City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Interview with Atlanta’s own Vern Yip (”HGTV Design Star,” “Deserving Design”)

Atlanta interior designer Vern Yip, after finishing his run with TLC’s “Trading Spaces” in 2003, spent a few years fishing around for a new home on TV.

He tried primetime on NBC with “Home Intervention.” But that only lasted one episode. He wrote a book. He continued to work with his own design firm.

Then HGTV came calling in 2006. The network placed him as a judge on “HGTV Design Star” and liked him so much, it gave him his very own show called “Deserving Design.”

Yip had found his home.

“Design Star,” which typically draws three or more million people a week on Sunday nights, has already created two HGTV stars with their own shows: studly David Bromstad from season one and sweet Kim Myles from season two.

For its fourth season debuting Sunday at 10 p.m., “Design Star” moved to Los Angeles, allowing for some guest stars (Kathy Griffin, Jason Priestley, Tiffany Thiessen) and forcing Yip to get a temporary pad in Santa Monica. “I wanted to make sure if I was in L.A., I’d be near a beach,” he said. “That’s one thing we don’t have here in Atlanta.”

Yip, the only person who has been a judge all four seasons, is genuinely excited about this year’s crew of contestants.

“We attracted a really high caliber of talent, people who have won national design awards, people who have started their own furniture lines,” he said. “One has worked with the top photographers in the business including Annie Liebovitz.”

Did Yip think the recession may have contributed to this? “You can’t ever discount that,” he said. “Creative people always have to fight for their jobs.”

He said many of the contestants were “Design Star” afficionados. “They’ve gotten savvier,” he said. “They know where the pitfalls are. So it makes it a little more intense.”

Also for the first time, HGTV decided to have the judges pick the winner, not the public.

“I don’t really know why they changed the rules,” said Yip, who can be tough but fair at the judges’ table. “But I’m really excited who won. I think this person is going to be a real asset for the network, a unique voice we definitely don’t have now.”

Unfortunately, Yip said his own show “Deserving Design,” which is shot primarily in Atlanta, has not gotten a renewal for a fifth season after 54 episodes.

“As much as I love the show, they have other things for me to work on,” he said.

For instance, Yip is taking part this Sunday in the network’s ‘Iron Chef” equivalent called “HGTV Showdown.”

The show gives two celebrity judges two existing identical spaces and a mere six hours to redo that space. Against Angelo Surmelis, Yip has to renovate a kitchen — in six hours.

“If you want to see me sweat,” Yip said, “I am really sweating!”

Check out a preview video here.

“HGTV Showdown,” Sunday 9 p.m. HGTV
“HGTV Design Star,” Sunday 10 p.m. HGTV

16 comments Add your comment


July 14th, 2009
8:57 am

This article was posted July 14th at 6 am (today).
It states: For its fourth season debuting tonight (tonight, July 14th)
It is not listed in the TV guide for tonight. This is a show that runs at 9 pm SUNDAY (as stated at the bottom of the article).

A little proofreading is in order by the author of this article!


July 14th, 2009
8:58 am

Correction: Sunday at 10 pm…..

Rodney Ho

July 14th, 2009
9:01 am

I wrote that story for the Sunday paper, forgot to change the “tonight” portion…


July 14th, 2009
9:01 am

From their website:

The designers take their paint brushes and fabric swatches to Rodeo Drive. Season four premieres on July 19th at 10/9c.


July 14th, 2009
9:05 am

Thanks Rodney for correcting the article.

Marcus Graham

July 14th, 2009
9:07 am

See Rodney, this is what I meant by earlier comments to you.

Rodney Ho

July 14th, 2009
9:10 am

I gotcha Marcus. Have I shown any improvement the past week or so?


July 14th, 2009
9:13 am

What happened to all the other comments?


July 14th, 2009
9:14 am

Nevermind, they are back now. Very strange…appeared they were deleted.

Rodney Ho

July 14th, 2009
9:17 am

We run on multiple servers so sometimes, comments will “appear” and “disappear” for a few minutes after they post until all the servers are in sync.


July 14th, 2009
10:10 am

Wow, so much ado about a small error..

I love Vern Yip and really wish that his Deserving Design show would continue..


July 14th, 2009
10:23 am

That gay dude with the poser tattoo aint studly if studly means I can beat your azz. Screw it, more like it.


July 14th, 2009
1:01 pm

I’m sure Vern wins… but only because he cheats. He’s known for that – even back from his Trading Spaces days. Actually I bet he had it in his contract to win – LOL… that’s a real loser.


July 16th, 2009
2:36 pm

Man, that’s rude, but fortunately it’s only your opinion and Doug Wilson’s inadequate feelings.

Silvia Henderson

August 20th, 2009
4:39 pm

I love to wash deserving design with Vern Yip he just have a big heart. I would like to nominate my husband who also have a big heart but don’t know how. If anyone knows how please e-mail me at or the show sees my comment please reconsider my request cause i really think my husband really deserve it. a wife who notice her husband big heart.

shvetal patel

December 27th, 2009
9:20 pm

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