Will Jacqui win the Showhouse challenge?

  Lanesboro-based interior designer Jacqui Prior will feature on RTÉ’s Showhouse Programme on Thursday night, May 3rd next at 8.30 pm.             For her challenge, she had to design the interior of a 2,800 sq. ft. detached showhouse at Gleann Duchais by Bolterra Developments Ltd. in Moate, Co. Westmeath.             Originally from Beaumont in Dublin, Jacqui now resides in Lanesboro, Co. Longford with her husband Ciaran and three children, Paul aged 9 yrs and twins Richard and Shane aged 5yrs.             In 1999 Jacqui designed and project managed the building of her family home and the seeds of her interior design business were sown. ‘Gradually I had people approaching me and asking for advice on their builds, colour schemes, fabric and furniture selection, etc. I saw an opening in the market for this type of consultancy. This work with private clients in turn led to contacts in the construction industry which led to commissions for showhouses, restaurants, business premises, etc.’ Jacqui has just completed a busy schedule of thirteen showhouse fit-outs in the past twelve months as well as her ongoing consultancy with private clients.             Last November, Jacqui received a call from the show’s producers asking if she would be interested in attending an interview in Dublin. She completed the interview and gave producers her portfolio. A few weeks later, she was contacted to say that she had been selected and filming took place during the first week in March.             Asked if she enjoyed the experience, Jacqui replied, ‘I really did. It was totally different from most showhouses because you have to be there constantly. We saw the showhouse 12 weeks before the show and then we spent a week there during filming. I was hoping that everything would fit, because you can’t do a dry run. The stairs and doors were in, but other than that, it was just a shell.’             Most of her furniture was sourced in Roscommon town. ‘I got all the bedroom furniture from Gerry McNulty. Sean Wallace in Kitchen Couture did the kitchen and the vanity unit in the main bedroom and all the bathroom ware came from Kieran in Bathroom Style at Golf Links Road, Roscommon. Carmel from the Curtain Centre did the curtains and poles for me and all the fabrics and she made the curtains.’             ‘I sourced everything locally. We got a list of suggested suppliers, but they were all in Athlone and the week would be stressfull enough without working with people I didn’t know. I wanted to use suppliers I had worked with, that I knew would do everything I wanted, the way I like it.’             Having spent ten years living and working in Paris it was inevitable that this would have an influence on Jacqui’s style and taste. During this time Jacqui worked in the fashion industry spending a number of years working with Grace Corrieia Couture. ‘Grace was formerly a designer for Christian LaCroix and working with her on a one-to-one basis influenced me greatly in terms of colour, fabric and texture co-ordination.’ Constant exposure in everyday life to the style and grace of Parisian interiors has been a huge influence on Jacqui’s own style.             She believes that chosen fabrics and colour schemes should be timeless and not dictated by the latest trends or fads. ‘I have visited hotels and apartments in Paris furnished and designed in the 1920s and 1930s that still look amazing to this day.’ Jacqui’s work is influenced by the desire to create a comfortable and relaxed envoirnment within a stylish interior.             Jacqui Prior Interior Design has built up a reputation for its stylish and luxurious interior creations, catering for traditional and contemporary styles. Specialising in sourcing soft furnishings, curtains and fabrics, light fittings, pictures, accessories and home furnishings,   Jacqui’s interior design business has gone from strength to strength.             ‘I do a lot of work in Castlerea, Moylough, Tuam and Galway, the business has really fireballed. It started off when I moved from Dublin. My husband was transferred down here. I couldn’t find a house I liked and decided to design and build our own house. Cormac Hoare from Roscommon built my house and did the whole thing. I did the interior and certain people liked my style and asked me for a consultation.             ‘Then I did a showhouse for Sherry FitzGerald P. Burke in Ballyleague and from that people saw the showhouse and fell in love with it.             ‘I’m not a showhouse person, I’m more show home. What’s in fashion and trendy, I’m not into that because then you have to change it. I like something that’s dateless and comfortable. A lot of clients are new build or clients wanting to change their house.             ‘With the advent of all the new design and lifestyle programmes on TV and interior magazines there has been a huge upsurge in interest in interior design. People now are spending a lot of money furnishing their homes to the highest spec and don’t want to make expensive mistakes.’             Indeed in appearing on television Jacqui is following a family tradition, as her father is Tom Jordan, the actor who plays Charlie in Fair City. ‘He appeared in the first episode of Fair City, so he’s the Ken Barlow of Fair City,’ jokes Jacqui. Tom is a regular vistor to the Prior household and a member of Strokestown Golf Club, which he really enjoys.             ‘Getting a good interior designer on board early on in the project can help avoid the mistakes that can be made in terms of layout, etc.’ Jacqui provides a plan reviewing service for new builds which involves looking at the client’s plans and drawings and advising on improvements.             Showhouse will be broadcast on Thursday, May 3rd at 8.30 pm on RTÉ 1.