Friday, January 16

Profile: Cortney and Robert Novogratz

I want to be the child of Robert and Cortney Novogratz in my next life. Or, at the very least, I want their ingenuity and stamina. Bob and Cortney, the founders of Sixx Design, and the parents of six beautiful children (now almost seven), including two sets of twins, certainly have a sixth sense when it comes to real estate.

Self-taught designers and developers, this dynamic duo has created a lucrative business transforming dilapidated buildings into upscale residences. Having refurbished or built from scratch more than 10 homes, the Novogratzes have a history of turning nothing into something, and creating real estate value where little existed before. Not to mention, they wear all the hats; from general contractors to interior designers.

Often the Novogratz family live in the homes they design before they are sold, many times furniture included. Bob and Cortney scour flea markets and travel the world in search iron sculptures, cast-off stained glass windows or the perfect lamp to complement homes they design. What I love most is their unabashed use of texture, color and pattern—it’s bold and brilliant!

As always, there are so many books to read and anticipate, but I am especially excited about their new book Downtown Chic, which includes the completion of their latest project—a 6 six-story glass residence facing the Hudson River. Downtown Chic, published by Rizzoli, is set to be released May 2009. As soon as it’s available, I promise to let you know! I’m certain that it will be one to add the library.

Profile Robert Novogratz:

What did you enjoy most about writing Downtown Chic?
It was very meaningful for us to get a chance to chronicle all of our work, and we were given extreme freedom by Rizzoli to make it the book we wanted, which was something to help inspire other people with our designs, but also to have lots of laughs and reinforce just how lucky we are.

How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is really a reflection of my design style. Eclectic, with a mix of new and vintage.

Who are your style icons
Ralph Lauren, Yoji Yamamoto, Jean Prouve, Paul Smith and Frank Gehry.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
The strength of my marriage and my family are always at the top. And, we are very proud with what we've been able to accomplish with Sixx Design.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
The collaborations we are working on now are pretty amazing. We are doing projects right now with artist Richard Woods (Established and Sons) on our new building in downtown Manhattan, and with industrial designer Stephen Burks (Readymade Projects). Both are pure genius.

Cortney and I feel like we are getting a masters degree in design from working with both of them.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Travel. Seeing the world really inspires me in every possible way.

What is your most prized possession?
Our home in Trancoso, Brazil because it is so zen, peaceful, and physically-beautiful.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Living in New York City!

What books are currently on your bedside table?
Atlas Shrugged is what I am reading now. I read it twenty years ago for the first time, but picked it back up recently. I needed some inspiration in these crazy times, and the book really reinforced to me how history repeats itself.

What has been your most interesting project to date
Each new building we complete.

Profile Cortney Novogratz:

What did you enjoy most about writing Downtown Chic
I really enjoyed reliving our past projects through the book. It was a great journey, and chronicle of everything we have accomplished so far, and reminds me how much fun we have had pursuing our dream.

How would you describe your personal style
I like to look natural and unfussy, with a little bit of bling to make it more interesting!

Who are your style icons
I love the young and fun style of Betsey Johnson, though I can say on the other hand, that I really love the simplicity and elegance of Ralph Lauren too.

What are your greatest accomplishments
Like Robert, I would have to say that my greatest accomplishments involve my marriage and family.

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
I am already part of the perfect collaboration with my husband.

What is your favorite luxury in life
Travel with my family in tow is my biggest luxury in life, even though it is always a bit of a production.

What are your most prized possessions?
My kids.

What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
Cocktails and good conversation with dear friends.

What books are currently on your bedside table?
I am reading Letters To a Mother. It seems appropriate since I am nine months pregnant with our seventh child.

What has been your most interesting project to date
Our very first house was the most interesting project to date. Looking back, it is amazing how naive and blissful we were, and how much we have grown since that time.

Profile by Ronda Carman


Debra said...

I love the white room. That window!
I'll have to add this one to my list of books to watch for...not until May???
What a couple... all of this with 6children! Thanks Rhonda!

Laura said...

I think that book is going to really good--can't wait to get my hands on it.

I ♥ NY said...

These photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

A perfect profile!

Karena said...

What an amazing family. They are truly making their dreams come true!

Arlynn said...

Wow! Are they accepting foster children... if so, I might have to work the system to get with them : )

All those beautiful things, the travel & to put it all together themselves in such a chic and seamless way - splendid!

Thanks for the profile,

Arlynn of Fleur De Licious

Visual Vamp said...

Great New York love story on every level. I'm getting their book for sure!
xo xo

Laura said...

Ooooh...are those last photos of the Brazil house? I am totally in love with Brazil, I think because the place inspires beautiful spaces like that!

ALL THE BEST said...

Debra - is that window not wonderful! Yes...May!

Laura - I have a feeling that it will be FAB!

ALL THE BEST said...

Karena, don't they just look like a cool and fun family!

Arlynn I want to be on the 'foster child' list too, only I want to drink cocktails with Cortney!!

ALL THE BEST said...

It really is a great one Visual Vamp!

Yes Laura! Isn't it wonderful!!!!

Sabina said...

I really enjoyed this. Great interview - so very cool and inspirational!!

Happy Friday!!


beachbungalow8 said...

what a cool interview. I love that they're totally family, but totally chic. 7 kids??? I can't even begin to imagine the logistics of travel this would entail.

la la Lovely said...

What a great design team and family! So inspiring...loved the images and looking forward to their book.


Great Interview! I have seen their work published a lot, but I never heard anything about their personal history - really cool entry - I love the fact that I had the chance to put their faces to their names - If you know what I mean :)

vicki archer said...

What a cool couple - I can't wait to see their new book. xv

pve design said...

As one of 7 children, I commend this couple. What a wonderfully full life.
You would lead me to this book, sounds amazing.

Maria Killam said...

Always nice to add another designer's site to my favourites! Great post!

Michelle said...

Such lucky kids! And then there's the homes they get to live in :)

I'm off to check out their website now!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great profile!

Do you know sho did the art work of Queen Elizabeth?

jae said...

I have been big fans of theirs for sometime now. I always save any article I come across that showcases their work....and pop in to their website from time to time. What they do has such a well designed comfortable feel to it....I hesitated to describe it for fear of not doing it justice! Great interview and I will be anxiously awaiting their book!

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this post. Obviously, these two people are "in sync." I find it to be inspiring. Thank you for posting.

hmstrjam said...

i love the union jack and profile of the queen

Brian McKnight said...

I don't understand what the fuss is about. Here we have a guy who made a fortune on Wall street and then he and his wife decide to call themselves 'designers' because they have the wealth to purchase whatever they want for themselves and place in their real estate purchases for resale. This is not what interior design, architecture or art for that matter, is about. I find their "work" (if that is what they want to call it) is conceptually void, and offers little in any form of in-depth design principle. They dont even speak with a trained vocabulary, and I am not impressed in the least bit. "Styles are a lie" (look up who said that, Bob and Cortney) I am sure that they are nice people, but after my many years of working in the architectural industry, I am not impressed by these walk-on 'designers' in the least bit.

John Stevens said...

I agree with Brian McKnight. Who in NYC can afford 7 kids unless they are a trustifarian and or made a quick buck on Wall Street. Who is this guy Novogratz? How did he make his money?? It must be daddy's money. He doesn't look that old and he looks way too calm in this economy. You would have to have a multiple 7 figure income per year to afford this home with 7 kids at least. This doesn't smell right and is a big NY Times joke as usual. Profiling people like this is a disgrace!!