Kate the Great & Antique Hardware on Acrylic Trays

Kate Pernoud

We are always excited about launching new product lines at Bering’s, however; we are especially excited about sharing details about a new line designed by Kate Pernoud, creator of Maison Pernoud.

Augie Bering V and Kate Pernoud at a recent buying meeting for Bering’s.

Meeting Kate was every bit as amazing as her pieces. Her inner glow is contagious and is mirrored in her one-of-a-kind pieces. She hand-selects her antique hardware during buying trips to France. Kate shared, “Each trip I take pushes me to live life a little more deeply, to remember the details, so I can pass the stories onto others.” Kate then added, “Driving down the farm roads in Belgium, how can you not be moved by the farm fields, interspersed with cemeteries of fallen soldiers? As busy as the buying trips are, I stop and appreciate the beauty and history around me. It reminds me of how small my world once was!”

These are representative of the trays and bookends that you can expect to find in our Bering’s Gift Shop. No two pieces are exactly the same!

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Here is more from Maison Pernoud’s Founder, Kate:

  1. What inspired you to create your trays?

During my buying trips, I was finding some really cool metal and wood fragments but didn’t really know what to do with them. I found a pair of really cool old handles, but several of our ideas to use them were cost prohibitive. I knew we needed to honor the beauty of the hardware but also update it for current trends. We finally struck on the tray idea and it just evolved from there. I just added the glass inserts last week and am excited about the upgraded look.

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  1. How long have you been creating your trays?

A little less than a year, but I’ve been in business with furniture and accessories for 3 years. I’ve found the trays resonate with interior designers who are looking for special finishing touches on design projects.  Savvy retail customers also appreciate that these trays are not mass-produced with reproduction hardware, so they don’t have to worry about four friends ending up with the same home décor item. Someone can love your tray, but they most likely won’t end up with an identical one!

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Pre-market set-up in France where Kate hand selects hardware for her pieces.
The beauty of France where Kate goes to buy her pieces!
  1. What inspires you?

Growing up, my family didn’t travel out of the country. Moving to Houston was the furthest I’d been from Milwaukee in my entire life. I remember being apprehensive, everything was new and I was a bit intimidated. It was hard leaving my network of siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., but I love that moving out of my comfort zone, becoming a Houstonian, meeting new people; it pushed me and broadened my world.  We’ve made the most wonderful friends over the years, and it makes me smile to hear our children say “Our mom is a Cheesehead….but the rest of us are Texans.”  I’ve always loved interior design, art, furniture, fashion…all things pretty!   Maison Pernoud exists because I had a chance to go on a buying trip with a friend and my husband said, “Go do this, what do you have to lose?” He knew traveling to Europe and broadening my worldview was a dream come true.

So what inspires me? …Travel, meeting new people, broadening my worldview, and sharing these things with others. We plan to take our children on a buying trip this summer, and I’m  excited to see our children experience France and Italy. In light of all that has happened in Europe recently, I feel even more compelled to teach our children the value of other cultures and traditions.

Kate and her husband in France.
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Enjoying the countryside during the fast buying trip!
  1. Please share more about your travels and how you spot your pieces. It is very intriguing.

There is a certain magic that happens when I spot one fabulous find in a sea of someone else’s old treasures. Someone asked my husband the other day, “What do you do when you go on Kate’s buying trips?” His answer, “Follow her around and scan stuff, waiting for her radar to go off.”  I laughed so hard, because it is completely true! Sometimes I know what I’m looking for, of course then it seems almost impossible to find. But most of the time, I’m just trying to take in as much as I can, not wanting to miss anything.  It’s great when my husband can come with me, because sometimes he will catch things I missed, and to his credit he has a good eye. I try to remember the items I find were once possessed by someone else, and to respect the life each piece has lived before I found it. I’ve learned to not buy things just because they are a “good deal” and to focus on things that affect me in a personal way. I carry this mantra into our own home now, and try to get rid of things that don’t make me happy or are just filling up space. I would rather have a few really special things, than a house full of meaningless items.

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  1. Is Maison Pernoud a family business?

Maison Pernoud is a family business. I could not have built this business without my husband, children, family and friends cheering me on.

  1. Do you happen to have a Bering’s history/grow up coming to Bering’s, etc. (Again, no worries if not.)

I moved to Houston back in 1999. My husband and I were newlyweds and we had both been accepted to Rice University for Master’s degrees programs. My mother-in-law brought me to Houston to look for apartments and we ate at Chachos and she pointed out Bering’s on Westheimer. I remember her saying, “That hardware store has it all…including china.” My response was “What?” If you aren’t from Houston, it is really hard to explain to someone how a hardware store can have lawn mowers, high-end furniture, clothing, and china.  But Bering’s really does have all these things and more.  I stumbled upon your Bissonnet location during graduate school and discovered you had fabulous coffee. Then, after our daughter Grace was born, we bought our first home in Briarmeadow, right off Westheimer, and we became loyal customers!  For the fledgling new homeowners we were, your staff always knew what to recommend or they helped us figure it out.   Our children Grace and Jonathan were outfitted every Christmas and Easter in a smocked frock from your children’s store. Both of our children have fond memories of Hacksaw the parrot, and Grace remembers the previous Hacksaw passing away. I even took a picture of him yesterday to  show them!

Now you know the rest of the story, we hope to see you soon. Remember, Kate’s pieces are one-of-a-kind. The images in this post might be available, but were shared to share what you can expect with the pieces at Bering’s. …Nothing short of amazing to uphold the great Kate’s vision.

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