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Tara Shaw's Guide to Antique Interiors

Tara Shaw's Guide to Antique Interiors

, by Danielle Knip, 4 min reading time

Join Amy in New Orleans as she visits Tara Shaw at her showroom to discuss antique periods, styles, and how to incorporate them into today’s interiors. Tara Shaw is known for her ability to effortlessly blend old and new, accumulating a variety of textures in her designs.

How Did Tara Get Into This Career?

Tara began her career in education, teaching second grade, but quickly realized it was not her calling. After reflecting on her interests, she transitioned into the fashion industry as a buyer for a department store, eventually becoming a rep and opening multiple showrooms run by an all-female team. She saved enough money to purchase her first piece of nice furniture, feeling nervous about making the right choice, much like anyone starting an antique furniture collection. She avidly read design magazines like World of Interiors, Architectural Digest, and Veranda to educate herself on different styles, including French, Swedish, and Italian influences.

Describing Her Style in Interior Design

Tara appreciates contemporary art combined with antiques, inspired by examples like Farrah Fawcett’s home, which featured a mix of contemporary art and antique furniture. Her advice to new collectors emphasizes the importance of research and understanding personal style preferences to make confident and informed purchasing decisions. She believes that juxtaposing contemporary art with antiques can create a sophisticated look.

Self-taught, Tara believes everyone has an inherent gift for home decoration if they follow their heart. Amy shared that your home is your muse, and Tara advises collecting art that personally resonates, creating your own unique collection. When making significant purchases, she suggests considering whether you will regret not buying the item. Her first big purchase was an armoire that she instantly loved, which became a focal point in her living room before moving to her master bedroom and eventually her cabana.

She stresses the importance of continually refreshing home decor to stay inspired. Reflecting on her love for arranging and rearranging items, a passion she has had since childhood, she views this as key to re-inspiring oneself.

What Brings the Most Joy?

Tara shares that she has faced many ups and downs, such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ida, which severely damaged her New Orleans home, making it unlivable for two years. Despite these hardships, she finds joy in the support from friends and family, her faith, and the process of rebuilding and improving her home. She recounts breaking her leg and acknowledges the support she received during that time, highlighting her extremely supportive team. Through all the hardships, she remains hopeful and joyful because she believes in God’s promises.

Touring the Shop

During the tour, Amy and Tara highlight various pieces, such as French screens from Bezier, France, set for reproduction by Century Furniture, and an 18th-century Italian settee admired for its original water gilding and historical imperfections. Tara showcases a Spanish table purchased in the South of France, known for its beautiful wood and hand-forged iron stretcher, and a Maison bench with hand-turned, gilded legs made in New Orleans. They discuss a Swedish 18th-century traag sofa upholstered in neutral Belgian linen, emphasizing the importance of highlighting the wood's patina.

Tara and Amy emphasize blending contemporary and mid-century elements with antiques to create a collected, personal home aesthetic. Neutral linens are preferred to showcase the furniture's texture and patina, embracing the "perfectly imperfect" mantra, where furniture should be approachable and not overly perfect. The goal is to create a lifestyle that exudes casual elegance at home.

Tara shares her joy of collecting pieces that resonate personally and reflect one's character. She encourages listening to your heart when making purchasing decisions, as your home is an extension of your heart. Both Amy and Tara stress the value of starting a collection and enjoying the process of curating a home. Amy urges you to buy Tara's book for inspiration and visit her shop in New Orleans.

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