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“Personalization is the ultimate luxury,” said interior designer and TV host Jeremiah Brent. “I think now more than ever people are starting to understand that your home has the ability to tell your story. And people can really start to begin to connect to their space emotionally. I've definitely seen my home in an entirely different way than I did even before.”
Brent, the HGTV star known for shows like Nate & Jeremiah: Save My House and Rock the Block is not alone in seeing his home in a different light these days. Since the ongoing pandemic has forced us all to hunker down, our homes have become not just a place to live and work, but also a place of inspiration. In this new era of nesting, maintaining a balance between sophisticated design and functionality has become crucial. So, how do you walk that fine line?
When we caught up with Brent over a cup of coffee (via Zoom, of course), he explained that it’s all about focusing on the moments that matter and curating the items in your home very carefully. One of the ways Brent has been introducing more relaxation into his home is by reducing clutter—leaving more room for inspiration.
Brent recently started working with Saeco, the Italian manufacturer of high-end automatic espresso machines. So he switched from having “a frothing machine, an espresso machine, a coffee pot, and a teapot” clutter his kitchen counter to a Xelsis ($2,400; Williams Sonoma), the company’s super sleek multifunctional espresso machine, which “was a home run for me from the second I actually found it.”
Curating your home with well-designed and functional appliances (he explained that even his toddler daughter uses the Xelsis to warm up milk once in a while) is key to keeping any space look stylish, inspiring, and practical.
“Space for me, as a New Yorker, and I think for anybody is kind of the ultimate luxury. So the fact that you've got one machine that has everything is really valuable to me,” Brent explained. “I think anytime you could bring in the technology that makes life easier, and gives you the space to still personalize your home, that’s what I am interested in.”
Finding multifunctional staples ultimately creates space for more personal elements in your home, and allows Brent to bring more customizations for his family into the home. The Xelsis, for example, has freed up valuable countertop real estate. “I have the space now to put [out] the bowl that we bought when we were in Peru or, you know, the jar that my grandmother gave me; the things that really bring me joy,” said Brent.
Brent and his husband, Nate Berkus, have two children—four-year-old Poppy and two-year-old Oskar—but he is not a proponent of putting rubber bumpers on a nice piece of furniture. And while you may not find a glass table in their home (it has something to do with their daughter dropping a brass orb through a glass table a couple of years ago), Brent says that it’s all about finding the right balance.
“Our approach to design has always been that we’re not beholden to the kids. We don’t believe that anything is precious. But we also believe in teaching children what it means to respect the space that they're a part of,” said Brent. “But we did try to come up with pieces and introduce pieces that we weren't terrified of, you know, a lot of rounded corners, a lot of soft edges.” The couple has also incorporated a lot of outdoor fabrics into their home décor because they are easy to clean.
Balancing a stylish décor aesthetic with a more personal vibe is especially important in these challenging times, even for a décor-obsessed couple such as Brent and Berkus.
“We created this really amazing wall collage of everybody in our lives that mattered to us—whether it was grandparents that couldn't be with us[...]And we kind of created this living time wall in our home of our experiences and our journey so that our kids, ourselves, like you can remind yourself of what got you here, what matters to you,” he said.
“So I think that goes a long way. And it helps remind you that you're not alone in this, that there's a community and a tribe of yours that's there.”