Restoring Huntsville's History
Kim's Home and Garden Center is located at the historic "Top O' the Hill Mansion", the location of a plantation style home located at 2715 Lake Road in Huntsville, TX that dates back to at least 1911. The extensive grounds complete with one of the oldest gum trees in Texas has been fully renovated and is now one of the most iconic outdoor garden, nursery, landscape and home decoration destinations in Texas. The "Mansion", as it is now known as, has become a prime destination for locals, tourists and visitors from all over Texas and other states. Come inside and explore rooms filled with unique treasures, exclusive items, collectibles and so much more!
The outdoor area is designed as an "open to the public park" with nature pathways meandering the property while Kim’s Landscape & Design patios and pergolas are situated throughout for display and public use. Trees and bushes enclose the property, making it a quiet and serene getaway from the city that surrounds it.
The History of the Mansion
When one door closes, another one opens, as small business owner Kim Bius opened the doors of the fully restored Top O’ the Hill property in the spring of 2020. The historic fixer upper not only serves as a large expansion of Kim’s Home & Garden Center, but a major tourist attraction for the city of Huntsville.
As for Kim’s previous location on I-45, the news of eminent domain and instruction for relocation four years ago came as a blunt shock for Bius.
The I-45 segment 2A expansion project consisted of a 4.4 mile stretch from 0.3 miles north of Hwy. 19 to 0.9 miles north of Hwy. 30 displacing four businesses lining the feeder road including Kim’s Home & Garden Center.
Luckily for Bius, fate already had a plan in place for Kim’s Home & Garden.
Bius’s husband – local developer Ben Bius – acquired the historic Top O’ the Hill property two years prior, and the couple had planned to renovate the property to function as an event venue and short-term rental site. However, with the sudden need to relocate her business, Bius and her husband altered their plans to accommodate not only her small business, but what would soon be a major tourist attraction for the city.
“You have to quit thinking about where we are and what you see now … This will have a major impact on Huntsville tourism. We’ll be pulling people from all over the state, if you come to this part of Texas you’re going to stop here,” Bius said, adding that 60% of her shoppers already come from outside of Walker County.
The plantation style home located off of Lake Road first appeared on the Walker County tax rolls in 1911, however Bius, the third owner of the property, suspects the home’s history to predate this record.
“When we took everything down, the beams that held the house predate that by a long way, but the tax records don’t show that there was ever a home on this property,” Bius said.
The restoration has been a lengthy process for the Bius family, requiring an intensive renovation overhaul that the previous owners were not prepared to properly see out.
“The way the house was rebuilt, it will stand another 150 years, it ain’t going anywhere,” Bius said.
After four years of renovations, Kim’s Fine Home & Gifts moved into the first floor of the mansion in mid-February of 2020, with remodeled suites on the second floor that function as offices and later, bridal suites. However, much of the property was still under construction at that time to accommodate the grand vision that Bius has for the future of the property.
The extensive grounds, complete with one of the oldest gum trees in Texas, now serves as the outdoor garden center and nursery with new vintage style stone barn — where the carriage house once stood.
A new 400 square foot orchid house was added for year-round indoor foliage and bloomers. The larger space also allows Bius to carry a larger selection of bulk materials, a wider variety of plants and lots of outdoor decor and furniture.
The outdoor area is designed as a park like setting, with nature pathways meandering the property while Kim’s Landscape & Design patios and pergolas are situated throughout for display and public use. Trees and bushes enclose the property, making it a quiet and serene getaway from the city that surrounds it.
The venue also hosts markets, and community events such as a Christmas open house and Easter egg hunts on the outdoor lawn. The beautiful property will also be a venue to keep in mind for weddings and private events.
“It’s a very costly, ambitious venture, but if I did not think that this would work, I wouldn’t invest my money … I think that this will be phenomenal,” Bius said.