By: Malcolm Mayhew
Florist Bill Bostelmann has a knack for sniffing out up-and-coming areas of the city. The first iteration of his flower shop, Flowers on the Square, took up residence in what he called West Bank — now home to what’s actually called Left Bank, where places like Tom Thumb, Hopdoddy and 85ºC Bakery Café have risen. He left that 1-acre spot with a “Manhattan view” as he calls it, when developers came in with an offer — “an obscene amount of money,” he says.
Next stop: 3 acres overlooking the Trinity River off of White Settlement Road. Bostelmann bought the property just before value for land in the area skyrocketed. “I was driving back from Dallas, and I called my friend that owned this [land],” Bostelmann said. “It sat here for probably eight years and nobody had moved on it.” Things changed quickly.
“Here we are out in the middle of essentially nowhere, we put up this three-story building, and all of a sudden, every real estate person up and down here is starting to see a little bit of energy happening. Almost five years later, we’re in the middle of seven or 800 apartments and three gated communities.” He calls his new spot “North Bank.” You probably know it as The River District.
Few businesses or homeowners have views as pristine as the one Bostelmann enjoys from his residence above the shop that doubles as a rentable event space. This very spot would become a big part of selling riverfront lots in the gated communities. Sellers used the space to host groups of 30 or 40 Realtors out on the balcony to showcase what The River District views looked like. Riverfront lots started in the $600,000s and $700,000s. “I looked at them and thought they were never going to sell those lots at that price,” Bostelmann said. “They were the first to go.”
It’s a testament to the space Bostelmann has created. But he didn’t have to start totally from scratch. He scrapped his “West Bank” building before it was torn down and took all of the aluminum doors and windows, Mexican doors, railings and banisters. The key that opens the front door is still the same key that worked at that former location for 13 years. “It’s outrageous what we took out of that building,” he says.
The first floor of Flowers on the Square is filled with floral arrangements, faux table setups, vases, and all the other items you’d expect to find at a floral shop. But a quick jaunt up the stairs or elevator and you’re suddenly transported to a home that looks like it was plucked out of San Miguel de Allende. Much of the décor was, including two 19th-century bookkeeper’s tables that flank both sides of a long banquette bench built by local furniture maker Bianco Brothers. The color of the long leather bench is a nod to Hermes orange. “I loved it so much that I did the same thing in the kitchen,” says Bostelmann.
Above the banquette, where many gather for small luncheons, is a work of art by architect Harvey Phillips that Bostelmann purchased from a Dallas art gallery in the early ’80s. He scored the perfectly rustic dining table at a Bowie, Texas, antique store that was going out of business. A cozy, eclectic and colorful foyer across from the living room welcomes guests for a seat during cocktail hour. Bostelmann, of course, handles the floral, while a funky and well-equipped kitchen serves as a space for caterers to cook and prep.
News about the space, which runs a rental fee of $800, has spread almost exclusively by word of mouth. “It’s always amazing to me how many literally thousands of people have been to events here. Some come to several parties a year.” One of those parties is an annual event for the National Cowgirl Museum each spring.
Bostelmann says the three- to four-hour cocktail party is their bread and butter. It’s how guests can best enjoy the star of the show — the balcony. The Mexican tile, another built-in banquette and a fireplace adorned with antler busts welcome guests through all four seasons and overlook that perfectly dramatic view northwest down the Trinity River.
By: Malcolm Mayhew