Projects & Case Studies

Interview with Jacqueline Mercer


Jacqueline has been a shoe designer for almost 20 years working with an obsession for interior and garden design. After renovating an Edwardian property into a beautiful home for her family, her raw passion for interiors was ignited! Her previous house was been featured in The Times property, House & Home Magazine, Grazia, Stylist, and Modern Garden. 

After a recent relocation, Jacqueline is now a Londoner embarking on a new life on the Kent coast following her passion for Interior and Garden design due to the success of her Instagram @tinyandthehouse. Currently renovating a 1930s house and garden into her dream family home.


Tell us a little about your kitchen renovation. What did the kitchen space look like before you started renovating?

Last year, we moved from London to the Kent coast. We moved from an Edwardian house into a 1930s house, which is very different in layout and style. The house was partially renovated by the previous owners, but the kitchen space was untouched. It had a very old 90s kitchen that was falling apart and long overdue for an update. The ovens were broken, the sink leaked, cupboard doors didn’t close, and we had woodlice. The space itself was poorly designed and underutilized, with false walls and an arch that made the space feel smaller and less practical. It was livable but not comfortable at all; it was very cold due to lots of drafts and poor insulation. We really could not wait to get started!

What parts of the kitchen did you want to change the most?

Everything! It all had to go. There was nothing to save, really. Tackling the false walls and arch, which wasted space, was essential. I wanted to rip it all out and redesign the space to make it flow better, opening it up into the living room next door to create a great family space. Making it warm, cozy, and inviting was also high on the brief.

Tell us more about why you chose the Portofino range for your kitchen.

The Portofino range is just perfect for our kitchen. As well as being a great family oven, I love the small oven feature in particular—it’s great when I’m just feeding the kids, so I don’t need to heat a large oven space. I love the look of the oven. This cooker would look good in all styles of kitchen. My kitchen has a slightly rustic feel, and I think this oven complements that, but it would equally look good in a modern or industrial kitchen. I love the chunky knobs! I absolutely love the colours it comes in; I nearly went for the green! I hope I don’t regret that.

How you style and place your appliances in the kitchen is often something many people overlook and don’t spend enough time thinking about when designing a kitchen. How did you decide where to place your appliances?

I design the space with convenience and flow in mind. Appliances need to be placed in the right space to make it functional. I started with the cooker, as this is the heart of the kitchen for me. Everything then builds from that—the fridge, the dishwasher, the coffee machine. I played with a few different layout ideas for a while; some may have felt more special, but in the end, I chose the layout where the cooker felt most connected. Cooking is a social thing in our family, and it’s one of the reasons we knocked through to the living room, so it had to be the center of the kitchen.

What factors did you consider?

I really considered convenience first and then built it aesthetically around where I needed things to be. Storage is a big factor for me; I had to make sure my appliances felt balanced with the cupboard sizes.

How would you describe or sum up your new kitchen design in five or less words?

Warm, functional, charming, rustic, considered.

Tell us more about the utility space.

The utility room is exciting for me; I’ve never had an actual utility room before! The house had a small, old porch-type building off the kitchen. It was being used as a utility room, but it was really too small and also served as the access to the garden, making it difficult to hang clothes, etc. Part of my initial plan for the kitchen was to remove a chimney breast to allow more space, but after investigation, it was actually a lot more complicated and expensive than it looked. So, this sent me back to my plans. If I couldn’t have a wider kitchen, maybe I could use that budget to knock into the garage, take a little space from there, and make a bigger utility room. This is turning out to be the best idea. Again, it’s functional and practical and will actually make a big difference to our daily lives. No more clothes in the kitchen!

Where did you get most of your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from so many places: Instagram, Pinterest, magazines, cafes, and shops. It’s everywhere, and it’s amazing what you absorb. I draw a lot of inspiration from my childhood. In particular, we had an elderly neighbor when I was young. Her house was small, nothing grand, but it had a big impact on me. I can still remember it. Things like tongue and groove, jars for storage, open shelves, lots of plants and pots—I just loved the feel of it. It was so layered, lived-in, relaxed, but very charming.

Which Smeg appliances do you find yourself using the most? Do you find you’re surprised by the answer?

To be honest, we use them all; they are all essential. I cook and wash dishes and clothing every single day. I could not give up any of those appliances—haha!

Finally, what advice would you give to anyone tackling a kitchen/utility room renovation?

Think really hard about what would make your home life easier; think about how you live. It’s so easy to look at images of beautiful houses and try to emulate them, but then you might miss that key thing you need. When you get these basics covered, you can make it beautiful. You can style it up, but start with practical.

Get the look


Cooker, 90x60 cm, Portofino, Stainless steel, Hob type: Gas, Type of main oven: Thermo-ventilated, Type of second oven: Static, A, A
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Hood, Chimney Cooker Hoods , Portofino, Stainless steel, 90 cm, A+
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Washing Machine, Free-standing, White, A
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Washer dryer, White, D
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Espresso with Pump, Black, 50's Style
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Blenders, Cream, 50's Style
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Kitchenware, Cookware, Frypans, Black, 50's Style , 24 cm
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Kitchenware, Cookware, Frypans, Black, 50's Style , 30 cm
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Kitchenware, Cookware, Wok, Black, 50's Style , 30 cm
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Kitchenware, Cookware, Casseroles, Black, 50's Style , 26 cm
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Material: Glass
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