Jillian Harris shares design tips at Kelowna Home Show

Jillian Harris, the season five Bachelorette who has also starred on The Bachelor and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, spoke to an audience at the 13th annual Kelowna Home Show on Saturday.  - Douglas Farrow / Contributor
Jillian Harris, the season five Bachelorette who has also starred on The Bachelor and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, spoke to an audience at the 13th annual Kelowna Home Show on Saturday.
— image credit: Douglas Farrow / Contributor

A few too many glasses of wine, an episode of The Bachelor and a decision to fill out an application changed the life of Jillian Harris.

The Bachelorette, who has also starred on The Bachelor, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and who will be the host of HGTV's upcoming Canada's Handyman Challenge, was on hand to give interior design advice at the 13th annual Kelowna Home Show on Saturday.

Harris said she is fond of her Bachelor and Bachelorette memories; however, the Los Angeles lifestyle wasn't for her.

"Hot tubs, engagements, broken engagements, front cover of US Weekly—it was really insane. I decided I didn't want any more of that, I just wanted to go back to real life," said Harris.

That real life saw Harris come back into her pre-reality television occupation of interior design.

Harris cut her teeth doing interior design work for Cactus Club in her early 20s. She said that she made a lot of mistakes and that she was in over her head; however, the experience helped her grow.

"I had no education of how to be a designer, but my parents raised me to be fierce and fearless."

Harris's parents moved to Kelowna 10 years ago and she told the audience that she's "always felt like Kelowna is home."

The Peace River native focused her speech around designing your space to make it reflective of yourself.

"For a while, after I was on TV, everybody saw me as this girl next door and I wanted to be her and I wanted to be perfect.

"Then I realized I wasn't being me. I'm kind of a redneck sometimes; I love to sit around a campfire and drink beer; my dad taught me how to burp the ABCs when I was like eight-years-old. I kind of like that I can do that and I'm not going to hide it anymore."

Harris said that this mentality has followed her into designing. She tries to ensure her clients use sentimental items as part of their design scheme.

"I want you to walk into your space and say, 'This is so me.'"

She made several suggestions of how individuals can put items that are currently found in storage, on display. She even suggested turning a wedding dress into a focal point on the wall.

"A beautiful lace wedding dress, hanging on the wall with a vintage hanger—I would much rather have that hang on my wall than some indescript stock image. Something that tells a story, that you connect with."

Harris encouraged the audience to not worry whether or not their space is picture perfect or could go in a magazine.

"Just worry that when you walk into the space, it screams: You.

"And don't be afraid to take risks. A good piece of furniture, if you find something and you love it, it's like a good man. If you love it, great. If you don't like it the next day, you can return it and get a new one."

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