By Mary Jane Ryburn
Moving from a house to a highrise can be challenging. For homeowner Shelia McAdams, it meant relocating from a 12,000-square-foot French country home in Arkansas, where she and her husband raised their family, to a 5,000-square-foot contemporary highrise in Dallas, Texas. Despite the decrease in space, McAdams wanted to make certain she preserved comfort and sophistication in the more compact residence in Dallas—a goal she was able to achieve and now enjoys, thanks to soigné interiors by designer Jan Showers.
When McAdams purchased the condominium as a pied-a-terre in a favorite and familiar city, it was a raw concrete structure. “The fact that it had not yet been built out was a major selling point because it could still be completely customized,” she says. The luxury of a sense of spaciousness was important to McAdams. “Being in a highrise after living in a house, I didn’t want to feel confined—and I don’t.”
McAdams worked with the Dallas firm of Booziotis & Company Architects, which devised an axial floor plan that sculpted the rooms within terraces spaces, including a library and three bedrooms to accommodate family visits. The palette of finishes throughout the home includes the delicate striations of sycamore paneling from Canada, understated moldings, fine nickel hardware and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Dallas skyline and the trees gracing the banks of Turtle Creek.
Showers, along with design associate Susan Wiley, assembled a glamorous mix of antiques, vintage mirrored standouts, contemporary upholstered pieces, art glass and deft graphic touches. The colors, says McAdams, were a given. “I like soft neutrals, especially blue. Jan has a special one, her own robin’s-egg blue that I love.” To that serene tonal field, Showers added glowing bolts of blue and amethyst in decorative glass and silk accent pillows. The dining room walls are glazed a verdant shade of jade, and the master bedroom and its sitting room are limned in Showers’ custom robin’s-egg blue.
Throughout the home, the designer blended a selection of McAdams’ long-cherished belongings, including Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann chairs, with newly purchased furnishings such as French eighteenth-century seating, early nineteenth-century Swedish light fixtures, occasional pieces from Maison Jensen, Art Deco objects and items of Showers’ own design, all enhanced by subtle glimmers of gold and crystal. Pleasures delight the eye everywhere, from original art to Italian gold glass from the 1930s and 1940s to the array of books in various rooms. “Wherever I am,” says the homeowner, “there are always books.”
The stylishness and beauty of these interiors create a soothing sanctuary for the widowed McAdams. “This may be a totally different look for me, but in each room there are two to four objects that came from our house in Arkansas, bits and pieces of familiar. The transition, I think was much easier because I am surrounded by lovely things,” says McAdams. “When I leave, I am always happy to return. It’s a place that feels good to me. A very warm place. That it works for the way I live is an incredible gift.”