If you’re a fan of HGTV then at some point or another you have heard the name Vern Yip – Design Star, Deserving Design, Trading Spaces, ring a bell? Anyway, as an intern for HGTV we get to work closely with Vern on our design projects and today my coworker, Sam, and I made the trip to visit with Vern at his beautiful home just north of the metropolitan area of Atlanta.
This was not my first time talking with Vern, or even meeting with him, but each time I get to interact with him I always walk away thinking “what an incredible human being.” And friends, I don’t just say that about anybody. Besides being a talented and thoughtful designer he is also an incredibly kind and gracious person. Upon entering his home and exchanging pleasant greetings he ushered Sam and I into his well-designed and curated but homey sitting room and offered us refreshments. When Sam and I just said water he asked “how do you like your water? Room temperature, chilled or with ice?” It didn’t feel like we were in a celebrity’s house, it felt like we were just visiting with a friend. We chatted on the couch for a bit about work and design and about how things were going in school. Then he gave us a tour of his home. His whole home. Bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, everything. I was amazed that he was allowing us to take a look at spaces and rooms that my own non-famous friends and family members wouldn’t let me do. I was quite in awe.
Every piece of furniture, every work of art, every object in his home had a story behind it or some kind of sentimental value. They were pieces brought back from his travels (he informed us that he’s been to 47 countries just in the last 5 years!), pieces used in past projects or installations and even the first dining table and chair set from Crate and Barrel that he bought with his first ‘real’ architect’s paycheck – to name a few examples. It was like walking through a museum of his life, but the kind of museum where you are not just allowed but encouraged to sit on the furniture, flip through books and make yourself at home.
One of his design philosophies is that your home should tell the story of who you are. It should be the most comfortable place in the world and styled with pieces that mean something to you, not just replicating something you saw in a catalog or magazine. His home is truly the essence of that philosophy.
As we were preparing to leave what had been the most pleasant morning imaginable we, of course, had to make sure we got some pictures. Vern even insisted that we “take a selfie” with him! It was all too good to be true. We parted ways with hugs, best wishes and promises that this wouldn’t be the last time we meet. I walked down the driveway with a smile on my face and happy feeling filling up inside me. Vern Yip is a top-notch guy.