Nate Berkus has called many places home this year. First, the New York City apartment he shares with husband Jeremiah Brent and their two children. Then, when the global pandemic hit, the duo’s Montauk house, where the family spent six blissful months. Finally, Georgia, where the couple took a five-week trip to film their HGTV series Rock the Block, which more closely resembled, he says, an “alcohol-infused summer camp.” But even with all those moves, it was the peaceful pauses the designer will remember most.
“My level of appreciation for the little moments in between is so elevated now,” Berkus tells Domino’s editor-in-chief, Jessica Romm Perez, on this week’s episode of Design Time (out today on Spotify and Apple Podcasts). “The time we get to spend together as a family is amazing. I feel really lucky.” In their conversation, Berkus shares his wisdom on how to decorate on a budget (opt for natural materials) and the one decor piece everyone should have (a gilded mirror), as well as the 10 things inspiring him right now. Take a sneak peek, below.
I would say Muriel Brandolini. I think she’s a sorceress. She’s incredible.
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Material of the Moment
Natural stone. Whether it’s an old limestone fireplace, a beautiful stone bowl, or a sink from a hammam, I’m game for any sort of crumbly old stone or marble.
My favorite hotel would be Amantaka, which is in the Luang Prabang province of Laos. I don’t think I need to go back there, but I’m so grateful that I went.
I can’t wait to go back to the Marietas Islands in Mexico. It feels like you’re in a Disney sequence. You think some primary-colored fairy is going to fly over the top of a building when you’re walking down the sidewalk. It’s amazing.
Favorite Design Object
We bought an Alberto Giacometti coffee table that I promised myself I will always love, not because it was the price of a small car, and not because we bought it from Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, which is a really great provenance. It’s in our parlor in our townhouse in New York City. It’s just an iron base with figural dog heads and stags on it with a thick piece of glass. It’s just so good-looking.
Axel Einar Hjorth. His work is unbelievably refined and beautiful. He did this series of furniture in the 1930s for a company called Nordiska. It’s all raw wood and the most simple joinery. It’s just so handsome. It’s my be-all and end-all for all of those reasons.
What I’m Watching
I watched the entire season of The Crown in, like, seven minutes. I think it’s so inspiring. I’ll watch any sort of historical drama, saga, or biopic and be spellbound by the interiors.
The best book I’ve possibly ever read in my life is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I also just finished Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. It’s transformative, thought-provoking, and so beautifully written.
My favorite flower would be a peony or white rose. My favorite plant would be aloe. I had them when we lived in Los Angeles. They were in little pots on our wall outside, up on the top, which made me so happy. They feel weird in Montauk and even weirder in the Village. But I love the shape of it.
Favorite Vintage Source
My go-to vintage source would be LiveAuctioneers, 100 percent. You have to train yourself on how to work the site, but once you do, you’ll be really psyched about it. You can find everything from old Hermès bags and brand-new Cartier earrings to lighting from the ’30s and old paintings—literally anything.
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