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Nate Berkus: The Best Gift I Ever Received
Posted: Sun 04/28/2013 02:00 PM
In his new book, The Things That Matter, designer Nate Berkus says your home should tell the story of who you are—and it's a lesson Nate learned early on! Read this excerpt from his book to find out how one gift changed his life forever.
I was a boy with one dream and one dream only: I wanted—no, strike that, I was desperate for—a room of my own. You see, in those days I shared a room with my little brother, Jesse, and it wasn’t pretty. He was the Oscar to my Felix: messy, careless, and just a little bit sticky—exactly the way a kindergartner is supposed to be. I, on the other hand, was a triple Virgo: frighteningly organized and utterly meticulous—exactly the way a controlling 5th-grade neat freak is supposed to be. I wanted the laundry stacked, sorted, and put away the second it came out of the dryer, whereas my brother lived happily with stuff tossed all over the place. The only LEGO-free zone I was able to maintain was my bed, and believe me, I made it flawlessly. Even as a 10-year-old, I remember trying to explain to my mother and stepfather how upset and frustrated a messy room made me. But they just couldn’t grasp it.
They wanted me to be playing with baseballs and frogs while I wanted to be scouring garage sales. I don’t know if my mother simply got fed up with refereeing the epic battles between Jesse and me or if it was starting to dawn on her that I just wasn’t a baseball-and-frog kind of guy, which is what I’d told her when she signed me up for T-ball. Actually, I believe the exact quote was, “I don’t like direct sunlight, I don’t like the feeling of grass under my feet, and I don’t like mosquitoes, so I don’t know why you think I’m going to enjoy a summer of this!” But my parents more than made up for it in the fall, giving me the greatest present I could’ve ever imagined for my 13th birthday. Forget the savings bonds, fountain pens, and Kiddush cup that most Bar Mitzvah boys receive, my mother and stepfather announced that they would be allowing me to renovate an unfinished section of the basement—concrete floors and no drywall—and turn it into my own bedroom.Keep reading >>