Nate Berkus in New York City's West Village

Photo: William Waldron

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In May 2005, designer Nate Berkus invited The Oprah Show into his spacious Chicago apartment. Now, he's taking us along as he tackles New York City's tough real estate market.

"The truth is, I'm really familiar with the city because I've been working here for so long," Nate says. "Between visiting private clients or seeing my attorneys or having meetings with the people at Linens 'n Things [where he has his own line of home decor], I've been coming here at least every other week for the past few years."

The time had come, though, for him to put down roots. So he found a real estate agent online and called to say that he'd be in the city in a week and would have a day to find an apartment. "I knew what I could afford," Nate says. "Plus, it had to be old. It had to be a one bedroom. It had to have high ceilings. And it had to make me feel happy."

After spending a full afternoon seeing 10 places, he naturally decided that the last apartment was the one. "I walked in and I could just picture it immediately, living here," says Nate, who made an offer that day. A few weeks later, the prewar, fourth floor, 550-square-foot, one bedroom co-op was his.

Nate says his new neighborhood, Manhattan's West Village, is the perfect place for him. "I love the sounds, the sights [and] the energy," he says.