In "60 Seconds With," ELLE Decor editor Charles Curkin chats with creatives and industry leaders, getting the scoop on their life and work in one minute or less. In this installment, he chats with Jan Showers, the Dallas-based interior decorator and furniture designer. She recently unveiled her second collection for Kravet, which features everything from chairs and sofas to wall coverings and commodes. Showers's one minute starts...now.
You’ve just unveiled your second collection for Kravet. Which pieces are you most proud of?
Oh gosh, well I really love the Anders coffee table, which has the shagreen top with inlaid brass. I go to Italy and France to buy antiques. If I found a piece like that for one of my clients, it would be around 12,000 euros. My version for Kravet is about $2,300. It’s a great bang for your buck. I love chairs. I have a chair fetish, so I would say the Trevor chair is the most comfortable in the collection. That’s my favorite chair.
You’re making a lot of references to Park Avenue in your new collection for Kravet. You’re based in Dallas, so do you feel like you were looking at New York through the lens of a stranger?
I’ve done several apartments in New York, so I don’t feel like I’m a stranger. My clients just bought Lady Gaga’s penthouse there, which I redesigned. I’m not just a southern designer. We do projects in Toronto and London. We haven’t done one in Russia, but anyway.
Would you do one in Russia?
If it were interesting, yes. I was written up in Russian Vogue. I couldn’t read the story, but I heard it was very complimentary.
I sat in the Trevor chair when we met at High Point Market and it’s one of the most comfortable chairs I’ve ever sat in.
I know! I remember first that I liked you and secondly that you liked that chair.
There’s no question to ask, just wanted to say something kind.
Well, thank you so much.
You seem to give a lot of your pieces proper first names like Haines, Kimberley, and Maria. I was wondering if they come to you as your designing or do you play a naming game with your team that involves alcohol?
I keep a list of interesting names at all times. I recently named a series of furniture Desmond, who was a character from the television show Lost. We’re not day-drinkers at the office, but my head designers and I will go out some nights for dinner and martinis and come up with idea.
The luxury condo market in New York seems to be slowing down. What advice would you give to someone leasing an apartment to make it feel more like their own? Take into consideration destruction to the apartment could mean forfeiting a security deposit.
I would recommend spending money on good antiques. They can take them to their next apartment and they make any room look better. Certainly, if they can’t buy antiques, try my Kravet collection. They’re just as good!
I live in a rental and wish I could put up your celery-colored “Bambu Fret” wallpaper. What do you suggest I do if I don’t want to annoy my landlord?
I’d pick a great color and paint the wall instead. That’s cheaper than putting up and taking down wallpaper. If you could get a painter to paint in high-gloss, that would be a great look.
Well, that sounds like advice for renters who don't want to see their security deposit returned when they move out.
I feel like the landlord would like it.
What’s your favorite trend to avoid these days?
I cannot believe that I’m still seeing karate-chopped pillows à la 1982. I walked into a showroom the other day and all the pillows were karate-chopped. It just looks so contrived. Just put them out there and let them be pillows.
I also don’t like bad art and I see a lot of it. It looks like art that you’d see in a hotel room. I tell my clients you can buy good emerging artists for the same price that you’re paying for these terrible things.
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