One day Robert Hawkins was in the Peace Corps boosting the Dominican Republic's tourist trade. Five years later, he was bringing Latin treasures to Houston to open his own store. Hawkins started Surroundings with fabrics and earthenware from Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru, but after 25 years in business, he's added handcrafted jewelry, Turkish rugs and Moroccan ironwork. All the quality merchandise has its own history and culture, much like the owner and the store itself.
Decorators enjoy the home accessories like kilim rugs from the Black Sea and Yugoslavia; a slew of lamps, some Tiffany-style, with shades made of seashells; and hand-woven cotton fabric from Guatemala. Handmade and painted pine furniture by Heights-based craftsman David Marsh sells big here, from modest shelving to big-ticket armoires.
The family-run store looks back at a long history in its Rice Village location where it opened in 1975. Despite being a bit off the beaten path, the creative mélange of quality items like talaveras, fabrics and jewelry keeps people coming back. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.