Meet HGP's New Sponsors

Houses Gardens People celebrates its two-year anniversary soon, and what a better way to party than with my fabulous new sponsors. During the coming days and weeks you'll have a chance to meet them on the blog. Find out what projects they're into, what movies and books get their creative juices goings, and even a few details that might surprise you.

Charter Sponsor JAN SHOWERS

Jan and I go back a couple of decades together, to the days when her showroom was newly opened on Slocum Street, and I was learning how to cover interior design as a new editor at PaperCity. I had never seen anything like it. Full of antique Venetian glass, mirrors, and pale fruitwood furniture from the 30s, 40s, and 50s, it was a whole new feel for Dallas that soon spread to the rest of the country. Her look, which is rooted in the glamour of old Hollywood, just gets better.


In addition to a flourishing interior design business, Jan has a 150-piece collection of furniture and lighting that's carried in seven showrooms nationwide, a new book, Glamorous Rooms, and is working on another book due out in fall 2012. Her sexy new website is up and running as we speak, so check it out here.

HGP: Every time anyone does an interview with you, they ask you to define glamour. I'm going to ask you to define it again, this time in the context of the Great Recession.

JAN SHOWERS: I'll give you an example. When the recession hit, my book was already in the editing phase and scheduled to come out in the fall of 2009. I got a frantic call from my editor at Abrams. Everyone there was so worried about publishing a book about glamour. If it wasn't about cooking or knitting, they were ready to put it on hold. I told her that people crave glamour even more when the economy is bad. Look at what happened during the Depression? It was one of the most glamorous times ever for movies. The sets and the clothes were opulent. The book almost didn't get published, but they listened, and I must have been right because the book's sold really well, and it's already in its 4th printing!

Scene from I am Love, starring Tilda Swinton

HGP: If Audrey, Grace, and Gweneth have inspired your rooms in the past, who's inspiring you now?

JS: I love Tilda Swinton. I just saw her new movie, I am Love. I didn't love the movie as much as I loved the Villa Necchi where it was set. Villa Necchi is a masterpiece of 30s Italian architecture. The movie was set in Milan, but it could have been any city in the world, perfectly portraying the way an upper class family would live and the kinds of things they would surround themselves with. Don't you love those metal doors? I got very excited when I saw those!

Villa Necchi

Villa Necchi

BG restaurant

HGP: What else inspires you?

JS: I love what Kelly Wearstler did at BG, the restaurant at Bergdorf's. Her sense of color is great.

A Room by Bunny Williams, Kips Bay

JS: I also really like what Bunny Williams did at the Kips Bay Showhouse. She mixes things up, throws in glass pieces and art. Her rooms look like people really live there.

Faye Dunnaway, Steve McQueen

JS: I'm inspired by Madmen. Actually, I'm obsessed with it. The hair, the clothes, the design -- it's all so in vogue now. So is the Thomas Crown Affair, the 1968 version with Faye Dunnaway. I hate to say I relate to all that era, and I guess it wasn't the best time for women, although I never felt like being a woman held me back. I didn't know about women's lib until a friend showed me an article in Playboy about it in the early 70s while we were on a trip to Europe!

HGP: What might surprise people if they knew it about you?

JS: That I'm practical. I paint my own nails. I don't have the patience to sit there and have a manicure, so I often do it myself. My favorite nail color is Ballet Slippers by
Esse, because it stays on. I just bought the new Chanel nude color called Jade Rose---looks good, but haven’t tried it yet. I love red toenails and always wear Deborah Lippman polish in My Old Flame.

HGP: What is your biggest fear?

JS: I saw A Piece of Work, the documentary about Joan Rivers, and she said, "You know what Hell is?" and she gets her date book out and opens it. It's empty. All blank pages. "This is Hell. I have to put my sunglasses on to look at it!" My fear is one day not having any projects. I've had projects to work on ever since I was a little girl, every single day. I would not want to open my calendar one day and have it be blank.

Amangiri Resort & Spa

HGP: Aside from another book that's coming out in 2012, what are you working on?

JS: I'm working on a house in Scottsdale set on 12 acres with Marwan Al Sayed, the architect who just finished the Amangiri resort in Utah. He's fabulous. Michael Bouchet is doing the landscaping. Clark Johnson is doing the lighting design, and John Runyon is working on their art collection for the house. It's really a dream team. We're breaking ground next week, after three years of planning. It's going to look like an old stone ruin turned into an incredible residence. It's very secluded, and the whole idea is that it looks like something you might come upon that had been there forever from another century. It's early in the design process, but I'm very inspired by colors of the desert -- sand, sage, and blue sky.