POSTS BY Catherine Blubaugh

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Vern Yip

That’s me with Vern!

HGTV is known for having awesome network talent that are both friendly and down-to-earth. Such is definitely the case with Vern Yip. As an intern for HGTV we get to work closely with Vern on our design projects and the other day 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 even let me see. 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.

Vern Yip

This is a pretty good selfie, right?

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 a happy feeling filling up inside me. Vern Yip is a top-notch guy.

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As one of the HGTV Home Studio interns I get to work on some of the coolest projects at HGTV Headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., travel all over the country and work behind the scenes on production shoots for network shows. I can honestly say I have the best job. Fellow intern Sam and I recently got back from a trip to New York City where we got to meet with both the licensing and branding agencies for the HGTV HOME product line, Nancy Fire (the design director for HGTV HOME) and, one of my favorites, HGTV Magazine.

HGTV Magazine

HGTV Home Studio intern Catherine Blubaugh in the HGTV Magazine offices

Not only are the HGTV Magazine images and layouts always so bright and fun, but there is always amazing content so I’m constantly picking up new ideas on ways to style my little college apartment. I was so excited for the chance to go “behind the cover” and meet the people that help make the magic happen. Although this was my second time visiting the magazine*, this time I got to learn about what’s currently happening at the magazine, as well as get a sneak peek of what’s coming up.

The editors truly embrace and embody the spirit of HGTV and make sure that all of the makeovers they showcase in each issue are totally doable for readers. In fact, a lot of the projects featured in the magazine are actually done by the creative editors that work on the content, including one of my favorite features — the front cover. One of the awesome editors we met with was Rae McConville, associate home editor, who helps stage the scenes featured on the cover in collaboration with editor-in-chief Sara Peterson.

Other than the amazing visuals they put together, I love how much of a collaborative effort it is between the magazine’s art and editorial teams, the advertising and marketing teams and the editor-in-chief. The team was so enthusiastic and really made us feel welcome and a part of the action. Now, I can really enjoy flipping through the pages after catching a glimpse of all of the hard work (and fun!) that goes into making each vibrant issue.

*PS – As an intern during the summer of 2013, I helped contribute to the conference room redesign that was featured in the January/February issue of HGTV Magazine. Check out the makeover here >>

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