Sitting in her living room, with her dark hair pulled up in a ponytail and feet tucked into the soft pink, re-upholstered, circa 1900 chair, the effervescent Jillian Harris is friendly and open. “I love contemporary design, simple, clean lines with a mix of antique and eclectic pieces,” Harris tells REW.ca.
A celebrity interior designer, former Bachelorette star and co-host of W Network real estate show Love It or List It, Harris has more than a few good ideas about home style. Her Vancouver laneway home is airy and open with 14-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, wide plank hardwood floors upstairs and concrete floors on the main. It is decorated in soft tones, white walls, and pastel pink touches throughout that truly befits the pretty petite brunette.
Harris has transformed this 1,100-square-foot pied-a-terre to suit her signature style with comfy oversized cushions, lots of flower bouquets, and various curios and accessories of different shapes and sizes peppering the space.
There are rows of high-heeled shoes displayed on bookshelves in the spare bedroom, which has been converted into her wardrobe room; a robin-egg-blue deer head hangs by the window in her master bedroom, his antlers perfect for hanging hats or clothes, and well-worn books line select shelves and tables around her home.
Her favourite room is her bedroom. “I love the angled ceiling … it feels like I’m in a cocoon,” she quips. “My bed is by the window and there’s always a soft breeze coming in.” This room is also where, under the glow of her fabulous find – a Home Sense industrial lamp – she answers the hundreds of emails she doesn’t have time to get to during the day.
Her space throughout is in contrast between elegant, fresh, traditional, modern and simple with a liberal dose of classic white and a dash of colour.
Between long days taping and her nightly yoga classes, Harris admits she doesn’t have much time or energy to cook. She often picks up a salad and smoothie for dinner on her way home. But when Justin is in town you can find the couple chopping, alongside each other, on the vintage butcher block island.
“I found this gorgeous antique butcher block at Folkart Interiors and had to have it,” she says, adding the top is new handcrafted from maple. “We love to cook spaghetti bolognaise, beef stroganoff or a veggie chili. I love comfort food.”
Work and Life
On her new show List It or Leave It!, Harris is pit against her co-rival, real estate agent Todd Talbot, who is trying to get homeowners to sell their homes, while Harris is trying to make clients on the show regain their love for their home again.
“Todd is such a blast and we really are like brother and sister,” she says with a laugh adding the show is in its third season and doing incredibly well. “I love doing the show and I’m grateful every day for the opportunity.”
Today, the former Bachelor and Bachelorette star has a lot to smile about. Besides filming List It or Leave It! five days a week, often for 12 hours a day, and Love It Or List It Too (USA), she blogs at least once a week for her Jillian Harris Design website, and makes appearances at home shows across the country. This includes the upcoming Vancouver Home + Design Show where she is set to appear on stage, along with Talbot, Friday, October 23 at 7pm.
She also owns a home in Kelowna with her boyfriend of three years, professional snowboarder Justin Pasutto.
“Justin is great and we have so much fun together,” says the 34-year-old Harris. “Justin is sincere, loving and a fantastic guy.”
Because her show demands she be in Vancouver during the week, Harris heads up to her Kelowna home most weekends unless she has commitments in the city.
“It’s hard sometime because I miss Justin and my dog Nacho, a Boxer from Mexico, that we actually call Noodles,” she says. “However, I feel comfortable here … this laneway house is a mini-version of my Okanagan home.”
Catch Jillian Harris along with her co-host sidekick Todd Talbot at the Vancouver Home + Design Show 2015 running from October 22 to the 25 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. For more information or to purchase tickets to this year’s show, visit www.vancouverhomeanddesignshow.com or call 604-639-2288.
Home Insights Q&A
1) What is the one item in your home you cannot do without?
My vintage [kitchen] island. It’s where I eat, work, throw my stuff down, drink my coffee… it adds so much character!
2) How do describe your decor style?
Feminine eclectic, bright white and airy with splashes of gentle colour and vintage touches.
3) What inspires you?
The past, clothing, beautiful lighting and food.
4) What is your most recent decor indulgence?
I just bought the Stephanie headboard and an Aerin Chandelier from The Cross Décor & Design. I’ve had my eye on the headboard for three years and finally decided to take the plunge.
5) What is the biggest decoration mistake most people make?
Too matchy-matchy and “themed” spaces. A space should reflect you, not a specific theme or trend.