“Interior Design, Like Fashion, Is The Art We Live Our Lives In.”
Jeremiah Brent is a celebrated interior designer, husband to Nate Berkus and parent to son Oskar and big sister Poppy. He runs a bi-coastal design firm jeremiahbrent.com and has a hit show Nate & Jeremiah by Design on TLC. The pair recently debuted Nate +Jeremiah for Living Spaces, an upholstery collection that brings you curated, worldly, livable pieces to help you tell your story. I recently had the opportunity to hear more about Jeremiah’s story.
Jennifer Van Donge: Congratulations on your new son Oskar with your husband Nate Berkus, has having a second child changed the dynamic of your home and work life?
Jeremiah Brent: One hundred percent! Each of those kids have their own rhythm and their own energy, it was unnerving at first to feel the energy of the house shift but now it feels like it has always been here. Our daughter is super strong and he is super sweet. I’d be perfectly fine with our kids staying home forever but this is pre-teenage years, so check back with me but right now I really like them.
You have a copy of The Conscious Parent on your nightstand at home. What speaks to you about this philosophy and do you use any of it when evaluating your client’s needs and how to bring out the best in a living space?
The thing that struck me when I read The Conscious Parent the first time is that I figured out that they are their own person and my job is to be a really good listener. One of the things I really loved about the book is the separation of the parent, what’s good for you, outward facing, and what’s really good for your kids, they are their own soul. I definitely apply it to my work as well; anytime you are a better listener you’re better at anything, especially professionally. It plays at the whole ego thing. One of the things I really love in my business, particularly in my design firm, is we really try to listen to the clients and the story that the people in the homes are living. I really don’t want my ego to just be creating the same room in 300 different ways for 300 different people. I want to listen to their story, sync up with the ripple of who they are as people, and create spaces that really tell their story.
Regarding the debut of your new capsule collection for Living Spaces can you define what the word capsule means for you here and how you will expand the line in the future?
What we wanted to do is create a collection of a limited amount of pieces, upholstery; everything made locally in California and have a nice dress of fabric options. The cool thing that we have done with the upholstery is that you can customize most of those pieces in twenty different fabrics. Having been on television and having our ear to the ground of designs we really feel like that high impact, low-cost design is the future. We were lucky enough to work with Living Spaces. We are coming out with more upholstery pieces as well as case goods in the spring so “capsule” here is like “our first date, and now we’re staying together!”
You’ve described this collection as “chic,” well made and affordable, how did you manage to incorporate all three elements into this collection?
When the opportunity came to design an original collection with Living Spaces, we couldn’t be more excited, everything is made locally so it’s a two week lead time. Something that is really important to Nate and I is that you need to invest in key pieces, which doesn’t mean that you need to invest $10,000 into a sofa. We really wanted to bring back silhouettes that were clean and timeless and that were affordable, every sofa is under $1,000. And then it doesn’t feel untouchable; we want people to feel like they can experience design and have fun with it.
How has the success of Nate & Jeremiah by Design changed your life and are you excited about the upcoming shoot of the 3rd season?
It’s an emotional experience. I’ve always had an emotional attachment to design; I think if it is done correctly it is the truest reflection of how people see themselves and how people want other people to see them. With our show, we are a gay family with two kids; we didn’t have our kids the conventional way. But our show is really about going into these people’s homes, and through design, not only expressing love and tolerance, but community and connection. And that’s really what this show’s been about, and we have really felt deeply connected with everyone we’ve worked with. And the beauty of this show is it’s a design show but it’s really connection. Walking into these people’s lives and saying we see you, we hear you and we care. What can we do to help?
You’ve said, “Your home is your opportunity to showcase not only where you’ve been in your life, but who you are now and, most importantly, who you hope to become.” Can you elaborate more on why it should showcase who you hope to become?
There is this one chair that I bought when I was nineteen and it was $4,000, which was a fortune, still is a fortune, and I had no money. But I saved up and bought this chair because I imagined how I would live one day with the chair in my house. It was fancy and it was masculine, timeless, and it was beautiful. And so I purchased this thing imagining who I was going to become with the piece. And ironically as time has gone on, now it represents who I was. If you can have a deeper consciousness about the way you are purchasing things for your home and how you are assembling them, you can have these pieces that are really going to transition with you and come to build up each part of your life throughout time.
-Jennifer Van Donge is a writer and owner of Wells Marketing, an advertising agency in in Santa Barbara, California.