Thanks to Room Fu Decorologist Claire Patrick for this post!
When I think of Texas shopping destinations, I generally think of the Market District in Dallas, the Galleria in Houston, or South Congress and Burnet Road right here in Austin. Maybe even Round Top, Wimberly, or Fredericksburg if I’m feeling retro chic. Amarillo rarely (read: never) comes to mind. Until Kasey Robinson changed my mind.
I don’t know much about Kasey; I’ve met and chatted with her once, a couple years back. What I do know is that she’s single-handedly revolutionized home decor shopping in Amarillo. I’d even go as far as to say she’s started a revival of sorts. Back in 2009, on a trip to visit my hubby’s family, we drove past a cute little shop called Nest which she’d recently opened. Needless to say, I finagled my way into a shopping excursion during our brief trip. I’ve followed Kasey’s blog ever since.
Fast forward to my most recent trip down ol’ route 66. Armed with an interior design degree from the Art Institute of Dallas, two and a half years of successful shop owning, and larger-than-life dreams, Kasey has opened her new venture: The NAT. The plaquard outside the building reveals the massive building’s history:
The Natorium, an open air building surrounding a swimming pool that measured 36′ x 101′, oipened in July 1922. “The NAT” was enclosed in 1923 for year-round use. In 1926 the building was converted into a dance hall with 10,000 square feet of maple flooring covering the pool area. The NAT also provided dining and at its peak employed 40 staff members. Well-known bands traveling along Route 66 often stopped here to entertain. Though closed as a public dance hall in the 1960’s, The NAT served the Amarillo area as a significant local center for decades.
Before walking in, I knew this place was special. Upon entering, all of my preconcieved notions that Amarillo was all rhinestones and cowboy boots vanished.
The NAT, in its current iteration, houses over 100 area vendors who all have something special to offer. This is more than an antique shop, it’s a beautifully curated reminder that there ARE artists in the panhandle–good ones at that.
One such artist, Krystal Morris-O’Mara, displays her handiwork (ReMainDesigns) in a hall of the NAT. Green design, adaptive re-use in Amarillo? You betcha!
Other talents, like Jordan Rifenberg, have furniture for sale. His isn’t your typical antique-refinished-with-Annie-Sloan-Chalk-Paint (which there are plenty of, and good quality too); he’s taken to recycling his medium. He’s a local graffiti artist, and he’s turned his used spray cans into actual usable furniture pieces.
I think we spent well over an hour getting lost in the giant natorium.