Barrel Designs Make a Statement
almost exactly in the center of the largest of the contiguous
48 states, the Texas Hill Country is fast becoming one of
the worst kept “secret places” in the American Southwest.
Long prized by Texans in search of the perfect getaway spot,
this land of stunning blue skies looking down on a rolling
countryside studded with oak trees, limestone bluffs and
a vast array of wildlife.
two of the states’ more beautiful cities, Austin and San
Antonio, anchor this Texas gem; the heart of the Hill Country
lies in its small towns. And Fredericksburg, Texas,
lies smack-dab in the middle of that heart.
was established in the mid-1800s by German immigrants looking
for –and certainly finding—land that was both beautiful
and productive. You can still find farmers and ranchers
doing a thriving business in this gem-within-a-gem, but
the small city is best known to visitors as the place
to stay and relax while touring this wonderful part of Texas.
Featuring accommodations and fine dining that please the
most finicky vacationer, Fredericksburg also has Main Street
and some of the finest artisanal shops to be found anywhere.
These one-off stores showcase the superb work of Hill Country
designers, artists and craftsmen that have come to this
picturesque country to practice and pursue their various—and,
Designs is one of the finer examples of this Hill Country
aesthetic. Their singular furniture and accessories,
crafted from seasoned oak wine barrels, are designed to
fit any décor as well as add a polished accent to any setting.
More on this later.
and Genine Gilbert, owners, designers and builders of Barrel
Designs furnishings, have what might be the perfect backgrounds
for their art. Ty is a former rancher, now running
his own land-reclamation company. He has also been
creating and crafting custom furniture for over two decades,
and this erstwhile hobby is now half of a blossoming business.
Genine comes to Barrel Designs with an extensive background
in the wine industry. Although she is modest about
her accomplishments, she is very knowledgeable on many aspects
of the business, from production to pouring. Her passionate
interest in this most ancient of arts, oenology or winemaking,
combined with a perceptive eye for design and a driving
personality, round out this creative husband-and-wife duo.
and Genine work, literally, out of their home, which is,
of course, nestled in the Hill Country amid all its natural
amenities. A large shop has been added to their cluster
of outbuildings that service Ty’s land business and it’s
been outfitted with sometimes-custom adapted tools.
When she’s not taking and active hand in the work, Genine
oversees (Ty might choose, laughingly, another word) the
careful crafting of their wares, one piece at a time.
Brainstorming between the two of them produces ideas so
fast that even their dogged web page designer can’t keep
up with their new ideas and products.
now on to those creations, where all the expertise and craftsmanship
carefully chosen materials from the aforementioned aged
oak wine barrels go into making a wide range of goods.
A sampling of some of Barrel Designs smaller accessories
include Stave Baskets to meet most any need: hors
d’oeuvres, cheese trays, fruit/vegetable arrangements, bath
soaps and towels and flower sprays. Stave holders,
fitted for discreet candle lighting or as a condiment tray.
Different styles of Lazy Susan work in myriad ways to marry
utility and elegance. (Might I suggest piling them high
with pastries in the center of your breakfast table?)
Barrel Designs pieces serve as accents to enhance any décor
and, of course, can be grouped—and can include accessories,
above—to offer a distinctive design centerpiece. Keeping
the wine theme in mind, Ty and Genine offer a selection
of Tasting Tables, Tasting Stools, Steward Seats (which
also serve as unique and distinctive bar-and-or-counter
seating), Sommelier Chairs (a luxury sized chair heavy on
comfort), Wine Glass Racks and a freestanding Wine Rack
that is a true thing of beauty. An assortment of Coffee,
Side and Sofa Tables, Kitchen Pot Racks and display Easels
(to feature fine art, stained glass or for use in creating
your own art) add to their ever-growing line of furnishings.
Barrel Designs also welcomes the opportunity to bring your
ideas to life through custom orders.
Barrel Designs is something of a fledgling business—it began
in the late fall of 2004—it has quickly proved to be a very
well received enterprise. Several Hill Country stores—notably
Fredericksburg Interiors, The Lincoln Street Wine Market,
and Becker Vineyards—already carry their pieces and Ty and
Genine have just added The Banyan Tree in Islamorada, Florida
to their list of latest retail locations. Their web
page (barreldesigns.com) is popping out orders at a manageable
rate and giving the company a universal audience.
Barrel Designs also appears at a variety of note-able art
show and wine festivals throughout Texas.
Give yourself a treat, a getaway, a relaxing couple of days
in the Texas Hill Country and give your home an added dash
of graceful distinction with a ‘working’ work of art from
See What They're
Saying About Us
“Everyone who visits just
goes on and on about the beautiful and unique
wine barrel pieces!”
“The most creative use
of wine barrels I’ve ever seen.”
R.K., San Antonio, TX
“We love everything they
make and we have most of it!”
“Beautiful and Rich designs.”