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Real Estate / Houses

The Evolution of M. Naeve — The Woman Entrepreneur Behind One of Houston’s Most Loved Antiques and Design Shops

BY // 05.05.16
photography Max Burkhalter
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Margaret Naeve was 25 years old when she opened M. Naeve, the much touted home furnishings emporium on Westheimer, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. “I had intentions of moving to New York and going to Parsons,” she says.

Instead, she bought the French antiques store where she’d been working. Over the next decade, Naeve brought Swedish, Italian and Spanish antiques into the mix from her European buying trips.

The 2014 move from Bissonnet to a larger space on Westheimer allowed her to explore even more options. “Over time, your style changes,” she says. “I love antiques, but on the flip side, I’ve had an interior design business where I’ve been mixing antique furniture with contemporary and vintage art and lighting for clients.”

The store has evolved into Naeve’s personal design aesthetic, with contemporary lines by small makers in Europe and the U.S. rubbing elbows with fine antiques. Few have as interesting an eye for mixing periods and styles as Naeve, and she spends a lot of time on the hunt for things no one else in the country carries. “I love finding established lines who are willing to take a risk on a tiny store in Texas,” she says.

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Jean Royère-inspired sofa, 19th-century French bleached table, newly made vases from the Paris flea market and Egg Collective Haynes mirror. Artwork, from right: Cheryl Donegan’s “Untitled (black leather cross cuts),” 2013, and “Untitled (beige and rose),” 2013, through David Shelton Gallery.

New inventory includes exquisitely crafted sculptural accessories and furniture by New York-based Egg Collective, a group of female architects and furniture designers; blown glass from under-the-radar Belgian design house Sempre; and a sumptuous curved sofa discovered in a Paris shop that had been meticulously copied from a circa-1946 Polar Bear sofa designed by legendary French designer Jean Royère, and is covered in soft pink Pierre Frey silk velvet. It all meshes brilliantly with Swedish Gustavian Klismos chairs, 19th-century painted French club chairs covered in mohair and a 1940s French faux bois table.

“I’m obsessed with shape and material and scale,” Naeve says. “But overall quality is the number-one thing I look for.” She cites Antwerp architect and designer Axel Vervoordt. “What I do isn’t exactly like him, but he uses really pure organic things to create a sophisticated environment. He’s a master of combining materials,” says Naeve, whose store is peppered with organic elements such as Sycamore tree-stump tables, shell-encrusted terra-cotta vases from Belgium and an 18th-century Italian moss-covered stone pedestal.

M. Naeve’s website is under construction, but you can check out their goods on 1stdibs.com or pop by. M. Naeve, 1911 Westheimer Road, 713.524.0990

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