When it comes to interior design, there’s not much Barnes-based Jacqueline Willers doesn’t know. She shares her style secrets with Vicky Smith
How and why did you start out in interior design?
After studying fashion and textiles, I realised that I was a designer not an artist, the difference being that a designer is given or finds a brief to resolve creatively. It is a creative problem-solving process. This has many challenges: the cost/budget, logistics, practicalities and personal taste working hand-in-hand with good taste and timeless elegance.
Where do you seek inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere, from the change of the season to the colour of the sky and water. There is always a vibe about the client and their location, the way they live and their interests, and this can be reflected in their personal interior and living space. My job is to interpret their lifestyle and make the project individual and unique to their preferences and interests. These can include anything from baroque, fine wine, shooting and spa rooms, to the simple matter of ‘how do I live successfully with five kids?’. Each client is different which makes my career exciting and never boring.
History is fascinating, and looking at old movies pre and post World War II reveals some clever and unusual colour schemes and shapes of furniture that are very appropriate today and for the future. An eclectic mix of old and new is the best recipe for an individual classic contemporary interior that can move from house to house.
Tell us about some of the best projects you’ve worked on?
One of my previous clients, Jimmy Carr, gets up late, so a meeting in his partner’s pink dressing gown was a little strange! A note on Top Gear that he couldn’t buy a new car as he had just spent the budget on new curtains made me smile.
Making family homes look effortless, neat, unique and fun is my real passion. Each home is different and I walk away from all my projects – big or small –happy that I did my best.
Have you had any unusual requests?
They normally come from me, as if there is a nook or cranny I will find a detail or use or feature – we live in London after all where every inch counts. That said, acting as an arbitrator for relationships is often a must!
What’s hot in the world of interiors?
Be true to yourself. Interiors and fashion rotate, so have fun, keep the majority of the scheme neutral, with strong to pale shades running through a palette of constistant colours – not just white. Then punch things up with a hit of whatever you like on cushions and minor pieces of furniture which can be replaced in time. Go mad and crazy! Often a piece of artwork can stimulate a decision. Just have fun, as life is too short – no more 50 shades of taupe please…
What are the simplest ways to make the biggest difference to a home?
Bang for your buck is kitchens and bathrooms, and if you do these well and your house will increase in value. Don’t cut corners otherwise it is worthless at the time to sell.
19 Barnes High Street, Barnes, SW13 9LW; 020 8392 0700; j-design.me
Jacqueline’s top places to source interiors in London:
1 Rebecca Scott
They make all my bespoke furniture. Every detail is professional and they offer good handmade British craftsmanship
2 Colefax and Fowler
Super range of fabrics, very diverse ranges and excellent customer service, a joy to work with
3 Antique shopping
You need some old to offset the new in any house, so google your local antique markets and take yourself out of your comfort zone