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Nate Berkus on Oprah Winfrey, interior design, and growing up in Minnesota

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You may recognize Nate Berkus from The Oprah Winfrey Show or from his syndicated talk program, The Nate Berkus Show. This Sunday, you'll have the opportunity to see him in person, as he'll be speaking at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis's annual benefit as the alumnus honoree.

"We have always honored people who are connected to our community, and we are happy to have a great alumnus at the event," says Beth Rubin-Gabor, marketing and fundraising director for Talmud Torah. "Nate was selected because he inspires youth at the Talmud Torah school to do what we encourage them to do: to work hard, to be passionate, and creative and to give back to our community."

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Berkus will speak on a variety of topics, including interior design, his background, what it was like growing up in Minnesota, his career, and upcoming projects. Attendees with VIP tickets will have the opportunity to meet him at a private reception, and will enjoy dinner by Spirit of Asia before the event. For the 30-years-old and under crowd, a special ticket priced at $30 includes a dessert reception and admission to the event. Tickets and pricing can be found here.

A related online auction runs through May 9, and features a variety of items including a gift basket donated by Berkus and jewelry designed by his mother. Both the online auction and the event are open to the public.

City Pages had a chance to ask Berkus a few questions before the big event.

Your mother, Nancy Golden, is also a decorator. What did you learn from her?

Even though my mom is a decorator, I didn't know that's what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew that I really loved design. She did give some great advice. She said that I should be me. She encouraged me to be exactly who I am. That confidence is everything when it comes to following your design instincts.

You grew up in Minnesota. Did living in the Midwest influence your design style?

I love Minneapolis and the Midwest in general. It was a great place to grow up, and as an adult it's a great place to come home to. I learned early on that the Midwest has some of the best flea markets and antiques stores this country has to offer, and the prices are nothing short of amazing!

You were a featured design expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show. What was it like to be a part of that program?

Working with Oprah teaches you everything you need to know about intention. For her -- and for me -- it was always about leaving a home better after we were there. That's what matters -- not the number of tiles we used or where the sofa came from. It was always about people writing a new story for themselves. I carry that intention with me in everything I do.

What are a few simple, budget-friendly ways that people can update their homes?

Something that doesn't cost a thing but makes a big difference is rearranging what you live with now: Go room by room and consider moving the sideboard into the living room and the entry table into the bedroom. Switching things out makes them feel new again. If you don't have a friend to help you lug furniture around, start with all the objects in your home. Rearranging your surfaces might seem small, but it has a huge impact.

IF YOU GO:

Sunday, May 6

Adath Jeshurun Congregation

10500 Hillside Ln. W., Minnetonka

VIP reception begins at 5 p.m.

$30-$500

Visit online or call 952.381.3300 for tickets