Vern Yip may be best known as the affable, practical, opulently flower-loving panel judge for the entire eight-year run of HGTV’s Design Star, and before that, for his frequent appearances on TLC’s Trading Spaces. But Yip, an Atlanta interior designer, is also a trained architect, has an eponymous home products line and is the author of 2016’s Design Wise, an interiors primer. In the forthcoming Vacation at Home (Running Press, Aug.), he focuses on how to turn a disorganized, stress-inducing home into a serene retreat.
Your new book takes a specific angle: a home can be a personalized oasis. Why will this approach resonate now?
We have less and less time to unwind and relax, and that’s because we feel enormous pressure to put in the hours to get ahead. On top of that, we live in world where we’re expected to be constantly accessible through our phones and laptops. Most people get to go on vacation, if they’re lucky, for two weeks a year; does it make sense that you live the entire year for those two weeks? No, it doesn’t. You should be happy and relaxed and enjoying life, and that burden falls on the home because that’s where you’re going to be spending your most important moments, with friends and family.
How do vacations, and specifically hotels, works as models for how a home should function?
When you go into great hotel room, so many people think, I can finally relax! They’re not responding to the décor; they’re thinking, this room doesn’t have all my stuff in it, and it’s organized and clean. One of the principles of my book is spending time and effort to set the foundation that’s really today’s version of housekeeping: LED bulbs that mean you never have to replace a burned-out bulb; durable quartz countertops that don’t need to be resealed, ever; performance fabrics on the sofa so the dog can sleep on it, the kids can eat ice cream on it, you can take a nap without worrying that you’re going to drool on it.
Where does your philosophy fit in with the minimalism concept, which is so popular now?
There’s been a trend in the shelter space reacting to the fact that people feel overwhelmed at home. Books on minimalism ask, “Do we need all these things?” I personally don’t think it’s livable long-term to have five photos, three books, and one towel to dry your body. I don’t think most people want to live that way. But they do want somebody to rescue them from the chaos that is their lives.
Why do you think people look to you for advice about this?
I have a life that’s relatable to a lot people. My husband and I are two career people with two kids and four dogs, and every day I do what millions of other people do: drop kids off at school, pack lunches, make sure dinner gets on the table, pay the mortgage, feed the dogs. I started my career trying to give people as much design as accessibly as possible, and to honor the fact that we all have different styles. This book is about sharing that information.