If you’ve been to the new Cabinets & Designs showroom, you’ve seen the glass accents which complement our lines and provide the finishing touches to your kitchen or bath. Whether you want a glass sink, countertop, tub enclosure, etched mirror, or decorative glass wall to perfectly finish your project, our advice is to see Melanie at Dauphin Sales. For 28 years, Dauphin Sales has been the premier glass company in Houston. Founded by Melanie Dauphin Brown when she recognized a need in our community for superior frameless shower doors, the company has grown both in scope and range of products. Dauphin Sales has been an active Industry Partner of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, since 1985, and is a lifetime supporter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The company has received many honors and distinctions, including The Ellouise Abbott Distinguished Service Award 1998 – 1999. Melanie is active in the community, serving on the Cystic Fibrosis Board of Directors and as Event Chair for annual fund raising galas. Entrepreneur and philanthropist, Melanie Brown sat down to answer a few questions, so we could all get to know this amazing woman a little better.
Where did you go to school/what is your educational background?
I grew up in Houston and went to Bellaire High School. After high school I got my BBA from Texas Tech University. During college summers and immediately out of college, I worked in sales for Overhead Garage Door Co. and they branched into prefab fireplaces, windows, and glass. I founded my company when I realized there was nothing “special” to offer the River Oaks custom builder that was better than the light weight framed aluminum shower door that I was selling to my track builders. I attended a national glass convention on my own and found a source in New York and another in Connecticut for fabulous frameless shower doors and hardware. I shipped them into Houston…one at a time.
Did you always know you wanted to work with glass? What interested you about it?
After selling the garage doors and the prefab fireplaces, mirrors and glass were a wonderful interior design aspect of each job; and it was great being part of that process.
What are the hottest trends in glass for 2011?
Definitely color coated glass, glass countertops, and energy efficient insulated glass for windows. One of the hottest shower door trends is going back to the 1920 vintage solid brass framed doors and using all starfire (low iron) crystal clear glass so that the “green” does not alter the color of the tile.
How have you grown your business?
I have spent thirty years networking with others in my industry by volunteering at events. I see great value in merging my business networking with charity work. I have tried to surround myself with successful entrepreneurs in the Houston construction and design industry. You must be involved in the community to grow your business.
What is the most uncommon use of glass you have had a request for?
We are currently designing a tempered laminated glass walkway for the second floor of a residence. Overhead lay lights can be very impressive when we select laminated textured glass. We did a huge installation in a hotel lobby in Padre Island with custom etched safety glass.
Why would someone use a glass countertop over any other countertop material?
It gives your counter a unique and beautiful look.
What are some of the new uses of glass that we have not seen before?
Digital imaging…any photo with good resolution can be installed in laminated glass as an art element for the room.
In what sort of ways is your company trying to be “green?”
We use mirror mastic that, while providing excellent adhesion, is solvent-free, non-flammable, and offers ultra low VOC emissions for the environment.
What was your favorite project to work on and why?
On two of my favorite large projects, I had to sign a waiver that I would not talk about the details. I enjoy ANY project where the architect, designer, and homeowner are enthusiastic about creating – a custom mirror, a wall of glass with a creative twist, etching with waterjet cut elements, custom shower door -anything custom and creative!
If you could work on a celebrity’s home (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
I enjoy working with the basketball and football pros because all their showers are immense and some have unlimited budgets!
We invite you to learn more about Melanie and Dauphin Sales by visiting the Design Center showroom or www.dauphinsales.com.