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Question-and-Answer Session with Vern Yip

HGTV Urban Oasis designer Vern Yip shares details about this year's apartment, located on the 35th floor of Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago.
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Vern Yip, Host of Deserving Design and Judge for HGTV Design Star

Q. What was your method for deciding what went in and what was out? — michellekl26

A. The first thing I do on every project is to create a space plan that will optimize both function and views in every room. The plan always informs my shopping decisions. As I comb the city for unique and site-specific items, I take pictures and measurements of everything I might use and plug those dimensions into the space plan to assure that items will work. At the end of the day, an item has to be justified from a functional perspective. After that, I go for pieces that make a statement and that I think will make the citizens of Chicago proud.

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Chicago skyline

Q. What first struck you about this particular apartment? What was the biggest challenge when designing the interior of this space, other than the size (since most apartments are not that spacious anyway)? — CplusE

A. I was first struck by the unit’s spectacular view. You can see Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, two bends of the L train track, Navy Pier, parts of Millenium Park and numerous Chicago skyscrapers. The volume was the next thing I noticed. Some areas of the unit boast 10-foot ceilings, which really increase the sense of space and allowed me to do some innovative things not possible in a space with lower ceilings. The biggest challenges were editing down great finds from local Chicago stores and staying disciplined enough not to buy things for my own home. It was tough!

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Wall Sconce Tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright

Q. What Urban Oasis decor item will say to me, "You're in Chicago"! — smokesmom

A. As evidenced by the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour, one of the city’s most popular attractions, Chicago takes pride in its architecture and design. That passion for design served as inspiration for my custom cheery wood “sconce”, which incorporates reproductions of Frank Llyod Wright’s Tree of Life design.

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Ingraham Self Starting Mantel Clock

Q. What antique furnishings did you use? — DeerSpring

A. Decorative items with history infuse a space with an instant narrative and lend a patina that new items cannot replicate. This year, I found a vintage wood clock from a demolished Chicago area soda shop, vintage silver serveware from the dismantled Chicago Athletic Association and a glazed terra cotta eagle salvaged from the façade of the Charles Brewer building, a Chicago structure that was demolished some years ago.

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