The Moment Jeremiah Brent Knew Nate Berkus Was the One
Hillary Sawchuk: Is black coffee always your go-to?
Jeremiah Brent: Well, I have an unhealthy obsession with coffee. There are at least five or six cups a day, in addition to the morning pot. It’s pretty deep. It’s always either black or I’ll do an iced nonfat latte. I usually get up at 4:45 a.m. because my daughter is apparently trying to ruin my life. I don’t really know what I did to her besides give her everything she could ever want. She gets up, I get up, I give her a bottle, she goes back to bed and I have my morning, which is so nice because everyone is asleep including my husband. It’s quiet, I have my coffee, it’s perfect.
HS: Where does your daughter’s adorable name, Poppy, come from?
JB: I’d never met a Poppy or known a Poppy, but when Nate [Berkus] and I first started dating we were traveling somewhere and I had this crazy dream about us on a beach with this little girl with blonde wavy hair and her name was Poppy. I told him about it and fast forward four years later we find out we’re having our daughter and I looked at him and he goes, “It must be Poppy,” so that was always it.
HS: I could cry. That’s the best story.
JB: It was pretty good. I did cry, which is shocking. I’ll probably cry three times during this interview. I’m a real pillar of strength.
HS: What has surprised you the most about being a parent?
JB: I really think that parenthood cracks you open, which sounds so vague, but it is a different type of vulnerability. That’s the bottom line. There isn’t a second that I’m with her that I don’t appreciate every moment we have. I just posted some photo yesterday and I really genuinely don’t imagine what my life was like before. I was never that guy. I thought I was going to be by myself in the hills with a bunch of dogs. Now I have this little thing and she’s this innocence that you wake up to and you put to bed. All you want to do is protect her and create the best bubble possible for her to view the world.
HS: She’s so cute.
JB: Yeah, until she annihilates us. Which is about six months away.
HS: Where is home base going to be for your family?
JB: We go back and forth between here and New York, but I think L.A. is going to be home.
HS: When you were designing your home, I love how you asked yourself, “Where will I hold my daughter on a Saturday morning?” and, “Where will my husband and I sit and reflect and recharge?” You’ve painted such a nice picture of what a home with someone should be like.
JB: The most important thing that I’ve always felt as a designer is the idea of creating rooms around the moments that people are going to live in them. It’s one of the reasons I loved doing the show “Home Made Simple.” Every space is this opportunity to create a moment for these people to live in beautifully. Nate and I made the decision that we will always come first. For us, we had the beautiful gift of surrogacy. We had a lot of space to have the conversations about kids that most people don’t get the chance to have or even want to have. It sounds harsh, but the truth is it starts with us and ends with us, which is easier said than done. Creating a room for us to fall back into, relax, recharge and reconnect brings a different type of strength through the entire experience, however, it changes. Our home has changed five times since Poppy was born because she changes and we change even more. Now she is crawling. I’m like, “I guess that vintage marble table isn’t going to be a good idea.” So the baby proofing is the newest heartbreak. Let me tell you, it’s not cute. I’m like, “This rubber comes in three colors.”
HS: That could be a new business.
JB: Yeah, seriously. A nice brass-colored rubber. Gotta figure that out.
HS: How do you merge two personal styles in a home?
JB: I have a philosophy that you’ve always got to honor the past, acknowledge the present and leave room in your space for the future. There are certain things to my husband that are so important— paintings from his ex-boyfriend who was lost in the tsunami. Those will always have a place in our home. I’m honoring the past. There are things that we’ve purchased together. I really believe in editing. So I think like any relationship, your space should be a conversation. Talk to the person you are in love with that you’re sharing with, understand what’s important to them and really allow the space to be a reflection of both of you. So many people move in with somebody and try to hold on to who they were before they were with that person and that’s not what the space is about. You have to allow it to become the both of you.
HS: I’ve wondered how it would feel moving into someone’s place that wasn’t created together.
JB: I moved into my husband’s first home when we met in New York and I had the entire house repainted. I moved every room around, I was getting so crazy. I was like, “You can pick three items that you can keep. Okay! And I’m going to bring three items that are mine,” but it works. The truth is you have to walk into a space and feel like it’s a reflection of you. And when you are starting a new relationship it’s allowing a space to feel like a reflection of both of you. So it’s just a conversation. That’s why I always say, “Decorators at heart are really good listeners.” They can hear what both people need and translate that in the room.
HS: I also loved what you said about how great design is like great love— you follow your gut. When is a time in your life when you didn’t listen to your gut?
JB: Oh my God, my entire twenties! The beautiful gift of my husband is that he saw me the way I’ve always wanted to be seen and there’s something really powerful to that. When you find true love I really believe that that’s what it is at its core. He makes me want to be a better person, but then he also sees me and reminds me that I am a good person. My entire twenties were filled with decisions that make me think, “You had to go there, huh?” But that’s part of exploration and I think a lot of the most beautiful moments of my life and a lot of the most amazing things have come out of some of the most tumultuous times. I mean, I met Nate when I worked for Rachel Zoe. There was a moment when I thought, “What’s the point of this? Why did I start working here? Why am I in fashion?” but then the truth is I met my husband because of that.
HS: Did you know right away that Nate was the one?
JB: Yeah. Ten seconds. I didn’t even want to go on our first date. We were friends for years and then we randomly ran into each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party. He said, “We should go out antique shopping,” because I was in New York for the weekend and I thought, “Great. Can’t wait to go antique shopping,” [rolls eyes]. So I came back from the beach and we had this insanely beautiful afternoon that never ended. That was it. I literally never left. It actually sounds scary when I say it out loud. It worked out. I definitely never really believed in true love because I didn’t understand it but now I’ve experienced it so... he’s pretty good. He happens to be a really good guy, too, which helps.
Read the full interview at ADrinkWith.com