A Designer’s Flair for European Antiques

Tara Shaw Interiors

With an eye for the elegant, acclaimed designer and entrepreneur Tara Shaw has made the hunting of one-of-a-kind wares an art form. European influence and timeless appeal are hallmarks of her work—fueled by a passion for antiquities, boldness in business, and a unique propensity for sophisticated juxtaposition.

Tara Shaw Interiors

Tara Shaw lives in the realm of possibility. Surrounded by a rich mix of cultural inspirations, the designer has made a home and a name for herself in New Orleans—but her propensity for finding and combining European treasures with midcentury and reproduction pieces has made her a global leader in the arena of sophisticated style. “My grandmother was an inspiration to me,” says Tara, who began importing antiques more than 20 years ago. “She was raised during the Depression, so she knew price and value were the keys to a successful purchase. I built my business on that philosophy. She encouraged me to be bold and try new things. I believe she gave me the spirit to travel and buy antiques by myself, to take design risks that have paid off.”

Tara Shaw Interiors

In 1993, Tara had a dream, an airplane ticket, and a small purse with precious savings. Her first solo venture across the Atlantic led to containers of French furnishings and Italian relics, which she shipped back to the States and staged for a special sale. The doors opened to rave reviews, and within 15 minutes, the inventory had sold out. Tara Shaw Ltd., To the Trade was born. Word of the wonders spread quickly, and the business grew proportionately.

Tara Shaw Interiors

French, Belgian, Italian, and Scandinavian antiques became the company’s specialties. As the demand for these singular finds increased, Tara decided the time was right to start a reproduction line featuring details and finishes based on the pieces she imported. Tara Shaw Maison started in 2004, extending availability beyond the industry and becoming an almost-instant success. “The response has been so gratifying,” notes Tara. Her Maison line, available online, continues to flourish, and she and her team now offer design services across North America. 

Tara Shaw Interiors

To meet the demand for in-person perusing, she has a warehouse in the Crescent City brimming with beds, armoires, chandeliers, boiserie, and more. “Seeking a treasure daily in the European countryside is my dream job, ” says Tara. “My barometer is this: If I would not own it, I do not buy it or make it. I think of each piece as a prize possession, and my hope is that others will feel that way, too.”

Text Andrea Fanning
Photography Mac Jamieson 

To experience more of Tara Shaw’s home, see “An Exquisite Mélange” on page 89 of the May/June 2016 issue of Victoria. 

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