When we last spoke to Love It Or List It Vancouver co-host Jillian Harris in 2013, the energetic Canadian interior designer reflected on her experiences managing home design projects on the popular show. The gorgeous Peace River, Alberta-born decorating guru first graced the screen as a contestant on The Bachelor in 2009 and then as the star of Season 5 of The Bachelorette.
Three years later, the W Network series has developed even further, and presented Harris and her co-host Todd Talbot with even greater challenges on the air. Just in time for Spring 2016 home makeovers, we caught up with Harris about her favourite design moments, her dream home and the intriguing partnership of décor and fashion.
Love It Or List It airs Mondays on W Network at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Real Style: When we last spoke in 2013, you talked to us about your experience filming Love It Or List It Vancouver. In the past couple of years, what have been your top design moments on the show?
Jillian Harris: I think just seeing the show’s design evolve, we continued to get more timeless and really classic spaces. We’ve done so many projects, we’ve turned garages into offices, we’ve turned garages into bedrooms. We’ve done so many character homes. But I think just seeing how connected people are with their homes. I’m actually the kind of person who would renovate a home and then list it. I technically don’t believe in staying, I like constantly rotating, but I’ve realized that people are really attached to their homes. Once they renovate it, they usually don’t want to go.
Real Style: You also made a splash on TV as a former Bachelorette. Do you think that being on that show has been helpful to your career?
Jillian: I was a designer before, and there’s no way of telling where my career would be now if I didn’t do The Bachelorette. I like to think I would be successful, but I have no idea where I would be. The show just took it to a whole new level. I think being able to partner with brands like Excel, the show helped me do that. I probably would have been a designer before, but I like public speaking. I like being that voice. Being on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette made me a household name, so to speak, and it gave me that avenue to become a voice- which is awesome.
Real Style: If you had to describe your dream home, what would the interior design aesthetic look like?
Jillian: I’m actually designing our dream home right now. A lot of less white, a lot of really natural finishes and woods, open beams, big beautiful concrete fireplaces. Oversized fireplaces, not a lot of knick-knacks, oversized furniture, really comfortable, massive couches that you could just plop yourself on. Nothing too stuffy. Lots of windows, lots of natural light.
Real Style: What are some of the unique challenges of working in the Canadian interior design and décor industry?
Jillian: One of the unique challenges might be our weather. I love outdoor spaces, and I love being able to create a living spaces outdoors. I feel in Arizona or down South, people have some beautiful outdoor spaces, verandahs. I’d love to come home to a beautiful white verandah, with a couch and a little throw blanket. But it’s not possible to do that in Vancouver! In the summer, it’s raining all the time. I think that’s definitely a struggle, but other than that, I think we’re pretty lucky. We get all four seasons, and we get the opportunity to decorate for Christmas and for summer. I also don’t have too many experiences of decorating in any other country in the world, so I don’t have much to compare it to.
Real Style: Your website also features fashion content in addition to design. In your opinion, how do fashion and interior design intersect with each other?
Jillian: I think that fashion and interior design (even food and lifestyle) are all entwined. There are some designers who design very precious, expensive spaces and I think that their clientele obviously is a reflection of that. For me, I think my clientele is a huge reflection of my life, my design and the way I shop. So keeping things really simple, natural. A lot of my clients who like that approach have the same kind of sense of life. Even this year, I’m attracted to white linens, light greys, distressed jeans. I’m probably the last person who is going to have a completely polished, perfectly layered and accessorized look, it’s just not my style.