An Open Door

The Gray Door

Laurann Claridge
May 23, 2013

Lauded antiques store The Gray Door gained local fame — as well as its name — when it opened in a charming gray-doored space adjoining Carol Piper Rugs on West Gray in 1996. Now proprietor Donna Temple Brown has relocated the shop to Ferndale Street. The Gray Door occupies the 2,000-square-foot ground-floor space, and Brown, like many European antiquarians, lives conveniently upstairs. She’s even brought the gray convent doors from her former West Alabama space to usher home her clientele. Brown, a veteran antiques dealer, selects pieces spanning from the 16th to the mid-20th century from Italy, France, Belgium, Spain and Sweden. She shores up every chair, chest, armoire and sofa before putting each piece on the floor, often reupholstering in an oatmeal-hued linen that melds well with any decor. Natural light floods the space, offsetting the Farrow & Ball Old White walls. Here you’ll find tapestry pillows, a baker’s rack from Paris ($12,000), an Italian two-piece cabinet painted gray-blue with its original glass front ($15,000) and a 19th-century Louis XV-style chaise longue covered in scarlet-hued velvet, and so much more. 2912 Ferndale, 713.521.9085;