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Interview with Nate Berkus at his Hamptons Magazine cover party

Hamptons Magazine Celebrates Cover Star Nate Berkus at The Capri Hotel
Hamptons Magazine Celebrates Cover Star Nate Berkus at The Capri Hotel
Stacey Doyle

Hamptons magazine celebrated its cover star Nate Berkus at The Capri Hotel in Southampton on Aug. 1. The interior designer and television personality joined VIPs and tastemakers at a tony Hamptons party with all the trimmings. Also present at the cover party were Hamptons magazine publisher Debra Halpert, editor-in-chief Samantha Yanks. artist Charles Wildbank and Steve Kamali, co-owner of The Capri Hotel.

Hamptons Magazine Celebrates Cover Star Nate Berkus at The Capri Hotel
Stacey Doyle

Specialty cocktails were served courtesy of Gentleman Jack. There was also fine wine by Lieb Cellars and Peroni beer. Mouthwatering cuisine was provided by BLT Steak, a personal favorite of mine. The mini lobster rolls were delicious and set a tone for this quintessential Hamptons event. This exclusive event held in honor of Nate Berkus' Hamptons magazine cover was presented by The Lincoln Motor Company.

Examiner was on the scene to enjoy the fabulous festivities. We also had a golden opportunity to interview Nate Berkus about everything from Hamptons hot spots and being a newlywed to how his mom has inspired him as an interior designer.

Tell me - how is newlywed life with Jeremiah (Brent) and what are you doing in the Hamptons?

It's great, really it's great. Spending a lot of time with friends this summer, I think the nesting instinct has really taken over. I've never really been a nightclub guy or even a bar guy – though there are some people who knew me in my 20s who would disagree with that (laughs).

Well, that applies to all of us.

It's been a very chill summer. I spent a lot of time at Marjorie Gubelmann's house with her son, with the dog. Great barbecues and rather small gatherings with friends this summer – it's been nice.

Do you have any beaches or shops you like to hit?

I have a massive shopping issue. I love the new Club Monaco on Main Street. It's amazing, it's where they launched their home line. You can buy vintage, too – a beautiful tapestry or textile from South America - and of course clothes that I think fit really beautifully. I love estate jewelry. It's not something a lot of people know about me. Hollis Reh & Shariff in Southampton is amazing. She's lovely and really informed and has taught me a lot about different pieces over the years. What else? I'm happy to just run around and have coffee and gelato at Sant Ambroeus and hang out.

Tell us about your Hamptons-inspired designs, such as the work you did at the house that belonged to Billy Joel and Katie Lee that was recently sold.

It was actually an expensive house that was beautifully renovated by me and Ahmad Sardar, a New York-based architect. I have a lot of memories from that house because Billy and Katie were not only clients but also very good friends. That was the weekend house for years for all of us. I am a little sad that it sold but I hope the new people really enjoy it.

Do you have any ideas about how to bring the nautical Hamptons feel into everyday homes? I know you do a line for Target. What are your hints for bringing a little Hamptons into any home?

The truth is that I have always held very fast to my own philosophy about design. I don't believe in a signature look and I don't believe in a thematic look. I think that design themes were created to try and sell people more stuff. You know what I'm talking about – like Paris, everything is an Eiffel Tower, a croissant and bon jour.

I've never really subscribed to that line of thinking in terms of design. But what I've always felt very strongly about is that our homes should tell the story of who we are. The way we do that is through our things. If who you are is somebody who adores spending time at the beach and you want that feeling of your feet in the sand and that feeling of light and air - then regardless of where you're living, why not incorporate that into your home?

I've done loft apartments in Milan that had a sort of beach-y casual, almost vaguely Mexican beach sort of feeling. They become the places where everybody really wants to gather because it is an authentic interior to the people that live there. That to me is what sort of changes how we live. That's when you walk into a girlfriend's house who may or may not have ever worked with a designer and you automatically – everyone has one in their life – it's the one you ask for help when you can't hire somebody – when you walk into that home everyone knows who it is. It's that moment when you feel so uplifted by they way that they have assembled their home. That's always the goal for me.

I know you have a famous family including your mom who is a television designer (Nancy Golden).

She'd be so excited to hear herself described as famous, you have no idea!

Well, I am a major HGTV and DIY fan.

You have no idea, is is going to be a major moment for her I can promise you. Someone once many years ago - when she was hosting a show on DIY - we were at the park in Michigan and a lady came up and asked for her autograph. My mom said of course – as long as I can have yours so people believe me.

Has she inspired you in any way?

Very much so. My mom and I are super-close. She is an incredible lady. Always very elegant with great taste, really very refined taste. But not a snob. And I feel like that was the most important thing for me growing up before I started my business was to know that it didn't matter where something came from. There was beauty in something handcrafted and something you would find at a garage sale or an estate sale or an antiques dealer in Paris. It didn't have a price tag on it. And I've always believed in that. It's a feeling. A moment. Something is either well-made and well-designed or it's not. It's either one or the other. But when you find something that is beautifully designed and it's $2, that's really exciting.

It is! I find that exciting, too. What can we look forward to from you in the future? I know you have “Little Princes” coming out. Any other products, projects or productions we should know about?

We're launching a really great line of textiles at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores at the end of August with more coming in October. What's fun about it is that I've been designing fabrics for a really long time, mainly with Calico Corners. But what we decided to consider when we started to work with Jo-Ann was that – where are all the people who are on Etsy? We were looking at all these amazing projects that take a yard or two yards or four yards of fabric – where are they getting that? They need great, beautiful prints and wonderful, affordable things that they can use to create a teepee for their kid's bedroom or a tote bag or a notebook cover.

We changed the entire focus of how we manufacture, how we source everything and created a line of 25 - and then in October there will be 50 - different textiles in different colors that are really targeted toward the person who wants to make something on their own. And the coolest thing about that for me is that – I'm practically addicted to Instagram, looking at how my friends use my things. With the Target collection, which is ongoing, I'm watching how people are using the products in their own homes. With Jo-Ann's it's going to be even more exciting for me. To be able to see what they are making – I have no idea, we're just putting it out there into the universe so people can make whatever makes them happy.

To find out more about iconic interior designer Nate Berkus and his latest projects, visit the Hamptons magazine website or pick up an issue available on newsstands now. With luxurious real estate and posh interior design in mind, The Capri Hotel in Southampton went back on the market this week.

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