Mark your calendars now for “Leading in Design Spring Design Market 2015” set for April 7 and 8 at The Houston Design Center. This year the center’s celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Ready to address “The Business of Design” at the annual event are interior designers extraordinaire Rachel Ashwell, Jan Showers and Barbara Westbrook. Robin K. Mueck, president and CEO of Heritage Texas Properties, will moderate the panel discussion at 11 a.m. April 7 in the Alkusari Stone showroom.

A luncheon buffet follows the keynote program, with book signings and “Design Confidential” one-on-one talks with the luminaries starting at 1:30 p.m. Complimentary valet parking will be provided by Audi Central Houston.

Ashwell, the heart of shabby chic, gives her professional take on character-filled, time- worn and faded elegance bringing comfort and practicality to interiors. The Cambridge, England-born Ashwell will walk guests through her latest book, The World of Shabby Chic, published to mark her 25 years of offering this timeless style of decor to the marketplace. She is also in Texas to tend to her bed-and-breakfast in Round Top, The Prairie, during the 47th Original Round Top Antiques Fair.

Showers, based in Dallas, masters the combination of a variety of periods to create comfortable, understated glamorous spaces. She finds inspiration for her interiors through art, travel, fashion, fine antiques and objects, as well as nature. Showers’ focus for the event is conversations on her book, Glamorous Retreats, a compilation showcasing her work in vacation locales across North America and the Caribbean, from the mountains of Colorado to the beaches of Florida and the Bahamas and to the ranches of Arizona and Texas.

Atlanta design maven Westbrook, known for her Southern touches to antebellum mansions to modern urban high-rise condominiums, discusses her volume, Gracious Rooms. Her expertise and working with venerable talents such as Nancy Braithwaite and Gandy-Peace have earned her a style now compared to Chanel’s little black dress: Effortlessly elegant, comfortably tailored and always classic.

Throughout the two-day extravaganza, the Spring Design Market offers more free lectures, design seminars, continuing education and open houses. To sign up for any event, call the center at 713-864-2660 or visit the website to fill out the online registration at

Written by Barbara Kuntz for CultureMap Houston

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