Verona Martinez wasn’t looking to acquire an onyx mine when she purchased property in Mexico, but that’s exactly what she did. It was a happy accident for her and her luxury furniture and design company, Verona Prive Maison.
One of the first things you notice upon entering her 7,500-square-foot showroom in the Dallas World Trade Center is the bright explosion of colors, both in the furniture and on the walls. Each piece she creates is a timeless piece of art that can be pulled apart and placed in any kind of décor to make a statement.
Her signature, specially designed onyx accessories are showcased alongside everything from handcrafted furniture and decorative accessories to beautifully made artisan rugs and window treatments.
Onyx figures prominently in Verona’s designs, and for a while she was buying the stones from a family in Mexico and spending a lot of time overseeing their work for her. “I didn’t like the hotels in the area, so I decided to buy a house,” Verona says.
Unbeknown to her, there was a 7-mile-long onyx mine under the house. “I had no idea it was there when I bought the property,” she says.
Not wanting to put the family she was working with out of business, she gave them a partnership in the mine in exchange for their expertise.
Intense heat from a volcano adjacent to her onyx mine creates the rich colors and patterns in the stone. Verona doesn’t sell raw materials from the mine to others, but instead uses it to create one-of-kind luxury items for her customers, including bowls, vases, plates, lanterns, candleholders, bookends, boxes, tables, credenzas, mirrors and art.
Verona, a native of Puerto Rico, is a big believer in the adage “go big or go home.” Her background includes a stint as the owner of a high-end boutique, with nine locations extending from New York to Argentina and a customer list that included entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin. She also worked as a fashion model for big-name designers, including Valentino.
After selling her boutique chain, Verona found herself visiting a friend in Dallas. She liked the city and decided to stay. “At the time I was basically retired and I enjoyed that,” she says, “but after a while, I became bored.”
Initially, her focus was on making and selling luxury pillows. In response to demand from customers, she expanded into furniture and decorative accessories and opened her World Trade Center showroom in 2010.
One of Verona’s current loves are handwoven rugs from Mexico. “Mexico brought me to life,” she says, as she displays a rug from that country and points out the rich, burgundy dye used in its making.
Verona is extremely particular about the craftspeople and artisans she hires. “I really like to work with people and families who have done things, such as upholstery or woodworking, for generations,” she says. All of her furniture is created by hand and has a lifetime warranty. She wants her clients to have furniture of incomparable quality that will stand the test of time.
Currently, her clients are about 70 percent designers and 30 percent retail. “We want to attract more designers, and we will be opening a retail center in the Design District in a couple of months.”
Looking toward the future, she says: “I hope to open a large factory where I can employ many more people. I will be able to have more control over the manufacturing of my furniture, and I like the idea of providing jobs.” With her positive outlook and love for what she does and her clients, that will just be another accomplishment added to the long list of them for Verona Martinez.
When she reaches this goal, you can be sure, it will not be by accident.
Glenda Vosburgh is a freelance writer based in Dallas. Contact her at email@example.com.