Once it had been announced that Vern Yip would be speaking at the Gibbes Museum, tickets were coveted. As an internationally acclaimed interior designer, he immediately generated a “buzz”.  Because of this enthusiasm, tickets sold out quickly. Meanwhile, the proceeds from the Art of Design luncheon event would support the Gibbes Museum of Art. Ultimately, the combination was a win-win!

Vern shared his life stories, design insights and creative guidance. Luckily, all the important details were in his design book, Vern Yip’s Design Wise. Because I had preordered his new book, I did not have to take notes. I listened and tried to absorb all he had to share. By the time he finished, I decided his  design approach felt very Montessori-inspired to me .

After the luncheon, Vern graciously signed each purchased book. When it was my turn, I asked him specifically about children’s rooms. As a parent, he had great firsthand experience. First, he recommended a thoughtful overall design without a theme. Next, he stressed creating organized and aesthetically pleasing spaces. Last, he felt it’s important to build children’s rooms that will last throughout their growing years.

Vern and his spouse decided early on to leave their precious things out and displayed in their homes. By doing so, they have been able to teach their children to value, appreciate and handle the items with care. After all, cultivating a respect for the environment is a big part of parenting!

Similarly, Maria Montessori observed “….the tiny child’s absorbent mind finds all its nutriment in its surroundings.  Here it has to locate itself, and build itself up from what it takes in.  Especially at the beginning of life must we, therefore, make the environment as interesting and attractive as we can…” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 88)”. She too believed the child’s environment should be beautiful, purposeful, orderly and well-maintained. Everything the child is surrounded by in a Montessori environment facilitates and encourages independence, learning and exploration. Dr. Montessori also preferred materials made of glass, porcelain, metals and wood. She found that natural materials were not only more pleasing to the child’s eye; they are more fragile and therefore must be handled with great care and respect.

Throughout his book, Vern Yip presents a myriad of important design elements. By paying attention to these details, a beautiful and well designed home can be realized. Maria Montessori’s extraordinary work provides the framework for aiding and enhancing the innate development and inner design of the child. Both are guiding, teaching and inspiring us while clearly describing the outcomes to expect based on their expertise. Best of all, these guides can help families realize an outcome of greater peace, harmony and happiness in their homes and lives.

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