Read the latest magazine... Download

Home Style: Clear Vision

Wednesday, 6 September 2023 09:00

By Sharon Parson

Jacqui Elliott Williams has relished bringing this elegant Victorian house back to life with confident ideas, stylish choices and creative flair.

Jacqui Elliott-Williams loves a project when it comes to decorating. "Over the years I've renovated everything from a town house to a Cornish cottage, along with city apartments," she said. "I’m fascinated by interiors, and never happier than when I’m plotting and planning schemes."


The graceful early Regency villa, which had been divided into two properties some 50 years’ ago, still retained many historic exterior features, including its distinctive skirted verandah, and inside was equally inspiring. "The scale of the rooms, soaring ceilings and architecture really fired our imagination," Jacqui recalled. "We could immediately see that there was room for improvement though, not least when it came to making more of the space available, especially on the ground floor."

Their vision was to create a show-stopping space that would not only be practical and efficient but would be ideal for enjoying both family life and entertaining. "We wanted it to feel like a natural extension of the house," explained Jacqui. "So, for instance, we designed a faux fireplace with a mantel above it to house the Aga, and replaced the rather spindly ceiling beams with those that are not only a feature in their own right but support the new slate roof which complements the roof of the main house." In a contemporary nod, however, vast bi-fold doors were also installed along one side, not only flooding the kitchen with light, but leading out to what is now an Italian-inspired courtyard garden.

A self-confessed ‘tidy addict’, Jacqui was adamant there should be ample storage so that clutter didn’t distract from the graceful lines of the overall scheme. Framing an enormous fridge-freezer at one end, for instance, built-in cupboards feature doors which open and slide back to reveal a stylish ‘breakfast station’ and microwave/steam oven on one side, with a generous larder on the other, while the magnificent central island incorporates deep drawers and roomy cupboards on both sides for easy access.

Finally, however, this disruptive period of work was completed and Jacqui was able to fully implement her carefully considered decorative scheme. With such generous proportions, there was scope for bold colour choice, so while much of the overall palette features easy neutrals, greys and whites, rich blue hues have also been incorporated to create a sense of drama here and there, all of which provide an effective backdrop to the furniture, soft furnishings, statement lighting and artwork that have been accumulated over the years or bought especially for this home. 

In the two years since the house became the family’s much-loved home, it has been transformed with ideas and schemes which not only work for 21st-century living, but don’t compromise its graceful character in any way at all. The question, of course, is will Jacqui soon be looking for a new project to satisfy her creativity? "Well,' she laughed, "we’ve no intention of moving anywhere, but after years of successfully renovating our own properties, I’ve now established my own interior design business to help other homeowners bring their ideas to life, and that’s keeping me nicely occupied!"

Photographs: Richard Gadsby / Living4media
Feature words: Sharon Parson / Living4media 

More from Homes and Gardens

  • Homes Extra: Dining Style

    Sara Whatley is singing the praises of the dining table and looking at different styling options for it

  • Warm Your Home, Not The Planet

    With the cost of living having increased during the last couple of years, it’s energising to learn about a company that can help cut the cost of heating and future proof the home as Robert Veitch discovered when he met David Leviseur from Fornax Energy

  • Blooming Times: Spring Fever

    February is often labelled the cruellest month in the horticultural calendar. However, Flo Whitaker suggests there is still plenty of opportunity for growth

  • Home Style: Forest Idyll

    Moving the kitchen became the start of a much bigger project for the Buckinghams, as it created opportunities to change their new home

  • Blooming Times: What's in a Name?

    Botanical Latin may seem daunting, but it’s designed to be helpful and informative, says Flo Whitaker

  • Gardening: The Benefits of Hedges

    Gardeners are a flower-obsessed lot, greedily seeking out the latest, brightest blooms. That’s all very well, but ephemeral flowers need a stage to perform on. Plant a hedge - they add structure, benefit wildlife and look good all year round.

  • Home Style: Treasure Trove

    The interior of a quaint, white-washed cottage in Sussex has been transformed into a colourful home full of character by a couple of keen collectors.

  • Blooming Times: Awesome Alliums

    Easy-going and beloved by bees - now’s the perfect time to plant allium bulbs for a spectacular display next year. Flo Whitaker picks some of her favourites.

  • Homes Extra: Truly, Madly, Deeply

    Fall in love with your soft furnishings again this autumn and make it the season to snuggle up in style, says Sara Whatley

  • Homes Extra: Parasol Power

    Pretty parasols are enjoying their moment in the sun and making our outside spaces spin with style, says Sara Whatley.

  • Blooming Times Garden Lore - Fact or Fiction?

    The horticultural world abounds with bad advice and old wife’s tales, but some pronouncements are scientifically sound, says Flo Whitaker, as she asks, “True, or false?”

  • Home Style: Beaming with Happiness

    Lisa and Matthew Good wanted a property to add value to, sell and move on – but they ended up so enamoured with their renovation that they decided to stay put.

  • Sussex Homes: Transforming a dark and unloved cottage into a Greek Escape

    Helen Robinson has transformed a dark and unloved cottage from 1837 into a bright and inviting space with a Mediterranean feel in St Leonards-on-Sea.

  • Sussex Homes: Transforming a once unloved oast into a colourful and funky family abode

    Sam Fallon, who works in advertising and husband Nick, who works in publishing have transformed a once unloved oast into a colourful and funky family abode near Tunbridge Wells for themselves and their daughters Tilly and Isobel.

  • 7 Sustainable Design Tips For Hosting A Glorious Summer Garden Party

    ​​​​​​​Trying to take responsibility for our carbon footprint doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying ourselves, far from it. With a few changes, we can continue to enjoy life as we know it but with a reduced impact on the planet.

  • 5 eco ways to use old kitchen products in your garden

    So many kitchen and cleaning products ending up in landfill at the end of their lives, just think of all those sponges, scourers and rubber gloves that add to our waste problems! Here’s 5 eco ways to use old kitchen products in your garden.

  • 6 of the best shrubs you can buy and plant for your garden

    If your garden’s looking parched and bare, why not invest in a few shrubs to fill the gaps. Flo Whitaker picks six of the best for late summer colour

  • Stylish Home Upgrades To Help You Save Energy

    One of the biggest issues facing everyone across the country is the cost of living crisis. Whether it’s your weekly shop, new appliances or even where you get your electricity from, the costs have spiralled to a level that is forcing us all to feel the pinch. 

  • Design Trends To Inject Life Into A Boring Bathroom

    For many people, the bathroom can be a problem room in their homes. Changing things around can be expensive and time consuming while the need for a plumber or installer is another common barrier – assuming you can even find one in the first place!

  • What The Average UK House Price Could Get You In Sussex (And Beyond)

    In the UK right now the average house price is estimated at just over £245,000 (as of February 2021). But that figure obviously varies from region to region. So if you're a first-time buyer or looking to move to pastures new, which areas should you be looking at to get the best value for your money?