boston.com Your Life your connection to The Boston Globe

Who is Nate Berkus?

Suddenly, he seems to be everywhere.

He's the featured designer on ''The Oprah Winfrey Show" and soon to be a regular part of her new XM satellite radio channel. There's a veritable shrine to his creations at Linens-N-Things -- from Nate Berkus dishes and linens to Nate Berkus water hyacinth bowls and Nate Berkus herringbone toss pillows. He's a writer -- author of a design book called ''Nate Berkus: Home Rules" and a regular contributor to O at Home magazine.

Berkus, 34, attended high school at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, near the New Hampshire border. He lives in Chicago with his dogs Henry and Emma, and heads his own design firm, Nate Berkus Associates. He spoke to us about design, Boston style, and what's up for spring. -- LINDA MATCHAN

So who are you?

Somebody who's had the good fortune of doing what I love every day. I came from a family where I was around the arts and architecture and design, and I've been given a great opportunity to show people what they can do to improve their own homes.

Your new book suggests that making your home into a beautiful space satisfies a basic human need. Does it?

I believe this wholeheartedly. Whether it's your home or your work space or whatever, people are very, very affected by their environment. I feel better when I wake up and see a room filled with objects that mean something to me.

What would that room look like? It would have a lack of color. I spend so much time with color, I prefer to add it through things like flowers. It would be a very tranquil room filled with objects of my travels, with framed memories on the wall, and really good sheets.

With what thread count?

Thread count is a bit of a lie. High thread count sheets can be really wonderful and really awful. It totally depends on the weave. And I was, like, a real sheet snob. My sheets are woven so wonderfully and the thickness is so dense, it feels like twice the thread count.

There are so many different Nate Berkus products: What do they have in common?

The common denominator is that they are a reflection of my favorite things. It stylistically can't be pigeonholed.

And what are some of your favorite things?

Omigod. Beautiful woven blankets from Mexico. Hand tooled leather, fantastic colonial antiques from Cambodia. Beads and glass. Anything that is indigenous to that area.

How did you get to be one of Oprah's TV friends?

I had an art opening in Chicago, and one of her producers came. I had done some work on HGTV just for fun, and they asked me to do a project on Oprah's show. I never slept less or ate more in my life. But the creativity was so palpable and the work ethic was so solid, and that was a real match for me.

Do you worry about being overexposed?

I focus on what I do. I don't take on more than I can handle. I make sure my quality of life is, for me, where it needs to be.

What's your own house like?

Very, very simple. Almost everything is old or has a story behind it. Every table top has things on it that I picked up on a beach or was given to me as a gift.

How would you describe Boston style?

I used to think it was mainline preppy. Now I think it's starting to change a bit, with 15 Beacon Street and Hotel [Nine Zero] and different restaurants. Boston is interesting to me. It's so close to New York, it's easy to get to Europe. And yet it's very traditional when it comes to aesthetics.

What's new for spring?

For me, spring is about white, and about working with the color white in your home. I'm doing two new bedding collections -- blue and white and chocolate brown and white. In products, it will focus on mercury glass and cut crystal and beautiful baskets. It's very much an international Nantucket situation.

SEARCH THE ARCHIVES
 
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months
 Advanced search / Historic Archives