European Accent

European Accent

When Jill Brown began collecting Belgian wares and furnishings during her four-year stay in the European country, she had to assuage her late husband's concerns as she filled up their basement, their garage, and later, a host of storage units. "He was worried about what I would do with all of that stuff!" Brown laughs. When she relocated to Houston in 2001, her love of products and her inherent entrepreneurial streak allowed her to segue from a much sought-after antiques dealer to the owner of her celebrated shop. aptly named Brown.

According to Jill Brown, there's not much distinction between her personal home and the space she's created at Brown — both feature pieces she deems to be beautiful and functional. This vignette from Brown captures the shop's casual European vibe while highlighting some of the vastly different accessory and lighting offerings.

According to Jill Brown, there's not much distinction between her personal home and the space she's created at Brown — both feature pieces she deems to be beautiful and functional. This vignette from Brown captures the shop's casual European vibe while highlighting some of the vastly different accessory and lighting offerings.

The Curved Bench, by John Saladino, captures the designer's elegant aesthetic that continues to stir feelings of admiration in Brown.

The Curved Bench, by John Saladino, captures the designer's elegant aesthetic that continues to stir feelings of admiration in Brown.

In addition to the unique finds she continues to source from France. Holland and Belgium-that old cache long since snatched up by eager designers-Brown crafts the custom lighting that has become the store's signature. Through the years, her definition of what's fit to sell has remained consistent: "I look for goods that I like and that make me experience a visceral reaction. It harkens back to my Midwest pragmatism, but I prefer items that are useful and beautiful to items that are just beautiful any day." 

Top Shops:

In Paris, I love Merci. It's a concept store with a little bit of everything. A little closer to home, I like Terrain, right outside Philadelphia.

Current Obsessions:

I can't live without really dark black coffee, Clairefontaine notebooks and Mrs. Meyer's geranium-scented cleaning products.

Design Icons:

I love everything that John Saladino ever touched. I also admire what Lambert Hitchcock did m the early 1800s; his furniture was so quintessentially American.

On My Nightstand:

I just finished reading Flaubert's A Simple Heart. It's an incredibly poignant short story.

Favorite Artworks:

Cy Twombly's blackboard paintings. I have a soft spot for anything school-related.

Influences:

Country style. I love the Gregory farmhouse that William Wurster designed in the 1920s. It's been seminal in influencing my own little farm project.