Tuesday, July 5

A little Q&A with the ladies behind Nate Berkus' design firm

 Did you see the recent Nate Berkus segment profiling the stylish Design Directors of his Chicago-based interior design firm?  
Lauren & Sasha of Nate Berkus Associates
here's the video in case you missed it...
Meet Lauren and Sasha --
recently listed 
as Trad Home’s
 “New Traditionals.”
I had a nice chat with them and got the skinny
on their fun job. 
Here's the juicy details:

tell me a little bit about your background in design?
SA: I started working in the fashion industry, but have always loved interior design -- I even asked for new bedding for my 8th birthday instead of toys. When I moved back to Chicago, I started working as an intern for Nate Berkus Associates and have been with the firm for 7 years now.
LG: My family is in the antique business, so I have been tagging along with my parents through house tours and antique malls and fairs since I could walk. While in college, I interned with Nate who later fulfilled his promise to hire me when I graduated, and I have been here ever since. Nine years later with an associate’s degree in design under my belt, this office is my second home.
You mentioned in your video that you tap into online sources regularly for time efficiency -- can you give my viewers two of your favorite online design sources?
LG: 1stdibs.com is a phenomenal resource and one of our favorite sources when shopping for clients. We can access vendors from across the globe right from our desk.
SA: We are huge fans of EBay. I love that you can type almost anything in and find options. We often use it to resource accessories for clients (and ourselves).
Do you have an interior designer from history that you admire and use as a
muse? And, a designer from current day (other than Nate)?
LG: Nate, Sasha and I are all really drawn to the French 40s. The designers and furniture from this period are timeless, including Jean Michel Frank, Maison Jansen and Jacques Adnet.
SA: From current day, we would say Jacques Grange. He is so creative and detail-oriented, especially the homes he designed for Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé.

the duo is influenced by interior designer Jean Michel Frank, genius of Modernist French design
photograph courtesy of Architectural Digest
Is there a specific style of design that you are most drawn to? We’d like to say that we’re truly eclectic and have an appreciation for anything from an old 18th century storefront to Yves Klein’s pigment filled Table Bleue cocktail table. What would you like to be doing in five years?
We really love what we do, so we hope we are doing the same thing, but with five years more experience (and no signs of aging).
What is your favorite color?
LG: Green. Hands-down.
SA: Yellow – We are both really drawn to shades of yellows and greens. These colors always find their way into the textiles we use.

the firm's fabulous use of color - combination of black, white, wood and pops of yellow!

Where are your favorite off-line sources or favorite shops (antiques or modern)?
SA: In Chicago, we love Broadway Antique Market. Nothing beats finding a hidden treasure.
LG: The Find always has great accessories and they’re often uniquely displayed using custom stands that the storeowners have made.
What is your favorite shelter magazine?
We love both Elle Décor and Architectural Digest, and when we travel, we love to get our hands on the international editions.
Do you read interior design blogs? If so, tell me what you look for in blogs and some of your favorites?
The world of interior design blogs is new to us, but they’re on top of our summer reading list. We are excited to tap into this new resource for inspiration.
How about the online magazines? What do you think about them?
We are huge fans! Not only do we appreciate that they’re environmentally friendly, but they are so much fun to read. The instant gratification of being able to link right to items you are interested in is a dangerous tool for us.

look closely:  some nice, unique pieces -- great sourcing!

What is the favorite part of your job and why?
SA: There are so many different aspects of our job – traveling, working with clients, shopping for furniture, fabrics, antiques, artwork etc. My favorite part is that every day and every project is completely unique.
LG: My favorite part is the installations because we typically unveil an entire residence or commercial space all at one time, so not only is the client’s reaction exciting, but I love to do the styling and see each piece that was so carefully selected arrive at its new home.
Do you collaborate together or work independently, and how much of the process is Nate involved in?
SA: We each spearhead our own projects, but we collaborate a ton behind the scenes.
LG: It’s so nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and discuss new concepts. And tell you when you’re out of your mind.
Please tell us one little secret that most people don't know about Nate himself?As refined as Nate’s taste may be, he still eats like a five year old. He would be much happier ordering off the kid’s menus.
Keep up the great work -- we have our eyes on you.


pretty pink tulips said...

What beautiful and talented ladies! I am always excited to see their work. Loved this interview!

xo Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Now I know a little bit more about Nate, my favorite TV host and his design team. I love their style. thanks Tamara - Jennifer Martel

Anonymous said...

Love it, and they have a great color sense and fresh look at design. Denise R.

Anonymous said...

I did not even know Nate had such a fabulous design group working with him and in Chicago. He certainly has his hands full and they seem quite capable too. Sincereley, Jennifer Richards

Anonymous said...

great post T and that party looks spectacular. I look forward to reading about it on Nest in August. Cheryl

Renae Moore said...

Great interview with these two gals Tamara!