Category: press

27 Dec



Interior Design by Tara Shaw
Architecture by Barry Fox
Landscape Design by Byron Adams and Wanda Metz Chase
Photography by Timothy Dunford
Produced by Steve Martin
Written by Lara Atallah

Limited Addition - Art + Design Magazine / Tara Shaw

Furniture is Tara Shaw’s raison d’etre. “It’s not a job for me. It’s the love of my life,” she tells me in a buoyant tone over the phone. At the core of Shaw’s mission is the belief that everyone should have the ability to furnish their home with unique looking furniture. The insatiable desire to find one-of-a-kind pieces, what she calls the 1 percent, has guided Shaw in her decades-long career, first as a trader, then as an interior designer.

It all began 30 years ago, when the New Orleans-based designer started working as a trader in Europe. In Those early days, Shaw’s clientele largely consisted of designers and antique dealers. Driven by the principle that people’s homes should not be decorated with mass-produced items, Shaw began “looking for things that you would possibly see once in a lifetime. The key to having a unique home is having unique items.”

She would spend weeks forging through the many flea markets and deballages in France, Italy, and Belgium, in search for the perfect one off armoire, Italian table, or chandelier. Her favorite asepct of the business: the hunt. To Shaw, everyday felt like a treasure hunt. Her joy came from driving from town to town looking for the most arresting piece of furniture to bring back to the US. Asked to cite an anecdote about this time in her life, she remembers: “In my largest year of importing, I was in Europe every three months, and would stay 3-5 weeks at a time. Because I am extremely competitive, I would try to get in the fairs early before they opened to the public. So, I made friends with a lot of dealers, and they would sneak me in the day before the fairs opened, and I would hide under a blanket with the furniture to get in early. By the time the fair had opened, I had finished all my purchasing, and was on my way to the next city.”

In 1999 Veranda magazine ran a feature on Shaw’s business. Soon after, the magazine asked the designer to become a contributing editor. Having grown her base, and attracted high-end clients, Shaw got her first design commission in Connecticut. This marked her transition from a trader to using her vision to reimagine other peoples spaces, handling everything from tile to towel, as she puts it.

This is how Tara Shaw Maison came to be. Shaw went to open showrooms in North Carolina, New York, Las Vegas and Atlanta. Seven years later, she was producing the majority of her line in China, and sometimes India. The key to her success is to base every space that she designs around her client. Central to her business philosophy is the importance of being a good listener in order to come up with unique ideas. Ultimately, none of the spaces she designs look the same.

These days, Shaw is working on a book that will showcase some projects that haven’t been seen by the larger public, along with a how to guide on building a collection. Additionally, Shaw is developing a television show that documents her various design projects. All told, Tara Shaw has built a mini empire on the back of her first true love, furniture.

11 Oct

St. Louis Home + Lifestyles October 2017


Interior Design by Marilyn Hanish
Product by Tara Shaw
Architecture by Lauren Strutman Architects
Photography by Anne Matheis
Written by Melissa Mauzy

Cosmopolitan in Clayton – St. Louis Home + Lifestyles

The second level includes a guest bedroom, which continues the blue-and-white theme, a moroccan-inspired bedroom for her college-aged daughter and the master suite, which Riley says is her sanctuary. A little less cosmopolitan and a little more French-y, as she explains, the meter suite features a mirrored bench, fur pillows and throw and an antique replica altar table by Tara Shaw from Louisiana.

12 Aug

Milieu Summer 2016 – Travel

Milieu Travel 2016

Photography by Peter Vitale
Written by Tara Shaw with Linda Sherbert

My New Orleans- Milliue Magazine / Tara Shaw

I think the first time anyone, from anywhere, sees New Orleans’s French Quarter, it steals their heart. Yes, the city is known for Mardi Gras, world-class chefs and restaurants, legendary jazz artists, and nearly four centuries of architecture, but there is something about the quarter that is like no other place. And if you have a creative spirit, the city will awaken it, nurture it.

Today, after living in New Orleans for more than twenty-five years, I believe this city is better than ever for both travelers and residents. With all of the start-ups and young people arriving, there’s a tremendously exciting new energy. In addition, the film industry is thriving. I stop in line behind Leonardo DiCaprio at the St. James Cheese Company, and now I understand he plans to move here, too. Beyonce and Jay Z bought a home in the Garden District.

New Orleans inspired me to being importing and selling antiques from Europe and it is where I launched my design firm. My first paying clients were Harry Connick Jr. and his wife, Jil. I designed multiple projects for chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden. But then, in 2005, life in the Big Easy became anything but easy. Hurricane Katrina hit while I was on a buying trip in Italy. I was riveted to CNN. My staff evacuated to Houston, and I shipped two forty-foot containers full of antiques to Texas. While my life in Texas was certainly rewarding and a place where I made friends, I was eager to return to the city that had become my home. I felt like the Billie Holiday song “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”

What I enjoy most about New Orleans is the sense of community. IT’s a small city, a walkable city, with amazing neighborhood restaurants and chic shops. Sure, you can dine at Galatoire’s or Mr. B’s Bistro. But we often walk to Kenton’s Food & Bourbon, or Patois for French cooking with Southern flair, or Clancy’s for Creole classics, or Taquiera Corona for awesome Mexican food.

At Morning Call in City Park, you can sit outside on a little boa and enjoy a sweet, hot beignet with your café au lait, and then stroll over to the New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden. Later, Sucré, in the Garden District and French Quarter, tempts with handcrafted macarons and pistachio gelato.

One of my favorite boutiques is Pied Nu, which sells highly edited women’s clothes an one-of-a-kind home accessories. Owner Azita Clark is an international shopper. Another destination for high-end clothes is Weinstein’s. It doesn’t matter where I travel, people always ask, “Where did you get that?” The shops owners go to runway shows in Paris. Their aesthetic is clean and timeless, sometimes edgy. I buy black, white, off-white, and gray. Nothing goes out of style.

For art, I often visit Søren Christensen Gallery and Callan Contemporary, both in the Warehouse District. I’m inspired by the artists hey represent. In the French Quarter, Royal Antiques is a great place to find silver serving pieces. I go to Keil’s Antiques and Moss Antiques, both owned by the same family, to look for Etruscan and Edwardian jewelry. Over on Magazine Street, Bremmerman Designs offers an impressive mix of antiques and contemporary furnishings. Nearby is Mitch’s flowers, which I rely on for beautiful floral arrangements.

I love the natural beauty here. Audubon Park has over two hundred species of birds and trees hundreds of years old. I also cherish the city’s warm Souther hospitality. I jump on the St. Charles streetcar, and the conductor says to me, “How you doing’, baby?” Where else can you get that?

09 Aug

Milieu Summer 2016 — The Boathouse


Interior Design by Tara Shaw
Architecture by Ken Tate
Photography by Peter Vitale
Written by Linda Sherbert

The Boathouse – Millieu Magazine / Tara Shaw

When Timmy Thompson decided to build a large boathouse not far from his family’s home south of New Orleans, it was inevitable that his personal project would be a first-class major production. He is, after all, the owner and CEO of Cross Creek Pictures and he has brought to the big screen such films as Black Swan with Natalie Portman, The Ides of March with George Clooney, and Rush with Chris Hemsworth.

“I’m a project guy,” says Thompson, whose high-profile independent film company in West Hollywood also has offices in Louisiana and Texas. “I like to take the dreams that people have, or my dreams, and put them together with creative minds. For this project, the creative talent was designer Tara Shaw and architect Ken Tate. There’s nothing like bringing an idea to life.”
In that spirit, Thompson began making his dream boathouse a reality by purchasing a large tract of pastureland near the coast. Next, a long canal was dug to connect his property to the Intracoastal Waterway. It took three years to develop the site where he and his wife, Adele, could build a boathouse for family gatherings. The couple has three grown sons, Tyler, Todd, and Michael, who are all executives in the entertainment industry, and a teen daughter, Kate.
“I wanted a place to hang out and go fishing with my three boys,” says Thompson. “I also wanted a place to have meetings about movie, TV, and music projects, a place where my sons and I can kick back and talk business.”

As for the desired architectural style of the structure, he says, “I wanted a really cool boathouse with lots of glass and concrete.”
Indeed, the structure is boldly modern in design except for its standing-seam metal roof, which adapts a somewhat more traditional silhouette. Because of the low-lying location, the sturdy stucco boathouse takes advantage of poured-concrete walls and a hurricane-rated “curtain-wall” built into the class façade. The boat-launch areas, with state-of-the-art hydraulic boat lifts, flank the two-story living quarters.

Inside, materials often considered “masculine” abound. A double-height living room and the sleek kitchen share a see-through linear fireplace with surrounds of plate steel and a hearth of polished concrete. Hand-forged bronze bar stools add to the hard surface of the Bulthaup kitchen cabinets. A dramatic glass and stainless-steel stairway with open risers leads up to the second floor. There, a bedroom connects via a catwalk to a covered balcony area wrapped in glass with stainless-steel railings—perfect for admiring low-country vistas or star-gazing. Tucked away beneath it is a fish-cleaning room, also reliant on practical stainless steel.
When construction was completed, Shaw enhanced these man-friendly design elements and worked with scale. Says Thompson, “Tara took the empty shell and made it appear bigger than what it is. I was blown away when I saw how she had transformed it. The boathouse is where I now go when I want to be at peace and work. Or where I go when four or five of us guys come back from a fishing trip and watch a football game.”

Shaw faced the challenge of decorating spaces meant for both work and play. “He said he wanted a retreat that’s relaxing and inviting. I imagined him bringing clients here. I can see why he’d want to come back and work. There is nothing around here to distract you. You can focus.”
On the other hand, she continues, “The boathouse also had to be conducive to family gatherings for fishing events or crawfish boils. I chose sophisticated, comfortable seating, such as a sectional in a beautiful saddle leather, and special pieces like the cast-resin tortoise shells on a living room wall. The interior is intended to harmonize with nature, the wildlife and lush verdure that surround the house. I wanted an earthy aesthetic.”

Shaw worked with the owners to personalize spaces. “Adele found a Kelly Wearstler surfboard to give Timmy for his birthday and asked me to select the wood, a shaved Russian birch, to go with the interior. I treated it as art. It’s a very sculptural element.” Hand-carved marble artwork by Marco Perego Saldana graces the top of the stairway.
In the living room, Shaw contrasted the windowed walls’ geometry with the curves of a Ralph Pucci man-size chair and a custom round ottoman. Upstairs in the bedroom, those sharp angles are softened by the fine linens on a vintage four-poster bed, maintaining airiness without a canopy. A silk rug’s sheen plays off the silvery patina of a George Dunbar painting. “Mid-century lamps are the jewelry in the room. It’s about selecting items that have impact but retain uncluttered, minimal ambience. The designer loves revisiting the sanctuary created on the waterway. “But the real gratification is that the clients are so happy there. It’s a joy to have worked with the family on this project.”

07 Sep

Veranda Sep-Oct 2015


Interior Design by Tara Shaw
Architecture by Barry Fox
Landscape Design by Byron Adams and Wanda Metz Chase
Photography by Max Kim-Bee
Produced by Carolyn Englefield
Written by Julia Reed

Perfectly Suited – Veranda Magazine / Tara Shaw

After landing her dream house in a twist of fate, New Orleans tastemaker Tara Shaw can’t imagine her cherished collection of European antiques living anywhere else.

When her house in New Orleans was being built —for someone else—designer Tara Shaw walked by it every day. “I thought, This can’t be New Orleans,” she says, adding that she loved the “severe front” reminiscent of Haussmann facades in Paris: a wall around the property that “seemed to hide a secret courtyard.” Although she lived in a charming Victorian at the time, it was French architecture she adored. The homeowner was also a Francophile who’d asked local architect Barry Fox to design a house modeled after the one he’d seen in France.

As Shaw watched the progress, she thought she might like to tackle a similar project one day. “I never thought this one would come on the market,” she says. When it did, she had to buy it: “It was as though it were built for me.”It certainly seems built to showcase Shaw’s collection of furniture, which she describes as “Italian mixed with Swedish, with some French and some contemporary.” Those pieces, in turn, are mixed with ones from her own line, Tara Shaw Maison. The painted Swedish-style dining room table, for example, is a copy of one she sold in her shop years ago. The chairs around it are original, though she now copies them as well.The Maison line, like Shaw’s thriving antiques and interior design businesses, grew out of her lifelong love of European furniture. Working as a rep for an apparel company, she “finally made enough money” to buy one good piece a year and started charting her taste: “Was I painted Italian? Was I rustic French?” It turned out she was both, and soon the yearly splurges weren’t enough to feed her growing addiction. Armed with $14,000 and a plane ticket to France, Shaw entered the trade, selling her first container of pieces from a mini storage unit at the Port of New Orleans in less than 15 minutes.

For the next two decades, she spent a quarter of each year in Europe shopping. But when she married in 2007, she curtailed the travel and began concentrating more on the reproduction line, which now includes everything from pillows and valances to the corner cupboard in her breakfast area and the steel-framed bed in her master bedroom. The bed is hand-welded in New Orleans, as are all the metal pieces she manufactures.
A native of Austin, Texas, Shaw says she fell hard for her adopted city from the moment she arrived, and now she’s equally enamored of her “sleepy neighborhood” near Audubon Park. If the neighborhood is serene, the house is even more so. “Most of my clients are such busy people, they want to feel their blood pressure drop when they come home,” she says. “That’s how I want to feel too.”

To that end, she decorated the space in her favorite shades of white. And while she kept the original cypress paneling in her study and the stained pine floors throught, she painted the dining room floor white, she says, “to make it feel more current.” That room’s 18th-century bench provides a brief master class on Shaw’s eye. The Swedish piece is covered in a Fortuny fabric (the tribal Tapa print) and topped with Maison bolsters in a Belgian linen.

After they married, Shaw’s husband, attorney Robert Walsh, suggested she might want to take time off, an idea that makes her laugh. Instead, she recently signed on with Restoration Hardware, which sells mirrors of her design (including the floor mirror in her dining room) and framed intaglios like the originals on her living room wall. And so her love affair with furniture and the decorative arts continues apace. “I have more ideas,” she says, “than time.”

11 Jul

New England Home July August 2015


Interior Design by John Stefanon
Product by Tara Shaw
Photography by Michael Partenio
Produced by Stacy Kuntsel

Modern Movement – New England Home

It’s possible to mix luxury and fun, as in this modern minimalist guest room, where bold stripes contrast with the pencil-thin lines of the wrought-iron bed.

10 Jun

Veranda June 2015


Interior Design by Susan Lovelace
Architecture by Thomas Christ
Antiques and Maison by Tara Shaw
Photography by Erica George Dines
Produced by Lynn Nesmith
Written by Mimi Read

Fresh Start – Veranda Magazine / Easy Living

Fresh Start: Chef Emeril Lagassee and his family trade the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for the easygoing charm of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

BAM! Kick it up a notch! Feel the love! Such are the indelible catchphrases that helped make chef Emeril Lagasse one of the Food Network’s brightest stars. These days, he’s a perpetual motion machine as well. The owner of 13 far-flung restaurants, he also has 18 cookbooks, an empire of licensed kitchen and food products, and new TV programming in the works. If he’s not boarding a plane or disembarking from one, he’s usually racing to keep up with a wild calendar.

In his case, home is not only where the heart is, it’s where his sanity lies. So whenever he can, the über-chef flies home to this elegant house near Destin, Florida, to bask in its soft coastal aura. “It’s my sanctuary, where we catch up, cook, and do fun things,” he says of the spacious refuge he shares with his wife, Alden, and their two children. Built in 1988 by Florida architect Thomas Christ, the beach mansion has been the Lagasses’ home base for the past four years, ever since they left Manhattan in the aftermath of a particularly brutal winter. Destin, a dormer fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico that has grown into a posh resort community, is still quiet. And it’s just he right speed for Emeril’s grocery-shopping jaunts in a golf cart.

He and Alden acquired the house in a family barter. The Destin-based decorator Susan Lovelace, who happens to be Alden’s cousin and design idol, owned it but wanted to downsize. Lovelace and her husband swapped it for the Lagasses’ smaller Destin house. Then Lovelace got on board as their decorator. “It was unbelievable,” she says. “I got to do all the things I’d always dreamed of doing to this house, for people I just adore.”

As for the furnishings, Lovelace edited down the contents of the two large houses that the Lagasses had moved out of — the new York place and a home in New Orleans — and pulled everything together on a relaxed yet glamorous statement.

Each room holds the story of Emeril and Alden’s romance. The painted French and Italian antiques, bejeweled Empire chandeliers, and old china and silver are simply things they love and have collected together. Accessories, such as the great white vellum books that have been pressed into service as pedestals and side tables, are emblems charting the course of a whirlwind courtship (she’d been his landlord) and a 15-year marriage.

Those who consider the formal American dining room to be a moribund convention might want to listen up: Bam! This one’s alive and kicking. “We entertain constantly,” Alden says. “Besides meals for family and friends, we sell a lot of dinner at charity auctions. Emerald will cook here for six or more couples: elaborate seven-course meals with wine paintings. I’m the tabletop dresser an dishwasher. It’s a lot of work, but we have a great time.”

Antiques and Maison products from New Orleans and Manhattan homes designed and curated by Tara Shaw.

10 Feb

Traditional Home February March 2015


Interior Design by Melanie Turner
Product by Tara Shaw (Iron Venetian Canopy Bed)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Designer Showhouse – Traditional Home

Glamorous gowns worn by Hollywood elites on Oscar night inspired Melanie Turner’s master bedroom in this shophouse benefitting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Simple in coloration, movie stars’ couture garments read extra-refined on the red carpet, leading Turner to seek a knockout fabric that bore the same quiet impact.

“Bedrooms are multitask areas where we read, sleep, and sometimes work,” Turner explains. “So when it’s time to relax and wind down, the environment needs to be serene with a sense of calm.”

Needing long panels to dress the soaring windows, Turner turned to a patterned fabric that would instantly drive personality into the tranquil space. Playing off the taupe-gray paint on the walls, she found a cotton print that coordinated and featured a pale pink color as its ground. But the existing walls weren’t left as a featureless solid color—an artist rendered slender tree silhouettes on them in chalk then added a protective glaze over the work to keep it stable.

With a scheme that was soft yet somewhat masculine in color, Turner introduced several elements of luxury to make it known that her design suited both genders. Dangling above an iron bed with a linen upholstered headboard is a new chandelier she constructed form parts of three lighting fixtures and then dressed with rock crystals. Sumptuous velvet covers a tufted chaise and gracefully drapes the bed in an old-school bedspread. Gold shimmers on a desk chair at the French bedside table.

10 Oct

Reflections on Swedish Interiors – 2013


Interior Design and Pieces by Tara Shaw
Photography by Neil Landino
Written by Rhonda Eleish & Edie van Breems

Reflections on Swedish Interiors – Inspired Voyage / Tara Shaw

A city of international commerce since its beginnings as a trading post on the Mississippi River, the unique culture and architecture of New Orleans has inspire writers, musicians, and artisans for centuries. Even Bob Dylan has attempted to distill the city’s essence and writes in his memoirs that,

“The city is one very long poem. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside. Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades — 30 foot columns, gloriously beautiful — double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn’t move.”

Among the contemporary contributors to New Orleans’ ever-eclectic design mix is the interior designer an antiques dealer Tara Shaw. With imports arriving regularly from her prolific European antiques jaunts and her own popular Tara Shaw MAISON line manufactured in the Crescent City and also hand carved and painted in Asia, Tara has found her niche as one of the largest antiques an furniture dealers to the South and is busy expanding her company globally.

The exterior of Tara’s chateau-style residence is messed in French eighteenth-century restraint. Here nature is tamed and a verdant green lawn surrounded by hedges, topiaries, formal sculpture and parterres leads to a lacquered door reminiscent of black onyx. The formal façade quickly dissolves, however, when Tara and her husband, Robby Walsh, welcome us as their pair of white whippets frolic like lively children around their feet. In her relaxed kitchen, filled with Italian and Swedish antiques, Tara describes how she finds her home in the city’s Uptown area to be an oasis from her international business schedule as well as a private place to put her design theories to work. “My full schedule has always been the inspiration to the ‘calming effect’ of what I want clients to experience when they come home.

The relaxed feel of well-loved Swedish antiques with original worn patinas is visually soft and pleasing to the eye an they work effortlessly with contemporary furnishings and architecture. “Tara’s love of creating a design for living that is base on layering the present over the past without compromising either one, is evident as she takes us through the house where Swedish furniture is use in each room.”

The house already had fine proportions and scale and was made to exacting standards by the previous owner. Under Tara’s eft touch, simple but powerful forms from different centuries now play in the tall sunlit rooms side by side. Swedish modern chairs in the living room by Arne Norrell, for example, offset a medieval gilt sculpture and Italian walnut veneer table. “I love Arne Norrell for his vision on a truly comfortable man-scaled chaise. His style is clean, elegant and timeless and most of all works so well with the eighteenth an nineteenth-century Swedish furniture and their classic streamline silhouettes.”

Contemporary paintings and sculpture are mixed with antiquities and painted Swedish furniture. By contrasting the patina of time with sleek modern elements, a tension is create — each enhancing the other. “I basically have had a passion for painted furniture for over two decades and the love affair with painted Swedish, for me, is that one can visually see the texture because of the use of grainy woods under the painted surface. I love contrasting these painted pieces with sleek mid-century modern in my own home as well as those of my clients.”

The upstairs takes us into a more romantic realm where the guest bedroom blends Empire restraint with Gustavian light and simplicity. Tara’s photography of s sphinx is echoed in the inscrutable sphinx and griffons in the Gustavian mirror hung on a facing wall. “In design, a mirror will always open the space an reflect other items in the room,” states Tara. “It really adds the third dimension and I always grab a room by the lighting — it is one of the first things I notice. All spaces need a unique anchor an so I say, ‘Let there be light!” A soft white leather hie rug on the wide-planked floor, creamy white draperies and being all give the room a further Nordic air and make a great contrast to the textured painted antiques and rich browns of the room’s mahogany bed and leather chair.

Tara takes a cue from seventeenth an eighteenth-century faux panels in her showroom located at the edge of the garden and warehouse districts on Camp Street in New Orleans. Wood paneling in Europe during the Baroque period and the Enlightenment was all the rage as both a practical and attractive way of insulating a room and hiding irregularities. At the height of the style, these boiserie were sumptuously carved, painted and designed by master decorative architects and artisans and it is a joy to report that examples of these remarkable rooms can still be found throughout many fine palaces and manor homes of Europe. In Sweden, elaborately carved wood paneling was very costly, reserved for the nobility, and so canvases painted in faux paneling were use instead.

The walls in Tara’s showroom are painted in soft hues of white, san and orchards depicting delicate paneling inspire by a library in Italy and referencing eighteenth-century Sweden. Two massive antique Italian bookcases with vellum volumes an mounted shells line the entry room where Tara’s reproduction Swedish tables and chairs from her Tara Shaw MAISON line invite clients to sit and browse her extensive catalog of 260 reproduction pieces.

Realizing that fine antiques were being exhausted from the market, Tara started her MAISON line of reproduction furniture to supply a need for beautiful antique forms. Working closely with manufacturers and artisans in New Orleans, India, and China, Tara’s furniture line is known for its exacting attention to patina and detail. Reflecting on who in Swedish design an home furnishings she admires and would love to speak with, Tara states that “My conversation would be with Ingvar Kampard, the founder of IKEA. Beauty begets beauty an I am of the opinion that beautiful furnishings are not just for the 1 percent. There is something universally significant about a man’s home being his castle. Ingvar’s work wide vision of attainability of furniture and accessories that are made in price ranges for all to enjoy is being aired.” This is one of the key philosophies behind Tara sharing her extraordinary antiques collection as reproductions, to enable the rare form to carry on and be enjoyed by all — proving, like most everything in New Orleans, to be a very good idea indeed.

10 Jul

Horchow Catalog Feature

Horchow Catalog Winter 2011-2012

Pieces by Tara Shaw Maison Collection
Written by Horchow Publications

Style Maker Tara Shaw – Horchow Catalog

Tara Shaw experienced constant adventure as a child. A trip to the market with her grandmother would quickly turn into a quest. Together, they were shopping mavens on the hunt for beautiful things. This led Shaw into the business of selling European antiques to the design trade, and realizing these one-of-a-kind treasures were disappearing, starting her own European furniture reproduction line honoring authentic finishes and hand carving.

“Tara Shaw Maison is a gumbo — my own recipe mixing Swedish, Italian, French and Belgian styles.”

HORCHOW: How has living in New Orleans impacted your work?

TARA SHAW: I would not have begun importing antiques if not for New Orleans. I grew up in a midcentury-modern home full of blond wood, but when I moved here 20 years ago, I bought a 140-year-old Victorian and needed to furnish it. I fell in love with the patine of old wood then, but I din’t want to buy randomly; I wanted to buy purposefully — that was the launch of the Maison line. The reinvention of the city after Katrina – – the beautiful combinations of old and new, historic buildings and contemporary structures, timeless yet current — inspires me.

HORCHOW: If you could live anywhere else, where would you be?

TARA SHAW: Two places: Paris for the energy, there’s nothing like it, I just explode creatively! And Lucca, Italy, for the relate lifestyle; we ride bicycles down the cobblestone streets to markets and antique fairs.

HORCHOW: What inspired your furniture collection?

TARA SHAW: “Guerrilla antiquing” for 15 years in Europe. It was so difficult, finding one-of-a-kind items and knowing only one person could buy it and enjoy it. I couldn’t find these finishes and styles in a reproduction line – that inspire me to create the pieces I wanted.

HORCHOW: Where do you find your inspiration in the interior design work?

TARA SHAW: John Saladino, Vincent Wolfe — my goodness! Hats off! And Elise Newsome, who started Southern Accebts and then Veranda magazine; I’m always inspired by women who do great things.

HORCHOW: As an interior designer, what are your go-to’s?

TARA SHAW: For fabric, dear; I used their acanthus print in gray and cream for a shophouse bedroom. For paint, Benjamin Moore #925, an ivory that works with whites or colors; for high gloss, “Possibly Pink from Fine Paints of Europe. For wallpaper, I just launched my own “Grisailles”, based on the grisailles panels in Tara Shaw Maison.

HORCHOW: Which design era is most inspiring to you?

TARA SHAW: Louis XVI  of France and King Gustav II in Sweden. Louis was the father of the straight leg, and both are known for clean lines, pale painted finishes gilded to perfection.

HORCHOW: How do you a color to a room decorated with your furniture?

TARA SHAW” The easiest way is with pillows or other accents. When I did the House of Windsor (a Los Angeles showhouse in Summer 2011) I used antique orange velvet and pale pink. For some new designs, I’m working with a soft pink Belgian linen an azure Belgian velvet.

HORCHOW: Give us a snapshot tour of your home.

TARA SHAW: My current home is French new classical. It has the look of St. Germain-des-Pres with a flat facade of hand-laid stucco that makes you wonder what’s behind it, and floor-to-ceiling doors and windows across the back. I purchase the iron scrollwork from a hotel in Marseilles.

The dining table is an oval directoire with a gilded base and faux-marble top. It can be two demilunes, or a round, or full-length oval.

The bedroom has a neutral palette, the bedding is tucked, and the table has a pile of books (from cooking to design to the Steve Jobs biography_ and a great reading lamp. The bed is queen-size and hols me, my husband, and our two dogs!

The living room coffee table has a stone top so you can put your feet on it, or a beverage without a coaster. There’s a cachepot with white flowers, and a leather box to hide all the TV controls.