Book Review: Jan Shower’s Glamorous Rooms

  Jan Shower’s Glamorous Rooms

Jan Showers is out of Dallas, Texas and is one of the world’s most fashionable interior designers. Her glamorous homes have landed her spots on Top One Hundred Designers lists and is often featured in the pages of virtually every interiors and architecture magazine in the world.  If you are looking for some specific Hollywood Regency Decorating Ideas, then this book is for you.  You will see a lot of detail in Glamourous Rooms, which  showcases the Hollywood Regency styles, and mid century modernism, mixing in some classic 18th-century French furniture.

She owes her design abilities to her mother, she mentions in the first chapter.  Her personal style reflects the influences of Jacequeline Kennedy Onassis, actress Catherine Deneuve in Belle de jour, and Grace Kelly as she was seen in the 50’s.  She recalls how Alfred Hitchcock’s films such as To Catch a Thief, The Talented Mr Ripley, and Plein Soleil, (aka Full Sun or Blazing Sun) filled with costumes and interiors that she admired.  One of her favorite design books reaches back to Dorothy Drapers Decorating is FunThe best thing about Jans book is you take off the exterior cover flap, and you have a leopard print binding, perfect for the coffee table!

At first glance, the rooms I design might appear to be very simple.  It is only after taking a closer look that one discovers the underlying complexity“- Jan Showers

Design like itself should be full of surprises and happy accidents“- Jan Showers

Jan Showers gives us a run down of how she puts together a room.   We list some of her best decorating tips From Glamorous Rooms that you should consider when re-decorating your home.

1. Area Rugs Can Make All The Difference:

The selection of a rug can be one of the most important decisions made early in the design process. Jan says that often times people wish to use smaller rugs, because they want to show off more of their wood or stone floors, but they are always pleased when they see the effect of
a larger rug in the space.
We noticed this ourselves in our home, that an over sized Jute Rug made all the difference compared to two or three small size jute rugs. It completely transformed the space. Jan suggests that rugs should be kept understated and elegant. Low-contrast rugs topically work best with most designs.

While many people may shy away from wearing fur, using vintage skins and cow hides on the floor creates instant glamour. Jan also says that she loves to upholster furniture in white cowhide. Although the look isn’t for everyone, displaying a natural skin rug can be a look representing supreme luxury.

2. What to Do with The Walls For Extravagant Styled Rooms

After the decision of the rugs have been chosen, consider the colors on the walls. Jan recommends to not use wallpaper in living rooms. Although she doesn’t give a reason why, she states that the most beautiful wall are painted French boiserie. These looks are typically panelled walls with beautiful carvings that create depth.

Another avenue to consider are smooth plaster finishes, which can give a rich and soft appearance. Jan suggests heavily lacquered walls can look bold and dramatic! Jan fearlessly gives the advice that highly textured walls with repetitive patterns are not of good style, and something that a person should steer away from. When considering paint, she favors Benjamin Moore, Donald Kaufman and Farrow & Ball, and Fine Paints of Europe because their pigments are quite different from the standard paints. Greens always remain a classic choice in public areas, while ivory is a neutral. Blues can create a calming effect while yellow isn’t suggested for the bedroom can be a superb choice for living rooms. She says that grays are underused, as people shy away from them because they view them as too cold, but that is not the case. Picking the right shade can be everything. Gray almost always creates a incredibly luxurious atmosphere. Deeper colors are better used in entry halls, studies, and bathrooms.

3. Creating Intimacy In Your Largest Rooms:

Challenges- Bringing Forth A Sense of Intimacy in Large Rooms

Homes that have vaulted ceilings are tremendously popular these days, but at the same time it can leave many home owners perplexed on how to decorate such an expansive room. Jan says that large entries with high ceilings can be a barrier to creating a feeling of intimacy, so in those situations the best solution is to use bold furniture.

Another concept to use in these spaces is to hang art at eye level. This brings the eye down, giving it a place to rest in a large stately room. Chandeliers also can be hung at a relatively low height. In this sense, these pieces can bring forth a lower space to counteract the effects of large extensive room.

Jan suggests that large rooms can be an opportunity to create intimacy by dividing rooms into two seating areas, and more if the space allows. By creating pockets of seating areas, the space is reduced creating closeness between people. Smaller spaces give the chance for conversations to flourish and fireplaces are the perfect area for a chance to catch up  with friends and family. Consider stationing a chess table with two chairs or a desk for writing notes or working on a computer. Include game tables or card, puzzles and project tables than the conventional tv as entertainment. Scale is the the most important consideration here.

4. Simpler IS Better With Fabric Selection.

Jan suggests that when considering the scale of furniture, opt for a more relaxed attitude about fabrics. Don’t be too worried about fearing spills or accidents, as glamorous rooms should be designed for luxury. Mix textures extensively. Some of the most extravagant fabrics include cashmeres, linens, silks, velvets, low-sheen satins, and waxed leathers are all luxurious choices. When possible, preserve original upholstery and leather. The British know that the soft patina of aged leather is something that can never be reproduced. Patterns other than stripes on upholstered pieces are not recommended, because they become boring and tiresome over time. Instead, rely on throw pillows that can bring in color and pattern, which can be exchanged out over time. Geometric designs can add in high glamour into a room, while glass pieces and lamps bring in the sparkle and can be the finishing touches.

5. Bring in Statement Pieces.

As the larger elements in the room are establishes such as the sofa, the area rugs, and walls, consider some statement chairs that can be used as accessories. Some of the more refined selections are the Louis XVI Fauteuil Chair, A Klismos Chair, or a Barcelona chair. Quality antiques or classic high style vintage furniture will give the room a high end look like nothing else. These chairs are often statement pieces all on their own, so don’t expect these chairs to be the most comfortable. Jan suggests that rooms which feature ONLY fully upholstered furniture tend to be rather flat and boring. She says too much upholstery is one of the biggest most common mistakes in design, because the overall design lacks detail and interest.  Add in a cane chair or bamboo chair for interest.


Additional Tips

Benches of any size are items that I am always pleased to find when shopping. I favor them for their versatility and practicality. They are also perfect in entry halls and in front of fireplaces.” – Jan Showers

One rule 1 have when designing a house from the ground up is to avoid excessively large bedrooms. They simply never have the right feeling, no matter the scale of the furniture. I once had the challenge of redecorating a bedroom that was entirely too large. There was enough room for three seating areas, in addition to the bed and night tables. One or even two living spaces are fine, but three were entirely too many. The answer in that case was to increase the scale of each piece of furniture, but that is never an ideal solution, as I truly detest furniture that looks as if it is on steroids! – Jan Showers

Glamour is not shiny satin and fox wraps from films of the 1930s. It is not a fad, and it is never over the top. When I think of glamour. I think of the strength of Katharine Hepburn in a black turtleneck and black pants with a red scarf thrown around her neck, or the exquisite unpretentiousness of Audrey Hepburn in Capri pants, ballet Hats, and a white shirt. Glamour is at the intersection of timelessness. simplicity, originality, and unqualified confidence in good taste.” – Jan Showers

I refuse to design “themed rooms.” You cannot have one of everything in a single house. It is highly inappropriate.Nowhere are themes more of a temptation than in private spaces —particularly in ones that ocupy an entire room, such as a study or library. If you wonder for an instant, in choosing a piece for your private space, “Is this going too far?” be assured that the answer is very likely “yes.” – Jan Showers

From Danielle- This book is beautifully done. She knows how to mix textures using fabrics and furniture from any time period, and she definitely has an eye for color and value. I love how she uses color throughout the book…each time the hues are perfect(the platinum/gray living is one of my chic!). The rooms are glamorous and smart while being accessible. I will definitely use this as inspiration for my own home.

By By Kylie Sarley- After devouring all 206 pages of design ideas and beautiful photography I can safely say that Glamorous Rooms will be a forerunner in my design librarythat I am starting to build. The book is divided into 6 “rooms” covering entry halls, living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, private spaces, and outdoor living. Jan Showers shares her portfolio of timeless interior spaces as well as ideas on how to achieve a touch of glamour in your own home. And these ideas are cleverly drawn from her 25 years of experience designing rooms of understated elegance. Several pagesof my copy are already bookmarked — whether they are rooms that I am inspired by or ideas that I wish to reference later and perhaps try in my own home. Until then Glamorous Rooms will be beautifully displayed on my coffee table as even the cloth cover, where Showers pays homage to Hinson & Co.’s Snow Leopard fabric, is glamorous.

By By Ronda Gibbons- Wow! I received this as a gift and what a great gift it has been! My whole house looks “better” just by having this on my coffee table. Not only is it full of beautiful photographs and wonderful tips, but it’s also conversational and easy to read. And the foreword written by Michael Kors was such an added bonus… What a fun glimpse into his and Ms. Showers’ friendship! My mother has since borrowed my copy and doesn’t want to give it back! Needless to say, I will be passing it on… and buying her a copy of her own!

By Sara Jane- Finally, a great guide that demonstrates the components of a truly glamorous interior. Using room types as an organizational tool really focused my attention on the design components for a specific space. She uses well crafted pieces chosen for their ability to communicate with other items regardless of the time period they were made. As noted in the text, she designed many pieces for her collection for that purpose. I also appreciate the demonstration of elegance through simplicity and its durability as a design aesthetic. Jan Showers also has a gift for creating atmosphere through the use of light: natural through windows, multiple layers of light fixtures(especially beautiful lamps), and then the magic of reflective surfaces, mirrors, glass and finishes for moving light deep into a space. I am so thrilled to have the book for my library. It will be a constant source of inspiration.

By Charli- When I think of Jan Showers design the first words that come to mind are glamour and timeless style. This book depicts this beautifully. Not only are the interiors that she creates elegant but they are livable and will never go out of style. This is the perfect book if you are designing a whole house or just re-doing a few rooms. It is divided by rooms so it is extremely accessible and easy to use. She does a wonderful job of showing you how a whole room can be glammed up by just adding a few murano glass bowls or lamps. Can’t wait to get started on my home!!

By By Erin N. Fenstermaker- Jan Showers has the most amazing style and is so talented. Her rooms are never overdone, and are always elegant and sophisticated–but never so much so that you don’t feel like you could actually LIVE in each room. An important balance. And her use of color–this book is just a tutorialon the smart use of color! That is why I have scoured the book, to learn all of the color secrets that I can. Plus, don’t forgetto pay specialattentionto her furniture. She designs a fair amount of the furniture you see in the book, and it mixes so well with both modern pieces from other designers and antique pieces from centuries ago.

By Book Addict- This has got to be the best decorating book I have ever read. Even if her style isn’t your style, this book reads like the designer is giving a class about her decorating techniques. The book is broken down into the various rooms of the house. The author then breaks down every room and talks about the elements(furniture, etc) she uses, making it very easy for the reader to replicate her style for themselves. If only all the other decorating books read like this!

By J Collins- two matching side chairs that dont’ match the sofa. In the dining room, take one muranochandelier, add a table that doesn’t match the surrounding chairs and sideboard. If you want or like the formula, this book has formulas on offer; and perhaps not always bad formulas. (In fact, I though Jan Showers did some pretty dining rooms, but they tend to offer limited scope for individuality to begin with.) But other designers offer a lot more individuality and I had very little sense of the personality of the owners of any of the rooms pictured.

By P. Beavers- I’m impressed. This book is not for people that want their rooms to look like everyman’sorwho want to order a room in a box or achieve a completed room at one go. The book is excellent for those that want to use recycled items regardless if one’s budget is big or small. I’m a bargin hunter and have frequented flea markets, consignment stores, eBay, estate sales, et al, to achieve the looks in this wonderful book. Also, I used elbow grease, paint, upholstry, and repurposed vases, etc. to make gorgeous lamps that look very similar to the high end beauties show cased in the book. While the book’s written words point to principles and approaches, for me, one must study the pictures to see how rooms can sparkle and meld into timeless, beautiful, and comfortable design. The book is particularly helpful when mixing periods and global pieces. By referencing this book, our home has gone from looking ordered, nice, and middle class to refined and spectacular. Wow!

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