Jan Showers has made few changes to her Hillsboro home over the past 50 years. Other than coating the shutters in Benjamin Moore’s Black Forest Green—a darker shade than their previous pale green—the exterior looks the same as it did when she and her husband purchased the property in 1970. The benches flanking the entry were designed by Bunny Williams. Elizabeth Lavin

Interior Designers

Take a Tour of Jan Showers’ Elegant Estate in Hillsboro

The legendary designer's main office is in Dallas, but her heart lies an hour down the road.

Growing up in Hillsboro, Texas, Jan Showers always admired the three-story Colonial Revival that sat just down the street from her childhood home. With its lush tree canopy, stately facade, and classic interiors, it’s easy to see why the 1938 stunner designed by Dallas architecture firm Goodwin & Tatum enamored the future interior designer. “It’s a beautiful piece of property,” she says of the 3-acre estate. “I would come here because we were friends of the family, and I always thought it was a lovely home.”

After high school, Showers moved to Fort Worth for college at Texas Christian University, then to Austin, where her husband, Jim, attended law school at the University of Texas. She never forgot about that Hillsboro house, though, and when Jim announced that he wanted to practice law in her hometown after graduation, she had an announcement of her own: “I said, ‘Well, I only want to go back there if I can live in [that] house.’”

Unfortunately, the property wasn’t for sale, but the couple moved to Hillsboro in the late 1960s anyway and set up house on the same street where Showers grew up and where the home of her dreams sat just out of reach. In 1970, however, the real estate gods looked kindly upon the young couple. “Jim and I went on a trip to Europe, and when we got back, the house was for sale,” says Showers. “We were very lucky to get it, and we’ve lived in it ever since.”

jan shower sunroomAlthough Showers wouldn’t start designing professionally until 1977—and wouldn’t design her first furniture and lighting collection until 1999—by 1970, she’d been helping friends decorate their houses for years, and she relished the opportunity to tackle her own home. “We entertained all the time in those days,” she says. “I wanted the house to look like a comfortable home that you’d love to come to.” Other than painting the walls, redoing the floors, and restoring and modernizing the kitchen, Showers left the interiors mostly as they’d been since 1938. Outside, she added a large terrace, a swimming pool, and a tennis court. “The architects knew what they were doing,” she says. “We have never done anything to this house that was not cosmetic.”

“I wanted the house to look like a comfortable home that you’d love to come to.”

Jan Showers

Showers estimates that she has redecorated the 8,000-square-foot abode three or four times in the past 50 years. “The house was originally decorated in the style of Billy Baldwin,” she says. “Then, in the ’80s, I changed to a more English country look.” But the most notable update occurred in the mid-1990s when Showers started making buying trips to Paris to populate her Dallas showroom. “I was finding different kinds of antiques,” she says. “Everything became more French ’40s. Shopping in Paris was a huge influence on me, and it has definitely influenced the style in this house.”

Today you’ll find treasures by French designers and artists peppered throughout the home—an André Arbus chandelier, Gilbert Poillerat chairs, and Jean Roger ceramics, for starters—alongside fabrics and furnishings that Showers designed for her collections with Kravet. You’ll also find several mainstays—the couple’s growing book collection, for one, which Showers guesses to be somewhere in the thousands, as well as some pieces that have been in the house since the beginning, including the 50-year-old toile drapery in the dressing room. “It’s still in great condition,” she says. “There are parts of it [that show its age], but that makes it more charming.”

Showers and her husband maintain a residence in Dallas, too—a townhouse on Turtle Creek—but they get to Hillsboro as often as possible, as do their two dogs, a 3-year-old Yorkie named Pip and 3-year-old silky terrier named Sis. In addition to being a weekend retreat, the country house is a hub for holiday parties and family gatherings. Showers also has a home office there so she can catch up on work, including putting the finishing touches on her third book, Glamorous Living, due out in September. “I spend as much time as I can here,” she says. “This house is a refuge for me. This is home.”

Credits

  • Interior Design Jan Showers
  • Styling Jenny O'Connor
  • Florals Haile Wossen

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