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Jan Showers Transforms a Former Bachelor Pad in Preston Hollow

A young couple looked to the designer to blend their diverse collection of art and antiques.
By Ryan Conner |
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Stephanie and Michael Seay read books on their custom bed with their two boys, Hewitt and Wilder. Vintage blush Murano lamps sourced by Jan Showers sit on top of “Jan’s Commode” nightstands from the Jan Showers Collection. The “Sarah” bench from the Jan Showers Collection is upholstered in cream hide from Kyle Bunting, and the rug is “Link” by Moattar Rugs in collaboration with Showers. Artist Greg Miller’s “Before” piece hangs above. Pink throw pillows and bowls from Blue Print add color. Cody Ulrich

Jan Showers Transforms a Former Bachelor Pad in Preston Hollow

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Stephanie and Michael Seay know what they like, but that doesn’t mean their tastes always line up: Michael has been collecting 19th-century art since he was in his 20s. Stephanie has an affinity for pink and sways more toward contemporary works. But their house, equal parts Michael and Stephanie, was blended expertly to complement each of their styles with the help of designer Jan Showers.

The exterior of the couple’s former French-style home welcomes guests.

The couple paired with Showers and her team for the second time—their first collaboration was on a French-style home in University Park in 2011. They knew about her work through magazines and her books, but Stephanie wasn’t so sure that Showers would have the time to take on a young client. Michael called her up, and Showers knew she’d be able to help hone their aesthetic. A couple years later, and they worked together again, this time on a home built in the ’90s in Preston Hollow. The home, a former bachelor’s pad, had its own design challenges. Showers suggested painting and retexturing walls, choosing new carpet, and replacing the banister on the stairs. The couple put their trust in Showers and her designers Zara Taitt and Sarah Brannon. “Even if there’s something I kind of question, it always comes together,” says Stephanie. “I really admire her taste, and it always looks exactly like how I would want it to be.”

“I really admire her taste, and it always looks exactly like how I would want it to be.”

Stephanie Seay

The couple was able to utilize many pieces from their University Park home, including a stunning vintage credenza from France housed in the dining room. When Showers talks about the find, her eyes light up. “It’s all sycamore, which is very rare and difficult to find. It has those curvaceous lines in the front. The interior is incredible and has all of these little drawers. It’s a masterpiece,” Showers says. The designer, who frequently travels to Paris to purchase goods for her showroom, didn’t find it hard to convince the Seays to incorporate quality antique pieces into their spaces. “It’s nice when a young couple understands the value of antiques—buying one good thing instead of 20 things that are not so great,” she says. “They know they’re going to keep them and hand [them] down to their children. That’s important to both of them.”

Thankfully, the home already had gallery-size wall space to house their art collection, which spans decades and genres. True to their tastes, Michael came to the table with an impressive collection of impressionists, while Stephanie has always had an interest in contemporary artists. Together, they’ve amassed an eclectic mix of works, with their passions ever changing and evolving. In the foyer hangs an oversized Mr. Brainwash graffiti piece that the couple picked up in London. In the same vantage point is a famous 19th-century painting by Virginie Demont-Breton, showcased in the dining room. And it all works together beautifully. “It’s nice because Michael and I like to buy art that we like to look at and try not to overthink it,” says Stephanie. “Art is certainly an asset and investment, but ultimately it has to be something you love to live with.”

“I like it to feel glamorous in a way, but livable with kids and dogs and us. You want to feel comfortable, too.”

Stephanie Seay

As for Stephanie’s favorite color? She got her pink room by way of a glamorous office. The space is awash in Showers’ go-to blush tint, Benjamin Moore’s “Queen Anne Pink.” A custom Jan Showers “Plaza” desk with an Edelman leather top and bookshelves filled with family photos, collections, and travel mementos make it one of Stephanie’s favorite spots. “I love sitting and doing work in here. It makes me feel very adult,” she laughs.

In the formal dining room is a prized piece of Michael’s impressionist collection. The 1889 “L’homme est en mer” by Virginie Demont-Breton inspired van Gogh’s painting by the same name. The custom “Zara” dining table and “Marnie” dining chairs from Showers’ collection make for a classic space.;Stephanie sits at the “Plaza” desk in her office. The pink “Audrey” chair from Jan Showers is upholstered in Edelman Leather. Showers accented the paint color with “Garden of Persia” drapery from Schumacher. “I loved that fabric, and it went so well with the Queen Anne Pink,” Showers says. Lighting is always an important component to Showers’ design: She chose a two-tier glass chandelier circa 1930 and a white Murano glass lamp from the 1960s for this room. A custom rug from Interior Resources adds a cozy appeal.

Spend a few minutes in their house, and you’ll hear the Seays’ two young boys, Hewitt, age 4, and Wilder, age 2, bouncing balls down the stairs or running through the family room to give Dad a hug. “The house is never quiet,” Stephanie says. And perhaps you wouldn’t normally think of family-friendly living amongst French antiques and gallery-worthy art. But as the boys run through the house, Stephanie doesn’t flinch. She and Michael have mastered the credo that if you like something, you can figure out how to make it work in your home—even with toddlers. “I like it to feel glamorous in a way, but livable with kids and dogs and us. You want to feel comfortable, too,” she says. “What Jan is so good at is making it all come together and making it fun.”