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August 22, 2011

Absolute personality

Jillian Harris brings her personalized home design to the Calgary Home + Design Show

Pepper Rodriguez

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Jillian Harris may be a popular TV celebrity who has gained fame as a former Bachelorette and current star of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but as far as decorating your home goes she says it’s your own personality that’s the star.

Harris is one of the headliners at the Calgary Home + Design Show on September 22 to 25 at the BMO Centre, Stampede Park, where she will be speaking about how to incorporate your personality in your home décor.

“It’s really important for me to focus not on design trends but personalities. I love to figure out every little quirk and unique quality in a client or project and create personal highlights in my projects,” the interior-designer-turned-TV-star tells Condo Living.

A design star is born
Jillian Harris first became familiar to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fans in Season 7, when she joined the home improvement crew for the “Get on the Bus” campaign. ABC’s former Bachelorette is now a regular at the extremely popular reality show as her affection for design and her naturally bubbly personality has made her a hit with viewers.

But long before she became a reality TV star, Harris has always been a hands-on home design participant from a very young age.

“My mom and family have always been very creative and encouraged me to do the same,” she says, adding she used to re-arrange the furniture at her family home, and paint her own bathroom. “I even fixed up our spare room at home with my allowance money.  Even if my selections were not as beautiful as what my mom had.  I had to add ‘my touch’ to the room.”

It is this can-do spirit that has endeared her to viewers who first became enamoured with this Canadian beauty during her stint in the fourth season of ABC’s The Bachelor where she finished third. She proved so popular though that she starred in The Bachelorette soon after. And now she has found her home as one of the designers in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Alberta homecoming
This will be her first appearance at the Calgary Home + Design Show and it is actually kind of a homecoming for this Peace River, Alberta, native and she’s really excited about the prospect of reconnecting with the city. 

“I hope to bring my pride, energy and sense of community that I miss so much about Calgary. I’ve always had a tight connection with Alberta and am so excited to be back for the show. I am so pumped to chat and teach my discipline on HOW to bring your personality into you space using items you already own and how to do it with an upscale classy manner.”

Though she may be a bona fide TV star, home decorating had always been her first love. Harris went to British Columbia Institute of Technology for her certificate in interior design. Before fame came a-calling, she was working as a restaurant interior designer, and had successfully supervised projects in both Canada and the United States. 

Design reality 
Harris was undoubtedly meant for TV and she became an instant fan favorite, immediately charming America with her irrepressible humor and emotional honesty that came out in full during her turn in both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette shows.

“I’m pretty sure the only way my experience on (those two shows) translates into my new career is bravery. Just going for it is a long time way of life for me and continues to bring me excitement, love, fun and experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything,” she says.

“Now being a designer on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is another story.  This is where I have learned to really bring the clients personality into the space.  To use my knowledge in the design industry but to leave my likes and dislikes behind and adopt the likes and dislikes of my clients. The marriage between THAT knowledge and my knowledge of the industry equals to a fun, exciting, current and VERY personal space.”

Show of shows
Harris won’t be the only celebrity at the Calgary Home + Design Show, which has become a premiere event for the city, regularly attracting thousands of attendees. Among the other headliners for the show this year are Food Network’s Chef Corbin Tomaszeski, star of hit television series Dinner Party Wars, who takes to the stage to walk you through his best kept kitchen secrets.  Local design duo Alykhan Velji and Rosalyn Lazaruk are also presenting chic and stylish DIY projects that will turn your space from drab to fab without breaking the bank.

With more than 350 exhibitors displaying everything from home décor and maintenance, Calgary Home + Design Show — especially with the presence of these year’s headliners ­— promises to be another one-of-a-kind event.



Thur. Sept 22 4-9 pm

Fri. Sept 23 12-9 pm

Sat. Sept 24 10 am - 9 pm

Sun. Sept 25 10 am - 6 pm

BMO Center Stampede Park 20 Roundup Way SE 

Buy online at for a $3 discount.

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