We recently spoke with Dallas designer Jan Showers after blogging about her latest book, “Glamorous Retreats”. Here are some of the highlights from our talk:
Why interior design?
I have always loved houses and the way they are designed fascinates me. My mother had amazing taste- she brought me up to love interior design, antiques, and color.
What inspires you?
Travel, nature, art, books, fashion and people.
Was there a moment in your career you knew you had made it and established yourself as a top designer?
I felt very validated the first time I had a project published in a major magazine. To say that I think of myself as a top designer and have it made is really not part of my thought process- I try to do the best work possible with as much rigor and dedication as I am capable of- If I do that and my client is happy, then I am pleased with my work and consider myself a successful designer.
Is there a field you have not covered that you still wish to explore?
I am eager to do a fabric/wall-covering collection and that is definitely in the works! More news about that soon!
Your new book is all about vacation homes, what is your dream vacation spot?
I always cry when I leave St. Barth’s- It’s the top of the world to me- So I guess it’s my dream vacation. Of course, I love New York, Paris, London, Venice, Lake Como, and summer in Montecito, California.
When you start a new project, what is the first thing you choose?
I would typically choose the antiques and art because they are so important to any room. The rug is a close second.
Complete this sentence: No vacation home is complete without…
Do you have an item in your home, not of your own design, that you feel best represents you?
I adore my dining room and everything in it at our house outside of Dallas- The chandelier by Barovier (designed by Andre Arbus), the Lotus XVI style chairs in their original pale golden yellow, the Donald Kaufman #12 paint on the walls and the very “Sister Parish” buffet I found almost 20 years ago in Paris. None of these are my own design- they are all antiques and I think they represent what I love the most personally.
What do you see as the biggest or most common mistake homeowners make?
Choosing furniture that is the wrong scale- usually too large for the room.
What is currently your favorite color to work with?
Platinum gray mixed with gold metallics and almost any warm gray because it creates the look of natural stone and everything goes with it.
What current trend do you think we will see fade within the next few years?
Drapery, pillows and upholstery all matching in vibrant colors.
What current trend are you in love with?
The undecorated look- not sure it’s a trend, but it’s what I try to achieve- a home that reflects the personality and interests of the owner and one that does not look like a stage set or a hotel room. Hotels are referenced to me a lot by clients and I always tell them that a hotel can be amazing, but even when it is incredible, it can never look personal and truly lived in.
And finally, what is the best piece of design advice you have ever been given and would pass along to someone?
Make sure you truly understand your client and then give them a vision of what their home will ultimately look like. When you both have the same vision based on their needs and desires, you will have a wonderful finished product.
My other piece of advice is about eye level lighting- overhead lighting is used to age actors and actresses- always be sure there is plenty of eye level lighting- lamps, floor lamps and sconces- in every room.
We thank Jan for her insight and time!
Jan’s book is now on sale and can be ordered from amazon: