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Real Estate / Houses

A Major Design Coup

A Lost Lease Helps a Charming Houstonian Reel in a Big Fish

BY // 09.21.16

George Cameron Nash is never one to be a shrinking violet. So when he heard that venerated design innovator Donghia had lost its lease in Houston, he got Donghia CEO Andrea Rubelli — whom he’d never met — on the phone. “I asked if they would consider coming into my showroom,” says Nash, who was issued an invitation to Donghia’s Connecticut offices to discuss.

“Rubelli said to me, ‘We were not planning for you to be a part of this equation, but now we are tempted.’ That’s all I needed to hear.”

George Cameron Nash. Mark Williams (PHOTO COURTESY KRISTINA BOWMAN)
George Cameron Nash. Mark Williams (Photo courtesy Kristina Bowman)

Founded 40 years ago by Angelo Donghia, who died in 1985, the company was run by his cousin Sherri Donghia until it was sold in 2005 to the Rubelli Group. To hammer out the agreement, a summer of detailed negotiations ensued — often with Nash pacing the beach at his vacation home in Provincetown, Massachusetts — before  a deal was struck.

Donghia will close its showroom doors at Decorative Center Houston at the end of August, and reopen in September inside 2,000 dedicated square feet of Nash’s capacious showroom in the same design center. The move includes Donghia’s full collection of furniture, accessories, and fabrics, along with four core fabric houses formerly represented by Donghia in Houston — Rubelli, Hinson, Sahco and Élitis. “It’s a rather important group to be associated with,” says Nash, who turned 60 a week after inking the deal.

“Donghia itself is such an iconic name and brand, with sexy lines and a real reputation for terrific contemporary tastes. It’s transcended the decades and still feels right.”

George Cameron Nash, Decorative Center Houston, 5120 Woodway Dr., Suite 140, 713.892.5710

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