Interior designer Vern Yip gained widespread acclaim largely through his regular appearances on the hugely successful design show “Trading Spaces” on The Learning Channel which began airing over a decade ago. On this show, two sets of participants would redesign a room in each other’s homes with each of the two teams working with the guidance of a professional designer. As one of the recurring design guides, Yip, 45, was well known for his classic and tasteful designs and his calm, easy going demeanor. His sleek style aesthetic and know-how would seem to be products of intensive formal design training. However, what appears on the surface is not totally the case in regards to this respected designer.
Most fans of Yip would be surprised to learn that he never formally attended an interior design school. His keen eye for design and strong attention to detail are traits the designer honed on a non-traditional path. The majority of successful designers received formal training and degrees in design or art. Although Yip has 2 undergraduate degrees and went on to graduate programs, his formal training was not in design. His college degrees are in economics, management, and architecture. Though he has a M. Arch degree from the University of Virginia, which may seem incongruent to his success in interior design, perhaps it is this training in architecture that has lent a trademark clean, structured, and minimalist style – but with periodic Baroque influence – to Yip’s design aesthetic.
Yip’s work as a designer is sought after in all corners of the globe, where he manages projects that range from the smaller scale to extremely high-end clients with eight-figure budgets. In fact, according to his official bio, Yip oversaw the design for a very high-profile 2006 Oscar Awards party. He is a self-described overachiever, garnering multiple awards, from the Best New Nightclub for Atlanta’s Deux Plex Bistro and Nightclub in 1999 and Best New Restaurant for Atlanta’s Fusebox in 1999, to the Southeast Designer of the Year in 2000, and Southern Living magazine’s Distinguished Southerner Award in 2003. Also, in addition to his HGTV presence, he is frequently featured in various media engagements, from Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Oprah, The Today Show, The New York Times, and The Early Show.
Yip maintains a regular presence on several HGTV shows, including hosting “Deserving Design” and judging for “HGTV Design Star.” He is based in Atlanta, where he owns a successful design company, Vern Yip Designs.