Dean Marshall Interiors

Dean Marshall Interiors, La Jolla (circa 1960)

Starting in 1931 Dean S. Marshall (Sr.) worked as display manager at Whitney’s & Co (which at the time spanned from 5th to 6th Avenue along Broadway) in downtown San Diego. Having demonstrated his retail expertise for eight years, in July of 1939 his career gained a boost by winning the Congoleum national window contest for the San Francisco region. A decade later he would design a Whitney's store.

In the mid-40's Dean joined with a progressive Denver architect to form the partnership Crowther & Marshall. Together they would design many forward-thinking residential and commercial projects in San Diego, Denver and elsewhere. Crowther & Marshall’s design for Whitneys opened its doors on the northeast corner of University and Illinois on October 1st, 1948 (the same year Dean Marshall Jr graduated from Pt Loma High School).

Dean Marshall Interiors, La Jolla (circa 1960)

Regarding their design for Whitney’s, Retailing Daily (8/5/48) wrote:
In a patio, not visible from the street, the store will conduct year-round out-of-doors classes in cooking, sewing and other home arts. Major appliances will be connected to hot and cold water and to electric or gas fuel along the east wall of the building. Only this part of the patio area will be canopied. Students will attend lectures and watch demonstrations from umbrella-shaded tables scattered around the flagstone-paved patio. Whitney executives believe the patio ... has no parallel in the country.” See Pictures

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Published in 1953 for his design work on the Harry F. Urling residence in Denver, CO, Dean Marshall (Sr.) scored even more praise for his progressive designs. The Daily Journal described the home: “While it shows an acceptance and assimilation of the modern approach with a sympathy for the contemporary forms and furnishings, there is nothing insistent about it; and it has an overall quality of quiet and restful luxury.”

Dean Marshall Interiors opened its doors the early 1950s. The furnishings retailer and interior design firm stayed in business at 5759 La Jolla Boulevard through the early 1980s. Dean (Sr.) and Dean (Jr.) sold merchandise by Herman Miller, Knoll, Rupert Deese, Amy Donaldson, Wally Blodgett, EllaMarie & Jackson Wooley, Paolo Solari, David Stewart, Jack Boyd, Hans Wegner, Glenn of California, Raymor, Architectural Pottery, Paul McCobb, Lightolier, Dux, Milo Baughman and many more suppliers and designers.

Dean Marshall interiors gained a great deal of notoriety for their published (and unpublished) projects suchs as: the Crabtree Residence (Liebhardt & Weston 1962, LA Times Home Magazine 6/23/63), Jungemann Residence (Lloyde Therkelsen), Robert Winsett Residence (Lloyde Therkelsen), Liebhardt Residence (LA Times Home Magazine 7/13/58, House Beautiful 8/58), and the G.G. Budwig Residence (by architect Fred Earl Norris, LA Times Home Magazine 7/13/58).

In the September 1958 issue of San Diego & Point Magazine Dean Marshall was quoted:
“We frankly feature the soft, casual look of Scandinavian furniture because that fits so well into the type of home that we have in this area and the feeling that people here have for furniture and natural woods. We go from that through the gamut to the sleek type of thing that Charles Eames does and the Herman Miller Furniture.

Our forte is furnishing small areas for young people. The problem is to create a sense of space. Because our contemporary furniture is so lightly scaled it lends itself well to this. I try to find young people’s requirements and then give their rooms an effect of completion. I would rather see underfurnished than overfurnished rooms (sometimes I feel I am backward in this respect, since I am in the furniture business). But there is a happy medium that will make a room look complete: to achieve this, a monochromatic color scheme (with color accents in the accessories) is widely used to blend with the mellow tones of the woods. Color, of course, does come in cycles and there is a trend right now to use more of the bright primary colors.”

Dean Marshall Sr. passed away in 1981, his wife died in 1989. Dean Marshall Jr. left us on July 10, 2000. Their contributions to San Diego's mid-century legacy remains with us to this day.

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