One cottage is the result of decades of decorating and passionate collecting.
Rose Hicks’ 1930s stone cottage in the Texas Hill Country hamlet of Fredericksburg is a cross between timeless beauty and comfort. Delicate creams and whites abound. Children and grandchildren gather frequently. Casual visitors are always welcomed as family.
This February Rose will turn 91, though her tireless energy and can-do spirit belie her years. Since 1995 she has lived in this home on her own and remains an active and vital force in both her family business and the community.
Her home is filled with poetic touches throughout. However, when Rose and her family first discovered the home it was in a sad state of disrepair. It was only after a customary family “council meeting” that the family decided this would become Rose’s new home.
Rose’s talented son-in-law, Tom, began the renovating and rejuvenating process. He tore down walls, enlarged rooms, added a built-in china cabinet in the kitchen and added custom paint treatments on every wall.
Her entire family follows creative passions. Rose’s daughter Carol and husband Tim run the Homestead stores (soon to be reinvented as Carol Hicks Bolton Antiques). Her daughter Cathy owns a home furnishing shop,Me andMy House in San Antonio, and youngest daughter Janet is a designer.
In her typically gracious and unassuming manner Rose underplays her own creative genius. She encourages others to recognize that they too can add their own distinctive touches to create an equally romantic and tranquil dwelling. “Start with an idea or a particular piece you love and build around it,” she says.
A professed collector of “found things”, Rose has a lifetime of treasure hunting experience to draw upon. She and her late husband William owned a furniture store in Beaumont, Texas, before heading to Fredericksburg. Her sharp eye for a beautiful piece at a good price was refined during these early years. She has a particular love of creamware and vintage laces and textiles, collections that have become signature elements of the inimitable Rose Hicks style. “Antique stores and malls, private vendors, flea market finds—I always just knew when I had found that one perfect piece,” Rose says.
Rose has never been one to yield to current trends or the fickle whims of design. “I don’t follow trends, I’m very happy with the look I have here. It’s just the way old people are!”
One distinct touch, or Rose-ism, is her penchant for affixing scripture verses on favorite objects—gracing old portraits, lining the insides of cabinets and on the front of vintage bottles. Rose’s faith is central to her life. “Something that is a big part of your life, you should have it with you and around you as a constant reminder,” she says.
Simple design treatments she uses are clipping an old family photograph to the back of a chippy garden chair or adding a whimsical flash card to a vignette that pays homage to her three daughters. One remarkable vignette Rose has created is a found postcard with the exact day and year of her birth stamped on it. It’s simply a matter of seeing old things with new eyes and, in so doing, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary and unexpected.
Design is a true passion for Rose but it is the love of family that is integral to her style. The formal dining room is the heart of the home. “We all go to church together and try to have Sunday meals together whenever possible,” she says. It’s no accident that a beloved and jaunty conductors cap belonging to her late husband hangs on a hall tree overlooking the dining area.
“I look around this house and see the love of my family,” she says. “The little things, the family mementos, those are the
things that make me see my family. This house hugs me.” Time spent in Rose Hicks’ romantic world leaves one feeling a little more peaceful, inspired and hugged.
Written and photographed by Anne Lorys
Anne Lorys is a blogger and photographer who lives in Fredericksburg, Texas and is proud to call Rose Hicks her friend. Visit Anne at her blog fionaandtwig.blogspot.com.