For The Green Magazine
As I push through the crowd, with a DJ set on one side of me, and cries of "More champagne?" from the other, it's hard to believe that this scene, surrounded by beautiful furniture and artwork, takes place in a shop in Barnes.
But this is no ordinary shop - Jacqueline Willers, the owner, calls it a 'complete lifestyle choice'. Offering the total package of interior design, Jacqueline explains that the aim of the shop is to have "people pop their heads over the top of the stable door at the front, and cry, 'Crumbs, my loo's broken!', and I can help them. It doesn't necessarily have to be the whole house - don't feel intimidated!".
Indeed, intimidation seems to be the last thing this shop will offer, as Jacqueline plans to bring interior design down to a very personal level - even having her two terriers as permanent features of the place. This important reasoning is why 'it simply had to be Barnes'.
"It's a village - a village with a community for crazy people like me!" says Jacqueline. "And interior design is so personal - this is why I don't have a style, it's your house and it should reflect your taste."
At this point, she gets interrupted by someone running up and hugging her enthusiastically. "This is what I mean!", Jacqueline manages to gasp out, in between greeting the people turning up. "A real community spirit..." And these words are earnestly echoed by the Deputy Mayor, Rita Palmer, who seems very proud to be officially opening the shop - with good reason.
Although Jacqueline laughs that she bought the shop 'accidentally', when originally intending to buy some jewellery from across the road, it is clear that this beautiful establishment is a labour of love. And, by the looks of things, it deserves to be a great success as well.