Monday, September 6, 2010

A Dirty Little Secret

Dear Vern Yip,
My dirty little secret is that I actually like you and your work. You are oft ridiculed on the blogs as a veteran mediocre designer who relies on big box store merchandise, who uses an alarming amount of candles mounted on walls, who likes to over use multiples and lots of knick-knacks, who has a soft heart for those in need, who can be a bitchy Asian empress on Design Star, etc. etc.

But here you are designing an Urban Oasis in New York City, that is to be given away in a sweepstakes.

Italian made sofa, antique Peruvian rug, vintage bar cart as an end table

At first I wanted to hate it. All the "hip Yip", "urban" big box stores are represented: West Elm, CB2, Crate and Barrel. I read all the catalogs, so all the merch is instantly recognizable.

Couch converts to chaise

And I work in a home furnishing shop that is a dealer for Kartell, so I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the Ghost Chair used in multiples.

And the couch converts to a bed
Maybe the dogs will like it

The apartment itself is a slippery slope. It's in a trendy hotel, and to me it doesn't seem very much like a home, but rather a glorified hotel room, something to visit once in awhile but not to live in.

The apartment at night
I will replace and lower the chandy

But if I win, I do plan to live here. I don't know if the building allows pets, because there are two dogs to be reckoned with. I also don't know if there is a monthly maintenance fee, or what the property taxes will be, or for that matter what the taxes will be on the value of the winnings of this prize. I will surely have to sell my home in New Orleans to afford these things, and then who knows for how long? But that's okay, because I will work my ass off to afford living in New York again.

Over size photo over the couch - it could be bigger
An image taken in the Natural History Museum in New York
I will change the side lamps, and ditch the knick-knacks

But back to the decor. As I poured over the photos of what you did for this space, I began to appreciate it. Your choices are thoughtful, and I suppose all you could do with this cold box of a small, impersonal place. That, and I am sure all those stores donated the furnishings.

Classic modern chaise

I wonder what you would have done if you were doing this place up for yourself, and money were no object. Perhaps you would not have chosen this address, or if you weren't looking a gift horse in the mouth, you might have purchased a larger apartment, or perhaps two small units like this, and joined them.

Classic modern chaise - this is a keeper

I like the way you tried to add some funky artifacts, and some photographs. Perhaps I would not have chosen photos with images of New York, since, duh, the living photograph of the city is right outside the window.

Groovy artifact with CB2 candle holder

And the apartment feels a little cold. The light is New York tends to be on the cool side, and this apartment just doesn't say cozy...yet. Gray is fine, but this is not the right one.

Nice wood floors - maybe too dark?

I of course can add the finishing touches, and style it to look much more inhabited and less like a catalog photo shoot. I would add some color, though you tried with that red rug, but man that red is so heavy looking. I would also add window treatments.

Ghost chairs in dining area shows how small the living space is

But overall I like what you did Vern, and Alberto, my co-worker Jack, and I are entering to win everyday. We have a three way pact that if one of us wins, we will share the place with the other two. The questions of who will sleep on the sofa bed, or how three adults can share a bathroom, or how we will get Jack's 60 pound dog Girl who is object phobic into an elevator, all remain to be worked out. (Cholo we can pick up and carry in, or for that matter smuggle him into the building in a tote bag).

But work it out we will!

Galley kitchen
The table used as an island is pretty cool
But the whole of the main room seems to fit on the rug!

The bedroom
The back wall looks like glorified cinder blocks - this is not witty

Bed is from Oly - hope it's a king!

Another clever artifact with another photo of New York
Duh, just look out the window
I will change the art work

Greek Key bedding from Williams Sonoma

Pocket door between living area and bedroom

Leather covered radiator cover makes it a window seat!
Oh boy hot leather!!!

On closes inspection it looks like faux ostrich
Nubby and hot!

The hotel size closets are painted a bright color inside

The skinny console came from ABC Home
It's a great space saver, and the mirror finish is nice
All the electronics you win look great

The bathroom
I do not like the asshatbox toilet

So dear Vern, thanks for designing this Urban Oasis. You did a heck of a job Vernie!!!
ex oh ex ho


my favorite and my best said...

vv you could do better than verngina with a lobotomy and one eye out.

pve design said...

It would make a terrific tango studio!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...


I wanna sit my butt in the see through ghost chair...when you win, that is!

joanny said...

I follow your blog and rarely make comments, but do enjoy your posts. Lovely design - adore the living room at night with that view.

That is when the magic happens for this space. Fitting for Architectural Digest.

Good luck, even if you do not win, it is a lovely designed space.


Design Optimist said...

great apartment...shitty design

Christy said...

Call me old fashioned, heck outdated even but those space aged looking toilets frighten me. I'd rather take a crap in an outhouse than on those high tech commodes.

Jennifer said...

You never cease to shock and delight me! I enjoy you so much...thank you!

Nita {ModVintageLife} said...

Not impressed by his design for this apartment. Never have been very impressed by his design on any show he's been on. And then one day I saw a show that they shot at his own home in Atlanta and it was gorgeous. Full of antiques and traditional things. I twas a beautiful home. And I thought.....this is what a big budget will do. I guess he just needs money to pull something fantastic together.

Appletree said...

gasp! you said "asshatbox"

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

I have seen worst rooms by him... but I would take that secret to my grave...

The Zhush said...

LOVE the chaise, the bedding, the closet and that view! (and that's it) :)

Vickie H. said...

Valorie, were you having a "moment" here, or WHAT?!! Not that most of us don't agree with you, mind you. Hope your little triumvirate wins the sweepstakes. I know when you finish redoing the space it will cause us to catch our breath, the marvelous view not withstanding.

annechovie said...

Hope you win it, Valorie! I once saw Vern walking in front of Crate and Barrel at Lenox Square in Atlanta in one of his trademark pale blue tight tops.

Sketch42 said...

We all have our moments... I liked the CEO of Coach's house and no one else did...

BUT, I know for SHIT SURE that there is no way you would live in that apt with it looking like that. Within 20 minutes you would instantly improve it.

And I really really hope you win so that we could have you back in NYC!

Jaithan said...

Would love to have you in NYC and look out at views like these, but man...that apt is so off the shelf. Where's the personality? You and Alberto would inject it with Life! Hope you win!


Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

I hope you win & I can come see you! Hope you are having a great Labor Day & thank you for stopping by RHS always. Be back soon.

Jan said...

I'll take it.

Reggie Darling said...

I would happily accept this apartment as a sweepstakes winner. I would then call Housing Works and donate each and every piece of furniture and object, and then start over from scratch. I'd also call in a bathroom designer and start from scratch there, too. But otherwise I like it.

La Petite Gallery said...

Isn't it pathetic that people get the break's with absoluty no taste or talent. I have seen some students as of late with no conception of what they are doing.

You must see ittoo.


Renee Finberg said...

is this person REALLY a designer?

oh well.....
there is a nut for every bolt.


Visual Vamp said...

Oh my!
You all crack me up.
Here I was trying to be nice to Vernginia, and look what happens!
I think Reggie Darling had the best idea.
I watched the tour on HGTV last night, and hearing Vern justify his choices was liking watching one of those poor kids defending their work on Design Star.
Off I go to enter to win again...
xo xo

VictoriaArt said...

Gosh, I am so sorry I missed you at your New York crack me up! How often have I thought what you are thinking and believe me it makes me mad to see such uninspired rooms. No view can replace that!

HGTV used to be entertaining but I do not watch it anymore, just boring real estate hunting...
I do not see much tv for that matter...

Kiss and good night!