Vern Yip and Gavin: Like Father, Like Son!

05/28/2010 at 04:00 PM ET
Douglas Friedman

Interior designer Vern Yip tells PEOPLE that Gavin Joshua Mannox — his 4½-month-old son — is “definitely not laid-back,” and the Design Star judge wouldn’t have it any other way!

“He seems to be a very opinionated baby, which I love, cause I’m extremely opinionated,” Yip, 41, confesses.

“He’s not somebody who’s just going to be laissez-faire … He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like, he’s very self-assured, and all that’s great.”

“Those are all the kinds of characteristics that I would really hope for for a kid as a parent,” Yip adds.

From the sound of things, Yip often tops Gavin’s list of likes.

“He has these great moments where he’s just a really happy kid,” the proud papa shares.

“Sometimes I just get time with him in the morning, during that first morning feeding when it’s just one-on-one and he’s super happy and smiling and you just can’t believe that this amazing person is now in your life. It really is pretty moving.”

Yip’s busy career has the family-of-three –which includes his partner — often moving in a different way, and he boasts that Gavin is already a frequent flier, taking four plane trips within weeks of his January birth.

“We try to take him to different places and we try and show him different things,” Yip explains. “I look forward to as he gets older having to really continue to do that on a broader level, and not just have him just stuck in the house.”

Gavin had his first taste of Yip’s Chinese heritage when relatives held a “red egg party” — a traditional fête thrown for  1-month-old babies. “His eyes were 10 miles wide,” Yip recalls. “He’s just exposed to a lot of things and I think that’s pretty great.”

Fortunately, Yip’s work hasn’t suffered since becoming a dad; Quite the opposite, Yip says he has become a “more efficient” designer.

“Everybody tells you, a baby makes you more balanced in life and I think that portion of it is really true,” he says. “It’s just not feasible to dedicate yourself 24-7 to work like maybe you used to do.”

Having a “defined amount of time” to focus on work each day while Gavin is with his nanny helps, Yip says.

“I know during the day I have to get my stuff done … at night it forces me to have to relax and have to unwind and have to focus on him and being a family and that part is really great,” say Yip, whose latest Design Star season premieres June 13. “I think the quality of my work has actually improved.”

A desire to provide for Gavin is another source of motivation, and Yip insists he feels “1000 percent more driven because I really want to make sure I’m making the right decisions and I’m able to take care of this kid.”

“I want to make sure I’m doing everything in my power to lay the groundwork and pave the road so that he can move forward through life and have a better life that I had,” he continues. “Your hope is always that your kid had a better life than you had … Even though my life is fantastic, I want his to be even better.”

— Reporting by Joey Bartolomeo

FILED UNDER: Babies , Exclusive , News , Parenting

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Showing 43 comments

skyler on

Gavin is precious. I love the name Gavin Joshua.

Delaina on

What a beautiful baby boy!!!! Yern’s always been one of my favorite “tv” designers!

Pamela on

Such a beautiful baby!

Sonya on

Does anyone know if Mannox is a last name or a second middle name?

That is one cute baby:-))

KEM on

Gavin is quite the cutey! Love this picture of Vern and his son.

Pam on

Gavin is so cute!

Liliana on

Gavin is just precious!

Golfer on

I love Virn – he is my favorite designer and I admire his passon. Cute baby. Is Virn gay – did he adopt the baby?

Sarah on

Gavin is sooo adorable! Vern looks quite happy, I’d say! 🙂

B.J. on

Aww, this made me smile. Vern’s joy is so evident. What a little cutie Gavin is!!

Becky on

Golfer – I wondered the same thing too and clicked on the hyper link in the article that takes you to his birth announcement. It just says that he had the baby with his partner. No name is ever given so I am assuming it is with a male partner, but not sure. It does, however, state that the baby was born via a surragate.

What a doll baby!!!

Gigi on

yes, Vern is gay, I think they adopted or used a surrogate. I cannot remember. Beautiful baby and happy Daddy.

Kathy on

Yea Vern. I have always admired Vern’s eye and he is very talented. I wish his (family) only good things.

Lee on

What a cutie 😀 I love it when babies are sort of bald. I just think it’s adorable 🙂

Luna on

Gavin is precious. Vern and his partner had Gavin via surrogate. I’m so happy for all them.

Brooke on

Gavin is such a cutie! 🙂

Paulina on

What a beautiful baby! I love Vern and have since the early Trading Spaces days. He looks so happy.

CelebBabyLover on

Gigi- They used a surrogate.

LisaS on

Oh, oh, oh! That is one sweet-looking baby! And Vern looks so happy. Fatherhood agrees with him.

Shannon on

“He’s not somebody who’s just going to be laissez-faire … He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like, he’s very self-assured, and all that’s great.”

This is so cute. But when I read it it sounds like he’s talking about a much older kid. Can a 4 1/2 month old really demonstrate these characteristics? LOL 🙂

nettrice on

Yes, Shannon. They really can!

mp on

What great timing — I was just thinking about Vern last night while watching HGTV and wondered how Gavin was doing.

Kim on

Shannon you know how new parents exaggerate about their kids. My Kyle could read at 1 (smiles)

Krista on

I have always loved Vern. 🙂 It is so nice to see him so happy to have this precious baby in his life!!

Adrianne on

What a cutie. I hope HGTV is bringing him back with his own show. He’s a fabulous designer!

pinkie on

He seems like a good father.

That baby does not really look like Vern. Is he mixed? White? I can’t tell, but he really doesn’t look like Asian.

Rachel on

Shannon — having worked in an infant room for years now I can safely attest to the fact that yes, some infants can be insanely opinionated, even at the ripe old age of 4 months. And yes they all have pretty distinct personalities. Some babies are very laid back, could care less when you feed, change, hold them (just so long as it’s within a reasonable period of time of course), while others start screaming 10 minutes before the bottle is due or two seconds after their diaper is wet regardless of how you time things. Some babies refuse to drink their milk unless it’s boiling and others won’t drink it if it gets too warm. Some love tummy time, others hate it with a passion.

Oh my goodness yes, they can be opinionated little butts :O)

However, I do not agree that an infant’s personality sets the tone for life and I hate when parents expect it will. The fussiest of infants can become the most easy going toddler and vice versa.

Danielle on

Gavin is so gorgeous! Congratulations to Vern!! Vern has been one of my favorite designers every since he was on Trading Spaces on TLC!!! Always wanted him to design my house! I wish them nothing but true happiness!

Phyllis on


I have always thought of you as a person who would make a great Dad, and this is just the beginning of a wonderful live for you and Gavin. Congratulations and may all of your dreams for you and for Gavin come true! Keep up the great designing.

Lynn on

Adrienne: What difference does it make whether baby Gavin is Asian or not????

Joni on

Although I have always liked Vern, a kid is a baby goat. Can we please call them children or babies or sweetie-pies? I know it’s just my thing, but I hate when people say things like “I need to do my best for this kid.” Sound like he’s talking about random children, not his own. Just a suggestion… And that is a cute baby!

Anonymous on

Congrats to Vern and his family. He is beautiful!

Mel J on

Dear Joni, I’d say your strong feelings against the word “kid” are pretty nit-picky. I think by this point, the word “kid” is used universally to refer to children and not baby goats. Not too many people use the words “sweetie pies” when talking about children. That sounds much stranger than kids.

JR Jake on

Beautiful little boy. I remember when. Both of my sons are opinionated like me, but that is a good thing. Nothing worse than trying to converse with someone who speaks out of both sides of their mouth, you don’t know which one to pay real attention to. Good luck with little Gavin.

Diane on

His partner’s name is Craig Koch. Here is a photo of him.

kiki on

They are just too cute!

Donna on

I don’t know if really is the reason behind the choice of Mannox for a middle name, but it does mean “little monk”. I think is is significant.

Gigi on

Gavin is an absolute angel!!!!!

Josie on

Wish all kids were so wanted and adored…the world would be a different place!
Lucky, lucky little boy!

JustMe on

Gavin Joshua Mannox was born Wednesday, Jan. 6 via surrogate to the HGTV star and his partner” From his birth announcement

Mary on

Babies do not have the ability to make comments, draw conclusions, etc. etc…Their world is centered around them. Feed me, hold me, change me. They learn to do all the other things as they get older. Like screaming for more when they don’t need it. Throwing tantrums, demanding, yelling, throwing. The parents are the guides or the nannys or body guards or grandparents. All depends on the amount of time the infant spends with each. Some, actually never grow out of the infantile stage. They just get bigger and mouthier.

Shannon on

Gavin is such a little cutie! He’s adorable!

Jeri on

I absolutely love Vern Yip. this is such a great picture of him & his adorable son. I think Gavin kind of looks like daddy. he sure is a cutie