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Long before he appeared on HGTV, Vern Yip was an architecture intern who fantasized about one day living in Rosemary Beach, FL, a resort town on the Gulf of Mexico with thoughtfully planned, pedestrian-friendly streets. Vern was so fixated on owning property there that he started collecting furniture for his dream place, stuffing it all into the garage of his Atlanta home. “I had everything—sofas, hangers, coasters—except the house itself!” he says.
Ten years later, in 2013, Vern and his partner, Craig Koch, who owns a pet care business, finally got the chance to buy a lot in town. Vern drew up the plans for the four-bedroom West Indies–influenced Dutch Colonial, then, once it was built, filled it with his stash of treasures.
“Lots of things in this house are precious, but I protected them so we could enjoy them,” says Vern. For instance, glass tops shield wood tables from spills, and antiques like the carousel animal from a Parisian flea market are displayed out of harm’s way. Durable, budget-friendly pieces fill the room too, including chevron elm stools from flash sale site My Habit and ceramic tile floors from Sassuolo, which have the rich look of ebony hardwood but won’t get scratched.
Like most of the window treatments in the house, the drapes are made from Vern’s fabric line for Trend (trend-fabrics.com). This playful fabric pops up throughout the house. An outdoor sofa from Restoration Hardware stands up to wet bathing suits. Two chunky leather ottomans take the place of a coffee table.
Although the homes in Rosemary Beach are inspired by West Indies architecture, no two look alike. Vern’s house is especially unique—it’s the first private structure in the area to have a second-story pool. At just three and a half feet at its deepest, it’s a splash-happy spot for the kids. The bolster pillows are from flash sale site One Kings Lane, and the copper gas lanterns are from Flambeaux Lighting.
And the adults love the views: ”It’s an incredible stroke of luck that we can see the Gulf from here,” says Vern. Craig adds that the pool lets them take a break from the sand, while still getting a peek at the ocean. The stucco house, with its curved roofline, was designed in the Dutch Colonial style.
With its tough-wearing Cambria quartz counters, subway tile backsplash, and simple cabinets, the kitchen is a “super-easy, practical space,” says Vern. To keep clutter to a minimum, he stores dishes and small appliances on shelves inside an open storage nook, which is painted orange (Kasbah by C2 Paint)—it’s one of the few spots in the house not painted white. The clear barstools are from Design Within Reach.
Vern, who brightened up this room with reflective surfaces like glossy white tile, metal sconces, and an aluminum pedestal table. The twin vanities are from a Restoration Hardware outlet, and the tropical-looking wood pendant is from Moooi. The rug, like the others in the house, is custom-colored, stain-resistant nylon from Milliken—a steal at less than $4 per square foot.
Each of the three guest bedrooms is outfitted with plenty of storage, plus Roman shades and soft bedding sewn from Vern’s fabric line for Trend. The deluxe floor-to-ceiling headboard made of upholstered linen panels is from Vern’s HSN collection. The funky pendant from flash sale site Rue La La has something “sea-creature-y about it,” says Vern.
Although Gavin and Vera could have had their own rooms, “they go bonkers for the bunks,” says Vern. Tucked into a hallway, the twin-size custom sleepers each have a reading light, little TV, and quilt from Vern’s HSN line. Sliding doors keep the space out of sight when it’s not in use.