photographs by Brittany Ambridge produced by Michelle Adams
Design duo (and fiancés!) Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent teamed
up to revamp hair colorist Rita Hazan’s New York City apartment.
The result? An urbane, drama-filled home for a modern Manhattan woman.
Rita Hazan relaxes with her friends Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent in the bright and airy living room of her Manhattan loft.
Rita Hazan—the colorist who makes Beyoncé’s hair a spectacular shade of golden honey and who last year coiffed Katy Perry in a riot of pink, purple, and blue—lives only in homes that are black, white, and gray, except for a three-month mistake when she painted her apartment blue. So, last October, when she moved into a sun-splashed 2,500-square-foot loft on a quiet cobblestone street in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood, she had bought only a white bed and hadn’t yet figured out what to do with the space. A few weeks later, she ran into an old friend, the interior designer Nate Berkus, whom she had met 10 years ago while appearing as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She told him about the apartment, and he said, “I know who you are: black, white, neutral, art deco, urban chic.” Hired on the spot, Berkus asked if he could bring in his new beau, and interior design partner, Jeremiah Brent, who had previously designed stylist Rachel Zoe’s home. It would be the couple’s first collaboration.
Instant ambience, courtesy of romantic candlelight. Flair Nate Berkus “Metal Candelabra” $19.99 target.com
A natural for your coffee table or console, it’s also a great hostess gift. Nate Berkus “Duotone Enameled Box” (available October 27) $24.99 target.com
Berkus and Brent designed this space, originally intended as a dining room, as a lounge to suit Hazan’s informal style of entertaining. A slipper chair upholstered in Mongolian lamb’s wool and a vintage Milo Baughman chaise juxtapose a Lucite-and-steel coffee table with a glass top.
Chico relaxes on the living area’s plush Moroccan rug.
Vintage steel-and-leather bar stools add warmth to the sleek kitchen.
The dining space moonlights as a second bedroom when Hazan hosts out-of-town guests.
paint it black
To the first client meeting, “we brought options for everything—sofas, chairs, rugs, lamps, fabrics, and paint colors,” Berkus says. “Three and a half hours later, we left, knowing everything.” Divvying up responsibilities—Berkus focused on the organization of rooms, while Brent concentrated on color—the two designers made Hazan’s neutral palette pop. “It’s a long, narrow colonnade of rooms,” Berkus says. “To distinguish those rooms, we needed to decide which walls became black.” The designers mixed textures—ivory Mongolian lamb’s wool with off-white linen, black velvet with brass, rough-hewn wood with crystal—to suit Hazan’s style. “She leaves the house in a fur jacket, four-inch stilettos, and a man’s gold watch,” Berkus says. “She has a rock-and-roll quality, but she’s a soft-spoken, thoughtful person.” Together, Berkus and Brent gave Hazan the decor she wanted: a multitude of whites and warm black. As for the designers, they more than survived the collaboration—they recently announced their engagement.
need to know:
working with a neutral palette
“Texture plays a huge role,”Berkus says. Contrast materials: put fur on top of linen; upholster a brass-legged chair in black velvet.
“Figure out what to take away, so that . . . what you notice is what you want people to notice,”Berkus says. “There was a lot of blond wood, so we painted it all white, and we coated all the doors with white.” Only the sliding door is black, making it a focal point.
“Break the rules about how you can’t use certain colors,”Brent says. By painting the dining room black, it “gives the idea of infinite space, and by grounding it with a simple black-topped wood table, the palette becomes cohesive.”
Berkus and Brent suspended a trio of hanging terrariums above a custom concrete table and a pair of 19th-century French chairs with their original leather upholstery.
Hazan’s dressing room features a mix of high and low design, from a 1970s tufted daybed to white shelving from IKEA.
Fashion infuses all parts of Hazan’s life, even her tablescapes.
Known for their ability to elegantly organize their clients’ collections, Berkus and Brent created loads of chic closet space for Hazan.
A modern edge for traditional holiday spreads.
Nate Berkus “Faceted” platters (available
October 27) $29.99 each, target.com
Playful pattern enlivens this organizing staple.
Nate Berkus polyresin marble print $24.99 target.com
A morning view of lower Manhattan through Hazan’s windows.
Hazan takes a stroll with her beloved Havanese, Chico and Señor.