Celebrity interior designer Kelli Ellis – as seen on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County and TLC’s Clean Sweep – is getting festive for HGTV. During a new one-hour special episode airing Friday (December 14), Kellie decks out actress Haylie Duff‘s Los Angeles home for the full holiday treatment on Celebrity Holiday Homes.
Kelli opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the “vibrant” holiday makeover in Haylie’s Southern California home, her own daughters’ flair for design, and her low-key holiday plans.
CBS: Tell us about your upcoming Celebrity Holiday Homes special on HGTV. What is the show all about?
KE: “Celebrity Holiday Homes is a sneak peek into the homes of three celebrities at the holiday season. We watch as select designers transition the celebrities’ homes into beautiful holiday wonderlands. With the help of each star, the designers create the perfect setting for a celebration with friends and families. Set your DVRs as you are sure to see some ideas you’ll want for your own home! I had the pleasure of working with Haylie Duff in this year’s episode.”
CBS: How do you plan to jazz up Haylie Duff’s house for the holidays? Did she provide input as well?
KE: “Because Haylie is young, fun and a true Southern California star, I wanted to be sure her decor reflected her personality and energy. Haylie was very open to letting me take over her holiday decorating, so I came up with a vibrant, bright, eclectic look that suited her perfectly. I took every color I could find – pink, blue, purple, white, gold, silver, red and lime green – along with multi-colored lights everywhere, help to create a holiday fantasy in her gorgeous home. We had a blast creating some eye-catching decorations and even stopped in the kitchen to whip up one of Haylie’s famous recipes.”
CBS: You also worked with fan favorites on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County. What was that experience like?
KE: “It was great because Jeana Keough and I have obviously worked together as well as friends and neighbors, off camera. My designing and personality are no different in person or on TV, so I am comfortable in either setting. The show is so wildly popular it’s fun to see everyone’s reaction to the show.”
CBS: Where do you derive your design inspirations from? What is your main design philosophy?
KE: “I love to travel with my family. My parents, my daughters, my husband and I take two trips a year to new and different global destinations. I cannot soak up enough influence and culture when I am abroad. I usually come home with an additional piece of luggage stuffed full of books, fabrics and art. I always tell my clients, ‘Anything goes as long as the room has a unifying color.’ Most of my clients have heirlooms, souvenirs and art that they feel ‘doesn’t go’ in the room. The problem actually lies in the flow of the room because it lacks cohesion. A unifying color can bring harmony.”
CBS: How do you plan to decorate your own home for the holiday season?
KE: “After sprucing up Haylie’s home, my mother’s home, and my clients’ homes for the holidays I am going ‘light’ this year. With my daughters going to Australia for the holidays, my husband and I are delighted to be able to sneak away and spend the holiday in a spa.”
CBS: You also have two daughters that are in college. Did you help them design their living spaces?
KE: “My girls are a high school junior and senior, planning their college dorms already! The girls have amazing taste and style, but I am sure when it comes to it, they will ask for my input. Their current rooms at home are a blend of our styles that morph every few months into their ‘new look.’ Truth be told, I love to see their vision and learn a few things from them.”
CBS: Do they share your love for design?
KE: “Yes! Sophia and Alexa are very talented artists, photographers, and sculptors – they have a natural eye for design, balance and composition. I took a very random path to interior design, so it will be fun to see if they arrive at an interior career or use their creativity in other ways.”
CBS: How do you balance your work and family life?
KE: “It’s a fine line between balanced and off-balance, as many working mom’s know. Being a business owner has it’s perks, obviously, working from home being the biggest. My husband, John, is a huge help and support when I cannot be home. Because I have been working on TV, traveling and speaking for over 12 years, we have a pretty good system worked out. When it’s time to stop working, we all make it an effort to spend quality time together minus electronics. And of course, planning our next family vacation keeps us all excited about our next adventure together. With my girls on their way to college soon, I cherish every minute with them.”
Watch Kelli decorate Haylie’s home on HGTV’s Celebrity Holiday Homes this Friday (December 14) at 9 p.m. ET/PT.