Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

In the living room, Tara has kept a high degree of comfort without losing an inch of style. She tucked a “massive TV and all our stereo equipment” inside an armoire. “I love the way the daybed keeps the room from feeling closed off. And it’s so cozy, my husband often falls asleep there!”

Timeless French Decorating Ideas With European Antiques {Tara Shaw}

Timeless French Decorating Ideas. Timeless. French. Decorating. Ideas. Each of those terms individually resonates with me. Together, they describe the brilliance found in the classic French decor in these interior design images from Tara Shaw’s glorious New Orleans home.

Interior designer and antique wholesaler Tara Shaw has excellent advice for anyone who wants to decorate a home beautifully. She recently told Southern Cottage magazine, “People should be authentic and collect things, but liven up the mix by adding in a piece that’s the harmonious opposite.” Think about that wisdom for a second.

The most well designed rooms capturing your soul and imagination likely adhere to the balance Shaw so eloquently describes. This is a seasoned designer with a keen sense of designing for the soul. Shaw balances function and beauty by layering one of a kind antiques from Europe with modern classic pieces. She says, “Anchoring a space with gorgeous bespoke pieces can elevate the feel of any room; and building your home decor around fabulous one of a kind finds is the key to making timeless and interesting design.”

I love the idea of anchoring a space with gorgeous bespoke pieces. My bank account? She does not love the idea. Where does that leave me and maybe you if you’re a DIY type? We collect pieces we can afford, study examples of lovely design (Hello Lovely?), train our eye, soak up the aesthetics, and get very creative in achieving a similar feel with whatever budget may be ours.

Today’s tour of Tara Shaw’s magnificent home brimming with timeless French decorating ideas and classic interior design will surely delight Francophiles. While most of us can only dream of bespoke rooms with such a level of grandeur, the timeless decor which follows is bound to elicit multiple “aha” moments and perhaps a few “it’s too pretty, Michele; dang you, I’m melting” ones.

Affiliate links follow and when used for purchases may earn me a small commission.

Source: One King’s Lane, Veranda

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Tara found a boiserie (sculptured paneling) in a house near Versailles and repurposed it as a bookcase in her dining room. The bench and the candelabras (based on a pair Tara found in Lyon) come from Tara Shaw Maison. A midcentury chair ensures the room “doesn’t feel dated.”

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}


Timeless, Classic French, Luxurious Old World, and European Inspired.


Known for her luxury European antiques and impressive interior stylings, Tara has experienced 20 years of success as an antique wholesaler. Her design philosophy has inspired countless exquisite interiors for members of the trade and fans alike. Her distinctive vision paired with her entrepreneurial spirit, challenged her to create her own line of antique reproduction and custom furniture, Maison, in 2007. Spending many years in Asia producing her line, Tara chose to return to the city she admires so much and continue her line of modern bespoke design using local artisans. New Orleans has always offered Tara inspiration. Influenced by the city’s historic architecture and European like sensibility, it has set the backdrop for her now famous portfolio.


Collecting one of a kind objects and antiques, living with luxury, balancing old and new, avoiding cookie cutter, adding personality, a reverence for aged character, the power of a serene color palette, living with fine European antiques, living with pieces you love, patiently building a collection or hunting for the just right addition, using and not just displaying beautiful antiques, and pairing clean modern lines with Old World to avoid a dated look, decorating to soothe rather than stimulate.


Pam Pierce’s French Country Home in Houston

Suzanne Kasler’s Atlanta Home

Classic French Home by Summer Thornton

Frank Babb Randolph’s Townhouse 


This paint color was important in Tara’s house: BENJAMIN MOORE Linen White

Designer favorite paint color. Benjamin Moore Linen White 912. A decorator favourite, this light, creamy off-white is a never-fail neutral for walls, trim, doors and ceilings. As clean and comfortable as fresh linen, it relies on a yellow undertone for added warmth. Alexa Hampton :If you want to stay with an off white, Benjamin Moore's Linen White is always a reliable choice. Couple it with BM Ivory white 925 or BM AF 20 for your trim.

Benjamin Moore Linen White

As for the interior design? It’s one of a kind…but we can learn from the visuals about the mix and color palette!

French inspired house of Tara Shaw in New Orleans. Formal hedges flank the entrance to the house.

Tara Shaw’s New Orleans Home

Parisian style house facade of interior designer Tara Shaw in New Orleans.

Tara Shaw’s magnificent home in New Orleans

Parisian style house of interior designer Tara Shaw in New Orleans. The flagstone pool surround complements the graceful curves of the terrace. Chaises with cushions in a Sunbrella fabric, bench, and chairs, David Sutherland; 19th-century French urn, Tara Shaw Antiques. </p>

Tara Shaw’s magnificent home in New Orleans.

French Country Chandelier

French Country Chandelier: FIND HERE

nuLOOM Dulce Cowhide Area Rug

White and Silver Cowhide Rug: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Tara wanted to balance the house's austere facade with a comfortable, light feeling inside. For the foyer, she chose Venetian plaster for the walls. #foyer #staircase #mansion #interiordesign

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Natural Hide, Ivory/Beige

Ivory Cowhide Rug: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. An 18th-century Venetian corner cabinet, a 19th-century Belgian still life, and a Swedish drop-leaf table make the breakfast room feel as if it has been lifted out of an earlier century - yet Tara has balanced the pieces with dining room chairs and a gray banquette from Tara Shaw Maison.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Tara’s beautiful dining chairs (above) are antique reproductions from her Maison line which are not in my budget…I have these affordable chairs below.

French Country dining chairs

French Country dining chairs: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Antique Swedish cane chairs in Donghia linen slipcovers; oval mirror, Tara Shaw Maison; floor mirror, Tara Shaw for Restoration Hardware; sculpture, David Lapin.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Glam Vertical Accent Wall Mirror

Venetian Style Wall Mirror: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Modern-leaning, streamlined table lamps flanking the four-poster bed perfectly balance an ornate antique mirror. While the lamps match, Tara used mismatched bedside tables and wall decor on either side.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Alda 26" Table Lamp

White modern lamp: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Walls painted Benjamin Moore's Linen White, and I loved how that looked with the white resin sculpture," Tara says of the master bedroom's sitting area. Tara layered more white from there: drapes, a 22-ounce linen on the banquette, more Linen White in a high gloss on the coffee table.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Alcor Velvet Daybed

Velvet Daybed: FIND HERE

French Country bedroom with antique Daybed and stool. Design: Tara Shaw.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

19th Century French Empire-style Daybed

19th-c French Empire Style Daybed: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Leaning casually along the right-hand wall are 18th-century processional batons, which Tara found in Italy. The lamps on the mantel were 18th-century urns that Tara converted to lamps, while the white console comes from her line, Tara Shaw Maison.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Tara stood a statue from Avignon (probably 16th century worm-eaten and petrified in the back, she says) by the living room windows, which look out on a saltwater pool. Eighty trees line the property's perimeter, giving it a sense of privacy.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Balisier Console Table

Console Table: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. The trunk at the foot of the master bed is another treasure from Italy: Covered in velvet and nail heads, with its original toile, it provides lots of storage. I can open that trunk and there goes everything I want to hide.The cozy long-haired rug is balanced by the high-gloss car lacquer of the bed frame.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Hooker Furniture Montage Poster Bed, King

Poster Bed: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Bed and mirror, Tara Shaw Maison; 18th-century Swedish bench in a Kravet velvet.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Tara describes herself as a tub girl - she takes a bath nightly with Epsom salts and lots of potions and notions.The furnishings of this little retreat distill her grand but accessible style: a contemporary tub, a chandelier, and a bergere (from her own line). For the walls, she installed three pieces of paneling she'd found in the South of France. There wasn't quite enough of it, so we built it out with pine and did a finish on top, so you can't tell the old from the new.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Mermaid 71" x 34" Freestanding Soaking Bathtub

Freestanding Tub: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Tara created a bathroom sink to her taste by converting an Italian mortar to a sink and installing it in a white vanity table. A Venetian mirror hangs above it.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Classic 2-Light Wall Sconce

Classic Wall Sconce: FIND HERE

Louis XVI console, Tara Shaw Antiques; sink fittings, Grohe; sconces, Restoration Hardware; 18th-century Swedish armchair in a Libeco linen; floor tiles, Walker Zanger.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Antique French paneling in Shaw's master bath was refinished in creamy tones for a soft effect. Tub, MTI; fittings, Graff.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Mirrored Eraman End Table

Antiqued Mirrored Accent Table: FIND HERE

Tara puts antique beds in just about every room - this Directoire piece, she says, is so enveloping, so sheltering, and so much fun to crawl into at the end of the day.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Swizzle Cotton Bolster Pillow

Bolster Pillow: FIND HERE

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. Tara keeps her stationery inside this 18th-century Swedish secretary. She likes to write her notes in the guest room and loves that, once she closes up the desk, everything hidden: I'm big on storage and love anything with a drawer. It means you can tidy up quickly.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Tips from Tara Shaw

Tara Shaw shared the following tips with OKL for living with antiques without freaking out:

Remember, They’ve Seen It All: Tara tells her clients, “If a piece has survived for 100 or 200 years, what damage can you really do?” Antique pieces are generally more durable than pieces made today, which she considers a good reason not to feel intimidated by them. “I actually feel greater liberty with an antique, because it’s been time-honored by others,” she says.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}. New Orleans based designer, Tara Shaw, has the classicism of Old World coursing through her veins. She is known and celebrated for her sophisticated designs featuring collections of highly curated antiques, rich glamorous textiles, tone on tone color palette paired with contemporary elements. Neoclassical and Louis XV elements pop against the brilliant whites of her home foyer, welcoming her and her guests to her beautiful home.

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

If You Love Something, Don’t Hesitate: As Tara reminds us, “They didn’t start mass-producing things until Louis-Philippe [in the mid-19th century], so anything earlier than that will be one of a kind.” As a result, she says, if you don’t jump on something you love, you may miss it forever.

19th-C. Gustavian Mora Long-Case Clock

19th-c Gustavian Mora Clock: FIND HERE

It’s Okay to Make Them Your Own: Tara is a fan of reupholstering an antique with a fresh, unserious fabric to make it feel as if it’s a usable part of the interior rather than behind a velvet rope. Or she’ll repurpose an object, such as the Italian mortar that she installed as a bathroom sink, to give it a new life. Whatever a piece’s history, it’s yours now, so make it work in your world. As she says, “There are no taboos!””

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}

Timeless French Decorating Ideas {Tara Shaw}


Lovely Finds...

Motivo French Chandelier
Linen Footstool
Cara White Sofa
Rattan Side Table
Beachy White Felicity Sofa
Aidan Gray Collier Lamp
PARIS Framed Print
Round White Saarinen Style Dining Table
Black & White Wool Area Rug
French Tolix Style Metal Side Chair (Set of 2)
Modern Farmhouse Wall Mirror
Linen Curved Loveseat
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
French Country Loveseat
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
French Upholstered Gray Bench
Leather Club Chair
Swedish Writing Desk
French Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
Magnus Table Lamp
Sarah’s Marble Coffee Table
Sarah’s Bedroom Lamp
Sarah’s Chesterfield Sofa
2-Light Chic Sconce
Black Tray Table
Upholstered Bench with Bolsters
Deco Bar Cart
Industrial Task Lamp
Round Wall Mirror
Leather Chesterfield Sofa
Modern Chic Bookcase
Striped Dress Form
Bowie Framed Print
Midcentury Teak & Leather Armchair
Grey Bistro Set
Round Marble Side Table
French Country Chandelier

Peace to you right where you are.




  1. Connie
    April 19, 2018 / 8:01 am

    Yes, I have died and gone to Heaven! I love her style and had you only shown us the dining room photo with that gorgeous white painted floor, I’d be “happier than a pig in slop”. 😉 All the rest of the photos also contributed to a wonderful “eye candy” start to my day.

    But seriously, this home is one I could move right into and say “I’m done.” Not a thing I would change. I love it all!

    These are the kinds of photos I study in earnest to try to “get the look” as much as possible on my slim budget in an area where antiques with any French background never show up. So it’s a lot of “similar look-alike” items for me. 😉

    White rooms: A lovely quieting place where I can let my mind clear itself of the day’s debris. Ahhhhhh………….

    • michele
      April 19, 2018 / 8:41 am

      I love your description of how white can transform your emotional reaction. White truly turns down the volume and can melt away the day’s chaos. So happy you loved the tour! xox

  2. Joanna
    April 19, 2018 / 11:07 am

    You just made the paint decision for me – BM Linen White it is! I’m going to get my light beige walls painted in a lighter warm white color. It’s been a real challenge to pick a white. So many choices!
    Anywho! That office/dining room/library is a dream. I absolutely love every inch of it. I’ve actually pinned it even though it would not suit my less than grand home. But, one can always dream.
    Such a gorgeous home!

    • michele
      April 19, 2018 / 8:32 pm

      It is a gorgeous creamy white, Joanna! A good friend of mine used this throughout her incredible French Country house, and it’s stunning. So warm and rich. Thanks for following, friend! xox

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