Nate Berkus's dogs, Henry and Emma, meet us at the door. "I live in a
beautiful vintage building that was built in the heart of downtown Chicago,"
Nate says. "Do not be surprised by the lack of color in this place. I like to
keep things really simple."
Nate's living room is a good example of what his design style is all about. "Everywhere in my house are these little things that have meanings and make me think of great memories." Nate found the pair of gold and green chairs in a flea market in New York.
After Nate helped a widow incorporate memories of her late husband in a new room
incorporate memories of her late husband into a new room—including a feather that she said had personal meaning—he realized everyone has a "feather" of their own.
This is the most important thing in Nate's house. "Everyone always asks themselves, 'What would you grab in a fire?' For me, my dogs and then this, which is a woven photograph that was a Christmas present from Fernando." Fernando Bengoechea was Nate's partner, a photographer who passed away in the tsunami tragedy.
Nate's home is filled with items he picked up on vacations or got from Fernando. This table he picked up in Mexico and the little horses used to be in Fernando's apartment.
Nate's house is truly a doghouse. Henry and Emma are sitting on a sofa that Nate designed years ago. "It is upholstered in plain linen, which is one of my big tips for everybody," Nate says. "Buy a simple sofa and you can change pillows when you change your mind about color."
When Nate saw this leather daybed 15 years ago, he had no idea where it would go. But he bought it anyway and now he loves it in the living room. "I think you should buy what you love and someday you'll find a place for it."
Nate loves the industrial look of these shelves, which he says came from the basement of a French bank.
From the dining room, you can see one of the best features of Nate's apartment—the view of Lake Michigan.
Nate designed the concrete dining room table himself. "The main use for this is takeout Thai food, pizza and anything that can be delivered when I am done with a day of work." And he's not joking!
This is Nate's kitchen. "It's a great old kitchen," Nate says. "In fact, these are the original cabinets. I just had them painted army green, which is one of my favorite colors."
Nate has a beautiful commercial oven, but here's the truth: "I have never boiled a pot of water on this stove."
This is Nate's office, where he spends a lot of time when he's working from home. It's bright and sunny and filled with stuff that makes him happy, including this piece of folk art. "It's some sort of mathematical equation that neither me nor my friends are smart enough to figure out."
The wallpaper is hand-brushed silver leaf and has been there since 1950. "Thank you previous owners!"
Nate says he spends the most time in his library.
Nate loves the architecture in this room. "The wood paneling was here when the apartment was renovated in the 1950s. I actually added leather with baseball stitching to make the room feel even warmer."
Nate Berkus added leather with baseball stitching to the wood paneling in his library. "I love this room for so many reasons," Nate says. "Books are the heart of any home, and I spend hours going through books for design inspiration."
The 300-year-old rug from the border of China and Russia also adds additional warmth. "It just makes me happy. There are crazy birds...and I love the design."
Among the things Nate fell in love with in his apartment are the closets. "I am very organized, so you can see I've got my stuff exactly the way I want it," Nate says. "I am a neat freak, this is a bit embarrassing."
Well, America, it's the room you've been waiting to see! In Nate's bedroom, he has crisp white sheets.
Nate has a nightstand filled with books, but he also created a little memory area filled with pictures and items that hold special meaning for him.
Nate also has a memory wall in his bedroom filled with photography from friends, a close-up of a camel that makes him laugh and a framed song list from a James Taylor concert in Chicago.
Nate has a TV in his bedroom—one of Oprah's biggest decorating pet peeves. "I am busted," he says. "I rarely watch TV, Oprah, I swear, and it only gets two fuzzy channels, but it is in here. I am busted."