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Spend the Day at Kim’s

Huntsville business offers home goods and garden center in historic location

Explore breathtaking landscapes, unique shopping experiences, a historic mansion and a delicious outdoor café at Kim’s Home and Garden. Located in Huntsville, TX, Kim’s opened its doors with the goal of providing services to Walker and surrounding counties. After 38 years in business, the local garden center has evolved into an international destination unlike any other.

Kim Bius purchased the real estate of the old Huntsville Gardens, located on Interstate 45, in 1985. Through the years she took her business from a small garden center to a unique destination offering upscale décor, outdoor living and landscaping services. To her surprise, eminent domain claimed her property in 2018, forcing Bius to either relocate or retire.

“It was devastating! They handed me a relocation packet and that was it.”

Around the same time, Bius’s husband, and local real estate developer purchased an old plantation with the hopes of building an event center. After visiting the property to offer her recommendations, Bius was inspired to utilize the land for her own business.

“They say when God shuts one door, another one opens and after visiting the [current] property, visions just started coming to me and I knew this could be something amazing for my business.”

Sitting atop 5½ acres near Sam Houston State University, the historic house, aptly named Top O’ the Hill Mansion, was built between 1909–1911, with land titles dating back as far as the 1840s and the Spanish Land Grant.

Kim Bius, center, and three of the center’s employees on the front steps of Top O’ the Hill Mansion.

To preserve the historic significance of the home, Bius and her contractors restored what they could salvage and rebuilt what they could not on the existing foundation.

“It has a new roof, new plumbing, new electrical and custom milled flooring to replicate the original hard wood. We even restored 72 of the original windows.”

Top O’ the Hill Mansion is now home to Kim’s Fine Home and Gifts. Upon ascending the grand porch, visitors find an array of elegant antique furniture, upscale décor, gourmet foods and luxury bath and beauty products. Every item is specially curated from around the world by Bius herself and the on-staff designer, Cynthia Rogers.

A view into Kim’s Fine Home and Gifts from the top of the staircase.

“We rarely purchase items of stock more than once and specifically order Texas-made, U.S.-made products. If you buy a piece you love from Kim’s, you will likely not find it in another home,” says Rogers.

Corporate offices are housed on the second floor of the mansion, allowing ample space for the 25 employees to design beautiful landscapes, negotiate purchases and run the daily workings of the business.

An impressive one-and-a-half-acre of manicured grounds surrounds Kim’s Fine Home and Gifts featuring trees dating 175–200 years old. The blooming landscape is a popular spot for those looking to enjoy a picnic, read a good book or simply take in the beauty while shopping.

“Around the back of the mansion is a large veranda overlooking the west lawn. We like to host a variety of events here like wine tastings, artist walks, and festivals,” says Bius.

Adjacent to the mansion in the stone barn is Kim’s Garden center, erected in the exact location of the original farm’s dairy barn. With a slightly more vintage and rustic appearance, the garden center offers casual home décor, gardening tools and outdoor furniture.

Surrounding the once Dixie Dairy is row upon row of plants, trees and shrubs available to the public.

The original Top O’ the Hill plantation sign sits at the entrance of the property.

“We specialize in unique, hard to find and native species. You can find just about any plant you want here and know all of them have been well taken care of.”

Kim’s sources its inventory from farmers across the Southern US. To ensure customers receive a premium quality selection, for nearly 30 years, Bius has purchased from the same family-owned farms. Spring demand requires many trailer loads each day to restock inventory and ensure availability.

“Your plants are the base for your home. They anchor the soil, control erosion, give shade, can help pull down your electric bill…there is nothing more beautiful than a well-kept garden. Providing the highest quality plants possible is important to us.”

A variety of flowers grow at Kim’s.

Kim’s experienced horticulturalists and landscapers strive to provide each patron with individualized service and the highest level of expertise. Novice gardeners are guided through each step to ensure they leave with a sense of confidence.

“Myself, my staff, we love sharing what we do with others and helping them be successful with their own projects. It gives us a great sense of community and the opportunity to share in our passion.”

Contributing to the experience of this unique destination is Louise and Oleta’s Tea House and Cafe. Guests can savor a delicious chef-inspired lunch on the grounds or partake in high tea while relaxing among the picturesque views.

Kim’s Home and Garden has become a destination of choice for visitors from around the world. As a frequent host to tourist groups and garden clubs, Kim’s has established a reputation within the industry and was recently awarded the Silver Award by the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.

“Not only do you have the history, but you also have the beauty of the landscape, a unique shopping experience and a place to grab a bite to eat. You can really spend an entire day here.”

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