Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent’s spanish-Colonial La home
Modern masculinity meets old-school Hollywood glam in this LA family home
On first inspection, nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent felt that the house, clocking in at over 800 square metres, was much too grand for them and their children, Poppy and oskar. ‘our immediate reaction was, Who lives like this?’ nate says, recalling his and his husband’s initial visit to the 1928 spanish colonial in Los angeles’s hancock Park neighbourhood. ‘certainly not us.’ But as they made their way through the various salons and gardens, the designers soon began to heed the property’s siren call.
First, there was the majestic 200-yearold oak tree rising in the backyard, like something out of a fairy tale. ‘We pictured Poppy, oskar and the rest of our family playing under that tree, and we thought this was a place we could put down roots,’ Jeremiah says. Then there was the realisation – perhaps rationalisation is a better word – that while the house is indeed large, its rooms, true to period style, are relatively intimate, particularly in comparison with the bloated volumes of contemporary Mcmansions and Mcmoderns.
But the clincher for nate and Jeremiah was an encounter with the then-home owner and her eldest daughter, who were sharing a bottle of wine in the kitchen. ‘Jeremiah and I had the exact same thought – that we’d like to raise kids who want to hang with us when they grow up,’ nate says.
Past the front door there’s the gorgeous grand stairway with its original wrought-iron balustrade, straight out
of a movie from hollywood’s golden age. Then room after room bathed in glorious sunlight, gurgling fountains, and that heavenly oak tree, literally topping everything off. and, of course, there’s Poppy, the mistress of the manor.
‘We were lucky that the house was in great condition. It had been looked after. all we really needed to do was give it a cosmetic makeover – the perfect assignment for two decorators,’ nate says. That facelift entailed installing floors of antique marble to demarcate points of entry and transition; stripping, bleaching, and waxing the existing mahogany panelling in the dining room; replacing fireplace mantels and hardware with antique models; reworking the kitchen with new fixtures and surfaces; and adding that signature Berkus-brent style.
‘We go for a very clean, masculine look. We don’t like to live with a lot of colour,’ Jeremiah says. ‘or any!’ nate swiftly chimes in. as for what constitutes clean and masculine in this context, the designers layered the house with rustic French, swedish and american furnishings of wood and stone, juxtaposed with more tailored continental pieces by the likes of Jacques adnet, Maria Pergay, angelo Mangiarotti, and afra and Tobia scarpa. The through line is the doggedly neutral palette; nate and Jeremiah rely on
texture and patina to animate their personal interiors. ‘We chose to use more country antiques because they already feel timeworn. another ding just adds to the life of the pieces,’ nate explains, continuing, ‘When you live with small children, you don’t want to feel beholden to your possessions.’
The one exception to the rainbowof-beige rule is Poppy’s bedroom and playroom. ‘she’s obsessed with pink and princesses – big shocker – so we try to keep the colour and chaos confined to her zone,’ nate explains. ‘But we like to help curate,’ Jeremiah adds, with an inflection that suggests not just any polyester princess getup will do. In her bedroom, Poppy has the beginnings of a proper art collection, stocked with gifts from her parents’ friends.
For nate and Jeremiah, the one other space that seems to deviate from the rest of the house is the master bathroom, which features hand-painted murals by James Mobley along with architectural details of a Prunella marble richly veined in deep purple and brown. ‘The stone’s a little weird for us, but we loved it,’ nate confesses. ‘It has an old Venetian quality, and that influenced the moulding profiles.’
The couple took advantage of the ample space beyond the bathroom to install two very serious his-and-his closets. ‘separate rooms are essential,’ Jeremiah avers. ‘good closets make for a good marriage.’ and that’s the gospel according to Jeremiah and nate. Nate Berkus 8 nateberkus.com n Jeremiah Brent 8 jeremiahbrent.com
‘We’d like to raise kids who want to hang with us when they grow up’
clockwise, from top left nate and poppy beside a 19Th-century italian bookcase in The gallery; in The main bedroom, an rh bed, dressed in matteo linens, is flanked by 1970s italian Tables; a james mobley mural and marble panels in The master bathroom
from top in poppy’s room, a wallpaper by apparatus studio and Zak + fox hosts art by hunt slonem, michael hainey, fernando bengoechea and mary little; poppy pushes a wheeled basket with harvey and swiggen, Two rex cross rabbits