Thomas & Tara’s Eclectic Collected Home in Nashville

published Aug 29, 2015
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(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

Name: Thomas and Tara Steffen
Location: Nashville, TN
Size: 2,650 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years; Owned

Who buys a house based on the wallpaper and lighting fixture in the front entryway? Tara does. She fell in love with her mid-century home the moment she walked in the door. This house, with its bright pops of color and classic lines, is just perfect to house her ever-evolving collections.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

Gallery walls are quite the trend these days and Tara has turned them into an art form. She mixes inherited items with vintage finds and European treasures. You could spend hours admiring each wall, and each item has a fascinating story. For example, one of the silhouettes on her front entry wall is of her husband’s great aunt who was a nurse in England during World War ll.

Part of Tara’s job (for a major kitchenware company) involves traveling to Europe on a regular basis. These travels have broadened her view of decorating and have provided her with quite a few collectables. She adds to these treasures various vintage finds from estate sales and the Nashville Flea Market. Mix all of that with her flair for decorating and you get a one-of-a-kind home that is a pleasure to be in.

(Image credit: Monique Larroux)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic, Modern, Vintage

Inspiration: I travel to Europe frequently for work and love everything about France and Spain. When I am there, I am in pure awe that the restaurants, homes, and outdoor spaces look naturally there what we try and re-create here.

  • Fun designers: Thomas O’Brien, Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, Emily Henderson, Mary McDonald, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Hermes, Goyard, Iris Apfel, India Hicks, and Novogratz
  • Fun Local: Make + Model (Brandy Adams), Pencil and Paper (Gen Sohr), Trot Design (Colleen Trot), and Kayce Hughes
  • My hobby is browsing flea markets, antique stores, and yard sales so I love Lara Spencer and her flea market book. My favorite flea market is in Paris – it is amazing! My goal is to do the longest yard sale with my mother!

Favorite Element: My outdoor patio at night under the fun lighting and candles. For design, I love artwork – any kind, from my 7-year-old’s art to European etchings, watercolors, oil paintings, plates, taxidermy, etc. I am crazy for anything I can hang on the wall!

Biggest Challenge: Mixing all the styles that I love without it being too overwhelming, and collecting too much stuff

What Friends Say: “How do you think to put all these crazy things together and make it look good?” “This makes me want to go home and change my house.” “It feels so comfortable and inviting.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Turning 40 this year has helped me not be as embarrassed with myself and embrace my craziness! I am an old soul that likes to collect and has a slight hoarding trait so don’t open the drawers, closets or attic.

Proudest DIY: Hall bathroom — I didn’t do it but it looks fabulous. What a transformation! We had a dated green tile bath that we had re-surfaced white. It looks amazing now. Also, I love finding French provincial chairs at estate sales and painting them a fun color or black then recovering with a fun print. The problem now is that I don’t need anymore chairs.

Biggest Indulgence: Light Fixtures

Best Advice: Buy what you like — “If you love it, buy it!” (It doesn’t have to be valuable, it can be a $2 piece of milk glass — sometimes the small items become the best treasures.) “Don’t worry what others like! It’s your house so make it what your love!”

Dream Sources: Arteriors, First Dibs, ABC Carpet, Flea Markets, Estate Sales, Anthropologie, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Make + Model, West Elm, CB2, Jonathan Adler, Dwell Studio


(Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Porter Paint: White
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Black cabinet: Pageland Antique Mall, Pageland, SC
  • Chest: estate sale
  • Orange chair: CB2
  • Artwork: One Kings Lane
  • Lamp: West Elm
  • Wallpaper: Orla Kiely
  • Artwork: Vintage
  • Silhouettes: Custom
  • Plates and artwork: from family
  • Yellow plate: Anthropologie
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Green campaign chest: Make + Model
  • Black French Chair: Ryan & Co
  • Green zebra pillow: Dwell Studio
  • Gold zebra pillow: Target
  • White Chinese lamp: Make & Model
  • Gold Japanese stool: West Elm
  • Elephant stool: Make + Model
  • Couch: West Elm
  • Yellow pillows: Dwell Studio
  • Bar cart: Ballard Design
  • Club chairs: Henredon
  • Ottoman: Henredon
  • White vases: HomeGoods
  • Secretary: Henredon
  • Brass lamp: Ryan & Co
  • Cowhide rug: Nashville Flea Market
  • Coffee table: Make+Model
  • Yellow trays: West Elm
  • White side table: West Elm
  • Sisal rug: West Elm
  • New York print: Urban Outfitters
  • Black/White vase: Target
  • Artwork: vintage
  • Gold floor lamp: Urban Outfitters
  • China cabinet: Pageland Antique Mall
  • Curtains: West Elm
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Island lighting: large Hicks pendant from Circa Lighting
  • Lucite bar stools: CB2
  • Rug: Ryan & Co., Knoxville, TN
  • Black cane chair: Estate Sale
  • Animal stool: IKEA
  • White dinnerware: Emile Henry
  • Copper cookware: Mauviel
  • Glasses: Duralex
  • Stainless steel bar tools: Rosle
  • Ribbon stool: West Elm
  • Lamp: Target
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Headboard: Mid Century Salvage, Charlotte, NC
  • XOXO: HomeGoods
  • Vintage prints: Ryan & Co
  • Zebra rug: Home Decorators
  • Oriental rug: Ryan & Co
  • Orange table: Land of Nod
  • Vintage stools: estate sales
  • Brown couch: Pageland Antique Mall
  • Gray lamp: HomeGoods
  • Dresser: Pageland Antique Mall
  • Chest: Pageland Antique Mall
  • Nightstands: Ryan & Co
  • Orange chair: Mid Century Salvage
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • French chair: Ryan & Co
  • Gold tables: Estate Sale
  • Rug: Pageland Antique Mall
  • Artwork: estate sales, flea markets
  • Plate: Anthropologie
  • Brass planter: Estate Sale
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Chest: Cottage Door Antiques and Gifts, Knoxville, TN
  • Bed: Grandfather’s
  • Bedding: Pottery Barn
  • Leather chair: Ryan & Co, Knoxville, TN
  • S light: Urban Outfitters
  • Railroad sign: Grandmother’s
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Headboard: Mid Century Salvage
  • Pillows: Orla Kiely from Bed Bath and Beyond
  • Rug: Nashville Flea Market
  • Chest: Pageland Antique Mall
  • Starburst mirror: HomeGoods
  • Artwork: original by Julia Walters
  • Curtains: West Elm
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)
  • Juju Hat: Make + Model
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Wallpaper: Peony from Urban Outfitters
  • Tobacco baskets: Grandmother’s
  • Couch: Ikea
  • Souk rug: West Elm
  • Mid-Century credenza: Mid Century Salvage, Charlotte, NC
  • Poufs: CB2
  • Lucite coffee table: CB2
  • Vintage chalkware lamps: Make + Model
  • Bergere chairs with Waverly Ellis turquoise fabric: Ryan & Co, Knoxville, TN
  • Ceiling light: Jonathan Adler
  • Vintage Chippendale pagoda mirror: Make + Model
  • Floor lamp: Jonathan Adler Meurice Collection brass floor lamp
  • Milk glass: vintage
  • Landscape artwork: One Kings Lane
  • Game: vintage
  • Curtains: West Elm
  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Over-desk light: small Hicks pendant from Circa Lighting
  • Chest: Make + Model
  • Vintage Paris prints: Paris Flea Market, Ryan & Co
  • Ceramic turtleshell: Target
  • Lady oil painting: Make + Model
  • Cowhide rug: Ikea
  • Sisal rug: West Elm
  • Green shelf: CB2
  • Tulip table: Ikea
  • Lucite chairs: Ikea
  • French chair: Ryan & Co
  • Mud cloth: Make + Model
  • Wallpaper: Seabrook

  • (Image credit: Monique Larroux)


  • Green chairs: Make+Model
  • White bench: Make+Model
  • Coffee table: West Elm
  • Orange pillows: Gas Lamp Antique Store
  • Colorful pillows: Novogratz collection from Walmart
  • CUBA pillow: Jonathan Adler
  • Orange chairs: Make+Model
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    Thanks, Thomas & Tara!