Vieux Interiors




Hidden away near the Heights in Houston is one of the more delightful and beautiful antique stores around:  Vieux Interiors.   Open for just a few years, Vieux is the brainchild of Benton Lackey and Marty Bratton.  Lackey has long been a fixture on the Houston antiques scene, though he usually prefers to be behind the scenes.  Called by some "a creative genius," Lackey has an uncanny sense of color and texture, which he combines with his love for antiques and design.  After a long stint on his own and more recently at AREA, Lackey teamed up with Bratton to open Vieux Interiors.  Bratton brings along his keen business mind to their endeavor.  Their secret weapon, besides the inventory, is DeWayne Formby.  DeWayne, of course, is the former salesman extraordinaire from Carl Moore Antiques.  Carl and Bert Melnick hired DeWayne, freshly armed with a degree in Interior Design, straight out of college.  Ever loyal, DeWayne stayed with Moore and Melnick for 17 years until they sold their shop.  After spending time as an independent designer, DeWayne was lured back into sales by Lackey who hired him to run his new venture - and who can blame him?  If there is a more personable, friendly, and sweet, yes - sweet! antiques man in the business, I haven't met him.   DeWayne always has a kind word to say,  a friendly laugh, or  a poignant story to share.   With DeWayne at the front door, Vieux Interiors, is assured to remain accessible, a place to go to learn something new about antiques, or just to gaze at the eye candy - without being hassled or pushed.  The consummate gentleman, DeWayne is thrilled to be back in the antiques business, ready to help all his clients, old and new alike.  

Vieux Interiors is a little hard to find, so get instructions before you head out.   Close to the Heights and the Memorial Park area -  stop in and be sure to tell DeWayne HI for me, if you go!!!


The delightful and ever helpful, DeWayne Formby. 



Ah yes, what a Vieux!  Let's see, I'll take that French sofa with the serpentine back, the urn right next to it, the French wing chair behind it.........and on and on!!!  Now, this is what an antique store should look like!



Nice pair of French arm chairs.   I spy a great wine tasting table on the far right.   And the oriental folding screen in the back looks pretty amazing.



Two major trend alerts:  Concrete garden statuary for inside the home and water gilded candlesticks from an ancient Catholic church somewhere in France, I'm sure.



French cane side chairs and a Murano glass chandelier.



Great urn lamps with paper shades.   I wish you could see the entire painted chest they sit on, it looks really interesting, doesn't it?



I adore these chairs!  And the shutters hanging on the wall, and the crystal chandelier, and the tall wing back chair.  And.....



Antique doors, gold ballroom chairs, and a great pair of candelabra lamps.



Mixed in with all the antiques is a great selection of modern art, as seen here.



But I prefer the antiques, like this massive French armoire, don't you?



Major trend alert II:  Coral!  More modern art -  I really like this piece of art, it's colors are subtle and would look  good in a Belgian interior.



My favorite!  An antique iron French daybed.  I love this!!!  Dewayne, what's my price on this?



The inventory never ends.  Every picture is just amazing, isn't it?  Here, an antique armchair awaits upholstery or, in my case, a great slipcover!  



Another French daybed with silk pillows.  The cabinet looks interesting - I love how it's filled with prints instead of knick-knacks.



New accessories:  glass canisters and blue opaline bowls atop an industrial type table.



OK, I'm in love!!!!   With everything in this picture!



Wait, more?  Beautiful painted French chaise and stool.



And finally, more from their new collection of blue opaline glass, along with a religious statue. 


If you go, Vieux Interiors is open Monday through Saturday - though closing time on Saturday is at 3:00 pm.   Call DeWayne at 713-868-5844.  Map to Vieux Interiors is below:



Conservatories, Orangeries, and Poolhouses





This beautiful image of a poolhouse was recently featured on a couple of different blogs.  Isn't it just gorgeous?  The building is technically a conservatory, which is  a structure made of glass and wood or metal.  Conservatories were first popular with the English at the start of the 19th century.  Although originally used for greenhouses, as their popularity grew, so did their functions.  Social settings for teas heralded the change from the purely horticulture to the residential.  Today, conservatories serve as extra sunrooms for the upperclass, as the price for one of these structures can cost upwards of $50,000.   Still more popular overseas, America is slowly warming up to these wonderfully versatile glass structures.

Another structure that is very similar to the conservatory is the orangery.  First used to grow citrus fruits, the orangery is now virtually identical to the conservatory except for one feature:  whereas the conservatory is made out of  metal or wood and glass, the orangery is made out of brick and glass.   In America, most companies don't distinguish between an orangery and a conservatory, rather they use the two terms interchangeably.

These glass structures can be contemporary in design, but most are either Victorian or Edwardian.  There are some that are Georgian, but since that style predates the beginnings of the conservatory, the Georgian styled structures are purely interpretive.  Because the structure is mainly glass, where it is placed on the property is important depending upon the climate.  For instance, a home located where there is a hot southern sun would place the conservatory facing north.  Whereas in a cool, northern locale, it would be positioned facing either west or south.   This proper placement is essential for comfort while inside the structure.  Today, mostly, the conservatories are used as either casual dining rooms or family rooms.   And, since there is a certain romance attached to these structures, they make perfect rooms to use at night with candlelight.  



A typical conservatory in the English countryside.  Attached to the main house, this conservatory is used for casual dining.


A beautiful Victorian styled conservatory.


This conservatory has a distinctive lantern, or skylight.


The inside of the above conservatory:  a combination living and dining room.


Conservatories are beautiful when lit at night by candlelight.


The interior of the candle lit conservatory above.


This structure is technically an orangery, built with brick and glass.


The orangery's interior.  There's no citrus fruit growing in here!   I love the black slate floor and the two lanterns hanging from the skylight.


A romantic, country conservatory.


This beautiful conservatory adjoins a large terrace made of the same stone as the house.


The above conservatory's interior.  Dressier than most, it is still bright and cheery.


This conservatory is used for a casual eating area.  The charming hanging shelf with it's white plates almost upstages the glass structure.


This conservatory with it's brick floors is interior designer's Bunny Williams dining room in the country.  Made famous in her book "An Affair with a House" the arched french doors were bought by Ms. Williams  and wee used as the foundation of this garden room.


A second story Georgian styled addition to a city town house.


A fabulous roof with an even more fabulous interior.  I love the decor here!


A fireplace keeps this garden styled conservatory warm in the winter months. 


A beautiful orangery that blends in with the main house.


This conservatory opens to the patio which increases the living space.


The casual interior of the conservatory above.


This glorious garden structure appears to be floating in the water.



A conservatory found in the country - beautiful facade.


This townhouse shows a typical placement for an inner city structure:  attached to the back.


The elegant interior of the city townhouse above.


This structure, though attached to the main house, almost appears freestanding.


In order to combat harsh sunrays, many conservatories come equipped with ceiling shades, such as these.


A charming, countryside orangery.


Beautiful tin roof on this conservatory gives it it's folly-like appearance.


If space or budget is a concern, you can always add just a lantern to a room's ceiling.  A fancy skylight, the lanterns are wonderful for dark, interior rooms.  


These clients provided the antique doors for their orangery.



This diminutive orangery acts a bridge between the main house and an addition.


The garden room interior of a structure.


A fancy pool house with a conservatory facade.


An Anglo-Indian inspired interior, ready for the hot sun with it's drawn ceiling shades.


Many  conservatories are furnished with large, elaborate lighting fixtures, such as this one.


A large crystal chandalier for this conservatory.


The stone on this orangery matches the main house, making it seem less of an addition.


Again, matching stone lends an air of permanence to this structure.  At dusk, this looks particularly inviting.


Casual, garden room interior.  The stone fireplace becomes the focal point.


Dining room in the country.



Absolutely beautiful!!!

Sound of Music, the story of the Trapp family - holiday in Salzburg, Austria, bed and breakfast, guesthouse, hotel Sallerhof

Perhaps the most well known conservatory played an integral part in one of the most famous movies ever:  The Sound of Music.  Remember the scene where the oldest daughter is dancing with her boyfriend?  And later, Maria and the Captain share a dance too.  The small, round conservatory is still standing and is a huge visitor's stop in Austria.


The actual Sound of Music conservatory.  On a college tour of Europe, I actually saw this too!