ELLE DECOR: I love the bits of quirky personal info we get about you – like the fact that you decant his eggs, or that you have a gift-wrap drawer. What made you decide to open up so much in this book? –
NB: My intention was not to make the book personal. But the people I profiled were so open to sharing their life stories—who they loved, who they lost, where they hoped to go, and what the story of their life has evolved to be—it seemed crazy not to write about my childhood and the great influences that shaped my personal style.
As for the quirky parts – that’s really how I speak. I’m not a particularly private person by anyone’s opinion. I’m very open about how I live my life and the choices I make. And know what? I also peel the labels off my shampoo bottles. They’re annoying.
ED: While on the surface, the book is about “things”, it’s truly about the stories behind those things. Do you find yourself creating stories about people as soon as your step into their homes?
NB: Absolutely. The truth is I’ve been doing that since long before I wrote the book. I studied sociology in school and I’ve always been fascinated with why people make the decisions they do. When I worked in an auction house in Chicago at the beginning of my career I loved discovering why people assembled the collections they did, why they became passionate about ceramics, or silhouettes, or French 19th-century furniture. And who were these people who amassed such collections?
ED: You talk about the moment you realized your New York apartment was home. Any tips for helping people get to that point with their own houses and apartments?
NB: First look around your space and tell yourself the truth. Gayle King had a sofa she spent a fortune on but she didn’t like it as soon as it was delivered. She kept it for 10 years. Be honest about your space and do a major edit. If it’s time to sell, donate, or move things, that’s OK. That doesn’t mean you have to constantly redecorate and spend money, it’s simply about making it right. Which means right to you.
ED: Nate, we love your book, your interiors, your Target line, and now want to know: what new Nate Berkus projects can we look forward to?
NB: I’m working on producing my second film—The Help was my first. I can’t say anything about it yet except that it’s based on a novel based on a true story. And truthfully, I’ve never stopped doing design work. My firm works all over the country and I get just as excited today as I did 15 year ago when I started the company. That’s what keeps me connected to everything I do. Without that I wouldn’t enjoy designing products or writing books or being on TV talking about design. Design is what links it all together.
Gently via Elledecor