Fans of husband and wife
design duo Cortney and Robert Novogratz know they are famous for their fun, artsy take on decor. Since founding their design firm The Novogratz over 15 years ago, they have designed many unique properties around the country, from New York City to Napa Valley. In 2014, they moved to Los Angeles with their seven children and renovated a 1920s house in the Hollywood Hills, known as The Castle, p erched in the foothills behind the illustrious Chateau Marmont Hotel. In their fourth book, Novogratz Design Fix, they reveal the details and challenges behind renovating the 7,700-square-foot villa, built for a silent film star. (It was recently purchased by another celeb couple). Click through to see this stunning L.A. home and get their insider tips!
“The biggest challenge in renovating this home was to keep the charm and period feel of the house while modernizing the entire space,” says Cortney. The Novogratz opened everything up to give the space a loft-like look and created a seamless flow. There were many small rooms, a mishmash of hardwood flooring and a nonsensical floor plan. The house felt like a maze with tiny rooms and multiple doorways, so everything had to be gutted and redone.
A large reclaimed table is the center of family gatherings. “The Torrance Steel windows and doors were quite expensive, but we feel that they make the house,” says Robert. “We used black steel hardware for the window treatments to match the windows and give the home a seamless, classic look.” In the original castle, the design duo tore down two closets in the dining room that covered two old windows. The windows became part of the main room.
“We have used Boffi kitchens for years,” says Robert. “They are beautiful but expensive. In order to save on costs, we always buy a floor model, which is at least 50 percent less. We also have designed many kitchens with much less expensive cabinets, in which case we add more expensive hardware.” O pen-plan interiors include a colossal, bi-level living/dining room, a large high-end kitchen arranged with a marble-topped island and an adjoining breakfast room that spills out to the backyard though steel-trimmed French doors.
A wall of art is an example of how they mix high and low. One of the artworks, Get Paid by Mark Bradford, was purchased at a benefit auction for several thousand dollars, while the Abe Lincoln artwork was $50. “The lighting is a mix of vintage and modern, and both high and low end,” says Cortney. “We hung the best lighting in the best areas of the house.” Colors like grey, navy blue, white and black are considered more classic and have a high-end effect.
Paint can make a space feel expansive or cramped. Using one color of dusty pink throughout makes the principal bedroom feel bigger and more cohesive. The Novogratz prefer to use shades of red, green, orange, pink and yellow in smaller spaces like bedrooms.
“We used expensive tile in the principal bathroom but lots of inexpensive subway tile everywhere else,” says Robert. The space is bathed in incredible light. “We used simple black solar shades in all of the bathrooms for a clean look that matched the steel windows.”
A fire feature (this particularly dramatic one is set inside a concrete column on the patio) is always a good idea for an outdoor entertaining. With a family of seven children, it makes sense host of a crowd and this space has built-in seating for 25.
The Novogratz tricked out their outdoor kitchen, installing a pizza oven, large grill, outdoor fireplace, a beer tap and icemakers, and an outdoor fridge.
“We also wanted to take advantage of the incredible California weather, which meant an outdoor space with a big patio and a swimming pool,” says Robert.