An inside look at The Marlene: A Baton Rouge native is bringing a stylish new inn to Houston

Lily Barfield of Lily’s Vintage Finds always knew that she wanted to open some sort of hospitality concept, combining her love of antiques and vintage finds with a beautiful and historic building. “I imagined somewhere that people can come and experience the magic of a space full of these collected finds and a little bit of Southern hospitality,” Barfield says.

And after purchasing a home in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, Texas, built in the early 1900s, her dream is now becoming reality. Barfield hopes to open The Marlene in the spring of 2025, and she promises Lily’s Vintage Finds isn’t going anywhere. In fact, shoppers will be able to purchase a selection of finds at the The Marlene.

In an interview with our sister publication inRegister, Barfield shares the scoop on the future inn.

The property

“We had actually been looking at properties for a couple of years when we found this historic Montrose home. Until then, it always seemed like a pipe dream because every property we had seen before wasn’t quite right–either the location was off, the building was in disrepair or it wasn’t easily convertible into a hospitality concept. So, when I stumbled across this property, I was very tentatively hopeful. But the second we walked through the door, we immediately knew it was perfect. You really can’t help but fall in love with the space when you walk in. It has these beautiful sun-drenched living areas, so many original fixtures, and, obviously, the architecture of the building itself is stunning. So many aspects of this property remind me of Louisiana, so it feels like a little slice of home in the middle of Houston. There are big oak trees in the yard, an expansive front porch and rooms that are perfect for parties and gatherings.”

The history

“The house is situated in the Avalon Historic District. It was built in 1909 or 1910—they don’t know which one exactly. It has incredible towering neoclassical columns and spacious porches on the first and second floors. The house actually sits on a triple lot, so it has beautiful grounds where guests can enjoy the gardens. You truly feel like you’ve stepped back in time despite the fact that you’re incredibly well located in the middle of the city.”

The name

“Marlene is my late grandmother’s name and my middle name. We named the inn after her because when we first saw the house, one of the most defining things is undoubtedly these spacious front porches. The porches reminded me of my grandparents’ farm in Cottonport, Louisiana, where we used to sit on the front porch for full afternoons, just rocking in our chairs and doing absolutely nothing. I really hope guests feel the same way when they come–like they can just relax and unwind. Honestly, sometimes doing nothing is exactly what you need.”

The guest experience

“Guests can expect the charm of an old historic building combined with the conveniences of a luxury hotel. The interior spaces will be beautifully decorated and filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind antiques. Each little nook of the house will be thoughtfully curated so that every space has its own special draw. There will be different areas throughout the property for guests to unwind and enjoy their stay, whether they’re relaxing on the front porch, under the oak trees, or lounging in the sunroom. And while the property itself is alluring, when guests want to venture out for dinner or activities, you can’t beat the Montrose location. We’re in such close proximity to some of the city’s best restaurants, bars and other attractions.”