Well aren’t I a little rebel. Just because I’m a little preppy doesn’t mean that I’m a prude. And yes, I do have a membership at a country club….a country club for filthy rich, rebellious and extremely fashion-forward intellectuals, not accepting applications right now. Or ever. All full. Sorry.
I drink Old Fashioneds while sitting in my perfectly worn Chesterfield, smoking Virginia Slims, ironically of course. I read Sartre and Nietzsche, and prefer European men and purebred dogs (Weimaraners, yes). I need modern twists on traditional forms — dark and sinewy shapes, and patterns that are unexpected and contrast perfectly against each other. I’m not playful but I am sardonic. I’m not girly, but I am sexy. I’m cosmopolitan, but I wouldn’t be caught drinking one….please, 2002 called and they want their fruity chick drink back.
(Thanks to Christopher Kane’s spring 2011 line for the inspiration.)
Oh. Bonjour. Let me tell you a little about myself. I take my modeling very seriously. I like restaurants where dirty martinis are $18. I like movies where the vixen wins the lover. And I like my men to be tall, rich and childless.
When it comes to my fashion and home, I like sexy, soft, yet architectural pieces that are simple and distinctively feminine. I prefer metallic over jewels and satin over linen. I like everything to be streamlined, but not completely stiff; I enjoy a curve here and there. I like things formal and tight. Kill me if I bring home a doily or a ruffle. But I do like a little glam, a little silk and a lot of gold.
And I’m a firm believer that a cocktail table can just be as sexy as the cocktail that is sitting on it, and a perfectly adorned lamp is all the moonlighting you need for my intimate gatherings. Where mainly men are invited.
HGTV Design Star judge Vern Yip is an award-winning architect and interior designer. He gained national acclaim through his private design practice and as a designer on TLC’s Trading Spaces, NBC’s Home Intervention and HGTV’s Deserving Design. He is frequently seen on such television shows as Today, The Early Show, Oprah and Live! With Regis and Kelly. Vern sat down with HGTV’s Lindsey Weidhorn to dish on his amazing interior design journey and why he says gray is the new neutral.
1. When did you realize you wanted to be a designer?
It is pretty crazy to say this, but I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to design. My parents brought me over from Hong Kong when I was two months old. They had previously fled Communist China and wanted me to have access to the best schooling possible. By doing this, they made major career sacrifices. My dad, who was a biochemist, took a job as a busboy at the Marriott hotel in Arlington, Virginia and my mom, who was a child psychiatrist, took a job washing floors in a bank. Of course, knowing all of the sacrifices they had made for me, I wanted to please them. They wanted me to be a doctor because that is a revered profession in Chinese culture and a stable job. I knew, however, that I loved to design. After finishing the pre-med program at The University of Virginia, I took the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and got into medical school, but two weeks before school started, I told my mom that I couldn’t go through with it because I needed to design. She was not surprised. Moms are never surprised.
More From Vern
We’re down to the final four — Courtland, Emily, Casey and Michael — and Vern invites the contestants to brunch at Aarón Sanchez’s Centrico. He wants them to take the morning and relax. Everyone is exhausted and so happy to indulge after all the pressure leading up to this point. I mean, I’d need some rest after being subjected to all those wall murals, am I right?
First course is a tropical fruit salad, second is huevos rancheros, third is an elegant corn tamale and fourth is rice pudding empanadas with a mango chutney. They gulp it all down while patting each other on the back. Suddenly Vern walks in with the chef. Like I’ve said before, you never want to see Vern walk in. It’s almost always bad news.
Turns out chef Aarón Sanchez has one of the biggest hits on the Food Network, Chefs vs. City. The contestants are to choose one of the dishes they’ve just devoured as inspiration for this week’s challenge: to create a dining room space. Casey chooses the tamale, Courtland goes with the empanadas, Emily chooses huevos rancheros, which means Michael is left with the fruit salad. The twist is that they have to start with a very lived-in space and must repurpose furniture and materials to create their designs. As if deriving design inspiration from the taste of a meal isn’t hard enough.
Read the rest over at the Design Star Blog
This week begins with the red team returning to the apartment without Nina, and Stacey could not be happier: “This is probably the best outcome of any elimination to date. She’s gone. Like, do you know what a relief that is?” Meaning Stacey read the note I slipped her WORD FOR WORD.
The contestants meet Vern in the lobby of Trump Tower to meet Donald Trump, Jr. who is going to help judge the challenge this week. Each team has to design a model apartment in the brand new Trump property, The Trump Plaza Residences in Jersey City. Don, Jr., explains that the Trump look is consistently about luxury, but that it has to be contextual, which in this instance means it should reflect Jersey City. And since the Trumps are all about New York, each contestant must choose a New York City souvenir package and physically incorporate it into their designs. Uh, Design Star? Have you ever seen a souvenir? About as luxurious as an ingrown hair.
Casey takes the architectural package, Stacy grabs the yellow taxi bag, Alex selects the Big Apple package, Tom takes the Statue of Liberty, Emily gets the subway bag, Courtland takes the Times Square package, leaving Michael with the Broadway souvenirs. They head out to their apartments and the blue team immediately decides to apply crown molding. Emily worries it’s going to be a time suck. These designers have to realize at this point that if their gut is telling them TIME SUCK, then the reality is going to be TIME BLACK HOLE.
Read the rest of Dooce’s review»
We begin with the men returning to the apartment without Trent, and there seems to be a sigh of relief from everyone. Alex admits he’s disappointed with his performance so far, and he plans to step it up this week. I think that’s one refrain you always hear in these kinds of competitions: “This week I’ll show them!” Along with, “I’m not here to make friends.” I’m just waiting for that one.
This week’s challenge starts outside a flower shop when Candice announces each designer gets to choose the flower that inspires them the most. None of the contestants know which flower any of the others are choosing, and finally Vern walks out with a bouquet made up of each team’s combined choices. They must design a studio apartment based on the overall team bouquet and also incorporate their own individual floral inspiration.
The men’s bouquet is, as Courtland describes, “easy on the eye.” Clean, minimal, soft and fresh, made up of ranunculus, tulip, calla lily and snapdragon. Whereas the women’s bouquet is much more overtly romantic and whimsical: orchid, daffodil, carnation, hyacinth and wax flower. Immediately Dan starts to try to fight for himself and warns the women that in the last challenge they tackled too many construction-heavy projects, meaning ALL HIM. Can they please shop a bit more this time? Does he really have to say that to a car full of women? IN NEW YORK CITY?!
Read the rest of Dooce’s review»
Is it episode three already? It is, and as Nina points out very wisely as the men celebrate their win, “The fall from the top is a long way down.” She was on top the first week, in the bottom two last week. Already Design Star is saying to the contestants, WE EAT EGOS LIKE YOURS FOR BREAKFAST.
Immediately the contestants walk out onto the rooftop of Trump International Hotel and Tower where a jazz band is getting down. Oh, jazz. You cute little acquired musical taste. Like hot, diluted beer on an uncovered patio in the desert. My husband loves you. I love him despite this.
Vern tells the ladies to choose one guy to join their team since the numbers are lopsided four to six (women being the first two eliminated). After a tiny bit of whispering they choose Dan, they say because of his skills and his nice energy, an infusion the women could really use. Really, it’s not because he’s so cute and has that adorable Southern accent? Those things come in handy when you’re sewing curtains.
This week’s challenge is to design a 200-square-foot outdoor terrace inspired by music, what Vern describes as one of the most difficult Design Star challenges ever…
Click over to HGTV Design Star blog for the rest
It’s episode two of HGTV Design Star, and before the credits even roll I’m having a hard time not wishing that someone would accidentally spill their beer all over Nina’s head. Because then maybe she would stop using her mouth to dig her own grave.
Emily Henderson, Nina Ferrer and Tera Hampton from HGTV Design Star
Also, for a second there before they flashed the name Casey on the screen, I thought Reese Witherspoon had suddenly joined Design Star. How awesome would that be? GET YER STUBBORN SELF DOWN HERE AND GET ME SOME BROCADE.
This week! The first Design Star fashion show. Contestants are challenged to design an apartment based on the design of an outfit, and among the choices are an elegant evening gown, pajamas, suits, even a wedding gown. Nina grabs the evening gown, Courtland grabs a suit, and so on, until Genevieve drops the catch: two teams. Men vs. women.
And every outfit chosen by each designer has to be incorporated into the design. That’s five completely different looks per apartment… um… Design Star? I think your rules are cute and all, but I think they may have a methamphetamine problem.
Click over to the HGTV Design Star blog for the rest »
In honor of Black History Month, we’re honoring some of today’s most inspiring African-American designers. This week we interviewed Kim Myles, former HGTV Design Star winner and Los Angeles designer. Kim hosts Myles of Style on HGTV where she helps ordinary homeowners create spaces they love. Kim dished with us on her inspirations and the most memorable room she’s designed.
Which African-American designers influenced you?
Sheila Bridges stands out for me because of her deft use of strong colors and shapes, as well as her bold personal look.
What’s your favorite design style?
I don’t play favorites! I love mixing different styles and influences — it gives rooms a sense of history. It’s kind of like being at a dinner party: I want to be seated next to the guest who’s got varied interests and experiences to relate versus the person who only talks politics.
What’s the essential home accessory (or piece of furniture) you use in your designs? More From Kim
I enjoyed watching Design Star’s infamous kitchen challenge this past Sunday. Although neither team did outstanding, the team with the Moroccan-Italian fusion kitchen did least finish their project. Most everyone agrees that one of the best design elements in that kitchen was Torie’s tin tile backsplash (you can give your opinion too). It was a good idea, a tin tile backsplash is easy to install, no power tools are needed and it doesn’t cost big bucks. Here are some written and video instructions on how to do it in your kitchen.
Make over your space with paint! Our newest Design Star, Jennifer Bertrand, has some easy-to-do paint techniques for updating furniture, kitchen cabinets, walls and even creating an outdoor rug.
Jennifer Bertrand, winner of Design Star season three.
Want to add visual interest to your walls? Follow her step-by-step instructions on painting horizontal stripes around a room.
Freshen up your kitchen cabinets with a new coat of paint. Plus, see how to add a cool antique touch to them.
Don’t miss any of her step-by-step videos and get all the rest of her projects here.