The style secrets of Cortney and Bob Novogratz

Clever decorating ideas to add colour and verve to your scheme

Over the past 20 years, Cortney and Bob Novogratz, with their seven children in tow, have taken on the stuffy, regimented world of American interior design to produce show-stopping schemes that are admired around the world. Livingetc met up with the couple in New York to discover how easily their style can be re-created in any modern home.

1. Any advice for those starting on a renovation project?
‘Start as fresh as possible, with white walls as a blank canvas. Try to find one great piece, whether it’s vintage or new, as a focal point. Play around with the scheme too – you don’t have to have it perfect on the first day. Get the essentials, then enjoy the process – it’s fun. It will evolve. Also, if you’ve bought the place, put the money into where it’s most needed – the kitchen, the bathroom – so you’re not wasting it.’

2. How do you use colour and pattern in your projects?
‘Colour is just paint, so if you don’t like it, you can change it. And you can always take more risks in bedrooms because they’re separate from the rest of the space and don’t have as much flow. We do a lot of feature walls – so we might do the wall behind the bed with a real pop of colour. We just like to have fun with it and sometimes we’ll go all white, then the furniture and art will bring in the colour.’

3. What’s your favourite thing about what you do?
‘That it’s a tangible process. You go into a project, you start with a vision and you finish with a party. It’s either genius, good or it sucks… Hopefully, it doesn’t suck, a few times it’s genius and a lot of the time it’s pretty good. Then you go on to the next one. We love that.‘

4. What are you working on right now?
‘We’re doing a small hotel in Woodstock, New York, called Hotel Dylan after Bob Dylan, which is super-fun. We’re also expanding our line of furniture and accessories with Macy’s and we’re doing another TV show. We take a bit of a risk putting ourselves out there, but our real future is our brand. It’s similar to being an actor – you have to keep riding the wave.’

5. How often do you revamp your own homes?
‘Cortney probably does it every 90 days. We’re a little obsessed with that. We always do something in the spring to freshen up each of our homes. This year, we’ve put wallpaper on just one wall of each of our hallways.’

6. You have seven children – how do you juggle the business and family life?
‘It’s getting harder to be honest. We have teenagers now and that throws up new challenges. But, you know, it’s our own business, so we can dictate a life, how fast or slow we want to go. We have a small office, but we also work out of home a lot, which means we’re around much of the time.’

7. How would you sum up the Novogratz design philosophy?
‘We always say, people are happier on a sunny day than on a rainy day, so a bit of colour brings happiness to your life and makes things a little less serious. Your home should be a reflection of you, but also when people enter your home, they should feel happy and comfortable.’

To learn more about Cortney and Bob’s work visit thenovogratz.com

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