Nine by Design Heads West

published May 5, 2010
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Name: Bob and Courtney Novogratz
Location: West Village
Size: 6000 square feet
Years lived in: 1

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Bob and Cortney were lay architects and interior designers for years out of necessity. They kept buying abandoned lots in marginal neighborhoods and turning them into incredible homes. And in order to keep costs down, they figured out how to do nearly every aspect of the project themselves. It was DIY on a massive scale. After five such projects, they were confident enough to start their own design firm, Sixx Design.

This latest venture brought Bob and Cortney and their seven children — ranging in age from toddler to pre-teen — to the West Side Highway. They bought a one-story dilapidated auto repair garage and built on the site, a six-story mega-home!

While some people might become a bit possessive of a home transformed, Bob and Cortney exercise a form of real estate zen. They create and then let go and move on. In twelve years, they and their constantly expanding family have moved five times!

With each move, their style evolves. This new building has much of the art and signature furniture from past homes but it exists in a completely different backdrop. Whereas Bob and Cortney once favored ‘french countryside’ combined with ‘french industrial,’ their current home is much more minimal and urban sleek. Of course, with this much square footage, it becomes easier to create large empty spaces and a lot of white wall expanses.

And even though it seems incongruous at this scale, the Sixx Design team still looks for bargains. They shop at Ikea and continue to troll flea market and antique shops. When it comes down to it, they know how to make anything look good.

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Apartment Therapy Survey
Style: Sixx Design is known for their mix of Modern and Vintage. And this house really demonstrates that. We tend to use a neutral background to make the design objects and the art really pop. The whole front and the whole back of the house is glass, cantilevered, so that every view from each floor is a little different. And on the front, we have an art installation that is blue and white and we share it with the public every day!

Inspiration: Richard Woods is a British artist who created the art installation on the front of the house. He has been a huge inspiration for us because he loves to take chances and he has a sense of humor, not to mention that he is hugely-talented!

Favorite Element: The different views from the house are mind-blowing. From the front door, we can see the Hudson River, Hudson River Park, the New Jersey coastline. From the roof, we can see all the way downtown (including the Statue of Liberty), all the way uptown, East and West. And the light is so gorgeous because we are near the water. The location is the ultimate gift of the house!

Biggest Challenge: There are all sorts of challenges when you are building on top of the Hudson River, in terms of a foundation and electrical and plumbing. Also, we are on West Street, which is noisy, so we used four thick panes of glass to envelope the house. It is absolutely soundproof!

What Friends Say: Wow, it’s big! They are amazed that one family is living in such a huge space. It is plenty of room for all of us, and our friends and family, and that is really nice, since we love to give parties and have lots of celebrations!

Biggest Embarrassment: Wow, it’s big! Since space is such a premium in the city, sometimes we feel that we are just so lucky to have all this space. And we need it with such a large family, but we also acknowledge that most people in New York live in way smaller spaces.

Proudest DIY: People take pictures of the façade all day long. We have created a [public art installation, and whether people love the Richard Woods panels on the front of the house or not, it evokes a conversation about art and architecture, and it is a lot of fun.

Biggest Indulgence: Our indoor basketball court! One of our sons, Wolfie, our oldest, is an excellent basketball player, and it is wonderful for him to have the court to practice, and to have his teammates over to play. Our other kids love to play basketball as well, and the space works well for other things like skateboarding, break dancing, or lots of other activities that kids need a wide-open space to accomplish. We tend to have all the kids playing in that space most of the time!

Best Advice: We urge other people to dream big and take chances. It doesn’t always work, but why not at least give it a try!

Dream Source: We love a nice bottle of red wine to discuss our dreams and chill. We highly-recommend it, especially to parents!

Size (additional info): The house is the biggest one we have ever built. It is six levels, 8000 sq. feet, with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a garage, and indoor basketball court/state-of-the-art media room, along with two outdoor spaces, a garden off the living room, and a huge roof deck that has the most amazing views imaginable!

Years Lived In (additional info): We moved in last April, just after our baby Major was born. That is a big part of our tv show on Bravo, 9 by Design, which has us moving out of a temporary two bedroom space that we were in for several months, and into the new house we had been building for eighteen months.


    • Entryway: Bisazza tile, Plume lamps, Arik Levy Lamp, Vintage powder-coated red Italian table
    •Kitchen: Boffi, Kitchen table — French vintage (as is the chandelier), Chairs from Brooklyn Flea, Bench from Miami (vintage 1970s)
    • Living room: Couch by Cappellini, Silver tables from Pier 1, Vintage sideboard, Chair by Tom Dixon
    • Bathrooms: Boffi
    • Master Bathroom: lights by Swarovski
    • Master Bedroom: Bed — Indonsian (ABC Home), Lighting — French flea market finds, desk by Zaha Hadid, Rug (and most of them throughout the house) from The Rug Company
    • Boy’s Bedroom: Beds by Ikea, Desks from West elm, Striped Rug in boy’s bedroom by Ikea, Chair by Mark Newson,
    • Girl’s bedroom: Beds — Indonesian (ABC Home),
    • Twin’s Bedroom: Beds by Ikea, Dresser — Pier 1,
    • Baby room: Cowhide on floor from Brazil, crib by Stokke, lamp from Matter

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Images: Jill Slater

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