A West Village Garden Apartment Mixes Fun Color with Vintage Finds

published Aug 7, 2023
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red patterned vintage rug, black leather couch, white brick, tv above fireplace, david bowie, wrapping exposed brick mantle, black framed door with glass panels, wood mid century coffee table, mid century wood and cow hide chairs
Credit: The Novogratz NYC

Set a half-block from New York City’s Washington Square Park, in a neighborhood famed for its creativity, sat a property in desperate need of it. 

Quick Overview

Tour the Garden Apartment of Cortney and Robert Novogratz

Peek inside the garden apartment of these married designers, who maximized 1,500 square feet with vintage finds and mid-century style.

“There wasn’t much there to keep except for a crumbling structure,” says Robert Novogratz.

When he and his wife Cortney first toured the West Village home in 2019, they knew they’d have to contend with years of neglect before the place could even be inhabitable. But because they’re also the co-owners of a namesake design company called the Novogratz, solely seeking shelter for themselves and their three youngest children wouldn’t do. When all was said and done, they hoped to showcase the cool-meets-modern furnishings recognizable to visitors of their shop. They just had to get through the construction process first. 

“It was all taken down to the studs and completely renovated,” Robert notes.

Credit: The Novogratz NYC

Thankfully, though, the home’s garden apartment presented just as much promise as the rest of the address, but was slightly less of a challenge due to its smaller footprint. And that’s where this story takes place. “There was nothing radical with this garden apartment, the renovation went well and quickly,” he continues. 

Credit: The Novogratz NYC

Comprising 1,500 square feet reached by its own entrance, the garden apartment not only had access to private greenery but would also accommodate a full kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. The living room would have two windows to let in the sun plus a fireplace in the winter, and the couple also squeezed in a laundry area so none of their guests would ever have to lug dirty socks beyond this front door. When the stage was set for the couple to do what they do best — design — they went for it hoping to create a look and feel that told their visitors it was quite all right to stay a while. 

Credit: The Novogratz NYC

“A guest area should feel spacious and have cheerful pops of color and interesting furnishings,” Robert continues. “It should be relaxed, luxurious, and useful.”

Given that the garden apartment was intended for their grown children and other adult relatives whenever they were in town, the couple felt comfortable leaning into an unabashedly contemporary aesthetic. The common areas of the kitchen and living room have bright white walls reminiscent of an art gallery, making it so a framed image of David Bowie and a console table used as a corner bar fit right in. A straight-backed, olive leather couch sits beside a duo of hide-topped accent chairs, and a round wood dining table coordinates with the curves and material of surrounding seats. 

Credit: The Novogratz NYC

“It has a mix of modern furnishings, and most of them are from our decor and design line,” Cortney says. “We also mixed that with some cool vintage pieces and art.” 

The bedroom is where they flipped the script. Instead of the white walls of the kitchen and living area allowing accents to do the heavy lifting of imparting personality, a bold floral accent wall behind the bed sets the mood. A bubbly pink bedspread matches the dresser’s drawers, while a red side chair picks up the petals climbing up to the ceiling. 

Credit: The Novogratz NYC

“We always use lots of pops of color against a neutral background for visual interest,” Robert says. “The bedroom is full of bright colors and a mix of patterns.”

Their family moved into the house last fall, and Cortney and Robert are sharing the garden apartment as inspiration for their fellow New Yorkers and small-space dwellers beyond. Thanks to canvas-ready walls that bounce light around, furniture that provides a timeless warmth, and tongue-in-cheek details throughout, the sunglass-clad vibes of this place can be replicated by anyone looking to maximize style when it also must be contained. 

Credit: The Novogratz NYC

“It is an oasis in the middle of a busy city,” Robert says.