Jan 22, 2015

Exploring Top Hat - It's all in the details!

Nothing excites me more than a new adventure....

Hello my lovely friends,

A belated very happy 2015! I trust the New Year has started off well for you - at least that is my hope and prayer for you. My new year started with many new adventures and I have lots to share. But today, I think I will begin with how I ended 2014 before I dig into 2015. I hope you enjoy my small adventure.

December 2014, I had a photo shoot to do outside Kansas City, so while in the area, I had to stop and visit my very good and extremely talented friend, Debbie Dusenberry, aka, Curious Sofa. Debbie and I go way back - in fact, we have known each other almost 12 years already - so hard to believe I have been in the Midwest so long. 

Have you ever had a friend, that you really loved and admired, but that friend still amazes you? That friend is Debbie for me. It goes without saying that Debbie is a very talented and gifted person, but she continues to amaze me with her creative talent to this day. But, if she were never to create a thing again in her life, I would still be amazed by her spirit. Because what she (or anyone) produces isn't who they are, but just an expression. And her soul is what I admire the most about her.

Debbie has an online store, which I encourage everyone to check out, if you haven't. But in addition to her online business, she is also part of a very fabulous event that takes place in KS City - First Fridays Vintage Event. The first friday (entire weekend, actually) of each month, there is a whole industrial part of KS City that opens up to sell their vintage wares and goods.

I have been wanting to attend just forever, but the timing was just never right. But, when I pulled over for some gas, I got just a glimpse of what was to come. As the gas pumped gas, I got pumped up at what I saw across the overpass, just waiting for me!

I arrived much later than planned, and was anxious to find my fabulous friend, but as I hunted down her spot, this is the area I encountered...

There were many, many, MANY more old buildings and vendors to see, but I turned around after taking the above pic and BINGO - saw Debbie's new digs:

Her new space is located in Top Hat Mercantile - isn't that just the coolest red truck ever? You MUST click on their website! It is just a fab site, and if you are in a need of creative inspiration, this site is full of great design. This website was designed by my talented friend, Debbie.

You see, most people who know Debbie, or know of her, are VERY familiar with her distinct taste, creative styling, and knack to select only the best of things to sell. But what most people don't realize is that she is a VERY talented graphic designer. (I know...is there anything this woman can't do? If I didn't love her so, I would hate her...) She designed the entire company identity of the Top Hat Mercantile...the website, the logos, the colors, the signs, everything! And there just isn't a thing about this location that isn't short of pure deliciousness.

Top Hat Mercantile is an antique mall like no other. While there are LOTS of great malls and stores in this industrial area to explore, Top Hat Mercantile has a very select group of dealers who "get it." Debbie designed the entry way and had an artist make these FAB rusty tin Top Hat signage (they are huge!). How great are these?

And look at this great light fixture that hangs in the entry way as well. She had someone make this as special. This is one of many things I love about my friend...she is all about the details. Those very details where so many, many shops just miss the opportunity to shine. It is those details that I believe only true artists create, seek, and explore the possibilities. I've been to a lot of shops over the years, and trust me, the shops that shine, are the shops with the creative details. Top Hat Mercantile is Top Choice when it comes to the details in my book.

Right after you enter, Top Hat even has its own gift shop right inside. Vintage displays, great gifts, seasonal items. Remember, I went in Dec, so they were all prepped for Christmas - I can't wait to go back. I have to tell you, I was really impressed with the prices - VERY reasonable, and not even sure how they can sell such great items at such great prices. 

I went on the hunt for my friend and loved everything I was seeing - I knew this would be a "three-lap" visit. Meaning, I would need at least three laps around the store to see it all and take it in. 

I just love "three-lap" stores.

Oh, and those fab lights below? I later discovered this was one of Debbie's spaces.

And TA DA!! I found my beloved friend, working away, as I went around the corner (above) and discovered that the space I love so much (above) is also hers - of course.

And something "ordinary" like a price tag, is anything but when it comes to Debbie's creative mind. Check out these old pics she uses to tag her items.

In addition to her infamous, Curious Sofa space, Debbie has now added a new addition to her business: Tobacco Road. I have to say, this is such a great addition. It is part industrial, part rustic, always vintage, and always well, what can I say...always Debbie. Her select items celebrate textures, worn wearables, and creative comfort lifestyle. Basically, Debbie has a way of selecting and pairing items in such a way that on their own, may seem familiar, but her discerning eye pulls unlikely items together that creates an environment that one just has to be a part of and wants a piece of it to take home. 

Trust me, you will want forge your own familiarity with Tobacco Road. It is a road  that you will definitely want to travel.

I decided to take another "lap" and explore the store...

How cool is the little grotto? The basement in Top Hat is just fabulous! No basement has a right to be this great. GREAT stone walls everywhere, piled with vintage items, displayed creatively. 

This is a HUGE all glass "chain link" chandelier that greets you when you first enter Top Hat. Mesmerizing. 

Like I said, Debbie leaves no stone unturned when it comes to company identity. Not even the loading dock doors go unadorned. Need some light over the stairwell? Well, she hunted down these top hat light fixates - go figure! Nothing is standard with her creative mind...and I just love that.  Even the little directional signs all have style, yet purposeful. (Okay, I think I have a girl crush...:-)

Well, by the time I did my "laps" it was way later when I finally got out to explore other areas. I made it only to one other store, but did get some snaps of a few of the buildings (there are MANY more!) Well, this gives me a reason to head back soon to explore again...

I did manage to sneak inside a store before closing, but honestly can't remember the name, but the interior was fun to see as I zipped about quickly...

And of course, no visit with Debbie isn't complete without kisses and running in circles with Pearl, her (dog) friend, Pearl. She is a living doll...no leash...her own outfits...never far...and never underfoot either. And, if "missing" one will find her on the most comfy sofa or chair in the area - pretty and smart too!

I hope you enjoyed my adventure at Top Hat Mercantile. If ever in the KS City area on First Friday of the month, this is a MUST stop to shop, get inspired, and grab up some goodies. I can't wait to go again, and next time, I am tempted to bring an empty trailer!

I have much to catch you up on, and will be announcing a new venture I am working on. I am so excited about it, and you will be the first to know.

May your 2015 be filled with adventures that bring you joy, inspiration, and a fun-filled lifestyle that will have you running in circles with the likes of a friend like Pearl.

from my house to your house,

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