With views from every level, designer Vern Yip harnessed maximum sunlight in his extensively remodeled and beautifully designed beach getaway on the Gulf of Mexico.
You might know Vern Yip from the famed TLC design makeover show “Trading Spaces,” and he wouldn’t trade his newly remodeled Rosemary Beach space for anything. After building and selling a dream home in the town he fell in love with nearly 30 years ago, Vern and his partner jumped at the opportunity to breathe new life into a tired rental facing the Gulf of Mexico. Designed to suit the needs of his family of four, and remodeled to cater to the self-proclaimed beach lover’s penchant for beautiful beach views, this 3,500-square-foot property has been reimagined from the ground up.
The remodel didn’t come without its challenges, including the “New Urbanist” community of Rosemary Beach that originally attracted Vern to the area. “Rosemary Beach is special for a lot of reasons. For one, it’s a new urbanist community. New urbanism means going from not knowing your community to having tight urban lots with plenty of outdoor space where you are interacting with your community and neighbors,” says Vern.
This particular type of community also meant that the style of architecture and architectural code were particular, requiring products that would meet and exceed structural and performance requirements, and demanding design flexibility to match the surrounding architecture. The proximity to the Gulf of Mexico also meant that the windows and doors had to be impact rated for hurricane zones.
“I’ve never done a home that has this kind of view from every level. I knew that that was a rarity I had to take advantage of,” says Vern. “The challenges of a coastal environment, of course, were a huge consideration. I wanted to address these challenges without impacting the extent of the views from every room.”
Overhauling the windows and doors in the home was one of Vern’s priorities from day one—not just because the originals weren’t up to modern codes for impact resistance and energy efficiency—but because there was an opportunity to bring more of the beautiful gulf views and the restorative quality of natural light into his family’s living space.
“The original windows and doors did not take advantage of the view, and that was a shame since this location provides an opportunity to really create dramatic interiors that connect to the exterior environment both visually and physically. In several instances, you had to get on your tippy toes to visually access the view. It really didn’t make any sense. Taking in the view should be effortless!” he says.
Vern opted to replace the original windows and doors with expansive Marvin Signature Collection Ultimate Multi-Slide Doors, Sliding French Doors and Awning windows that were both impact rated and impactful—opening the space to the outdoors and bringing sunlight in on every level. Crisp, white interior finishes blend with bright white walls and a complementing color palette that’s more muted and classic than it is nautical.
The interior doors in the home were another opportunity for Vern to change the home’s design aesthetic and bring brightness into every room. Custom made doors from TruStile offered the design flexibility Vern was looking for. “From letting light through with opaque, laminated glass to having embedded mirrors that reflect views and bounce additional light back into the space, these doors allow privacy while also letting light penetrate from one room to the next,” he noted.
The custom doors aren’t the only personalized focal points of the home. An eye-catching mural done in the style of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai—best known for an iconic print of an enormous blue wave off the coast of Japan—adorns the home’s expansive staircase. An unexpected focal point that leads guests from one level of the home to another, the mural is a constant reminder and unique interpretation of the beautiful waters that surround his beach getaway.
From the walls of light-filled water views, personal touches and a strong connection to the beautiful Rosemary Beach community, this extensive remodel has created a sanctuary that will serve Vern’s family for many years to come.
“I love that it’s a place where my family can come, relax, put down our electronic devices and disconnect from so much of the noise that’s ultimately not that important,” says Vern. “It takes us back to another time before technology tethered us 24/7. For me, it’s also the aesthetics, the color of the ocean and the sky, and how that makes me and my family feel. It’s a force that brings us together, so there’s so much to love down here.”
To watch a video reveal of the before and after transformation and hear Vern tell his home’s story, visit us on YouTube.