THE LOCAL: Tara Shaw


If you have a love of interiors and antiquing, TARA SHAW needs no introduction. She’s been an integral part of the global conversation for at least two decades. On April 21st, Tara releases her first coffee table book, SOUL OF THE HOME. 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. In this series of The Local, Tara shares excerpts from her book and invites you to join her for a virtual release party at her home this Tuesday, April 21st at 11 AM CST time via Instagram Live. 


Growing up, I had two strong role models in my mother and my grandmother, women who were very different from each other, but who both had one thing in common: fearlessness. Their homes reflected their disparate outlooks. My mother loved to paint and lined her walls with contemporary art; she was a minimalist and her furniture was – and still is – all white. My grandmother, on the other hand, was a world-class collector. Whether it was glassware, books, or fabrics, her desire to acquire knew no bounds…”

“It started with a desk. Or rather an armoire. In 1998, I was working in the apparel industry with my own wholesale showrooms when I finally had enough money to invest in the kind of furniture I’d always admired in design magazines. An antique. Something one-of-a-kind, which only I would have…



Antiques show their age and history, blemishes and all. That kind of imperfection is a lovely thing to live with because it’s so forgiving. It’s just what I want to come home to.



To start your antique collection, you’ve got to feel your way, taking one step at a time and letting each new purchase bring its own note to the symphony. Of course, you should still do your homework. Soak in all the info you can get your hands on: coffee-table and reference books, auction catalogs, magazines, the Internet, and social media apps like Instagram. Beyond reading about antiques, expose yourself to as many antiques as possible. Start at the top, with museums, to see blue-chip pieces in historic settings. Round out that exposure with flea markets and shops where you’ll be able to touch furniture: open drawers, inspect joints, and get a feel for finishes and woods that appeal to you. It will all make for a fascinating education, I promise



As you’ll see throughout this book, I think mixing pieces from difference eras and countries is the most beautiful approach when it comes to decorating a home – and I’ll share how I do that, too.

Antiques bestow an incomparable sense of history – something that’s withstood the centuries is necessarily made extremely well. Their flaws, scapes, and bumps are hard-earned and make your interiors (and maybe even you) more forgiving. 



I bet you didn’t think you’d find space devoted to twentieth-century vintage pieces in a book about antiques, did you? The truth is, I think sticking to any one era can date an interior…Here’s another good reason to like mid-century: Practically speaking, since midcentury pieces were industrially produced, there tend to be a lot of them and they can be good deals in fairs and markets.


Since traveling is on pause, there’s never been a better time to explore the world with TARA SHAW from the comfort of your own home. BUY THE BOOK, SHOP THE LOOK and begin planning your next European vacation or REDESIGNING YOUR HOME with advice from the antique expert. As soon as our city reopens, so will TARA SHAW’S new shop at 5833 Magazine Street. We look forward to joining her in celebration then.