Though they’re currently raising their family in LA, the coolest dads in interior designer–Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent–have deep roots and many friendships and professional ties to NYC. Which is why the dynamic duo, known and loved by fans from their work as designers and for their show “N&J By Design” on TLC, were super-excited to be in New York last week to introduce their new son Oskar Brent Berkus to their East Coasts pals, and to partner with Huggies on the launch of the brand’s Made By You collection. Made By You is a new offering from the iconic diaper brand that allows you to customize diapers with patterns, colors, and monograms.
As dads and designers, Berkus and Brent took the task of customizing their new son’s diapers very seriously, even bring their 3-year-old daughter Poppy into the process. “We’re really grateful that we get to partner with Huggies on this. And it’s fun,” Brent says. “Poppy helped us design Oskar’s first diaper. She picked the patterns and the colors—she knows I like black, so she was like: ‘Dad, we have to do black!'” Berkus echoed his husband’s sentiment, noting that the custom diapers also make for a fun keepsake. “This is full-on being framed! I’m not joking,” Berkus says. “This is going in a shadow box like for a million years!”
As the couple prepared for an epic celebration with Huggies to welcome their baby boy to the Big Apple and to introduce the world to the wonders of Made By You (sure to be the hot baby shower gift of the year), we sat down with Berkus and Brent to get the scoop on why they love the customization trend in baby gear, what they have planned for Father’s Day this year, and their top nursery design tips for new parents.
Congratulations on new baby Oskar! How has it been adjusting to having two kiddos at home? How is big sister Poppy adjusting?
Jeremiah Brent: The adjustment has been pretty easy—though, the adjustment to having to stay up all night again has been a big shift, and we have to get used to that again. But all in all, it’s been amazing—the rooms are full in the house. There’s something to be said about that. Our daughter runs down the wood floors and [we hear] the sound of her feet, she loves her little brother, and she definitely knows her value in our house.
Nate Berkus: We’ve had a really good transition—honestly, so far, so good. I mean, knock on wood, we’re not experts—every time we think we know something, we meet a mom or a dad with like 10 kids and we’re like: “We know nothing! We bow down to you!” But the transition has been really special and meaningful and our family feels like a little tribe of four and it feels complete.
A lot of second-time parents say they bring a lot of lessons from their first child about what do and not to do. What have some of those lessons or moments been for you two?
JB: I think that the mania of the first child is gone with the second child. I feel a little bit calmer, a bit more secure in my ability to handle anything thrown at me.
NB: We don’t think that he’s going to die every three seconds!
JB: And the thing about having two kids that nobody tells you is that life still has to go on. With your first kid you kind of pause life and you’re just so in it—you’re like: “Oh! She burped!” Or: “She’s moving!” With a second kid, you’ve got another being running around. Poppy still needs this, and she’s gotta go to school, and you’ve got to keep up. Life has a very different pace.
NB: We were actually super-unrealistic about paternity leave. We thought, after Oskar was born, that we were going to be at home eating cinnamon rolls in the morning and just holding him and cuddling him—but we have a 3-year-old, so… Every parent with a second child understands: Life goes on, car pool’s still happening, get it together! There needs to be a lunch packed!
You’re here in NYC today with Huggies! Tell us about working with Huggies on the Made By You collection. How does the Huggies brand mesh with your values as dads and designers?
NB: As designers, we notice every detail and the idea of personalization has always been something that we have stood for in our work, and look for opportunities [to work with]. It’s important for us to say how grateful we are to partner with a company like Huggies, who understands how important personalization is, and how important individuality is, and understands that not every family looks the same. I think that this is a bit of a moment in that way, that is not lost on us as a family.
JB: I also think it’s a really beautiful marriage of the personal aspect of what they’re doing with the monograms and really creating something, and the practicality of it. The idea that you have a gift that you know the family is going to need—everybody needs diapers—but you can also give something that’s personal and shows that you care. There’s something to be said about that moment as a parent when you look down and you see your child’s name on something. [Kids] are beings, and seeing that actualization of that is really powerful.
NB: Oskar Brent Berkus is the first human being ever to wear a Huggies Made By You diaper. I think it’s cool! We have a lot of opportunities—we’re on television, both of us have a lot of different relationships out there, we design furniture, we’re very fortunate in that way—but to be able to align with a company that stands for the fact that not every family looks the same, stands for individuals and personalization, and understands the meaning of giving a gift at a baby shower that is 100 percent personalized—it’s a special thing.
Do you see personalization options as a big trend for new parents right now, and especially for Millennial parents and on the baby shower gift front?
NB: Huggies has traditionally catered to people who are parents—so this is the first opportunity for people who aren’t parents, and are confused about what to get parents. As parents, we can say that something that marries personalization and practicality is a big deal.
JB: This is the modern diaper tower—they’ve evolved.
NB: If our children need a onesie, we’ll go get that for them. This shows that you’ve spent some time and put in some effort creating and designing something and that’s super-personal.
JB: What I think Huggies is doing is noticing that everything now is experiential. People what to feel like they’re connecting with something and that what they’re spending their money on feels connected. I think that’s what Made By You offers—it’s the idea of giving something that’s practical and personalized and thoughtful.
NB: It’s actually a really fun website. The collection, the patterns, the monogram, the name—you get to sort of mix and match. You can only have one pattern in a box, for now, so you have to choose wisely and take your time. You have to be a good editor. But I think it’s really sweet and like the presentation of it and we’re giving it to friends of ours who are having babies as well and it’s really cute! We get to look at our son’s little butt with his initials on it… We picked the pattern, the monogram, the shape, the color palette. Of course, we chose a more neutral color palette.
What are some tips that you’d offer to new parents designing their first nursery?
NB: We have a tough time with kids’ furniture, as designers. It’s designed to be temporary, which I have a huge problem with. So, we assembled both of our children’s nurseries with vintage pieces that weren’t any more expensive—and often, they were less expensive—than the new kids’ dresser from the catalogue or whatever, and you can grow with [these pieces]. Think about the things that will transition as your children get older, rather than spending tons and tons of money on things that are designed for one purpose. An old, vintage dresser with a changing table top that you can order online? Still works! And then you have a vintage dresser.
JB: I also think that parents often will make a room about a child… I think that a [nursery] should also be a sanctuary for the parents, because for the first two years, you’re the one who’s in there. It’s about comfort and about feeling safe and warm. I think that’s an important thing to think about when you’re making your nursery—what’s going to be good for you when you’re in there.
Any big plans for your first Father’s Day with baby Oskar?
JB: I want a day that’s just the four of us. That’s it. I want just a day where there are no obligations, there’s pancakes in the morning and a lot of laughter and goofiness and maybe a bike ride. But I just want it to be the four of us. It’s crazy! We’re dads—we should celebrate it!
To learn more about Huggies’ Made By You, visit huggiesmadebyyou.com!