My stack of books to read and review keeps growing by the day. This is by no means a complaint! In fact, I can think of few other ‘problems’ I enjoy more than having to find time to pour over new books and beautiful images. Over the weekend I decided that I would set aside a few hours in the afternoon each Sunday to play catch up, with a goal of posting book reviews on Tuesday.
This past Sunday I decided to start with Robert and Cortney Novogratz’s new book Downtown Chic. I made myself a pot of tea and returned to the lounge only to find my 12-year-old son lying across the sofa, flipping through the pages. “This book is so cool,” he muttered, starring at the photos. His current obsession (and college major of the month) is architecture and ‘saving’ old buildings. An idea that appeals to him in the abstract, but was brought to life through the pages of Downtown Chic.
Downtown Chic is a visual montage of the abandoned buildings across Manhattan (plus a country house in Massachusetts and a beach house in Brazil) that Bob and Cortney have transformed into beautiful living spaces. Describing their signature style as a sophisticated but bohemian mix of high and low, new and old, they offer their realistic advice on how to create original, warm interiors with ease.
One part practical guide, one part inspirational volume, the book mixes humorous anecdotes with insider tips. Each before and after shot document the agony and ecstasy of any renovation project. The only complaint came from my son when I told him the Novogratzs sold his favorite home in the book and had just moved into a new place (I missed the housewarming by 2 days—damn!). “Why would anyone sell a home with a rooftop basketball court?” No need to worry, Bob has assured him that the new house has a full size indoor court.
Book review by Ronda Carman