By Christopher Pape
Bob and Cortney Novogratz, of Bravo and now HGTV fame, are a husband and wife team whose designs are both aesthetically pleasing to the eye and extremely functional for the dwelling that is being remolded.
Both from the South, this highly acclaimed team have pared their sense of style with the business acumen of CB2 (Crate and Barrel’s urban line) to form home goods with a twist.
Read further for more details, but most importantly be inspired by this charming and handsome couple.
Resident (R): Tell us a little bit about yourselves, how did you get into business, interior decorating architecture design, how did that happen?
Bob and Cortney Novogratz: We’ve been together twenty years and before we even got married, we bought a distressed building, turned it into our home and renovated it ourselves. And that is how we started our career. We did that for a while and then of course friends and clients and people started asking us to do their own homes and then someone asked us to design a hotel and so it just kind of evolved.
R: But did u have a background in it?
Cortney: No, we’re self-taught.
Cortney: Yes. Everything we learned was from our jobs.
R: Was that the hotel that I saw on Bravo on the Jersey Shore?
Cortney: That was the first hotel, we’ve done a Fred Sigal(?) home in Santa Monica, we went from private homes to commercial projects. We’re doing another hotel that’s quite larger. You name it we’ve done it. It’s fun.
R: And what defines your style?
Cortney: Chic modern. We love making old into new and we use a lot of color. Some designers chose to go more neutral and gray but we definitely aren’t afraid of color.
R: Who takes the lead out of the two of you? Is there a consensus on who will lead on a specific project?
Cortney: We both have the same goal, which is to have a successful project. We wear a lot of different hats, so we basically balance off each other. Bob loves art, so he will take the lead on which art pieces to present to the client, but we pretty much work together and switch hats all the time.
R: You’re famously known for having many kids. So how do you balance the children?
Cortney: We drink a lot, which helps (just kidding).
Bob: We work at our home alone, so we can be with the kids more than we really need to be. It gives you a lot of flexibility working at your own home. Having your own business, that we work a lot, we’re able to make a lot of the school events. We love hanging out with the kids. It’s our choice to have many children. We love being parents.
R: You used to be on Bravo, now you’re on HGTV. How is that different?
Cortney: It’s not reality based, it’s more of an actual design show. It’s more focused on our careers.
Bob: This season we worked with a lot of celebrities, which was a lot of fun. We did Tony Hawk’s ski house in California. We did Wendy Williams’ green room for her show. We are so proud of the many projects that we’ve worked on.
R: How often does the TV show run?
Cortney: Our first season was thirteen episodes. It’s about a week on a project. The nice thing is if we travel then we took a few of the kids with us, our kids got to ski with Tony Hawk. It was fun.
R: Has the show helped your career, by driving business to you?
Bob: You know our show is pretty big on HGTV. We get about 1.2 million viewers; the show is sold in over ninety countries and territories, so yes it’s helped generate new business.
R: Tell me about the project with CB2, how that came about and what exactly are you doing?
Bob: We were fortunate. Because of the show we have a lot of retailers who asked to work with us. But, we chose to go with CB2 because it’s really a perfect marriage between us and them. We’re the first ever designers to partner with them. They have had designers design pieces for them, but we’re the actual first partnership they’ve ever had. We are not really household name across America. We felt that a partnership like that would help us, other than just being a name on the shelf. We did a rug, which has “family” written on it. That will be the first one of the pieces that will be on their shelves. In total, we have about six new rugs, tables, dining chairs, about eight different pieces for this new line. The family rug comes out on July 15. And the rest of it comes out all in October.
R: So you wrote this book that explains downtown chic, which is your philosophy?
Cortney: Yeah. The first book about downtown chic is very much our own kind of life and design world. The second book that comes out on October 9th by Artisan Books is all other people’s project. And we break it down for people and really give them a budget, where we start, when we first met a client and a “before and after”. It’s a really useful tool. You can take this book, whether it’s a bathroom or building your first house. It’s a great tool because it has a variety of different clients and a variety of different projects.
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