Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus are always designing, and recently, they’ve been working on a project in their own backyard — literally.
Brent, 35, recently told PEOPLE about the tiny house he and his husband are creating behind their beach house in Montauk, a quarantine project that’s kept them sane while socially distancing.
“My new obsession is small spaces,” the Say I Do star says. “So, we have this unfinished shed structure outside that we've been working on over the last month and a half or so, just to kind of create this little space for if we did have family come into town eventually. A place for people to stay.”
Since March, Brent and Berkus have been splitting their time between their home in Montauk and their primary residence in Manhattan’s West Village with their two kids — daughter Poppy, 5, and son Oskar, 2 — amid the pandemic. The family moved back to New York City in August 2019 after living in Los Angeles for several years.
Brent explains that his fixation with small spaces actually began after moving back to the Big Apple, where significant square footage is harder to come by.
“I'm always just intrigued at how incredibly efficient they can become, and it really has made me appreciate small spaces even more because it means that every single thing in that space is so important,” he says, stressing that mindfulness is key.
“Even cleaning in that space is important, and the idea of bringing in things that really are multifaceted and that can do more than just one thing is what I'm all about right now,” adds Brent, who is a spokesperson for Bissell Home — even shouting out his favorite product, the CrossWave Cordless vacuum, which vacuums and washes the floor at the same time.
While quarantining, Brent says he and Berkus have been mindful of keeping everything in their home tidy, for their own sanity.
“It was funny, I kind of felt like I was a kid again, like, we had our chores,” he jokes. “We had our dedicated weekly cleaning time to make sure that we were efficient.”
Cleaning, he says, became “very therapeutic and very necessary” for the couple: “Just the idea of being able to reset a space, make it feel fresh, especially in quarantine where we were all in the same space all day long… it was even more important than ever to make sure we were maintaining and taking care of it.”
As they’re finishing up their backyard project, Brent and Berkus are about to embark on another one: as contestants on HGTV’s second season of Rock the Block.
The home flipping competition show, which will air in early 2021, pits the pair against three other two-person teams: Holmes On Homes’s Mike Holmes and Windy City Rehab’s Alison Victoria, My Lottery Dream Home’s David Bromstad and 50K Three Ways’ Tiffany Brooks, and Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt from 100 Day Dream Home.
The handy duos will face off to completely transform identical, three-story homes on the same suburban block in just one month, each with a budget of $225,000.
“It's like nothing we've ever done,” Brent says of the new adventure. “And I haven't competed in anything since I was in high school, so it's very strange to me.”
“It's a competition show, and I am not competitive, but my husband is beyond competitive,” he says with a laugh, “so it’s going an interesting journey.”
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