Designing Love: The Story of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent’s Relationship

They created a life they always dreamed of — much like they redesign homes on HGTV’s The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project. Here, designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent share their love story.

Designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are on a mission: Show the country a family that looks like theirs and loves like theirs. “We’re two men in love, with two children, and that’s not something that everyone has exposure to yet,” says Jeremiah.

The chic designer-dads are achieving this particular dream with every new episode of The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project that airs on HGTV. While guiding families looking for a new start through the often emotional process of letting go — and moving forward — with a fresh renovation, the couple brings cameras into their own unique home so viewers can see their story, too.

These two aren’t shy about opening up — we've caught Jeremiah with tears in his eyes on many occasions. Raw, real emotion is, after all, what makes the duo so adored. “Nate and I feel a deep obligation to be seen,” Jeremiah tells HGTV. “In the end, our show is about love. It’s beautifully cloaked as a heartwarming, sometimes silly design show, but it’s always been about the human connection. We are all the same.”

This empathy we feel radiating from the television while watching them create new homes for clients is the golden thread that’s tied the couple together from the start. Design is their love story; it’s what first bonded them together, and it’s how they both show affection — to each other, to their two kids (Poppy, 8, and Oskar, 5) and to their clients.

Photo by: Anders Krusberg

Anders Krusberg

A Timeline

First: Each Learning Love Through Creativity

An affinity for interiors flows through the Berkus-Brent lineage. Both men had a passion for the craft long before they met — and long before they became HGTV hosts, AD100 (from Architectural Digest) designers, dads and celebrities in their own right. Better yet, both credit their passion for interiors to their matriarchs. As a child, Jeremiah frequently attended open houses with his mother, during which he would study and critique the staged layouts. “I would always imagine how I would change things around,” he remembers.

Meanwhile, Nate, who rose to fame as Oprah’s designer back in 2002, grew up in a home filled with fabric samples and wallpaper books. In fact, his mother, the late designer Nancy Golden, had her own stints on HGTV and TLC. In 1995, not long after graduating from college, Nate opened his own design firm, Nate Berkus Associates, while Jeremiah (13 years younger than Nate) parlayed his love for fashion into interior design, eventually founding Jeremiah Brent Design in 2011.

Then fate — in the form of fashion-designer and media-mogul Rachel Zoe — threw the duo together.

Next: The Beginning of a Relationship

While on set of The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project Season 2 in Queens, New York, I ask the couple: Were there sparks from the get-go?

Their usual antics — a healthy mix of sarcasm, loving looks and banter — ensue. “He was madly in love with me for a long time,” Nate says.

Jeremiah jokes, “He’s a pathological liar, so you can imagine how complicated that was for me when we first met.”

They smile, glance at each other and one split-second of mental telepathy later, Jeremiah, their silently chosen spokesperson, continues their story: “No … to be honest Nate had a serious boyfriend the first time [we met]. I had a lot of boyfriends. The timing was just never really right like that.”

In the three years between the couple's initial meeting and their "forever meeting" — “When we saw each other single for the first time,” clarifies Nate — at Rachel Zoe’s birthday party in New York City, they were acquainted socially. They had each other's phone numbers and ran in similar circles. Nate watched Jeremiah on Rachel’s show The Rachel Zoe Project. “Rachel did say to us, ‘You guys would be absolutely in love with each other,’” they remember.

@hgtv Their (hard) love is by design 🥹#NateAndJeremiahByDesign #CouplesTok #CouplesQuiz ♬ original sound - Your Karma

The night of her party, Nate approached Jeremiah and invited him to go antique shopping around New York City that weekend. “Our date was magic. I had never felt so safe and so exactly where I was meant to be,” says Jeremiah. “We stayed up until four in the morning looking through design and travel books, sharing what we found beautiful, what we found special.”

“It was the date that never ended,” says Nate.

Photo by: Anders Krusberg

Anders Krusberg

Then: Starting a Family

The designers have been busy since. In 2014, they became the first same-sex couple to marry at The New York public library. In May 2015, they welcomed their first child, Poppy, via surrogate. Three years later came their son Oskar, named after Nate’s late ex-boyfriend Fernando Oskar Bengoeche who died in the 2005 tsunami in Thailand where the two were vacationing.

“I don’t think Nate and I knew the complexities and depth of love until we had children. It’s the most magical experience,” says Jeremiah.

For a couple who lives and breathes design, it’s no surprise they’ve imbued creativity into the minds of their kids. Case in point: According to Architectural Digest, Poppy, boasting sophisticated taste for a 6-year-old, declared she “loved the light” in the family’s renovated Fifth Avenue home.

The most important pillars they’ve agreed to build their family on, however, are kindness and honesty. “We are so aligned with how we want to raise our children,” says Jeremiah. “The rest will work itself out.”

In terms of which dad is the pushover, “Jeremiah runs a tight ship,” Nate says. (Jeremiah calls it consistency.) “Nate is the goofy dad who has to walk away to avoid laughing,” says Jeremiah.

Now: Coming Home

Perhaps the biggest piece of the Berkus-Brent love story is the subplot involving their (spoiler alert) current apartment in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, which represents so much of their love story.

It’s where Nate and Jeremiah first lived together as a married couple, where they brought their daughter home and where they wrote their wedding vows. “It was the first place I stood in and realized I could have a life and family with this great love,” Jeremiah said during Season 1 of their show.

@hgtv Nate & Jeremiah’s NYC Apartment Story: Part 1 ♥️🏙️ #NateBerkus #JeremiahBrent #NYC #Apartments #NewYorkApartments #RealEstate #RealtorTok #InteriorDesign #DreamHome #CouplesTok #Emotional ♬ original sound - HGTV

The couple sold the apartment and relocated to Los Angeles in 2016. Soon after, they realized they’d made a big mistake. Unfortunately, when they finally moved back to New York permanently a few years later, the Fifth Avenue spot wasn't available ... until, two years later, when it finally popped back up on the market. They jumped at the opportunity, bought the apartment back, sold the townhome in the West Village they'd gut renovated and, after a major makeover, settled down in the place where it all began.

Now, with two kids, flourishing businesses and — beginning February 22 at 9|8c — Season 2 of The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project airing on HGTV, the couple is more than willing to share their story. “Our activism,” says Jeremiah, “has always been about living out loud in the open, honestly, vulnerably and without hesitation.”

Photo by: Anders Krusberg

Anders Krusberg

Today and Forever

The key to Nate and Jeremiah’s love is trust — and the trust they speak of touches every part of their multifaceted relationship. “We always push one another and try to be better,” says Jeremiah. “TV is a really fantastic place where you can learn a lot from the comfort of your living room. You can see a family like ours loving other families. You can see the common thread. We all just want to live beautifully. We all want a life filled with love — and that’s what we represent.”

Interior design, it seems, is a love language after all.

Watch Season 2 of The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project Wednesdays 9|8c on HGTV beginning February 22 — or stream it on discovery+. Follow Nate and Jeremiah on Instagram at @nateberkus and @jeremiahbrent.

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