This week we're so thrilled to have a Q&A from Cortney Novogratz, who took a few moments out from her extremely hectic schedule to answer some of our most pressing questions: How would she design a nursery for a super hip family? What's up with these internet rumors about a new line of home decor products? And, most importantly, would she paint a teak Danish modern chair? But first, let's talk about Episode 2. Two words: indoor slide.
Given our weakness for indoor slides, we're pretty sure this episode about turning a boring basement into a fun family space was all for us. Did you see those stairs before the amazing transformation? The Novos ripped the brown shag carpet right off that dark staircase and built a phenomenal custom slide. It's a pop art playground - what a perfect way to enter the space!
But I think the best part of this episode was that the art was really DIYable. Ann Carrington's flag art was awesome, especially considering what a risk it is to incorporate an American flag into the decor. I mean, the Union Jack evokes a sort of ironic, punk rock feel. But Old Glory can quickly turn a space from Sid Vicious to Lynard Skynnard. Using bits of metal on a magnet board kept it looking industrial chic. And the collage piece with all the kids' artwork shrunken down and mounted in rows? I'm totally doing that.
But enough about what I think. Cortney was kind enough to answer some questions we pulled together. Let's see what she thinks!
KS: I just watched the first episode of the new series, and I loved every minute of it. I was afraid we wouldn't be seeing as much of the kids, so I was totally relieved that the first scene was the family sitting around the kitchen table. Are we still going to get glimpses of the home life?
CN: Absolutely. Our family is so much of what we do every day. This show is more design focused than family focused, but we work out of our home, and we definitely take the kids to some of our jobs, so the audience will get to see them here and there. We are so much about family, it would be impossible not to have the kids there.
KS: Was Breaker playing a recorder? He must be in 5th grade. He was totally shredding, or whatever the recorder version of shredding is. Hooting? My 5th grade son never made it past Hot Cross Buns with his.
CN: He was playing a recorder. Breaker is very musical and quite talented. At our premiere party, he jammed with the Duchess of York at our house. They are the band that did the theme song for Home by Novogratz and are really up and coming and cool.
KS: How can you guys work with all that chaos going on?
CN: We are good at multi-tasking! For us, it's not really chaos, just life, and it is what we love, both family and work, so it isn't hard for us to focus on whatever needs doing. We feel really lucky that we can have a career we love and the big family we always wanted!
KS: Ok, let's do a little role playing. Pretend I'm a client, and you just remodeled my house. It's fabulous now, like, say, your Great Barrington house. And I call you and say, "Hey Bob and Cortney, I just found out I'm expecting a baby. Will you design my nursery? What? I can't hear you. Is somebody playing a recorder in the background?" What kind of totally hip and fresh nursery would you immediately envision for me? What are the absolute essentials that a nursery has to have?
CN: We are really not into "theme room" nurseries. Kids grow up so fast and why design a room that will be outdated that quickly? We are believers in a stylish room for children as well as adults. Use bright colors, get a fun rug, frame some interesting art. Use cool bedding and some unique lighting. You obviously need a crib at first and a bed later on. Try to find pieces that will transition with your child, and get the closet organized so you can find everything you need for the baby, and when he/she gets a little older, there is a good spot that is easily-accessible to store toys, clothes and other kid stuff. You don't have to fill the room up with stuff. What is chic for the rest of the house works in the baby's room.
KS: Ok, now we're moving on to a test. At Apartment Therapy and Ohdeedoh there's a certain divisive topic that comes up again and again, so I'm going to try to figure out what side of the debate you'd be on. Answer these questions really quickly, from your gut, without over-thinking. Just whatever pops into your head. It's like a Rorschach test with paint chips.
a. You acquire a teak Danish modern lounge chair. Would you paint it?
b. You acquire an oak dresser from Craigslist. Mass produced. Would you paint it?
c. You acquire a desk from the dumpster. Ikea. Probably MDF. Would you paint it?
CN: We'll answer all three questions the same. We might. If you have a very expensive, collectible piece you probably don't want to do anything to it. On the other hand, if you use a piece of furniture for a while and want to repurpose it, go for it. Or if you buy a really inexpensive piece at say, Ikea, and you want to make it unique, paint it. We are always saying there are no rules, and we're sticking to that.
KS: Congratulations. You passed the test. I'm not sure how you answered because we're doing this via email, but you passed. And now seems like an excellent time to talk about that new paint line! How does one come up with a paint line? Did you name all the colors yourselves?
CN: You can see our new paint line, it is from Stark, called Novogratz. It's low VOC paint that comes in a number of finishes, and we're even working on some metallics. We named a lot of the colors after the kids, like Bellamy Blue! We did name all the colors, they are our absolute faves, and the selection isn't overwhelming. It's a very focused, edited collection to make finding the absolutely coolest color easy and fast. Learn more about our paint (and us) at www.thenovogratz.com.
KS: And you have a new line of home goods? What? Where? When? We're dying to see it!
CN: We do have a line of home décor products coming later in the year, also called Novogratz. You can see some of them in the new show, Home by Novogratz on HGTV--rugs, throw pillows. We want to share what we love and use in our décor projects with our fans and our audience! Hopefully, it will make their home decorating projects a little easier for them, and inspire them to try something new!
Thank you so much, Cortney and Robert. We can't wait to see more of the Novogratz line of home decor products, and we'll be tuned in Saturday nights to catch sneak peeks. Keep it coming, Novos! Ok, readers, did you watch? Tell us what you thought about the suburban basement turned family playground.
(Home by Novogratz airs on HGTV Saturdays at 10/9c. Katie ponders it the rest of the weekend and writes about it Mondays on Ohdeedoh.)
(Images: Matthew Williams/Carol Leggett PR)