Image: Janis Nicolay | Design: Jillian Harris
HGTV decor darling Jillian Harris takes some design chances in her laundry room – and isn’t looking back.
Jillian Harris’s laundry room is as pretty as Grand Central station – but only slightly less busy. The bustling hub also acts as a mud room, coat closet, dog-feeding station, gift-wrapping centre and storage spot, plus a passageway to the garage, pantry, powder room and one of the back doors.
While it’s the epitome of functional, it’s also effortlessly charming – a lot like the bubbly co-star of HGTV’s Love It or List It Vancouver and W Network’s Jillian and Justin herself. Washed in a serene pale blue and accented with luxe marble and vintage elements, the stunning space almost makes doing laundry fun.
It’s so pretty that you’d never guess the inviting decor totally breaks the mould when it comes to Jillian’s style. In fact, the designer, based in Kelowna, B.C., is famous for creating white-on-white interiors. “My fiancé thought I was crazy to do something so different here. He was terrified I’d regret it,” she says with a laugh.
But Jillian was undaunted. “Prior to renovating this house, I got a lot of flak from my Instagram followers for using too much white,” says the Alberta native, who shares the 1980s house with her fiancé, Justin Pasutto, their son, Leo, who turns two in August, and their boxer, Nacho Cilantro. “So I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to go for something new!’”
To create the nostalgic look she wanted for the hard-working room, Jillian paired Shaker-style cabinetry in robin’s egg blue with retro accents like gold-toned hardware, a farmhouse sink with a gooseneck faucet and plenty of wicker baskets and lidded glass canisters. Even though it’s a departure from her usual all-white look, it works. “Our house is a little vintage, a little rustic Cape Cod,” she explains. “This room fits in thanks to the pale blue and gold, the louvred doors and the shiplap walls.”
Though Jillian loves the results, she does have one regret – which involves the kitchen, just upstairs from the laundry room: “I wish I’d put a pullout hamper in the kitchen,” she says. “I end up throwing dirty clothes down the stairs and having them pile up on the floor outside the laundry room.” Even the experts learn from their mistakes.
Before this reno, designer and homeowner Jillian Harris had always bought budget-friendly pre-finished cabinets at big-box stores, but this time she splurged on professional help and hired Clarice Maidment of Home Image Interiors to plan and design them. “Clarice measured everything, from how long my wrapping paper roll was to how many coats we needed to fit in the closet,” says Jillian. “Then, she tweaked the plan to fit it all perfectly.”
Making sure the laundry room could also function as a chic mud room was as easy as adding a long Swedish-style oak bench and a big hook for each member of the growing family. Shiplap wall panelling lends a cottagey appeal to the mudroom. And the bright yellow door – fitted with a dog flap for Nacho Cilantro, the family’s boxer – introduces an unexpected sunny shade to the room.
Choosing a front-loading washer and dryer meant more cabinets could fit above the machines. The clothing rod built in to the cabinet beside the washer lets Jillian hang numerous items to dry at once, while open shelves offer basket storage and towels for pool guests.
A wide window fills the space with daylight, making laundry chores much more pleasurable (hey, anything helps). A floral wrapping paper serves as a pretty decor element when fitted onto a dowel at the craft station; other gift-wrapping essentials can be found in nearby drawers.