Last week I paid a visit to my favorite antique shop in Houston – M. Naeve. Darling Margaret, the proprietress, had just gotten in her new shipment so I wanted to see it and share it with you. Don’t worry – this time my pictures are all in focus, unlike last time I was in M. Naeve and all my snaps were totally blurry! The most exciting news ala Miss Margaret is she is now on 1st Dibs! Yes! So, anyone in the country that wants to share in everything M. Naeve can now do so here. What I enjoy most about M. Naeve is everything here is authentic and period, which is a real rarity these days. It’s antiques for the privileged few I know, but looking is free and it’s a lot easier to look in Houston than flying over to Provence! I’m an addict needing a fix, every so often I just have to stop in and look around and dream. Margaret knows that when I win the lotto, my first stop will be at her shop. If you have ever wondered where all the chicest of Houston interior designers get their antiques – rest assured, M. Naeve is at the top of their list.
At the front door was the biggest surprise of the day – chairs from Spain that Margaret bought in Belgium – got that?! This purchase represents a departure for Margaret who is looking to broaden her appeal, but just a little. This summer, she spent a few days shopping in Belgium and she couldn’t resist this set of chairs. We spent a long time talking about Belgian design in general and where she thinks design and the antiques business are headed – in between giggles and cups of coffee, of course!
OK, enough talk about mid century modern and Belgian design, let’s get back to the subject at hand – French and Swedish antiques. Margaret has two high tea tables, both period, both to die for. First, there is this table. And the chandelier - I just so love this with the amethyst cut crystal.
And then there is this table – period, again! Margaret said she just had to buy this table – she couldn’t resist it. Imagine putting your accessories and books on a table that someone used in the 1700s. Hard to imagine what that must feel like. And notice the charming bench in front of the table.
Another period piece – the red chest. A-maz-ing is all I can say. J’adore the settee atop it too.
A rare set of period Swedish Bellman chairs. Twelve in all. Isn’t this a gorgeous vignette? The chairs, the sofa, the chandelier – love it all!
I’m crazy for this desk – and especially the book on top of it – Style by Saladino.
Yummm. No other word for it! This would be so great in front of a bed or in a living room or on one side of a dining table.
VSC: Very Special Chair – period, leather, nailheads. VSC!
Painted enfilade with two adorable stools on top. Nice mirror too!
Check out this banquette! Too cute!
Iron park chairs flank an armoire. The window is full of metal flowers.
One day I am going to own a fireplace like this – one day, I promise you! It might be when I’m in heaven, but one day, I will!
This table is actually a black stone! Wonderful set of painted Swedish rococo chairs.
I love that Gustavian day bed in the window! Great chandelier and lantern.
And speaking of lanterns, Margaret sells this line of reproduction lanterns – here are the square ones.
And here are these – do they look familiar?
Yep, it’s where I got my lantern that caused so much upheaval in Mr. Slipper Socks Man’s life with his missing ceiling fan!
The South of France – overlooking olive tree farms. I wonder if Vicki’s farm is one of these?
I asked Margaret about hotels in France that she likes to stay at and first we talked about the South of France.
Margaret said her favorite town when antiquing is the charming St. Remy de Provence. She really loves this hotel – the Hotel Chateau del Alpilles. An old farmhouse, with ties back to medieval times, the hotel was in total disrepair when the current owners bought it and restored it in 1979.
You reach the property through a long allee of traditional French plane trees.
At night, it becomes magical.
The main building, or the mas, was constructed in the 1800s to take the place of the old farmhouse.
The hotel is surrounded by many acres of parkland. Meals are taken outside in good weather.
Rest spots are found throughout the park.
Springs and fountains dot the area along the paths.
There are several outbuildings on the property where guests can stay – this is La Chapelle, where weddings used to be held.
Even the old wash house was converted into guest rooms!
The old farmhouse has been converted into several different suite arrangements with meeting rooms on the first floor.
The pool area is hidden in the park.
Some rooms are filled with antiques, some are more contemporary.
What a view – I would set up my lap top right here!
The rooms are all furnished differently.
Whenever I look up hotels on their web site, I like to get a “true” idea of what the hotel “really” looks like. The best way to do that is to search Flickr, Webshots, Picasa and other photo hosting sites. Most amazing was I found pictures taken by a very young newlywed couple on their honeymoon. They actually stayed in BOTH hotels that Margaret recommended! Here is the room they stayed in – so far, so good. It looks amazingly like the hotel’s web site – a good sign, for sure. What a mirror!
The view across the river in Avignon.
The next town where Margaret stays is Avignon and her favorite hotel there is La Mirande, which she says is one of her favorite hotels anywhere!
Located in a centuries old building that has a long and illustrious history, the hotel is very beautifully decorated with wonderful fabrics. There is a also a cooking school at the hotel.
The decor is pure French Provencal. Everything I just love!
Like, the terra cotta floors, the jugs, the stone console, the candlesticks.
In the dining room – this looks more like a still life painting!
The courtyard at night, where all the action takes place – taken by our famous honeymooning couple.
In the hotel there are historical salons that you can rent out for private affairs. This is the Garden Salon. What a beautiful room to host a wedding shower in!
Each salon is more charming the next!
How does the salon look in “real life” to a visitor? I found this picture on Picasa – looks as good as the hotel’s web site, I have to say! The wallcovering is so beautifiul!!! And notice the gorgeous French doors. There is nothing prettier than French design in my book. It is so pleasing to the eye - don’t you think? Just pleasing to the eye and that is what it all about.
I particularly love the decor of this one – the Red Salon!
A visitor’s “real” picture of the Red Salon.
The rooms all have painted paneling with fabric walls above. So beautiful - I can see why Margaret loves this hotel so much!
So charming with these fabrics! So Pierre Frey. Just beautiful. They even have seagrass – what’s not to love?
I might have to chose this room though with the toile fabric and the heavily veined Carrara marble bathtub!!!!
This suite is quite charming too – I love that shaving stand.
So where did our young honeymooning couple stay? In this suite – and it does look true to the web site actually.
Even their bathroom seems the same.
Another couple posted their room at La Mirande.
And finally – Paris! Where does Margaret recommend staying in this wonderful city?
The Plaza Athenee – is first on her list. Her absolute favorite place to stay in Paris is the hotel where the last episode of Sex and the City was filmed. She also likes The Ritz, “so classic" and Hotel San Regis.
But Margaret Naeve’s secret source in Paris is Maison 1400. Owned by American interior designer, Tom Scheerer, it is a townhouse which also happens to be one of the oldest houses standing in Paris. The townhouse dates back to the 15th century and is a designated landmark. It has been completely restored – and it is quite beautiful. The entire townhouse can be rented for up to 10 people, or each floor can be rented by one or two people. There is a kitchen or kitchenette in each apartment, so they are totally self sufficient from each other.
Since the house is 500 years old – more than 20 generations have lived here – amazing! There is even a medieval limestone well in the basement. The circular staircase was built around a solid oak tree - “carved down with a handrail its entire 3. 5 stories!” Even more amazing!
The townhouse was featured in March’s Elle Decor and it is decorated in true Sheerer fashion with Saarinen tables, circular motifs, and even the famous Swedish bird prints he loves so much! Seeing this townhouse makes me almost give up my fear of flying just to go stay here!!! Sure. Well, it sounds good.
The main floor apartment is entered through this foyer with its oversized Flemish chandelier and vivid orange curtains.
Styled for Elle Decor, the same foyer looks just a tad more finished! The famous 500 year staircase is seen here. I would love to see it in person and try to go up and down it.
Across from the sofa is Scheerer’s trademark Saarinen table flanked by a mix of his beloved Thonet chairs and Os de Mouton chairs.
The master bed is a four poster – the closets are hidden behind the prints on the doors.
Hard to believe this townhouse is 500 years old! All the mod cons are here.
This apartment is two stories – with a mezzanine bedroom overlooking the living area. There it is – another Saarinen table!
Scheerer designed the staircase in this apartment leading up to the bedroom. Les Indiennes fabric at the windows.
The bed is so Scheerer!
This apartment is just darling – I would have to stay here. You can see the staircase that winds around one tree trunk through the doorway.
This apartment is definitely the most French styled one. Notice the Swedish bird prints he uses quite a bit.
And, last, the top floor is designed like a tiny tent. There is even a tinier kitchenette and bathroom in this apartment.
Thank you Margaret for the tour of your favorite hotels in France! Don’t forget if you live in Houston to go see M. Naeve’s new shipment – it’s gorgeous. And if you don’t live in Houston, be sure to visit her at 1st Dibs, HERE.
And don’t forget the photography giveaway! You have until Wednesday night to enter!!!