We catch up with Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where he’s introducing a lighting collection for Capitol Lighting.
Van Winkle, best known for his mega hit song Ice Ice Baby, says he was “hands on” in the design process. He and the Capitol Lighting design team met to brainstorm the concept. Inspiration came from the dots on the tie that Capitol president Eric Lebersfeld’s dad was wearing. He translated the pattern into crystal dots on the drum lampshade. Crystals also hang from the bottom of the fixture.
“The crystals are the ‘ice,’ ” says Van Winkle, who has homes in Wellington and on Palm Beach island.
A lighting collection from a rapper? He is far more than a rapper. Van Winkle has evolved into a remodeling pro with a show on the DIY Network. His Vanilla Ice Project shows how he renovates homes, including a 7,000-square-foot Palm Beach mansion that has state-of-the-art technology. He’s been busy filming the show’s third season.
“It is not like the network took a celebrity and built a show around him,” he says. “This is who I am. I have done real estate and fell in love with the design side.”
Remodeling has been his passion for the past 16 years, during which he estimates he built or remodeled 100 homes. His first project was a house he owned on Star Island in Miami. He bought it for a couple of million, redecorated in a transitional style and sold it for $6 million. He trained his eye in design through reading magazines and visiting show houses.
“I lived in it 11 years,” he says. “It was cool. It had an acrylic staircase with fish swimming in it. The rooms were all different colors, but I wasn’t comfortable. It didn’t feel like a home. I felt like I was living in a nightclub.”
The collection, made by Batalion Imports, includes two sconces and 24-inch and 28-inch chandeliers with a choice of a silk drum shade or transparent shade. They are available in two finishes – polished nickel and bronzed ice. Prices range from $250 to $1,400.
– Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub