Viewers were first introduced to designer Vern Yip back in 2000 when he was a regularly featured designer on the home design show that spawned the home design show movement, TLC’s Trading Spaces.
The award-winning designer was born in Happy Valley, Hong Kong, a suitably named hometown for a man known for an easygoing, affable manner, which sets his clients immediately at ease. The laid back manner belies a steely determination and extraordinarily disciplined work ethic. The combination of these qualities has helped him garner his success.
Yip was thrilled to be a part of Trading Spaces, which helped introduce home design to the masses. He believed that the show’s philosophy helped promote his own belief of the concept of “design for all.” He believed that beautiful design should and could be accessible to everyone, regardless of income level. He was the designer that contestants prayed and hoped would be responsible of the redesign in their own homes. He could be counted on to deliver straightforward, elegant designs that didn’t involve bales of hay glued to walls.
Following Trading Spaces, Yip went solo in 2007, hosting HGTV’s Deserving Design. The show focused on rewarding deserving viewers with room makeovers designed by Yip. The homeowner would be told that one room was being made over, but was then surprised with a second bonus room being made over without his knowledge. It was during this show that viewers finally got to see a more fully-fledged view of Yip’s design style, which was now unrestricted by the artificial budget constraints imposed by Trading Spaces.
After Deserving Design wrapped, Yip went on to star alongside HGTV’s Candice Olsen on Design Star, the network’s wildly successful interior design version of American Idol. Finally, viewers get to see a bit of the inner steel that balances out Vern’s outer calm personality. It’s particularly noticeable when he suspects that a contestant isn’t putting his or her all into a design. His outbursts occasionally are hardly surprising given the almost unrelenting high standards that Yip places upon himself.
Yip makes regular guest appearances on other HGTV shows like Bang For Your Buck and the Dream Home Giveaway series, where Yip designed the first ever NYC home given away by the network. He lives with his partner and their two children in Atlanta where he runs his own design firm, Vern Yip Designs.