Nate Berkus` Chicago condo bathrooms

Whenever I saw Nate Berkus on the Oprah Winfrey show he always seemed like such a nice, sweet guy. I still remember the day Nate sat with Oprah, unshaven, looking broken, talking about how he had lost his partner, Fernando in the Tsunami. I sat there crying for him, you could feel his pain thru the tv. A friend of mine had also been in Sri Lanka and was very lucky to have survived. Watching Nate that day, I just hoped he would be happy again and be able to look at that amazing tree photograph Fernando took and smile. So it is nice to see that he is happy again.

Now let`s take a look at how Nate worked his design chops to renovate the bathroom in his Chicago condominium.

Nate`s master bathroom was originally 100 square feet (wish I had before photos to show you). It only had enough room for a small sink, shower and toilet, no tub. In renovating his bathroom, Nate was able to triple its size by stealing space from his adjacent dressing room. Don`t cry for Nate though, the dressing room is still pretty spectacular - there`s a photo of it at the end of this post. I would trade my closet for his revised dressing room in a split second. Especially if the trade included him organizing my stuff! In a tour of his apartment on Oprah's show he mentioned how super organized he is.

Ok, back to Nate`s master bath...
If I were to describe Nate`s bathroom I`d say it was Masculine, Chic, Elegant, Timeless with a splash of fun all rolled up into one great master bath.

Nate was going for an Industrial look in his master bathroom.

Here`s an almost identical shot of the tub area without monsieur piggy. I decided to include it because I thought we could see the colour of the tub better. Looking at the above photo I originally thought the exterior of his tub was black, then when I saw the next photo I was going to write that the colour of his tub was actually silver. Oh how wrong I would have been. Luckily I nosied around a bit more and discover that Nate actually had the exterior painted his favorite colour, Army green (if you want to know the exact shade, it is listed in the resource section at the bottom of this post).

The freestanding cast-iron tub was imported from England. I am impressed that Nate had the tub repainted. I don`t think that is something most people would even think of doing, and especially to paint it such a unique colour.

To accomplish the Industrial look, Nate paired classic elements with a lot of metal detail.Nate used classic hexagonal marble tile on the floor and white subway tiles on the walls. Per Nate, when designing a bathroom he likes to use timeless materials such as these because he feels "they last forever and you never get sick of them." So true.

Planning ahead Nate had a nook built into the bathroom so he could add an antique armoire. The warmth of the rich, old wood of the armoire helps to offset the coldness of all the metal, giving the bathroom a warm inviting feel.

I absolutely love these shots of his vanity area. 
(btw, you can see a reflection of his shower in the right mirror)

It`s not very easy to see but, inside the antique brass mirror frames are screws that reminded Nate of a Cartier watchband. Nate and his assistant, Sasha Adler, designed the metal vanity to compliment this detail in the mirrors. If you look closely at the front edge of the vanity & a little to the right of the undermount sink you can see two brass coloured circles. 

Nate`s vanity is simply stunning. The white marble countertop and oval sinks are gorgeous and contrasts beautifully against the metal frame. I like that he went with undermount oval sinks instead of rectangular ones. The oval sinks add a nice touch of softness. And the exposed plumbing plays up the industrial look.  

Another great detail are the brass wall sconces. When Nate bought them they were gold-leafed, he stripped them down to the natural metal. This is definitely a tip to remember. Don`t let the colour or texture stop you from buying something that has a fantastic shape. You can always repaint, strip or refurbish it to get the look you are going for.

Wondering where he got monsieur piggy? 

Ok, I don`t know what Nate calls him or even if he has given monsieur piggy a name, but there is a cute story behind the leather pig. Nate had seen him (here I go giving the pig a name AND a gender!) at the Liberty store in London (hmmm, I guess monsieur piggy would have a British accent), spoke to Brian Atwood (his boyfriend at the time) about him and a few weeks later Brian had the cutie shipped to Nate`s Chicago condo as a surprise. 

The minnie me piggie on the vanity is a 1950s Italian ceramic piglet. So miss nosey that I am, I wondered what the story is with Nate and pigs. Now this is just a guess on my part, but I looked up Nate`s year of birth (1971) so under the Chinese horoscope he falls under the sign of the Pig! Perhaps that is why he has these 2 little piggies. But you want to know what`s really interesting about Nate being a pig under the Chinese horoscope? It`s that one of the professions recommended for people who fall under this sign is to be an interior decorator! Cool no?! I think the CIA will be knocking at my door any minute now offering me a job as a spy.

Here`s Nate`s dressing room. I think it is still pretty fantastic.

Originally it was white, but Nate repainted the millwork to coordinate with the industrial feel of his master bathroom.

And here`s a shot of his other bathroom. This bathroom has a similar style to his master bath. However, the stately mirror and what looks to be light grey subway tiled walls (after guessing wrongly on his tub colour, I could be wrong with the colour of these tiles too!), makes me think more of Washington DC then Industrial.

I think Nate`s bathrooms are great inspiration for anyone who wants to create a masculine and timeless bathroom.

If you want to see the rest of Nate`s Chicago condo, you can check out the pictures here. It is up for sale, so if you really love it now`s your chance to own it!

List of resources:

Master bathroom:
Console, designed by Berkus, fabricated by McKinley Design, 1907 N. Mendell St., 773-252-7210
Sink, Savoy Oval Undermount in white, Waterworks
Faucets, Widespread lavatory faucet in polished nickel, Newportbrass
Sconces, Pavilion, 2055 N. Damen Ave., 773-645-0924 
Mirrors, custom-made by Robert Massello Antiques, Miami, 305-757-2044
Balmoral dual cast-iron skirted tub, exterior painted in Benjamin Moore's Tuscany Green, #2140-20.
Polished nickel exposed tub and hand-shower set in polished nickel, Newportbrass
Subway-style tile on wall in Arctic White, Daltile, 1601 Pratt Blvd., Elk Grove Village, 847-228-9911
Hexagonal honed statuary marble tile on floor, Granite and Marble Resources, 115 Merchandise Mart, 312-670-4400
Armoire, circa 1740, Antiques on Old Plank Road, 331 E. Ogden Ave., Westmont, 630-887-1995

Dressing room:
Paul McCobb stools, Broadway Antique Market, 6130 N. Broadway, 773-743-5444
Paint color on millwork, Benjamin Moore`s Cheating Heart, #1617.
French 1950s light fixture, Pavilion, 2055 N. Damen Ave., 773-645-0924

All the great resource info was found here: Chicago home mag. Unfortunately, I don`t have resource info for the second bathroom.

images via: lucy who, Baird & Warner, House and Home, Chicago home & garden mag, nate berkus

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