From the moment I first saw Nate Berkus on The Oprah Show, he not only captured my attention with his gift for design but also my heart with his genuine-caring demeanor.
As a former exchange student in Paris myself, currently residing in the Chicago area, I learned that Nate is not only a former Chicagoan but that he also spent time as an intern in Paris after graduating from a college in Lake Forest, IL.
Lifestyle. Inspiration. Chicago. Paris. What’s there not to love about Nate Berkus?
The Nate Berkus Show about “living beautifully each day and loving the way you live.” It debuted in September on major networks nationwide.
I had an opportunity be on a call with Nate along with several other women bloggers from various parts of the country recently. The call was casual, inspiring, full of decorating tips and ideas on a budget for the holidays and beyond.
I enjoyed listening in on Nate’s interview with the other lifestyle bloggers, eager to hear his decorating tips, including his response to Katja Presnal’s holiday decorating question: “How can you do holiday décor for $200 in two hours…if you had to go to one store or try to get everything together really quickly and you have a $200 budget, what would you do?”
I loved his quick and easy idea of using juice glasses or whatever type of glasses you may own and placing votives inside of them, along with small vases and tightly gathered floral arrangements.
Juice glasses? I’ve never thought of using juice glasses as votive holders. This is a fabulous budget saving tip that will surely create and instant ambiance in any space…love it!
With the holiday season upon us; there’s nothing more magical than the Christmas tree lights and candles to light up a cozy room.
Speaking of holidays, Emily Johnston, Founder of MaterialGirls.com asked Nate what his “favorite holiday gift ideas were for the interior design enthusiast.”
Nate suggested “putting new monogram on old pieces,” such as silver from a Flea Market find and having it engraved. Now, that is certain to impress the one receiving the gift.
Nate not only lights up a darkened room but also knows how to create remarkable transformations to any space or size. Nate’s Crate surprised a deserving family who would have been forced to be separated during the holidays on the episode of “Ultimate Holiday Survival Guide.”
I was also especially touched to learn about a young man, Orayne Williams; a guest on the show. Orayne finished high school while living in a homeless shelter and is headed to college.
For the first time he will have his own living space. Nate helps him decorate and shows him how to save space in a dorm that he’ll have to share. This is a beautiful, inspirational story of determination and hope.
As a mom getting ready to send my daughter to college in less than a year, I wanted to ask Nate about space saving ideas for the dorm room. We toured some colleges recently and boy, I must have forgotten how tiny those dorm rooms really are.
My Talk with Nate:
Duong Sheahan: Good morning, Nate.
Nate Berkus: Good morning, Duong.
Duong Sheahan: This is Duong from Chicago.
Nate Berkus: Hello.
Duong Sheahan: I miss you in Chicago.
Nate Berkus: Thank you.
Duong Sheahan: It was a pleasure to meet you this summer and I’m so excited to be on a call with you, thank you so much for your time.
Nate Berkus: No problem.
Duong Sheahan: There’s nothing more amazing than to see faces light up when you transform rooms. I’ve watched you transform so many rooms, touch so many lives and the one that I am looking forward to watching this coming Thursday is about a young man that looks like he’s overcoming circumstance, going to college.
I wanted to know, how did you find him? He’s homeless and graduating from high school, getting ready to go off to college. My first question is, how did you find that story?
Nate Berkus: My producers found the story, they’re very good at what they do. And when they brought it to me, I thought it was one of the most moving stories that I’d ever heard and his name is Orayne Williams and he has been an A student and living in a homeless shelter for most of his high school career. And he is now going to college on full scholarship, four year, accredited university and my team and I have a huge surprise for him.
Duong Sheahan: That’s wonderful. Well, the reason why I’m intrigued with this story is because of his overcoming his homelessness and persevering and going off to college. My dad used to instill that into us when we were little because of how he had overcome school, living in another country and walking for a mile just to study under the light. So when you hear a story like this, it’s just so inspiring.
As a mom with a daughter going off to college next fall, we’ve already been talking about it. I forgot how small the dorm rooms were.
Nate Berkus: I know. It’s crazy.
Duong Sheahan: So right away, my daughter was like, “Oh my gosh.” You know, realizing she’s not going to be able to pack everything. I wanted to know, what are some ways that number one, we can save, because of college expense, I’d like to be able to start budgeting for her decorations for her dorm as well as where to shop. I am in a new phase right now with that season in our life.
Nate Berkus: Yes, I mean, I think that online is probably the best place to comparison shop for stuff, but the truth is, I mean, she doesn’t need a ton. Some pre-fab drapery panels and a rod would be great.
New bedding, a couple of foldable chairs, a bath caddy and maybe a couple of organizational pieces that she can put on the back of the door for her shoe and belts, socks and underwear or whatever it is.
But, I think that when I left for school, what I took were my framed photos of my friends and family and my mom got me new sheets and a new comforter, two sets, and then that was really it and the rest I kind of figured out as I needed.
But the best thing, and actually, the show with Orayne Williams has a lot of specific products. I don’t remember the source of every single one, but it’s all on the – on my website.
Duong Sheahan: Great. And space saving, space savers. What we were looking at is finding pieces to really make it functional and yet be able to save on space as well.
Nate Berkus: Yes. Absolutely, absolutely. Well, we address that actually on the show and there are some specific, like I said, specific products that I think would work really well for her.
Duong Sheahan: Great. Thank you so much for your time.
Nate Berkus: You’re welcome.
It looks like we’ll be making some small spaces work; thanks to Nate for all the great and simple ideas.
Nate Berkus is America’s design expert.