Ev­ery home tells a story

Upscale Living Magazine - - Profile - By Heléne Ra­mack­ers

Nate Berkus lives by the maxim that your home should tell your story, with what you love most col­lected and as­sem­bled in one place. Revo­lu­tion­iz­ing count­less homes through­out the world, he knows how to cre­ate the most stylish in­te­ri­ors imag­in­able.

Nate spoke to Up­scale Liv­ing mag­a­zine about his love for his work, and hus­band Jeremiah Brent and their daugh­ter Poppy.

Did you have an in­flu­ence in your youth that shaped your ca­reer path?

My mother was an in­te­rior de­signer who had a big in­flu­ence on me while I was grow­ing up.

When and why did you de­cide to be­come an in­te­rior de­signer?

My first job out of col­lege was at an auc­tion house in Chicago. I learnt so much about an­tiques, vin­tage, etc. From there it was a nat­u­ral segue into de­sign­ing in­te­ri­ors.

You started your de­sign firm at the age of 24 and more than two decades later, you are still go­ing strong. What and who in­spires you?

I have been so lucky to have been do­ing this for as long as I have. Travel in­spires me, as does ar­chi­tec­ture, art, fash­ion, and jew­elry. My hus­band Jeremiah Brent is a big in­spi­ra­tion.

What are / have been your big­gest chal­lenges in your ca­reer?

I have been in­cred­i­bly for­tu­nate to be in this busi­ness for a lengthy pe­riod of time. There have been mis­takes along the way for sure. The trick is to learn from them and do bet­ter next time.

Im­por­tant lessons along the way?

When some­one tells you who they are, be­lieve them. That’s a great Maya An­gelou quote.

The fa­vorite part of your job?

Help­ing peo­ple live beau­ti­fully in their homes.

What is the best thing about be­ing an in­te­rior de­signer?

Is like I men­tioned in your pre­vi­ous ques­tion, help­ing peo­ple live beau­ti­fully in their homes.

And the worst?


Tell us about your own dec­o­rat­ing style and the fa­vorite room(s) in your home?

I have al­ways be­lieved your home should tell your story, and the way you do that is through your things. Reach for things that feel time­less, and that have mean­ing. If you don’t ab­so­lutely love it, it shouldn’t be in your home.

What key pieces in your home can you not live with­out?

I am a dec­o­ra­tor and ev­ery­thing in my home is mean­ing­ful, but at the end of the day I’ve al­ways be­lieved peo­ple first, then pets, then things.

How do you solve / ne­go­ti­ate dif­fer­ence in taste be­tween your­self and your hus­band, Jeremiah Brent?

(See ques­tion be­low).

Talk us through a time­less in­te­rior de­sign style.

If it’s been around since the 1930’s chances are it’s not go­ing any­where, whether ma­te­ri­als, fin­ishes, or vin­tage pieces. I don’t be­lieve in trends - they are de­signed to make peo­ple feel bad about what they didn’t buy.

How im­por­tant is it to ac­ces­sorize?

Very. That last layer is what brings a room to­gether – whether rugs, art, wo­ven pieces, wall hang­ings, throws, framed pho­tos, etc.

Is there a right and wrong when it comes to dec­o­rat­ing? Please ex­plain.

There are for sure rules of scale and how things work to­gether in a room. But, if you love some­thing you can find a way to live with it.

How does one keep things mod­ern with­out hav­ing to break the bank?

There are so many great af­ford­able op­tions these days, from Tar­get to Chairish, Etsy, etc.

Do you be­lieve in re­pur­pos­ing dated pieces or should one just shop for new ones?

My firm and I in­cor­po­rate vin­tage into ev­ery sin­gle in­te­rior we de­sign. The more chipped and marked, the bet­ter. That patina and his­tory is ul­ti­mately what makes a room feel in­ter­est­ing.

Poppy, your daugh­ter was born in 2015. She is sim­ply gor­geous! How has life changed for you since be­com­ing a fa­ther?

Well, I now live with a lot of plas­tic, col­or­ful things which I never thought would hap­pen. Be­com­ing a par­ent changes ev­ery­thing. She is teach­ing us ev­ery sin­gle day.

Any anec­do­tal sto­ries of Poppy you would like to share?

Dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son last year, it was all about Santa and Christ­mas. We could get her to do any­thing by telling her if she doesn’t, Santa won’t be vis­it­ing. Wish we could have that kind of lever­age all year long.

You and Jeremiah had an­other ‘baby’ in 2017 – a tele­vi­sion show ‘Nate and Jeremiah by De­sign’. What is it like work­ing with your spouse?

Jeremiah and I will ar­gue about who gets the last piece of pizza, but when it comes to de­sign we are very much in lock step. We chal­lenge each other in the right way. Jeremiah has an in­cred­i­ble eye …I love that we get to do this to­gether.

I be­lieve a sec­ond sea­son is on the cards?

Yes, we are cur­rently in pro­duc­tion. The new sea­son will air in spring 2018.

De­scribe your­self in three words.

Dou­ble Virgo! That’s all you need to know.

You travel for busi­ness, and hope­fully plea­sure too. Which have been your fa­vorite places to travel to that have left a last­ing im­pres­sion?

Mex­ico is one of my fa­vorite places to visit, and my hus­band and I got en­gaged in Peru.

What do you do for fun?

De­sign and an­tiquing is what I do on the week­end, as well – that’s how you know you’re in the right profession.

If you hadn’t be­come an in­te­rior de­signer, what would you have be­come?

A jew­elry de­signer.

Tell us what you are work­ing on right now?

We are in the mid­dle of pro­duc­tion for Sea­son 2 of “Nate and Jeremiah By De­sign”, a show I am do­ing with my hus­band, Jeremiah [on TLC]. I re­cently part­nered with Frame­bridge as Cre­ative Ad­vi­sor, which is a re­ally fun col­lab­o­ra­tion. I’m cur­rently work­ing on new col­lec­tions for Tar­get and The Shade Store for 2018. Not to men­tion, my de­sign firm and the in­te­rior projects we are work­ing on. It was a very busy end to 2017.

Your plans for 2018 – per­sonal and pro­fes­sional?

There’s a lot in the works, it’s go­ing to be a big year.

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