Scott McGillivray is back, and this time it’s his own vacation property he’s renovating and redesigning on a special 4-part series Scott’s Own Vacation House, airing March 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada. To get ready for the premiere, we sat down with HGTV Canada’s newest designer Giselle Bullin, who joins fellow designer Debra Salmoni to help transform Scott’s property from a vision into reality.
Read on to learn more about the talented, up-and-coming personality, from her inspirations and style, to her mentors and her ultimate goals.
1. Big Dreams
Giselle wanted to be a designer ever since she was a little girl. In fact, she says it’s always been second nature to her. “As a child, I would always walk into a room and just start analyzing how to make the space more functional, or how to make a space feel more spacious or appealing,” she says. “It’s something I always used to do, I would always rearrange my room, we arranged my living room, all the furniture in the house. I probably made my mom a little crazy at times!”
Giselle isn’t just about making a space prettier or more functional; she’s also taken the time to learn about the renovation side of things by interning alongside a contractor as she was getting into the business. “I would go on job sites and learn about the foundation of homes, and flooring, and electrical. I would never do electrical myself, but I know a thing or two when it comes to building,” she says. “It helps you know what’s possible and what’s not possible with a design.”
3. Business Owner
These days Giselle runs her own business, Top Home Stylist. There, she helps clients design rooms or whole houses, and she also stages homes for the bustling real estate market. “It’s been four years, and I mainly focus on home staging because I own all of my inventory,” she reveals. “It’s great. It brought me to where I am right now.”
4. Switching It Up
Ever wondered whether designers are ever completely satisfied with their own spaces? Giselle is definitely one of those people who always likes to switch things up. But that doesn’t mean she breaks the bank doing it. “If you get the bigger pieces of furniture then you can play around with artwork and other textiles like cushions and spice things up to create a different feel for the space,” she says. “I’m always changing things up. I can’t help it. I just always like to create a different vibe for myself and my family.”
5. The World is Her Oyster
Giselle can find inspiration in a variety of places, but travelling is one of her top sources of imagination when it comes to design. She’s been to Asia, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Grenada, Jamaica, England and a few other places so far in her life, and she can’t wait to travel to more destinations in the future. “I love to change my scenery and go to a different part of the world to experience the culture, the art, the architecture, all of those things combined,” she says. “Every time I leave I am so grateful for that experience in itself. It really humbles me. And then when I get back home, I feel so motivated.”
6. Puppy Love
One face Giselle is always excited to come home to is her fur baby Rari (short for Ferrari). The Pomeranian is turning five years old this year and just recently started his modelling career. He also goes pretty much everywhere with Giselle, although sadly we won’t see him on the show. “He is such a sweetheart. Honestly, I’m just so obsessed with him,” she says. “He is so well behaved, just such a good dog. He’s brought so much love into everybody’s life.”
7. Inspiring the Next Generation
Growing up, Giselle didn’t see anyone like her pursuing their dreams on television, so now that she’s on TV and running a successful business, she’s excited to be a mentor and inspiration for other young women of colour. “A lot of young designers reach out to me,” she reveals, “I am so grateful for all of the positions I’ve been in and the opportunities that came my way, as well as the mentors that I had. So, I like to get on Zoom calls and break things down to others and tell them the honest truth and share tricks and tips.”
8. Her Mentors
One mentor that Giselle would like to give a particular shout out to is Nicole Babb, who is another new face on HGTV thanks to her staging and renovation series, Styled, which she co-hosts with her BFF, Caffery Van Horne. “I’m so proud of her,” Giselle says. “When I started my business she really helped me out-I would rent some things from her in the beginning. And all of the advice she would give me was always really helpful.”
9. Hands-On Experience
Giselle doesn’t discount the amazing experience she’s also had working on Scott’s Own Vacation House with Debra. “It was great getting a lot of hands-on experience and learning from her because she has been doing this a lot longer than I have,” Giselle says. “She’s definitely a great person to learn from, she’s so fun. The energy throughout this whole project has been such a great experience for me. I definitely learned so much from Debra throughout this whole process.”
10. Business 101
So what has Giselle learned from working with Scott? Well, aside from acquiring a new arsenal of dad jokes (if you watch Scott’s Vacation House Rules, you’ve probably picked up a few yourself), she says he taught her a lot about the other side of the industry. “Scott is very patient and he is always willing to teach, which I think is great,” she reveals. “Especially because he knows more of the business side of things. So I definitely learned a lot in that aspect while I was working with Scott.”
Keep up with Giselle on this season of Scott’s Own Vacation House, premiering Monday, March 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada. Watch your favourite HGTV Canada shows on the Global TV App and on STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels. HGTV Canada is available through all major TV service providers.