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BY KRISTIN ALLEN PHOTOS BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY

Shaun Smith, one of the Southeast’s top interior design- ers has received national acclaim for his clean and classic meets contemporary aesthetic and when in search of great antiques, has proved you can go home again.

“I think deep down it was something I always knew I was really good at,” says Shaun Smith on interior design. “However it took me a little while to realize I could make a career out of doing this.”

While his own realization came slowly, the design world was quick to realize Shaun Smith’s talent. A House Beautiful Next Wave Designer and the design mind behind the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse, Smith has been featured in top shelter publications and boasts a beautiful shop on New Orleans’ historic Magazine Street. His projects take him to New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Connecticut and Colorado but this Madison, Mississippi native makes the occasional trip home in search of antiques or other unique finds.

“Obviously, nothing beats sourcing antiques in Parma, Italy or shopping the flea markets in Paris, however there are great antiques to be found close to home,” Smith says. “I have a set of 18 antique high ball glasses that are to die for. I purchased them at Mary’s Antiques in Madison a few years ago and they are a hit at every dinner party.” He includes Antique Shops of Jackson, Nancy Price Interior Design and SummerHouse as regular stops as well.

His own shop is a realization of the clean, sophisticated and decidedly Southern aesthetic Smith is lauded for that strikes a perfect balance of old and new, high and low. Smith’s vintage finds are mixed among ornate antiques, modern art, rare objects and swoon-worthy Christopher Spitzmiller lamps.

“I always strive to achieve a look that appears collected rather than decorated,” states Smith. “As a Southerner I love antiques and the history behind family heirlooms, however I don’t believe your house has to feel ‘old’ because of them. It’s all about the mix.”

This ethos is evident in Smith’s own New Orleans home, a 1900-square-foot ranch that needed renovations but upon walking in, he knew was “the one.” Smith recalls, “I loved the charm of the house and I didn’t want to rip it apart. I wanted to keep as many of the original features I found charming as possible.”

While he calls keeping the baths as-is a “personal challenge,” Smith demonstrates his keen design ability by pairing the home’s original tile with Stark’s “Raphael” wallpaper and an obsidian lacquer creating two elegant spaces.

The dining room’s lacquered walls are his favorite update to the home, one he remembers “just woke everything up.” He continues, “the walls reflect all of the green outside in the day and all of my candles when hosting an evening with friends.”

It’s a home ready for entertaining and guests, as evidenced by the spacious kitchen, a charming butler’s pantry showcasing Smith’s collection of serving pieces and drinkware, as well as two inviting guest bedrooms. Overall, Smith’s smart use of finishes paired with his signature classic-meets-modern approach create a home that is as comfortable as it is sophisticated.

Smith says, “With lots of paint, lacquer, wallpaper and a major kitchen renovation, it landed exactly where I wanted it to.”