Thomas & Tara’s Eclectic Collected Home in Nashville
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.
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.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Eclectic, Modern, Vintage
- 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
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