Where’s Vern Yip When You Need Him?


Years ago, when I was obsessed preoccupied with updating our 1970’s semi-suburban, somewhat sad ranch style house, I watched a lot of HGTV. I mean a lot. I followed all of the designers on Trading Spaces. I loved how Hildi managed to piss off someone almost every episode. I can’t imagine why the woman didn’t want straw glued to her walls! Geeze, Lady, don’t you know that’s all the rage in Paris?

Straw To The Wall
Staws to the walls

Of all the designers, my favorite was Vern Yip. Vern represents everything a 70’s ranch house with wood paneling is not. Elegance, sophistication, optimism. His positive energy reached out from the screen and grabbed me. The crisp, clean, freshness of his rooms made me want to rip down all of that wall paper in the kitchen, the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the hallway, the laundry roo…well, you get the picture.

I love you, man!

Anyway, my house needed everything. Kitchen rehab, bathroom  reno, and a serious paneling-ectomy. Yes, I know that’s not a word. But have you ever removed paneling? It takes a stick of dynamite to get rid of that stuff. We’ve lived in many houses over the years with Formica counter tops, linoleum flooring, and indestructible paneling. One thing those houses had that you often don’t find in new construction, under the million-dollar price point, today is what they call “good bones.” Sure, there are the oh-so-popular hand scraped hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, granite (of course) but can we be certain the foundation won’t buckle from the fracking going on down the street? How do we know the inspection of the plumbing and electrical behind the walls wasn’t pencil whipped for a couple of Benjamins? It has been known to happen.



Lipstick and mascara may create nice curb appeal, but does new construction have what it takes to weather the storms that are sure to come and go over the life of the mortgage? I don’t know. Over the past twenty-five years, I’ve looked at hundreds of homes and been involved in demo/reno from the rebar to the roof.


One thing about workmanship has stuck with me. If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?


Home inspection after home inspection has shown haste does indeed makes waste, usually in the form of cash, and lots of it. Poor quality has created money pits all over the country. Developers don’t hire craftsmen. They hire crews to throw together two by fours and particle board, slap on a coat of paint, and then play let’s make a deal with buyers who have the necessary credit score. There are corporations that own, OWN, I say, every piece of the housing industry. Need a house? A mortgage? An appraiser, inspector, repairman? One stop shopping is available on a street corner near you. Make no mistake, every player in the biz covers their ass with a Kevlar coating. It’s true. You don’t even have to read the fine print anymore. Nope, it’s right there in ALL CAPS.

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Okay, I went on a little tangent there. So, in case you can’t tell by now, we are moving to a new home. My task today? Paint selection. I know, what a problem to have. I’m very lucky to have such a problem. Only, I am finding there are too many choices. Do I play it safe with Restrained Gold and Caramel Latte? Colors anyone would like, you know, just in case we have to resell in eighteen months. Should I throw caution to the wind with Sapphire Sparkle? Decisions, decisions. Happy springtime, everyone. See you after the move.

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Ask Sherwin Williams

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10 thoughts on “Where’s Vern Yip When You Need Him?

  1. Just checking to make sure you didn’t get swallowed up by a stray fault line. Then again, there aren’t many fault lines in Texas. Guess I should be making sure you didn’t get kicked in the head by a stray steer.

    You are missed!

  2. I have been slowly redoing, top to bottom on the house I live in. One room at a time, including paint, floors, doors and everything else. My suggestion? Do a combination of painting. Restraint and happiness. It works every single time.

  3. I loved that show.. trading Spaces. Good luck deciding… Not my forte at all. Kind of fun?no doubt much Better than homework and writing research!!

  4. Good luck, Stephanie. We are winding down from a Kitchen renovation and can attest to taking your time with your choices in the beginning (we did, fortunately) so that the finished project can be enjoyed and not regretted.

  5. Hi Honie. Congrats on finding a new home. Good luck with the paint selection. I recently repainted the hallway of my late parent’s home and had trouble selecting a white from all the different whites that are out there. It did my head in. Hope you are happy in your new home.

  6. Confession: I love wood paneling. I’ve always wanted a house with it. I’ll chalk that up to my obsession with all things 70s. Hence the lava lamps, beaded curtain, owls, etc.

    And I love the names they come up with for paint! Caviar?! Looks black to me. Parakeet just ruffled my feathers. Hyper blue: AAAHHHHHHH!!!! I’ve never seen a blue Raindrop, either. And why is one drop blue while Rain is gray? (But not Proper Gray, I should point out).

  7. I would go with the colors that make your heart happy and repaint if a buyer insists later. BTW – I was a HUGE fan of Trading Spaces and always wanted to be on the show. I loved Vern’s aesthetic, but I would have picked Hildy if I could have anyone do a room. She was sooooo creative and I always loved the end result. Of course my last home was once described as being the color of Tums and had a kitchen floor finished with hammer rite paint topped with 6 coats of poly. When I sold it I was asked to repaint a closet and the Pepto pink dining room. I agreed with the new buyers on that one, but the floor was a thing of beauty – everyone in the neighborhood wanted one.

  8. Having to choose paint colors is a struggle. So many to choose from. In fact, it’s like that with everything nowadays. Choosing a toothpaste now requires a dental degree. And don’t get me started on shampoo. Wow. This comment is making me sound really old…

    Happy moving and happy choosing! Hope everything goes smoothly.

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