Interview with Nate!

We thought we’d start our new blog site off right- featuring an interview with Chicago designer, Nate Berkus.

The Material Girls had a chance to ask him our most pressing design related questions and he was so kind enough to answer them all!


What do you consider your “signature” design elements?

I don’t think I have a signature element.  I’m more about layering your home with the things that you love and finding a way to make your home your own, whether that’s showcasing a folk art collection or a Picasso, it’s about the lifestyle of who lives in the space.

What is your favorite way to address windows…to drape or not to drape?

It really depends on the space.  In my den, my less formal room, I have drapes.  It makes the room feel finished.  But, in my bedroom, I have wooden blinds.  You just have to go with what feels right in the room….but, please, I beg of you, no puddling the drapes.

What are your “go to” paint colors?

I am obsessed with Farrow & Ball, Railings, high lacquer.  I used in my NY apartment and it looks amazing.

What is your color forecast for Fall 2009?

I picked this color of blue, almost a dusty Mediterranean blue, as well as a curry color that has a truly golden cast to it for my sheets.  I’m in love with both of them, especially how they look together.

What are your favorite fabric lines?

I wouldn’t say that I have one go-to line that I use, but I do have several go-to fabrics like linen and silk velvets. They’re classic and work on anything from a sofa to headboard.

What is your favorite material for kitchen countertops?

I’m torn, I love marble, but, stainless steel is another great option.  It’s industrial and cleans up really well for anyone that’s a real home cook.

What is your number one city to shop in?

You ladies are tough….I’m too much of a shopper’s shopper to narrow it down to one city.  Mabye Paris.  They’ve got fashion covered.  They’ve got antiques covered.  Plus, I speak French and get to feel cool that way too.

What is your favorite room to design?

I love tackling the great room.  Ever since builders built the first great room, people have been stumped.  They don’t know how to paint the walls.  They don’t know where to put the TV.  They’re just stuck.  Then, I show up, paint those white walls and drop in way more furniture than a couch and a TV and bring a bit of shape to this oversized space.

What is the trend you wish would go away?

I wish people would stop trying to keep up with the Jonses’.  Just because the neighbors down the block are French Country, doesn’t mean you have to be.  Take a moment to learn about yourself..what do you like and what don’t you like and decorate your home for you and how you want to live there.

What is the trend you will never tire of?

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of mixing eras and looks. I just love a well-traveled, well-edited room.

What is your favorite fabric to upholster a sofa in?

Linen. It’s such a clean looking and classic fabric.

Which interior designer has inspired you the most throughout your career?

I don’t really have a favorite.  I take a bit of inspiration from a long list of designers, artists and fashion houses.

What are your favorite stores to shop when budget is a concern (ex: favorite big box retailers

I’m partial to my own line.  Nothing makes the cut that I don’t love and the prices are really reasonable.

What is your favorite flea market?

My favorite flea is marche Paul Bert in Paris or Parma, Italy

Not sure if you’ve heard, but Oprah just joined the social networking site, Twitter.  It seems that tons of designers and celebrities alike, have gotten very into this site in order to stay connected.  Do you have plans on “tweeting” any time soon?

My team is trying to make me join, but I’m not sold just yet.  It just feels like a chore to me. Plus, I don’t think that my ordering Thai food for dinner is really interesting to anyone, besides my dogs who might get the odd noodle here and there.   But, I’m sure I’ll come around eventually.

Last but not least…since we are the “Material” Girls, we’d like to know- what is your favorite design “material”?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one.  I’m going to take a bit of leeway and say that “life” gives you the best “material” for those design projects.  Getting out there, traveling, being with family, being with friends….that’s what informs my choices and inspires me.  That’s where all the best ideas come from.


Be sure to check out his fabulous line with HSN– affordable and chic!





And if that wasn’t enough eye candy for you, take a look at Nate’s gorgeous Chicago apartment in this video from!