Two years ago, Paula Wittek and her brother Matthew Wittek made a life change. Both found themselves at a crossroads — and what better adventure than reinventing a beloved snowball stand?
Walther Gardens at White Oak opened in 1928 as a neighborhood snowball destination. When Paula and Matthew reopened the property, they wanted to retain the original charm but reinvent the concept. Up popped a retail shop, classroom space, Christmas trees, wreaths, a fairy-tale inspired picnic table with tree-hung chandelier, and more.
Ms. Paula, as neighborhood kids call her, greets everyone with a warm smile and a generous handshake. If you’ve been there before, chances are she greets you by name, too. Matthew’s keen eye for design and carpentry skills is apparent throughout the property — from the reclaimed wood wall outside a storage unit to mixed modern/vintage wooden Christmas trees for sale in the shop.
“We believe in reusing, reclaiming, reinventing, and recycling!” said Paula, showing off the no-longer used international shipping container that now houses the Gardens’ retail location. The shop is an eclectic mix of vintage and handcrafted items, many from local artists. Paula has a fondness for vintage textiles — you’ll find her purse and apron designs, ornament creations, and restored quilts. There are whimsical hand-painted rocks (just in case a kiddo is asking for a pet rock this holiday!), candles, old-school journals, and more.
Some of our favorite finds are perfect hostess gifts! Chic printed napkins and dessert plates — or a whimsical teacup bird feeder created by Ms. Paula.
Of course, you can purchase gorgeous greenery (think holiday trees, wreaths, swags) at Walthers, but they also have some lovely ‘finishing’ touches so you can get ready for holiday guests! Luxe hand soap and (cool) vintage-inspired pillows. Because, honestly, you can only have so many Target couch pillows in your life. And these are adorable.
But really, the best thing at Walther is the warm welcome and hearty laughter… and the warm cocoa you can sip while you shop.
Photos by Laura Black.