He's an architect, designer, author, TV star on two different networks, husband and father of two young children. And, when I spoke to Vern Yip on the phone, he was in the middle of a big interior remodel in Atlanta and the sound of hammers and saws could be heard in the background.
When asked if he ever looks around and wonders what he has gotten himself into, he laughs and says, "All the time."
"But, you work so much in life, you have to love what you do," Yip says.
He must truly love what he does because he just added another job to his list by signing on to the highly anticipated return of "Trading Spaces" on TLC. You can hear all about it and get design tips from Yip at this year's Southern Women's Show.
The event is March 23-25 at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. The Southern Women’s Show features an impressive list of local, regional and national retailers and exhibitors, as well as health and wellness tips, live entertainment, cooking demos and the popular Girls Night Out.
At 2 p.m. March 24, Yip, who says he spent several summers as a child in Savannah, will make his return to the Hostess City with a special meet and greet to share his expert design advice and décor tips.
Yip says he plans to talk about the design tips he showcases in his bestselling book, “Vern Yip's Design Wise: Your Smart Guide to a Beautiful Home.”
"These design tips are ways to really transform your house to a home…
"I do feel we have gotten over a significant hump … where most people don’t feel obligated to buy the entire dining room set or matching love seat," he says. "That was mainstream thought not that long ago… but now, design just became so much more accessible to larger group of people."
He credits that change to the introduction of home makeover shows, Pinterest, design blogs and online shopping — things that were just emerging when "Trading Spaces" debuted in 2000.
For those not familiar with the show, the idea is two design teams have two days and $1,000 to redecorate a room. The show pits neighbor against neighbor and asks the question, "Can a friendship survive this weekend?" The show is credited with being the first in the U.S. to broadly introduce affordable and accessible home design to audiences.
Yip says since he left the show after season four, everybody is always asking, "When are you going back?"
"The show went on long after I left," he says. "I've been at HGTV for a decade now. … It’s exciting to be back. It’s a show that is a part of so many people's history... And I feel like we are coming back at a time when people are hankering for comfort food, and that's why we are seeing a lot of reboots."
Along with the reboot comes some upgrades to the show that Yip says he's excited about.
"What’s great about what they are doing, they are keeping the critical component that everyone loves, but through a modern-day lens. We now have up to $2,000 for the budget… and we are now able to access so many things that we couldn’t in the past. People forget that when we shot the first several seasons of 'Trading Spaces,' there was no online shopping really, no two- or three-day shipping, no Pinterest. Home owners were much less aware of design.
"Now, all that has happened and design is so much more accessible and people feel less inclined to do what their neighbors do or live up to what others are doing. When you feel you have the freedom to make your home the ultimate comfort nest, you are much more invested and it's more rewarding."
In addition to the reboot, Yip says he's busy launching his second fabric collection, a new lighting collection and a new book.
While he makes it look easy, he admits he works hard. "If you don’t love it, it’s too much. It takes a lot of effort. I went to bed at 2 a.m. and got up at 4 a.m. and I've been going all day, but I love what I do."
Other events for this year’s Southern Women’s Show include:
• Award-winning singer, actress and author Patti LaBelle will be live on the Fashion and Entertainment Stage at 1 p.m. March 25.
• The Southern Firefighters Foundation will be dancing down the runway and earning money for the Ronald McDonald House during the Ladies Night Out event at 6 p.m. March 23.
• Food Lion Kitchen Stage is back for three full days and features free cooking demos and tips from chefs, free samples, competitions, coupons and ideas for meals.
• Memorial Health University Medical Center will offer free health screenings for all ages, including glucose panel, BMI evaluations, balance assessments, pulse oxygen, and blood pressure checks. Qualified medical experts will share vital health and wellness information on critical health risks, such as cancer, stroke, heart, bone and joint, bariatrics, diabetes, women’s and children’s health and general fitness and nutrition. In addition, guests can participate in Memorial Health’s healthy eating seminars and exercise demonstrations.