Cortney and Robert Novogratz 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.”
The couple will be in Charlotte Thursday to speak at the Mint Museum. What many don’t know is that Charlotte is at the heart of this couple’s story.
He 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 sight 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.”
In New York, they have renovated and sold many homes over the years, refining their design skills.
On Thursday, 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.”
Most projects in the book have a Q&A with an expert on a related topic. Food Network star and chef Mario Batali shares his thoughts for creating the perfect kitchen in a chapter called Urban Sanctuary. In the Surf Shack chapter, fashion designer Betsey Johnson talks about her love of color.
The book ends with a Sources list, where they include their go-to places for appliances, tile and craft supplies, closet systems, furnishings and more.
What’s next for the energetic couple?
“We’re about to announce another line for a major retailer,” said Robert. “Look for the news in about two weeks.”
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