Reality television's favorite design duo, Robert and Cortney Novogratz share the secrets to their "vintage modern" style in "Home by Novogratz." Here's an excerpt.
Since we started designing twenty years ago, we’ve been traveling the globe, amassing an enormous collection of design ideas to bring back home and put to use. After more than sixty projects, we’ve learned that no matter where we are, there is usually something right in front of us to be inspired by, an idea to stick in our back pockets, or something that can spark our imaginations. We’ve learned that as long as you keep your eyes open, inspiration is everywhere: restaurants, bars, stores, hotels, magazines, websites, nature, museums, the country, the city—even your next-door neighbor’s living room.
Over the past few years, we’ve been fortunate enough to work on projects of every variety. We’ve designed everything from single-family homes to retail stores to a boutique hotel, and have been challenged to come up with innovative solutions and creative techniques for hundreds of different design dilemmas. But we like to work off-the-cuff; we find that the pressure helps rather than hinders.
We’ve worked with every kind of budget, and more often than not it’s the smaller budgets that push us to become more creative, and we love the challenge. We’ve taken a lot of risks—some have worked, others have failed completely—but each time we’ve learned something new.
More in books
There are design issues that seem to come up again and again, no matter the kind of home we are working on. Many people are paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes, especially in rentals or temporary homes, and don’t know where to begin. Oftentimes people complain that they’re just too busy to decorate, that they’ll wait until the kids are older or the job stress lessens or they have more money. But design doesn’t need to be so complicated, and the projects featured in this book were chosen to prove just that. We’ve selected the ones with the most takeaway ideas and broken them down into a step-by-step process to explain to you why we made the decisions we did. We hope to inspire you to use your imagination, borrow our ideas, and take more risks with your living space—whether it be painting your bedroom lime green or buying that dream fixer-upper.
Throughout this book, you’ll see over and over again what a difference decluttering can make in transforming a space. Most of us have too much stuff, and we (and our homes) get lost in it. Every time we begin a project, the first thing we do is clear out the clutter. Most people have a hard time parting with their possessions, but it’s an important part of the process. Even our own kids have had to learn that lesson the hard way. Years ago, a week or so before a move, we did a massive toy purging in the middle of the night. We took the bags of throwaway toys that couldn't be donated out to the curb, knowing that the garbage collectors would come before the kids were up and outside. Later that morning as we were walking our four-year-old twin daughters to preschool, one of them spotted a homeless man pushing a shopping cart filled with her discarded stuffed animals and dress-up clothes. She pointed and sobbed, “He has our toys. Those are our toys. Get our toys back!” It was an early lesson in letting go, and thankfully, she wasn’t too traumatized.
We’ve been lucky in that our clients have been kind and extremely brave. We are grateful to all of them for allowing us into their homes— and, in most cases, letting us get rid of everything and start from scratch. We’ve incorporated our style, philosophy, and design concepts throughout these chapters—using bold color and big art, mixing vintage with modern and high-end with low-end—in hopes of sharing ideas and techniques with you. Mostly, though, we hope that this book will serve as a source of inspiration—a reminder that your home is a reflection of you.
Excerpted from Home by Novogratz (Artisan Books). Copyright 2012. Photograph by Ariadna Bufi.
© 2012 MSNBC Interactive