Nathan Jay Berkus|
(September 17, 1971 - living) USA
Nate Berkus was born in Southern California, but grew up in suburban Minneapolis, MN. He graduated from Lake Forest College near Chicago (Illinois) in 1994. He is related to the venture capitalist, David Berkus, the musician, Gunther Berkus, and Josh Berkus of Software in the Public Interest. From a young age, Nate has had a passion for interior design and decorating. He began his career in design very young.
"I was barely in grade school when I helped my mother rearrange the living room furniture for the first time." With his allowance dedicated to buying things for his bedroom and his mother's influence (she's also a decorator), Nate began a life-long passion for design. "I think I was the only kid on the block who knew about furniture scale by the time I was 8."
After graduating from Lake Forest College, he took a job with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers. It was from this position, as well as an internship with Dominique Aurientis in Paris, France, that he really developed a love and knowledge for the decorative arts and furniture. From his auction house experience came a deeper understanding of how to shop and what to buy.
Self-taught, Nate then went on to form Nate Berkus Associates in 1995 at the age of 24. Moving from the auction house to interiors was a natural evolution for him. The firm grew to include projects for Wolfgang Puck's Spago, Barney's New York, W hotels, as well as a prestigious list of private homes and clients. In 2001, Nate was invited to make over a small space for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" with his lover the photographer Fernando Bengoechea.
In December 2004 Nate and his partner Fernando were vacationing at a beach resort in Sri Lanka when the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit. They were asleep when the tsunami slammed into the island. They were carried away by the wave, but both managed to grab hold of a telephone pole. Then a second wave hit, and they were torn away from the pole and from each other. Nate made it onto the top of a roof, but Fernando did not and was swept out to sea. It is presumed he did not survive; however, his remains have not been located.
Nate appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show on January 17, 2005, to talk about his ordeal and the loss of Bengoechea.
Nate has been "out" for a long time. In 2006 he got a new boyfriend, the model Jeffrey Brezovar. Nate is currently involved in a relationship with Bally Shoe designer Brian Atwood.
In November 2005, Hyperion Books published Berkus's book Home Rules: Transform the Place You Live into a Place You'll Love, a step-by-step guide to home design and decoration. In 2005, Nate Berkus began selling his merchandise at Linens 'n Things stores throughout North America. Nate runs an interior design firm in Chicago, Nate Berkus Associates, and has been a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, on which he offers design advice to viewers.
He is the host of the new reality show Oprah's Big Give, which premiered March 2, 2008.
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