Walk into the home of nationally known interior designer Ned Marshall, and you’ll find antique and reproduction furniture (can you tell which are which?), vivid hues (but not too many), and a supporting cast of fine books, antique clocks, elegant seashells and silver accessories.
And Marshall is walking away from it all.
A designer with a European sensibility, Marshall is putting everything up for sale and leaving the Garden District apartment he’s called home for the past 10 years at 2601 Camp St. He has engaged Rain or Shine and Big Easy Estate Sales to orchestrate a two-day tag sale next Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 9 and 10) to dispose of his furniture, art, rugs and bibelots. Admission numbers will be distributed beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Marshall explains his decision to divest.
“It’s practical, for one thing. I have to move because the house ... is being sold and the new place is so much smaller — nothing would work there,” he says. “And for another, I am not a collector.”
The distinction between collecting and what Marshall does is simple, he says. A designer acquires an object to enjoy for a while and then pass it on, whereas a collector acquires an object for the purpose of keeping it. Rarely will a collector trade out the items that they’ve acquired, but Marshall does it all the time.
“I love a lot of things that I have purchased over the years, but I am not attached to them,” he explained. “I’d rather sell them to make room for something new.”
Most often, it has been Marshall’s clients who have benefited from his acute eye and willingness to pass items on. Their homes (and his) have been featured in New York Magazine, House Beautiful, House & Garden, Architectural Digest, Town & Country and the New York Times. And if his place in New Orleans looks a little familiar, it could be because it appeared in Kerri McCaffety’s “New Orleans New Elegance.”
Marshall came to New Orleans 12 years ago to open a retail shop, drawn by friends and the appeal of the city.
“I’d done a lot of work for Scott and Janet Howard and they became good friends. We decided that the city could benefit from a shop that offered a lot of the sort of things I use in my designs,” he says. “So I moved to New Orleans and opened up Pastiche on Magazine Street near Jackson.”
Less than a month later, Hurricane Katrina swept through town, destroying much — including the market for antiques, at least in the short term. Since then, Marshall has devoted his energy to his design firm (Ned Marshall - Pastiche LLC), a pursuit that takes him to New York, Palm Beach and the Hamptons on a regular basis.
Marshall’s first official design job was with Mario Buatta in New York.
“I went to New York after college and a well-connected friend promised to get me an interview with either Mario Buatta or Parish Hadley. I should have gone for Parish Hadley but I went for Buatta instead,” he recalled. “I had no idea what I was getting into. It turns out, Mario has had more personal assistants than Carter’s has little liver pills.”
In less than a year, Marshall moved on to Bloomingdale’s, then embarked on a solo career, taking along a few clients he gathered in the course of his first few years in New York. Still, Marshall says his time with Buatta has been important in his career.
“I learned so much when I was there those eight months or so: How to judge upholstery, the differences in fabrics, how really professional curtains are made. Those are lessons you never forget.”
Another is that change is constant, or it should be as far as interiors are concerned. He recommends changing things around regularly to be able to appreciate what you have.
“Wall color, furniture placement, artwork — they all benefit from rethinking when you bring something new into the environment,” he says. “You have to be willing to ask yourself what should stay and what should go.”
Ned Marshall Tag Sale
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10
2601 Camp St.