being a kid in a candy shop. Here, old doors from Parisian storefronts, there an old pharmacy counter that could make a unique and fun kitchen island. An old grain sledge used for hauling wheat from the fields sits next to chairs painted with the Union Jack, used for British state holidays.
One of the most fascinating – and heaviest – pieces in Red Rover’s warehouse is a very rare antique French oyster shucking table. Dating to the pre-1800’s, its marble top bears indentations from the work done on that surface over the years.
Miller tries to bring over modern pieces, too, in order to provide a wide selection. Items including children’s toys, furniture, and kitchen ware add a chic touch of modern to the collection.
For men on the hunt for distinctive décor, Miller has what she calls a “mantiques” section, inspired by downtown loft owners looking for the right pieces to round out their home.
“We’re excited to bring all this to Austin in a fun and friendly way, and to embrace the unique culture in Austin, and add to it as well,” Miller says.
You can find Red Rover’s pieces at the warehouse on Saunders Lane near the Domain, at the Antique Marketplace on Burnet Rd., the Austin Antique Mall on McCann St., and online at the website. The Red Rover warehouse, Antique Marketplace, and Antique Mall are all within a close radius to each other, so if potential customers are looking for a piece that’s at another location it will be easy to hop over there.