PaperCity Magazine

June 2016 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 51

BY ANNE LEE PHILLIPS. PHOTOGRAPHED AND PRODUCED BY JENNY ANTILL CLIFTON. HAIR AND MAKEUP BY TONYA RINER. For nearly a decade, friends and followers have looked to Courtney Barton for a fresh perspective on style. An early adopter of blogging, she founded her first website, Inside the Loop, in 2007 and led her readers on a decorating romp through a Heights bungalow. But it was in 2011, when she created Mela & Roam, that she generated thousands of followers who have turned into loyal customers, and she relocated her home and business to a spacious 1946-era family home in Houston's East Side. COURTNEY BARTON THE EAST SIDE HOME OF MELA & ROAM'S As she shared tidbits about her decorating odyssey and her home fabric and furnishings created in India, readers flocked, including some who have since become friends, such as Erin Gates of Elements of Style (the blogger turned interior designer with a New York Times best-selling book) and Erika Powell of Urban Grace Interiors (the interior designer with a blog who turned into an Internet design star). Barton majored in apparel design and textile science at LSU, then worked in New York in wholesale for Jill Stuart, then for designer Ralph Rucci. Her husband JJ's oil-and-gas job sent them to Malaysia in 2009; while living abroad, she fell in love with textiles. "I became obsessed with the people and their passion for their community's craft," says Barton, who found herself on an endless quest for fabrics. Asking locals for recommendations led her to a stockpile of antique textiles in a neighbor's friend's cousin's basement. This fueled the fire. In 2011, the couple moved back to Houston, where Barton leased a space at The Urban Market Design + Antique Show on a whim and officially started her business, Mela & Roam. Mela, a Hindi word for village fairs, is where communities gather to sell their wares; it also reminded Louisiana-reared Barton of the Cajun expression for "look at me." The word Roam represents her lack of a bricks-and-mortar shop as she travels to markets to sell her goods. For the first Urban Market, she reached out to her contacts in India and had them rush products to her. She fashioned a quaint fabric rickshaw in lieu of a booth, and shoppers bought all of her textiles, including the ethnic-printed dohars she adored. Dohars, which range from baby to king size, are the ideal blanket for hot and humid Texas summers, as they're hand-loomed from ultra-lightweight 100 percent cotton. And she has never received more than two dohars in the same print. After the rapid growth of her business and the birth of her second son, the family outgrew their Heights bungalow — and Barton longed for something different. Their search took them to Idylwood, a historic neighborhood east of downtown developed in the '30s. Surrounded by Brays Bayou, Gus Wortham Golf Course and the stunning Catholic convent Villa de Matel, the neighborhood is serene, with winding streets and some of the few rolling hills in Houston. Here they discovered the Holy Grail for a young family: a 2,630-square-foot home in a cute, close-in neighborhood with a big yard. The Georgian- style two-story house, built on a coveted double lot in 1946, needed some love, but the reasonable price enabled them to turn it into their dream home. Barton's first order of business was to paint over the unflattering combo of red brick and blue-gray Courtney Barton, dressed in Mirth Caftans, with husband JJ and sons Ory and Theo in front of their 1946 Idylwood home.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - June 2016 - Houston