Curiosities in Trinity Groves

Dallas gains a new kind of curiosity shop in Herbert Singleton at Trinity Groves

Dallas gains a new kind of curiosity shop in Trinity Groves

Herbert Singleton
Skulls — both human and otherwise — abound in this cabinet of curiosities. You’ll even find a freeze-dried bat on display with a companion skeleton.   Photo by Rob Cahill
Herbert Singleton
Brass platters, kilim pillows and a snake charmer’s flute make up a textural display at Herbert Singleton. Photo by Rob Cahill
Herbert Singleton
Although the shop houses more knickknacks than furniture, finds like this reproduction English vanity are in the mix. Photo by Rob Cahill
Herbert Singleton
Antique cowhide chairs are displayed with new graphic pillows. “Every one of these images is in my brain,” says co-owner David Nelson. Photo by Rob Cahill
Herbert Singleton
Essential oil bath products by Los Poblanos, soy candles by WickAttude, and the Vance Family and fancy coconut oil candles from Kelly Lamb share the space with antiques and oddities. Photo by Rob Cahill
James Bullough
The front of Herbert Singleton got a bird on it with a fortuitous visit from Berlin-based artist James Bullough, who happened to be in Trinity Groves just before the shop opened. Photo by Rob Cahill
Herbert Singleton
Herbert Singleton
Herbert Singleton
Herbert Singleton
Herbert Singleton
James Bullough

As a photographic stylist, interior designer and artist, David Nelson knows a find when he sees one. The self-proclaimed “collector” has been gathering his diverse discoveries — from elaborate antiques to human skulls — since the mid-’80s, moving them from house to apartment to a small storage building at 354 Singleton Ave.

“When I lived in New York, I started collecting. It’s a great place for thrift stores and estate sales,” he explains. ”When I moved back to Dallas in ’92, I kept collecting. I’m building a house in Mexico and thought I would take it all there, but my property manager [in Trinity Groves] kept saying, ‘Why don’t you do a retail space?’”

 Named after co-owner David Nelson’s father and the shop’s location, Herbert Singleton is less a store and more of an alter ego, a man who clearly can’t resist beautiful things.

Encouraged to go for it by his friend, Kim Dawson model and actress Deanna Cahill, Nelson decided to partner up with her and her husband, Rob, to create Herbert Singleton. Named after Nelson’s father and the shop’s location, Herbert Singleton is less a store and more of an alter ego, a man who clearly can’t resist beautiful things.

Says Deanna, “We had our first meeting about it in June, but it took a little longer to open because David has so much stuff. I love helping him curate and make little vignettes. When we’re doing it, we get a little bit crazy, but our personalities fit together well.” 

Packed to the rafters with trinkets and treasures, Herbert Singleton opened its doors just before Thanksgiving. Housed in a 600-square-foot former 1930s garage, Nelson says the space “could have serviced Bonnie and Clyde’s V8 Ford. They’re buried six blocks from here.” The front got a bird on it with a fortuitous visit from Berlin-based artist James Bullough, who happened to be in Trinity Groves just before the shop opened

Displays highlight new pillows and candles mixed amid the antique cowhide chairs, kilim pillows, freeze-dried vampire bats and Nelson’s own paintings. You may not know you want it until you see it, but it’s hard to imagine even the most difficult person to shop for couldn’t find something of Herbert’s to love. The shop will eventually launch an ecommerce site to sell more from the fictional Mr. Singleton’s cabinet of curiosities.

“I like the idea of a well-curated collection,” says Nelson. “If Herbert Singleton could sell happiness and peace, he’d sell that. Instead, he sells things that make him happy and peaceful. If you buy anything or not, you’ll certainly be entertained.”

Herbert Singleton is open Friday, 3-7 pm; Saturday, 10 am-6 pm; and Sunday, noon to 6 pm, as well as by appointment at 214-946-6113. Christmas Eve hours are 10 am to 1 pm.