Text by Elizabeth Czapski
Here at The Cottage Journal, it’s no secret that we love vintage style for the timeless beauty, storied depth, and one-of-a-kind character it can add to any space. But with Earth Day coming up, we wanted to highlight another, often overlooked, benefit of the aesthetic: sustainability. We were reminded of the value of using vintage goods thanks to a chat we had with Patty Herron, a lifelong lover of antiques who fills her La Grange, Texas, bungalow and distinctive outdoor spaces with cherished pieces passed down and passionately collected, crafted, and curated across decades. We asked her some questions about how she puts this passion into practice, particularly as she instills unique vintage charm throughout the greenhouse she dreamed of for years before bringing it to life. If you find her style as inspiring as we do, be sure to preorder your copy of our upcoming book, Dream Cottages, to see the rest of her heartfelt home!
The Cottage Journal: Tell us about your overall approach to design.
Patty Herron: I use a combination of mostly antique and vintage, along with new items, to create unique comfort. I also love using antiques and vintage [pieces] because I think it’s the ultimate way of reusing, recycling, and being green.
TCJ: Tell us about how you source your furnishings, décor, and various vintage collections.
PH: Well, it all started with getting hand-me-down furniture and décor from my parents, grandparents, and great-aunties for my college dorm room and then my first apartment. We’re talking things that were stored in one of the barns on my daddy’s farm, and most all of it was vintage or antique. I’ve just built on that through the years by visiting favorite antiques stores—like Round Top Vintage Market and Gatherings in Georgetown, Texas—as well as estate sales and antiques shows like at Warrenton and Round Top, which are just down the road. I’ve also gotten a lot of smaller items from Etsy, eBay, Mercari, and also Instagram friends who sell vintage.
TCJ: Tell us about your greenhouse—from the initial building process to styling the space.
PH: The greenhouse was built and finished [in 2021]. I’ve always gardened—mostly container gardening—and have dreamed of a greenhouse made from vintage windows for years now. In early summer [of 2021], I found an amazing source for almost all the windows that make up the greenhouse. I sketched out how I wanted the windows to be placed, and my husband and I laid them out on the garage floor. I loved the way they looked but had no idea how they were going to be put together sturdily and safely.
That’s where my dear friend Judy Kurtz and her Bluebonnet Renovators crew stepped in. Judy and her crew had already done several projects for us—back steps, bathroom renos, flooring, and putting on our new metal roof. Her team was able to puzzle piece the windows and architectural salvage together from my sketches and make my dreams come true.
We decided to build the greenhouse using the back wall of the garage as the tall right-side wall. It saved on materials and gave the structure more stability. Just about all the [decorative inclusions] were items I had already used in the house and changed out or bought months and months in advance in the hope of getting my greenhouse. The beautiful stained-glass windows and the chandelier are from my friend Stephanie’s store Gatherings. The store is beyond amazing and filled to the brim with items shipped from Europe and items found local to her. The greenhouse now has painted floors, a couple of deconstructed chairs, an antique trunk, and a rug.
TCJ: How do you use the greenhouse?
PH: The greenhouse is much more filled now—with furniture, plants, and décor. It’s definitely a greenhouse/she-shed combo. It’s held many plants during the winter. My hope is to reach out to area photographers to see if they would like to use the space in some of their work.
TCJ: How do you think your vintage inclusions and outdoor spaces come together to make your home unique?
PH: I think my antique furniture, my collections, and how they are all put together are unique. My cottage container garden and my window greenhouse have definitely been unique outside-living additions. I also think the love that I truly feel for my antique pieces, collections, and home makes it unique.