I caught up with Vern Yip, star of HGTV’s way popular design shows, when he popped in to visit I.O. Metro up near the Dallas Galleria last week. Yip has a new partnership with the Little Rock, Arkansas-based store that offers a wide variety of stylish, sleek but hip, good-looking and comfortable home furnishings at most affordable prices and a “made in America” stamp/tag. Yips fans were busting down the door, first in the Allen store, then at the Galleria location. Many brought design dilemmas — and he was so gracious! Yip has formed a new alliance with I.O., will be seen in advertising campaigns and is offering “Vern’s Picks” throughout the stores — these all items Yip has selected as design must-haves.
I sat down on a plush I.O. couch and just went right for the real estate jugular — turns out Yip is also real-estate obsessed and even has a second home in Manhattan:
VY: Second homes are really getting popular because real estate is so affordable now and it really gives you an opportunity to free up your design sense a little.
VY: Oh, let your hair down, explore a different style, do something radically different from the primary residence.
CE: Load it with old furniture?
VY: Second homes are not about old furniture! They are an escape, a retreat, a gathering place for friends and family and the last thing you want to do is have it filled with old leftovers.
CE: Everything new then?
VY: Sometime used is good, sometimes it’s not — but we are not talking —
CE: Furnishings you would have take to the Salvation Army?
VY: Yes. A second home is a good opportunity to reflect a design side of yourself not seen in your primary home. Maybe go for clean lines or contemporary —
CE: If your primary home is traditional?
VY: The design must be functional for less upkeep, not loaded with a ton of stuff.
CE: Like a beach house?
VY: Yes, you need to have furniture that works, that is not just great looking. Closed storage is important. Stain resistant fabrics and furnishing s that do double duty. Second home furniture must work harder.
CE: Good point! So do you have a second home?
VY: My primary home is in Atlanta and I have a second home in New York City.
CE: Do you lease it out? (Pulling out checkbook.)
VY: No! It’ about 800 square feet at Columbus Circle with great views of Central Park. I’m there at last once a month and I always feel more relaxed there — you tend to be more relaxed in your second home because you — literally — leave your baggage in your first home!
CE: That’s what I love, too. OK, so how is it designed?
VY: Clean lines, neutral tone on tone, minimalistic and big, bold art. The windows see nothing but Central Park. I have a sofa bed that is a queen sleeper, and my one bedroom. Simple, easy, what else do you need?
CE: Sounds perfect. Everyone needs a second home in NYC. Thanks Vern!