Tuesday, May 19

The LIST: Robert and Cortney Novogratz

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


The Antiques Diva™ said...

Oh my goodness, I'm with your son on this one!! That outdoor basketball court with the wire dome over it is sensational. Back in "the day" I was a high school basket ball star... and I wondering how I can implement this in my own apartment! Think the neighbors would mind?? Sriously gorgeous book. You're going to kill my monthly book budget if you keep with these recommendations!

Debra said...

You've inspired me to re-read some of my older design books. Today I have posted about enjoying alone time and catching up on things such as simple foods and watching a good movie. I linked to you for dinner inspiration- stop by!

Clayton Gray Home said...

Looks like a great book. Love the artwork in the dining room photo. Good thing we have a library near by or my book budget would be blown also. Thanks for the tip!

pve design said...

Reminds me of the time my son and I were at a museum and he knew every work of art as if they were in his dna. It is the highest form of parental flattery or reward, knowing that we might just be rubbing off a wee bit.

ALL THE BEST said...

Patricia that is so true! It made me smile to see him flipping through the book!

Anne said...

Just ordered this book last week! Looking forward to more book reviews Ronda.

Jay said...

I am loving these photos. Can't wait to get my hands on this book.

Michelle said...

I'll have to check this one out. I like the mix you have talked about here.

That's funny about your son...good taste already :)


Word Actress said...

My art friend told me about your Blog which she follows. Based on your recommendation, we were in search of this book today here in San Jose, CA. Couldn't find it in Borders, found one copy at B & N.
What a delightful, carefree couple they are - all those kids and still they have time for design. You gotta love them! I liked their flexibility, their enthusiasm, their kind of whatever-works-for-you design attitude, the basketball court, the sidebars which I assume would be very helpful if you're remodeling in cities like New York. Their life looks pretty darn desirable. Thanks for sharing...Mary Kennedy Eastham, Author, 'The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget' and the upcoming novel, 'Night Surfing'