New York City and Los Angeles
Brittany Ambridge
Architectural Digest Pro

Ten years ago, when he was in his mid-20s, Jeremiah Brent stood in his empty Los Angeles apartment. He’d unloaded all his furniture via Craigslist and cleared the whole place out. “I sold everything I owned, including my car,” the designer says, “all so I could pay for an LLC and a decal that I put on the wall in my living room.”

The LLC was for the self-taught interior designer’s eponymous firm. “I took any project I could,” he says, recalling an LA home he worked on where the budget was a grand total of $5,000—a sum that included paint, furniture, the whole nine. “I didn’t make any money on that project, but what I did do was complete it, and I got to walk a homeowner through that, feeling happy and proud. They cried. And I thought, God, this is worth it.”

“I sold everything I owned, including my car,” the designer says, “all so I could pay for an LLC and a decal that I put on the wall in my living room.”

Jeremiah Brent Design, New York

Today, of course, Brent walks clients through much larger projects (with much larger budgets) in stylish locations like Montauk, New York, and LA’s Hancock Park, and on television shows. The rooms he’s famous for—an intelligent and airy Park Avenue domicile curated to show off sculptures of the family’s matriarch; a bold kitchen with bronze cabinets in a Beverly Hills house by Paul McClean—are certainly informed by minimalism. “My personal design aesthetic is monastic,” he laughs, “but obviously, we don’t do just that with the firm.”

This year, Brent celebrated his 10th anniversary by joining the AD100 list and opening a new office on each coast. He left his 1920s French Normandy–style office for a three-story house of glass and light in Santa Monica.

“People want a soft place to land at home,” he says, “and I think they want a soft place to work as well. I like the idea of shoving work life into a residential space.”

Brent’s new 4,000-square-foot Greenwich Village HQ is similarly sunny. “I’d not seen anything like that in New York City, so just…sun-drenched,” he says. “I’m a tactile person; I need to see things up on a wall and build out and collage things.” The ground-up location was just the kind of blank slate he needed. “They’re elegant spaces,” he says, and with teams of a dozen or so working out of each location, they’re homey enough to make everyone comfortable. “As we’ve grown, I’m really trying to protect our integrity, and [create] the opportunity for everybody to have a seat at the table. The two spaces lend themselves to that mantra.”

Jeremiah Brent Design, Los Angeles

Speaking of growth, this fall Brent will level-up previous experiences in retail (the designer has devised furniture lines with Living Space and Pottery Barn Kids) with Atrio, a store all his own in LA’s Culver City. The shop takes its name from Brent’s Portuguese grandmother. “She was not warm by nature when she was younger,” he says, “but when she got older, she was very soft and sweet, especially with me. And her greenhouse atrium, with her furniture and the ceremony she had in going out there every morning, that was the first space I’ve ever been in where I understood space can describe you.”

He teases the Atrio concept as “three thousand square feet of beauty, designed around the five senses.” Customers can expect everything from olive oils and other pantry items to bath wares; there will even be a floral shop. The hope, Brent says, is that visitors can come into the store and become a part of the scene: “You can walk in and take as little or as much as you want, but you’ll know the things you bring into your home are thoughtful.”

Jeremiah Brent Design, New York

Atrio is the fruit of years of collaboration with artists and designers around the world, which required a trust Brent had to learn. “…part of growing and evolving a firm is letting go. You know, at the beginning of your career, you don’t have a lane. Or every lane is yours and you have to drive all over and do everything you can. But as you grow, it’s all about creating lanes for other people.”

It’s an apt metaphor for the man who, a decade ago, sold his own car to start his business. “I just hope that 10 years from now,” he says, “I’m still sitting around a table fascinated and grateful that I get to work with these amazing people, creating spaces that make people feel something. It’s the best job in the world.”

Jeremiah Brent, Los Angeles