Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tara Shaw Maison -The New Classics

When I was 28 I purchased my first Mora Clock. I was living in Germany and fell in love the look of Swedish antiques. The Swedish look was not popular then and I was lucky enough to be able to purchase several beautiful pieces on my newlywed budget!
At the same time, almost 16 years ago, designer Tara Shaw also had a love of antiques, saw the beauty of these pieces, and started importing gorgeous Swedish and French antiques.

So began the now famous, Tara Shaw Antiques.
Over the years, like so many of you, I have marveled over her rooms, many of which I still have in files ripped from the pages of magazines.
As you can imagine, one of the highlights of my trip to New Orleans was meeting the incredibly talented designer, Tara Shaw. With so many years of seeing and dealing in beautiful antiques, Tara has just launched Tara Shaw Maison, a new line of reproductions inspired by antiques from Sweden, Italy and France.
They have a fresh new look with lines based on classical design - She calls them " new classics" and no doubt with her eye and talent behind them they will be! But, lets slow down a moment and review how Tara came to design this fabulous Tara Shaw Maison line.
Tara has designed projects for the famous and the infamous! One of her most documented projects; one that has circulated and recirculated the blogpsphere; is the home of Emeril Laggasse which made the cover of Veranda. A gorgeous mix of neutral interiors with fabulous antique pieces.
Tara has a wonderful ability to allow a room to gently reveal itself to you. All the while her rooms remain a perfect balance of restful and interesting at the same time.
But her calm interiors belie a more savvy Tara Shaw. A force to be reckoned with, Tara has an incredible ability to locate, select and import many of the premier Swedish, French and Italian antiques available in the US today. Her showrooms and warehouses in New Orleans and Houston are filled with treasures, but unfortunately, only open to the trade. Lets take a peek at what's inside! With over 16 years experience in dealing with antiques, and from a family of diamond and jewelry importers, Tara has a fabulous eye for selecting the best of the best.
Over the years Tara Shaw has seen some of the most beautiful antiques in the world. The unique and special is evident at every turn in her showrooms. After years of coming across fabulous one of kinds, many which she welcomed into her home, Tara recognized another need. She was often designing a room and wishing she had another Rococo bench, Italian table or Swedish banquette that would be "perfect" in that space.So, taking inspiration from the treasures in her own home, she spent over five years developing the Tara Shaw Maison line. Many of the pieces are from Tara's personal, private collection or from her elite clientele. Her finishes and attention to detail are sublime.
Pictured above and all the photos below are only a few of the many items from the Tara Shaw Maison line. The furniture selected is a compilation of the most requested and classic forms Tara has seen in her career. Each antique was painstakingly recreated under Tara's ever watchful eye; down to the detailed carving , hand rubbed paint finishes and accurate distressing.
As a collector of Swedish and French antiques for over 15 years, I can tell you that I have NEVER seen a more beautiful and true to life line of reproductions. These are very special pieces. So, of course they must be extremely expensive. Guess again!
Here is where Tara has astounded me! Despite their incredible quality, these pieces are available at a quarter of what the original would cost!
Tara Shaw was able to create reproductions of antiques that many of us could only dream of owning and make them accessible. Intrigued? Well lets have a closer look!
Above are some promotional photos of vignettes of some of the pieces available in the line. I was able to personally see all of them and here are some of my favorites.
As you all know I have love of Mora clocks.
Here is the original clock from Tara's personal collection. And here it is recreated!I took these photos in the New Orleans showroom. Look at the attention Tara has paid to make sure every detail was included. Of course the clock works and even has a swinging pendulum - Isn't it fabulous?
And what is most wonderful of all is that this piece retails at $3400. Absolutely amazing!!!
Here is a older photo of Tara's sitting room (she has since moved).
Notice the Italian gilded wood altar table and Italian Fauteuil chair. Incredible detailing on the recreated altar table!
This would add a fabulous layer of interest to any room. Here is Tara's interpretation of her Italian Fauteuil chair. Notice the attention to detail in the hand carving and the gilding on the arms and the bottom stretcher. Flank two of these by your fireplace and viola, you immediately add a richness to the room! Here is another chair; these are recreated Louis XVI side chairs. Notice the incredible carved detailing, nailhead trim and finish work.
Wonderfully upholstered in a creamy white linen. The classic Swedish settee-a favorite of mine.
I adore the floral carving and finials. Also upholstered in linen with the bolster pillows.

Perhaps my most favorite items in the line are the two large case pieces and the two tables. First, the Italian Desk with an antiqued mirrored top. When I arrived home my husband commented that he thought it would look fabulous in our study as a desk! (Note: my husband never comments on these things, but I couldn't agree more!) As a matter of fact, below is a photo of the original table that is in Tara Shaw's office in her New Orleans showroom.When I saw the original and reproduction side by side - I truly had difficulty telling them apart.
The Swedish Formal Dining Table is, in my opinion, the most creatively designed piece. This table is actually three tables - Two fantastic Demi lunes and a wonderful gate-leg table. All come apart and can be used separately or locked together for a longer table. If you move often as I have, this is a wonderful piece to invest in, because it can change as your home design needs change. The French Bibliotheque is a commanding piece. Recreated from the original, which sits in a very famous clients' home, certainly brings a taste of France into any room. The slate blue painted finish on this piece is amazing. The Swedish Corner cabinet is a pale washed gustavian gray. It is a wonderful recreation.The ribbed/fluted diamond detailing and distressing is so close to authentic that I originally asked Tara how it old it was! You all know I would love this Swedish Bergere!
Notice the carving on the legs and the nail head trim.
Take a closer look at the detail work on the lion head carving!
This chair could easily find a home in any room of your house.
Bedroom? Living Room? Entry? Study?
Tara also included an Italian wooden lantern. Here it is handing in the warehouse in New Orleans -Isn't this fantastic! And of course two sizes of turned wood chandeliers.
This is the 12 arm. Tara also added mirrors in the mix ! This is a wonderful smaller size which measures 28 X 20". And the larger one. This mirror measures 95X52". You can really see the scale in the photo above. Here is a closer look at the mirror detailing and finish. There are so many other items, 53 in all - including candle sticks, small side tables, benches, wood crowns and architectural fragments.
But here is the most exciting news of all....
I was so impressed with the quality and price of the Tara Shaw Maison line, I just had to offer them to my clients and readers!
The Tara Shaw Maison line is now available from Willow Decor.
If you are interested in learning more, please send me an email to
and I will send on more specific information.
I hope you are as excited about this as I am!
Watch for my next posts on the rest of my trip to New Orleans, including meeting New Orleans' own Bayou Contessa and Visual Vamp!

Haven't had enough of Tara Shaw? Head over to Material Girls, & see Tara's Houston Showroom & more photos of her antiques.


  1. When I visited Houston in 2007, I went to Tara Shaw's store (I only had 30 minutes) and it was closed for an hour as the person in charge had to make a bank run! I was so disappointed. Seeing these pictures makes me even more determined to visit one of her stores some day soon. This is just another reason to go to New Orleans - my list of stores that I want to visit there is growing all the time.

    Great, and very beautiful, post!

  2. What a feast for the eyes! Enjoy your trip and tell Julie and Valorie hello. I am sure that you will have a marvelous visit!

  3. Gina, congratulations and good fortune in your new venture!

  4. Beautiful, every little detail. Loved all the photos and the story about Tara Shaw. If I could have several homes one would be furnished in her style. Have a great trip and thanks for a lovely post.

  5. "Tara has a wonderful ability to allow a room to gently reveal itself to you." I like that so much. A room that gets better and more interesting the longer you look. A room that doesn't show you everything at first glance.

    These Swedish antiques are high style but so sturdy. Looks like they'll thrived on anything several generations in a family can dish out. They will look even better for the wear.

  6. Oh so beautiful! I've longed for one of those delicious chandeliers for so long... Congratulations on carrying the new line, it is all stunning. I can't wait to see more of your trip!
    xo Isa

  7. Amazingly beautiful. Thank you.

  8. A truly spectacular post Gina! Your excitement for Tara's beautiful pieces is palpabale, all the way across the Pacific! You are so correct about the ethereal beauty of the range. These are not cold, precious museum pieces to be admired but not touched - they exude a warm, inviting feel that would be so welcome in many homes.

    I'm sure your relationship with Tara will be a long & fruitful one, 2 very stylish gals with a true love of these classics. Thank you sweet girl for your lovely comments over @ The Hedge re the WP mention - I haven't noticed the hoards of paparrazi yet, but then again they'd have trouble finding us tucked away here in the wilds of the Adelaide Hills!
    Millie ^_^

  9. I am so disappointed that I missed Tara's showroom when I was in New Orleans. Thank goodness you were there to make the introduction.
    I would love to get some more information, Gina.
    Her work is divine.
    Hope you had a wonderful trip. It certainly looks like you did!


  10. love ,love ,love ,
    every single piece !!!

    it is definately a look i have done, and am constantly trying to perfect....OOOOOPS.
    there's that 'perfection thing' again.


  11. Thank you for the beautiful compilation of this designer's work. I am saving this for future reference because it is so well-done.


  12. Absolutely fabulous post with great photos. Love the details!

  13. She's got a great eye, her shop is beautiful!

  14. you are right- That formal dinning table is the best. Thank you for the introduction to this stunning line.

  15. Hi,
    I am interior decorator from Milano.
    Wonderful blog!!!
    Beautiful images!!
    From today I am your follower!!!
    Have a nice day!

    Daniela "Dream shabby Chic" Milano


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