1. What is your favorite antique or piece of artwork and why?
My favorite piece in the whole house? I don’t like this question…..that’s like asking a cat hoarder to pick their favorite cat. How about one of my favorites? It’s a small writing table from Edwardian England, circa 1900. I love this piece not just for the clean lines, and the beautiful crotch mahogany veneer, but more for the story behind it. My wife and I were in college, newly married, and home for Christmas break. It was a few days before Christmas and I was totally broke, with no gift for my new bride. My grandfather slipped me a hundred bucks and off I went to some of my favorite local junk shops. I had always wanted to get Leanna a lady’s writing table, but I never thought I’d find a period Edwardian one for $100 in a junky antique mall. It was totally black with old varnish and needed repair, but I knew it could be beautiful. So I grabbed it and scrambled to refinish it in the two days before Christmas. She loved it and it has had a place of prominence in our home ever since.
- Where do you find your best design inspiration?
That’s a tough one. I probably get my best design inspiration from my customers. I get to go in the most beautiful homes in Jacksonville every day and talk to people about their stuff….their stories, their history. I get a new idea for my house or yard every day, and most of the time it’s because of something I’ve seen on a job. It’s a sconce in a powder room, a rug in an entry hall….something that triggers an idea. Whether it’s how they embraced a funky colored bathroom tile with an equally crazy wallpaper, or the boxwood configurations at the Cummer, I always get my best design ideas when I’m working. If my house is anything, I have to give credit to my customers for letting me copy them.
In keeping with this year’s show theme, what is your favorite “southern” thing about Jacksonville?
I guess it would have to be that Jacksonville people seem to be a bit more keen on holding on to our southern traditions and good taste than other parts of the country. While “stick furniture” and the minimalist look are sweeping the world, you will likely still find the old chunky, brown sideboard from someone’s grandmother in a Jacksonville dining room. In Jacksonville, even “the millenials” seem to value antiques and the old ways of gracious entertaining….hence the Young Collectors, for example. We still value a piece of furniture simply because it belonged to someone we love and we want to preserve it, regardless of its monetary value. Whether people know it or not, Jacksonville has retained its “southerness” better than other big cities in the South. It’s like James Farmer said, “Jacksonville is the South’s best kept secret.”
William Nash is one of the Southeast’s up-and-coming experts in antiques and decorative arts. He holds a B.A. in History from the University of Georgia, as well as a certificate in Appraisal Studies in Antiques and Fine Art from the University of Georgia in partnership with the American Society of Appraisers. He is a board member of the Planned Giving Council of Northeast Florida and a candidate member of the American Society of Appraisers, as well as an associate member of the American Institute of Conservation for Historic and Artistic Works. William is carrying on the trade and tradition of his father, Bill III, who has been named “second to none” in Jacksonville for his work as an antiques restorer and conservator. Together, William and his father run E.W. Nash & Son, an antiques restoration and appraisal firm located in Jacksonville, Florida. Examples of their conservation work can be seen at the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville and the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum in St. Augustine. One of the nation’s youngest in his field, William has a passion for history, tradition, and collecting, and is revitalizing the world of antiques for the next generation. He and his wife, Leanna, live in Jacksonville’s historic district of Avondale with their two children, Laurie and William V. When he is not in his workshop or out in the field appraising, William enjoys restoring and maintaining his 1924 home, which he affectionately calls “Nash Abbey”. You can learn more about William and his work at www.ewnash.com.