Jillian Harris shares the inspiration behind her designs and how a farmhouse project became a labour of love
At Elmira, we have the great privilege of crossing paths with some of the most creative minds and talented interior designers in the industry. When Jillian Harris, television personality and designer extraordinaire, expressed interest in using Elmira Stove Works appliances for several of her projects, we knew our products would perfectly complement her classic yet feminine design aesthetic.
Jillian has become known for transforming her clients’ homes, but this time the project was personal, as she was looking to outfit her 1900s farmhouse and corporate headquarters with an extra touch of vintage charm.
With an illustrious career in front of the camera, Founder of Jillian Harris Design and The Jilly Academy and Co-Founder of The Jilly Box, and helping others in need, to say Jillian wears many hats is an understatement. The multi-hyphenate entrepreneur shows no signs of stopping any time soon. Jillian has created a lifestyle brand that reflects a deep commitment to her team, customers, and community by championing diversity, transparency, and a drive never to stop learning. Though Jillian takes great pride in her work, her family consisting of her son, daughter, fiancé, and two boxers, is her biggest passion.
Recently, we had the chance to catch up with Jillian about her farmhouse renovation, her love of pink, and her take on interior design.
Q. Can you share a little about yourself and how/when you got into design?
I’m the founder of Jillian Harris Design and The Jilly Academy, Co-Author of Fraiche Food Full Hearts, and co-founder of The Jilly Box. I’d say I’m most well-known from my Bachelor/Bachelorette days and being the Co-Host of HGTV’s Love It or List It, Vancouver.
I attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), which ultimately led me down the path of restaurant design. In fact, before my TV days, I worked at Browns Restaurant Group and Cactus Club, where I not only helped to design the restaurants but also oversaw project management of new restaurants, along with many other things. If we go way back, I was passionate about interior design for as long as I can remember, whether it was redecorating my bedroom or selling my parent’s outdated furniture without their permission! LOL!
Q. How would you describe your overall approach to interior design and your aesthetic? What inspires you?
My overarching approach to interior design is a mix of traditional, timeless, light and airy with a touch of femininity. If you’ve seen photos of our current house, you know I like to add little pops of colour (hello pink chairs and headboard), but not too much!
On the other hand, the farmhouse renovation we just completed is VERY different. I wanted to pay homage to the 1900 build by keeping the overall design vintage-inspired, and we totally nailed that in the kitchen with Elmira’s 1950 – 30” Bottom Mount Northstar Fridge and the 1954P – All Electric 30” Northstar Range! As we begin designing our forever home on our farm, I’ve been really inspired by what I would call “European-esque” design. Picture woods, stone, darker tones, lots of texture, less stark white and more beige.
Q. How do you approach kitchen design, in particular?
That really depends on the project. For example, in our farmhouse – with a limited budget and wanting to just do a facelift – I pretty much kept everything that was already existing in the space. We painted the cupboards and ceiling, added a vintage cherry wallpaper, and the cherry on top (pardon the pun, ha ha) was our state-of-the-art Elmira Stove Works appliances, which really tied together the entire space to give it that vintage, yet elevated feel!
Q. Design trends that look to the past are becoming more popular now. What do you think makes trends such as nostalgia and cottagecore so appealing for interior design?
For our new build, I’m really gravitating to a style that is fairly similar to “cottagecore” and brings in rich texture and warmth. I personally love the character involved in the design and think it’s so appealing because it truly is timeless while still providing a welcoming, homey feel.
Q. You used Northstar appliances in your farmhouse project. Why did you choose Elmira products? Why did you select Bisque appliances?
When we took possession of the farm, I didn’t see the potential in upgrading the farmhouse. I only ever envisioned building a new home here and camping on the property in the meantime. But, after a few glasses of wine with my mom and cousins, they saw potential in the space and convinced me that I needed to give it a quick and dirty reno, which instantly got my wheels turning!
I really took to the project, and it got my creative juices flowing. I wanted to redesign it without making it feel like it was a totally new interior. I also wanted to be able to use the space to host and cook, and I was on the hunt for retro appliances to match the rest of the interior. When I discovered Northstar appliances, I knew I had to have them. I went with the Bisque colour because the kitchen is tiny, and it was already very busy with the yellow cupboards and vintage cherry wallpaper. I knew I didn’t want stark white because I wanted the space to feel more “vintage.”
Q. We noticed you use lots of beautiful pink hues in your designs. What is it about pink that you love so much?
I always joke that if I could have a full pink house I would, but I have to compromise because I don’t think Justin would love it! When it comes to pink, there is a very particular soft blush colour that I gravitate towards; I like how it adds a little bit of a feminine flair, without being too much colour. I would say that, in general, I am moving away from pink. But I do love how it acts as an accent colour but is also a neutral that goes with almost everything.
Q. Speaking of pink, we understand you purchased a pink microwave. How did you incorporate it into your design? Was it for your primary residence or the farmhouse?
Because I couldn’t have a fully pink house, I made sure that our Team Jilly HQ had as much pink as my heart desired! From the pink wallpaper to the pink kitchen and even a pink feature wall upstairs, we sure added a lot of pink in such a small space. In fact, the pink kitchen just wasn’t complete without a pink microwave from Northstar.
Q. What do you like most about Elmira Stove Works appliances?
Where do I even begin? First and foremost, I love the vintage design of all of the Elmira Stove Works appliances. They fit perfectly at our farmhouse and even at our Team Jilly HQ. Secondly, I love that all of the appliances are made in CANADA! I don’t know of another appliance company that is designing their products in Canada but manufacturing them here too. Finally, I just love the Elmira team – every conversation I’ve had, every phone call, every email, the team goes above and beyond for their customers!
Q. Your brand vision and values emphasize the importance of giving back and community. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Growing up in Peace River, Alberta, my parents were always so passionate about their community and giving back, and reinvesting in various local organizations. I’ve carried that with me throughout my life and always want to give back as much as I can. From Cameos to partnerships, our 12 Days of Giveaways Campaign, and even a new initiative, “Jilly’s Closet,” we’re always brainstorming ways in which we can reinvest into our local and surrounding communities!
We’d like to thank Jillian Harris for taking the time to chat with us. It is always a treat to speak with those who have a passion for design who also love working with our products. They help us keep our finger on the pulse of the industry and inspire us to continue pushing the limits of our designs. You can stay up to date on Jillian’s latest projects at www.jillianharris.com.
Make sure to follow Jillian on Instagram at @jillian.harris.