'Love it or List It' Star Hilary Farr and Jessica Szohr Talk HGTV's 'Charming' First Holiday Movie 'Designing Christmas' (Exclusive)

Designing Christmas is the "charming and fun" intersection of romance and home renovation that's sure to get you in the seasonal spirit, stars Jessica Szohr and Hilary Farr gush of HGTV's first holiday film. The Gossip Girl alum and Love It or List It star opened up about creating some holiday magic in an interview with PopCulture.com ahead of Designing Christmas' Nov. 11 premiere on discovery+. 

"I'm honored and so pleased to be able to be a part of it," said Szohr, who plays House Sweet Home co-host Stella Murphy in the film. "Christmas is my favorite time of year [and] I think the story that we told is quite charming and fun." Farr, who appears in the movie as Stella's friend and renovation mentor, Frederica "Freddy" Greene, agreed that stepping outside of her realm as a designer and into a movie role was an "unexpected" but "wonderful" change of pace. 

"I did hesitate when I was first asked," she admitted, joking that "First of all, I haven't had to learn lines in 1,000 years." After a meeting with the Designing Christmas production team and learning more about the project, however, the Tough Love host was all in. "HGTV is such a comfortable place for people to be. It's aspirational, but it's also comfortable," she explained. "Very cleverly, [Designing Christmas is] still within the ambiance and arena that is HGTV. ...It isn't saccharine sweet in any way, it just feels true and real."

Designing Christmas follows protagonist Stella Murphy (Szohr) as she and her longtime co-host Pablo Belmonte (Marco Grazzini) attempt to keep their successful home makeover show from going under with an all-important Christmas episode. After the owners of the home slated for their upcoming holiday episode pull out, however, Stella is convinced to take on renovating her family's Victorian home for the cameras in hopes of saving the episode and the show itself. Adding to the draw is the suggestion of Stella's fiancé, Jack (Mykee Selkin), who proposes they combine the reveal with their own onsite wedding live on Christmas Eve. 


With the help of her friend and mentor Frederica "Freddy" Greene (Farr), Stella tries to successfully pair her design aesthetic with that of Pablo's, all while navigating her increasingly-complicated feelings for her co-host. As the house and the foundation of their relationship begin to change, what began as another renovation project might change everything for Stella. "Put it all together [and] this movie has something that's different," Farr told PopCulture. Szohr agreed, "I'm excited for people to see it, and I think it's a really fun, charming movie." Designing Christmas premieres Nov. 11 on discovery+.