How has celebrity designer Vern Yip designed his way across America? “One room at a time.” Yip made over countless homes and restaurants during his four seasons on TLC's Trading Spaces, on NBC's Home Intervention, and for nearly a decade as one of HGTV’s most recognizable designers. On Saturday afternoon, April 25, the celebrity designer will be on hand at My Favorite Things in Lexington to share his design expertise with customers. Yip fondly recalls his visit to the bluegrass for Freedom Fest (a design showcase benefiting Woodford Humane Society) a few years back. He remembers, “That was a special trip and I still talk about the remarkable kindness of folks and the absolutely perfect grass and fences. Lexington has a global reputation for being serious horse country but I had no idea how serious until that visit! The event was held at an exceptional property with the most beautiful stables that I’d ever experienced. Although I’m a sucker for a perfect patch of grass and idyllic white fences, the people of Lexington remain the true standouts in my mind.” Yip has seen a lot of design trends come and go over the years, from sponge painting and Tuscan kitchens in the early 2000s to today’s popular urban industrial looks. He witnessed a wide range while judging the contestants on Design Star. Asked what current trends make him wince, he says, “I’m not a fan of themes in general so anytime I see a completely ‘done’ room, I question its ability to endure long term. A home and its rooms should reflect all the different facets of a person or a family’s personality. Instead of trying to emulate something in a showroom or a magazine, I always encourage folks to have an honest conversation about who they are, what they need, and what they really gravitate towards. At the end of the day, your home should be customized to best support your functional and aesthetic needs so that it ends up being the place you want to be more so than any other place on the planet. If it doesn’t feel that way, it probably needs to be re-thought and tweaked.” He adds, “I think it’s important to remember to make you happy and let go of the idea of living up to someone else’s idea of beautiful and functional. Great design lives at all price points. I always tell folks that just because something is expensive, it does not mean that it’s a quality item…and just because something is inexpensive, it doesn’t mean that it’s poorly made. You have to train yourself, especially if you are working with a tight budget, to buy quality items that you truly love to ensure that they’ll endure. Do some research ahead of time and save up for quality purchases in lieu of filling your home with a bunch of temporary placeholders, if you can’t afford what you want today. ” Yip is known for prioritizing both beauty and function in his work (living, as he does, in a home that includes both children and dogs). Are there trade secrets for making that work that he’s willing to share with our readers? He says, “Our home is tailored to how we live our very busy lives. By making the right material choices, I ensure that every room in our home is accessible to our dogs and kids. I grew up, very early on, in a house full of beautiful (and sometimes fragile) things. It taught me an appreciation of those things although I did accidentally break a few items along the way! We’re using the same approach with our kids because it’s right for our family…and that is the key. You have to do what is right for your situation because no two situations are exactly identical. We do, however, live in a design world that is now full of beautiful, affordable, and durable materials that make living with kids and animals in a beautifully designed environment so much easier than it used to be! As a designer of products, that has always been my goal…to put out accessible goods that all sorts of families can live with.” Celebrity interior designer Vern Yip is visiting My Favorite Things in Hamburg on Saturday, April 25 to celebrate the store’s 10th anniversary. He will be there from Noon to 3 p.m. for a talk about interior design. The talk is free and open to the public. This article also appears on page 11 of the April 1 print edition of Ace. For more Lexington, Kentucky arts, food, culture, and entertainment news, click here to subscribe to the Ace digital e-dition, emailed to your inbox every Thursday morning.