A Sit Down With Nate Berkus

Headlining AmericasMart’s first day of LIVE programming was Nate Berkus, who appeared on the main stage Thursday afternoon, but beforehand he spoke with GDA Editor in Chief Lenise Willis to dish a few extra details.

The interior designer, author and television personality runs Chicago interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates, which he started at the age of 24. Since then, Berkus has offered design advice and makeovers as a regularly featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, released numerous product lines, and authored several books. His new TLC show, Nate & Jeremiah by Design, co-stars his husband  Jeremiah Brent, and follows both their professional lives (Brent is also a designer) and their lives as parents to baby daughter Poppy, “the girl that changed everything.”

Berkus’ design philosophy remains the same as it was 20 years ago, and continues to influence his designs and projects: Your home should tell your story, with what you love collected and assembled in one place.

Thursday afternoon Berkus discussed his design style and philosophy in depth, but here are a few thoughts he shared with Gifts & Decorative Accessories Editor in Chief Lenise Willis a few days prior to market.

LW: How has your style and fashion sense evolved since you first began decorating?

NB: Obviously, your taste and style evolves over time. But truthfully, I’ve always reached for things that feel timeless, are well-made and have patina … and that hasn’t changed.

LW: How about in more recent times?

NB: I will say my interiors have become even more muted. A very clean, neutral palette – especially in your home – will always feel soothing and welcoming. Now that I’m a dad though, I also live with a lot of colorful plastic things. That has definitely been an adjustment.

LW: You’ve done products for the high-end and the opening price point shopper. What do they have in common and, obviously aside from price, what’s different?

NB: It’s my job as an interior designer to know the very best that is out there, in furnishings, architecture, materials etc. And then I translate that into my collections. Expensive things don’t necessarily equate to good design. It’s about the story and patina: Is it made by hand? What memory does it provoke? Does it make me feel happy? This is ultimately what makes something valuable.

LW: Do you see a style emerging or gaining in popularity and if so, how will your design aesthetic reflect that?

NB: I’ve never believed in trends, and buying something just because it’s in for a season. Classic finishes and materials will always feel important.

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