The Novogratzes became a familiar name in design circles in 2010 as their reality TV show, Bravo’s “9 by Design,” followed the busy designers and their seven children in New York City. The next year, their current show, “Home by Novogratz,” premiered on HGTV. Now in its second season, that show focuses on their interior design projects.
The popularity of the show and the couple’s emphasis on home and family – combined with their signature mix of vintage and modern style – has allowed them to create a lifestyle brand. They have a paint color line for Stark, a furniture and accessories line for CB2 and a new book, “Home by Novogratz.”
What I didn't realize until I talked to them recently is that Charlotte is at the heart of this couple’s story.
Robert grew up in Virginia and moved to Charlotte in 1986, right after college.
“I was a finance guy – I worked for Smith Barney – and bought my first house there in the Eastover neighborhood in 1990 for $75,000,” he said by phone from the Novogratz fort in Greenwich Village. “I was young, just 26, and I had more fun in Charlotte than I did in college.”
In the early 1990s, Cortney, a Georgia native living in Miami, came to town for a party hosted by her sister, a teacher who was renting a house in Dilworth. It was love at first site for the couple.“I had a great life in Charlotte, I had success in finance, but Cortney wanted to live the big life in New York,” he said. “But it was in Charlotte that my love of home started.”
On Nov. 15, they plan to talk about how the South has influenced their style and to show photos from some of their work. They’ll also discuss the new book, which breaks down the details of 20 projects that have names such as Hipster Haven, Brooklyn Modern, Seaside Cabana and Last-Minute Nursery.
The book includes each project’s budget with a list showing how the money was spent.
“My parents in Columbus, Ga., looked at that and said, ‘Oh, we could have had that done here for much less,’ so you have to take that into consideration because most of our projects are in New York or the West Coast, where it’s more expensive,” Cortney said.
Before beginning a project with a client, Cortney is adamant about one thing that doesn’t add to a budget: clearing out the clutter.
“We all have too much stuff,” she said. “If it’s something you’re not using and you just can’t give it away, put it in storage. Instead of spring cleaning once a year, I do a big sweep through our house every three or four months.”
Here are their tips for decluttering:
- Does it bring beauty to the space? If not, get rid of it.
- Does it hold special meaning for you? If not, get rid of it.
- Can you actually use it? If not, get rid of it.
- Spring clean every season. Every three or four months, do a massive home purging.
- If you have attachment disorder with your stuff, have a friend or even a professional help you decide what needs to go.
- You can sell almost anything on Craigslist (just don't be greedy when setting the price).
- If you just can't part with something but it doesn't work in your space, put it into storage.