Tara Shaw's Soul of the Home

February 4, 2021

New Orleans is routinely referred to as the closest relation to Europe in the United States and New Orleans interior designer Tara Shaw will bring you that much closer to the graces of the Old World. What is more, her recently released book Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques shares generously with the reader the many secrets and techniques for creating elegant, distinctly European spaces Shaw has gleaned over the span of her 20-year year career.

Shaw says New Orleans has always inspired her. This inspiration set the backdrop for her famous portfolio and now her book. Her retail shop and atelier, Tera Shaw, will open at 5833 Magazine Street in early 2021.

As the name of her book suggests, Shaw’s highly personal design principles stem from her firm belief that the interior design should reflect the occupant’s soul.

Chapters present never-before-published spaces from Shaw’s portfolio and reveal her favorite antique-hunting spots throughout Europe. Anecdotes from years of treasure hunting are accompanied by images of rare and precious finds, with text that decodes just how to choose the right pieces and pair pieces from different periods and display them in a contemporary interior. She writes, “How do you combine disparate eras and styles, so they feel cohesive? Look for patterns and themes that they have in common and try to connect the dots. This is easier than it sounds when you consider that many styles over history have influenced each other... A sophisticated room will have layers of influence: eighteenth-century French or Swedish chairs with contemporary consoles and cocktail tables; painted Italian candelabra and midcentury modern lamps.”

Simple beauty can create an atmosphere of creativity which can shape the direction of our lives,” Shaw says. “Surrounding yourself with pieces you love, and which hold artistic and historical meaning can be uniquely powerful.”

Shaw’s friendly and conversational writing style offers guidance and encouragement. Readers will relish Shaw’s advice, look at each sumptuous space, and take away ideas they can apply to their own homes—to create personalized rooms full of provenance and beauty.

Her objective is to make your home “read” like a biography of your life.

Known for her luxury European antiques and impressive interior stylings, her distinctive vision paired with her entrepreneurial spirit, challenged her to create her own line of antique reproduction and custom furniture, Maison, in 2007. After spending many years in Asia producing her line, she has continued her line of modern bespoke design using local artisans.

Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques is available at tarashaw.com and at bookstores nationwide.

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