Distinctive home and garden pieces that blend functionality, style and eco-friendly features are in demand nationwide but can be hard to source. That South Texas is home to a growing eco-luxury business is perhaps one of the region’s most pleasant surprises.
Five years ago, John and Duang Hanesworth converted a former body shop near downtown San Antonio into Big Grass, an indoor and outdoor oasis showcasing sustainable, handcrafted furniture and décor from around the world. Word about Big Grass has steadily spread, turning the Hanesworths’ business into one of the region’s most popular destinations for distinctive and sustainable home and garden products.
“We established Big Grass to promote sustainable lifestyles and cultural diversity through handmade furniture, accessories and many other original items that we discover on our travels and bring home to San Antonio,” John Hanesworth said. “We select pieces that are made to last, that give indoor and outdoor spaces a truly original feel, and we have been building a loyal customer base in San Antonio, Austin and increasingly, the Hill Country.”
Much of the Big Grass product collection is inspired by bamboo, a plant that regenerates quickly, has a higher tensile strength than some steel alloys and is naturally appealing to the touch and to the eye. In Duang Hanesworth’s native Thailand, bamboo is an integral part of everyday life, from food to construction, and is the source for the durable, elegant furniture that Big Grass showcases. The Hanesworths work directly with Thai artisans who employ techniques that have been handed down for generations to create furniture lines that cannot be found elsewhere in the United States.
The Big Grass furniture collection includes bedroom sets, dining and living room sets, bars and seating arrangements for outdoor rooms. In recent months, Big Grass has spotlighted two indoor furniture lines, the traditional Sabai collection and the Loi line, which stands out with its sleek, Scandinavian look. Because of the Hanesworths’ direct relationship with the Loi and Sabai producers, Big Grass is the only U.S. source for these products and is considering making both furniture lines available to other retailers.
Big Grass features an array of other eco-friendly, handcrafted pieces that distinguish this independent retailer from both big-name furniture stores and more traditional interior design businesses. Reclaimed teakwood cartwheels, Burmese stone rice mills and Laotian rice storage baskets are among the original cultural artifacts on display. Big Grass also offers versatile décor items ranging from table and floor lamps to hand-woven textiles and silk-lined storage baskets.
“Our products defy easy categorization and therefore complement a variety of interior design styles,” Hanesworth said. “We are also happy to source products for clients through our contacts worldwide and do everything we can to realize their interior design and landscaping vision.”
Big Grass features a Zen-like, 5,000-square-foot outdoor garden lined with crushed granite paths, ponds and fountains. Here Big Grass displays statuary, lanterns, bamboo garden panels, wood grain cement and laterite pavers, along with a wide assortment of durable, high-fired ceramic and cement pots, with forms ranging from the traditional to the contemporary. At a recent trade show, Big Grass paving materials captured the interest of landscaping professionals from around the country.
One of the most eye-catching standouts among Big Grass’ outdoor offerings is the Ong jar, a traditional Thai rainwater collection urn that is an attractive alternative to typical metal and plastic options. Handmade from cement and custom stained, the Ong jar blends seamlessly into South Texas landscapes, while collecting and storing hundreds of gallons of water for irrigation. Big Grass is the only U.S. business that carries the Ong jar.