Roots & Relics Transforms Houses Into Homes

COVER STORY | By M.G. Angulo
Photos by Kelley Sweet Photography –

Roots & Relics vendors: Tom Bridgeman, Vicki Seely, Carrie Miller, Michelle Bridgeman, Brent Matl, Lisa Polk, Carolyn Gilligan and Jonathan Wang.

Roots & Relics vendors: Tom Bridgeman, Vicki Seely, Carrie Miller, Michelle Bridgeman, Brent Matl, Lisa Polk, Carolyn Gilligan and Jonathan Wang.

Not all dwellings are considered homes. No matter the size, location, style or function, a house requires personal touches, unique perspectives, themes, ambiance, flavor or warmth to transform into a home, explained interior designer Michelle Bridgeman. Sometimes the occupant knows precisely what is needed to sweeten their living spaces, but other times a person may need a bit of direction to bring a vision to reality.

Or perhaps, Bridgeman said, it is inspiration a person needs. And should that be the case, Roots & Relics Antiques and Garden in Rosenberg is well-suited for the challenge.

In a time when people are shying away from, or completely avoiding, the unoriginal cookie-cutter decor and lick-and-stick embellishments for their homes, boutiques like Roots & Relics have become a hot spot for those people looking to be original.  Or Eclectic. Chic. Vintage. Traditional. Or more pressingly, authentically themselves.

Up-Cycling: Tom and Michelle Bridgeman are committed to bringing new life to old pieces. They take great pride in their work and focus on giving customers great quality and beautiful pieces.

The decor options are bountiful in this boutique that features 5,000 square feet of “a beautifully curated shopping experience,” explained one of the boutique’s principals Jonathan Wang.

Situated in the heart of Historic Downtown Rosenberg, Roots & Relics offers traditional high-end, unique re-finished furniture, one-of-a-kind gifts and a peaceful garden area. “We carry pieces you can’t find anywhere else,” said Bridgeman, a fellow Roots & Relics principal.

Customers will recognize brands such as Fredericksburg Farms, Thymes, Fat Cat Hot Sauce, Duke Cannon, and even SweetNes Honey, which is locally-sourced honey from Damon, Texas.

Locally, Roots & Relics is known as “a treasure trove full of ideas,” and for good reason, Bridgeman said.  “We carry one-of-a-kind pieces here, and our vendors put their love into those items.”  She pauses for a beat before adding: “It’s like taking a piece of their home and incorporating it into your home. That’s the love, that’s the meaning a home needs.”

And if the outdoor living space holds a higher priority than the interior of the home, “We have anything and everything to transform your backyard into a lush paradise,” Wang said, adding that what is seen and available in the garden changes seasonally.

Like when the holidays rolled in, the giant ornaments rolled out. “Some were the size of a grown man,” Wang said with a laugh. “Trust me, you can find something for any area of your home here.”

The Right Location

Envisioned in 2019, Geckos & Garden prides itself as “Outdoor Reimagined.” Founder Brent Matl, a native Texan and Horticulture enthusiast, combined the creativity of Historic Downtown Rosenberg and passion for serial decorating – proudly presented at Roots & Relics!

After opening in February 2017, Roots & Relics, a member of the Rosenberg Arts Alliance, gained traction for its treasure trove of inspiration and involvement in the community. In November and December, the boutique participated in Downtown Rosenberg’s Sip, Sample and Shop, Cookie Walk and Holiday Nights events – all of which epitomized the business-community relationship.

Bridgeman remembers the mantra of “location, location, location …” echoing in her head when she and her husband, Tom, were looking to start a business together. The two, known as the “Dynamic Duo” to those familiar, were teeming with creative tendencies and searching for ways to express them.

Michelle, with her background in interior design, and Tom’s knack for restoring furniture, it seemed fitting that their business trek down a more artistic route. That is how Roots & Relics came to be, and in an ideal spot, no less, Bridgeman pointed out: “The community here is wonderful.”

Roots & Relics opened with the help of a partner, and Michelle’s longtime mentor Donna Soyars, who retired in 2019. Following her departure, Jonathan Wang and Brent Matl came aboard, and now the four are set to celebrate the boutique’s fifth-anniversary party on February 26th, complete with live music, door prizes and additional festivities.

“We’re having a big anniversary and it’s going to be great,” said Wang.

Led by Guiding Principals

While their roles seem to correlate to “owner,” “employer,” or “partner,” Roots & Relics’ is led by four creative minds – Michelle Bridgeman, Tom Bridgeman, Jonathan Wang and Brent Matl – who prefer the title of principal.

Decorative Treasures & More: Debbie and Rod Sala give new life to old treasures to offer unique and fresh decorative options for your home.

When it comes to their business philosophy, what matters most for the Roots & Relics equation is the human connection of the work. “We have a guiding principle here,” Wang said, explaining that the shop features 18 additional vendors who helped create the mission statement for the business.

It reads: “By harnessing the energy of community and friendship, we strive to ignite the treasure of human connection through creativity, authenticity and quality.”

Bridgeman highlighted the background, careers, expertise and experiences of the vendors to explain the diverse atmosphere of Roots & Relics. “That’s why we consider ourselves more as principals,” Wang explained. Although there is always a degree of hierarchy in a business, “certain responsibilities require particular positions or roles,” he said. What is being directed at Roots & Relics, he stressed, is not the vendors.

“Our vendors are like family to us,” Bridgeman said. “They’ve been here for a long time, and we’re friends, and that’s how we work in the shop. We collaborate.”

Texas Proper: Lisa Polk is always ready to greet you with a smile!

What is focused on, however, is the ideal of quality, respect and community always being delivered to those who cross the threshold of 828 3rd Street in Rosenberg. “Just like our vendors, our customers come from all areas of Fort Bend County and beyond, and range in backgrounds and life experiences,” Bridgeman said.

However, Wang added, everyone in the Roots & Relics realm shares a common feature: “We all have a passion for creativity.”

And that, he said, sets the ground for “some fun and unique shopping.”

Making a Home

These days, it seems home improvement is a movement in its own right, and over time has adopted new meaning. Roots & Relics is keen on this trend – it even offers layaway and delivery – and became a local boutique that can whet the appetite of a creative mind and visionary.

Eclectic Attic: Carolyn Gilligan has a diverse selection of Farmhouse, Shabby Chic, or Traditional style. Choose from vintage and painted furniture, handmade and vintage jewelry, vintage glassware and much more.

“Making a house your home, is our saying,” Bridgeman said, before taking a moment to expound on the phrase.  A home, she concluded, should be infused with personality, namely that of the owner or occupant.

Sometimes the journey to transforming a structure into a home is leisurely and without much stress. Other times it can feel overwhelming or endless. But at Roots & Relics, that home-making journey begins the same for everyone who walks through the door: warm and welcoming.

“We greet everyone with a smile and warm greeting,” Bridgeman said. “We want everyone to feel welcomed.”

And after pleasantries are swapped at Roots & Relics, that’s when the magic starts happening, Wang said. That’s when imaginations are ignited. “Sometimes people just need a spark,” Bridgeman said.

Roots & Relics is located at 828 Third St. in Rosenberg. For more information, call 832-945-5111 or visit Instagram @rootsandrelicsrosenbergtx or Facebook @Roots&RelicsAntiquesandGarden.