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’Downtown Chic’ By "9 By Design" Couple Bob And Cortney Novogratz

Originally Posted: May 07, 2010

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

  |   17 Comments · Print Article

"9 By Design's" Bob and Cortney Novogratz with their son Breaker at the Pier 1 signing event for their first design book "Downtown Chic." (Douglas Harrington)

New York City - Reality show design couple Bob and Cortney Novogratz of Bravo's "9 By Design" sat down with Hamptons.com prior to a book signing in support of their new Rizzoli hardcover "Downtown Chic."

Pier 1 in Downtown Manhattan at Fifth Avenue and 15th Street was the perfect venue for these young, hip designers to meet and greet their fans, of which there were plenty as "9 By Design" has risen like a meteor in the realty based television genre. Joining the couple was their son Breaker, who was as thrilled as his parents by the success of the show and the excitement surrounding their first book.

Fans Chad Bailey and Maya Wilder pose for a photo with America's hippest, young design couple and their son.

The couple may definitely have a handle on "Downtown Chic" but this couple did not grow up on the streets of Downtown, "My mom was from Queens, but my dad went to West Point, so we were Military. I grew up mostly in Northern Virginia," explained Bob. "And I am from the deep south, South Georgia, but we have been here for 18 years so it feels like home," noted Cortney.

I asked what first brought them to the Big Apple, "Something big, something exciting, which is right here in this city. We moved here to live out the dream like everyone else," said Cortney who first came to Manhattan in pursuit of an acting career.

The intention was clearly not to have a career in real estate renovation but as Cortney noted they were in the middle of it before they knew it, "I don't know if it found us or we found it somehow, but we bought our first condemned building before we even got married. That really changed the course of our careers and the course of our life together."

They hadn't planned on being hands on, but having thrown all their saving into purchasing the building and with plans for a family when the first bid from an architect came in at $12,000 Bob said, "Let's go buy a tape measure and measure the place ourselves." Cortney added, "It literally started that way. We learned everything on the job and it has been that way ever since."

Ever since has included renovating dozens of homes, several hotels, commercial gyms and a home bowling alley, among others, including a home in Amagansett. The family has three homes of their own in Manhattan, Massachusetts and Brazil, all of which they self renovated.

Aspiring Interior Designer and elated fan Laura Falcone with her autographed copy of "Downtown Chic."

I asked the couple how the show "9 By Design" came about, "They approached us. We had been featured in a couple of magazine articles and several networks contacted us. The whole process took about a year." For those unfamiliar with the show, "9" comes from the fact that the Novogratz' have seven children and all are featured on the show. In fact, number seven, Major, was born during the first season. I have seen the show several times and after meeting Breaker, it is clear that this is a loving and devoted family that has created a great life together that many would envy.

In describing their first book the couple explained, "We, of course, share our design style with the readers. Our designs are very different, but we also tried to tell a story. Our story is one of being self taught and we want to share that with others. We share the mistakes we made and hope not to repeat. We tell people to take chances and don't be afraid of making mistakes. Enjoy life, it is short. We offer contracting advice, real estate advice, we are really just telling our story. It is about a lifestyle, along with decorating a home. You can create great art out of any four walls on any budget."

When I asked if they had any projects coming up in the Hamptons, Bob told me they had just missed purchasing the Memory Motel in Montauk, "We wanted to do a cool little box hotel, but we missed the deal by a week." The couple has two other potential projects in the Hamptons on the horizon.

The book signing started at 7 p.m. and the line formed before the family arrived at the table. Autographed book in hand, ecstatic fan Laura Falcone told me, "They are the most inspiring couple I have ever met, watched or came in contact with in my entire life. I am an aspiring interior designer who was just accepted to Pratt for my Masters. I just asked Bob and Cortney if I could intern with them and they are going to meet with me and give me a shot. I am on cloud 9 right now because they are the best."

The Novogratz family through their show "9 By Design" and their beautiful new book "Downtown Chic" are not only changing the way everyday people are looking at design, renovation and real estate, but they may very well be breeding an entire generation of new age designers. And that is above and beyond the brood of seven young designers they call their own.

Foe more information go to www.rizzoliusa.com.

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

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Guest (alicia) from Louisiana says::
Love that you guys don't ry to fill every wall,nook and cranny. Lots of space so that each piece seems outstanding and special, which is how it shoukd be. Each piece is "loved" and necessary to the room. Every wall may not be painted which showcases the "art".
Aug 16, 2011 10:18 pm

Guest (Luisa ) from Yanzon says::
GREAT JOB!! I am an architect from Mendoza, Argentina's wine country! I just finished watching your show for the first time and I absolutely love what you do, your way of life, your family, your ideas and your "onda" (spanish word for vibe/wave...) I am taking some days off before getting back to work full time after my summer vacations! But despite the wildness of the "busisness rutine", I will keep following you, your show and your work! I have become another of your fans! GRACIAS!!!! Luisa
Feb 17, 2011 9:19 pm

Guest (Guest) from Cobourg, Ontario Canada says::
I love your show!! Amazing ideas. Like that you include your kids when designing!! You're going to have some very talented kids when it comes to designing/deoorating or whatever then decide to do. Can't get enough of your show. You work well together. My husband and I love decorating and getting new ideas from shows like yours!! You give us inspiration!!
Dec 3, 2010 11:14 am

Guest (Guest) from Australia says::
We count the sleeps until the next episode !!! I wish you were on 24 hrs a day .... You guys give inspiration for the home renovation side of things and the family side of life! You are an inspiration to many that life can be hectic as we all know when you run your own business but, make the most of every day and include your children in every aspect and live it !!! Love your work ... amazing !!! Xxxx
Oct 20, 2010 6:20 am

Guest (Jennifer) from PA says::
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEE your show, your beautiful family, your designs, your brilliance, your personal styles, your personalities.. what a pleasure to watch your family! Thanks for sharing :o )
Jun 30, 2010 1:33 pm

Guest (pixie) from washington,dc says::
love, love, love nine by design, wish they would come to my store (miss pixie's) in dc...i think they would love it, i could then die a happy woman... can't wait for the new season, hope they plan a trip to dc, i can find a place for "nine" to stay and show them all the groovy houses and shops here...i even have the perfect nanny for them!
Jun 24, 2010 8:59 am

Guest (Linda Magee) from Newark, DE says::
Love, Love, Love, your show! Your family life is so inspirational and the talent you both share is so incredible... Your show has given me the desire to want to persue a design career of mine own at the age 45. Loved the beach hotel you designed! I was wondering if you could send me out a signed copy of your new book Downtown Chic. Thank you!
Jun 5, 2010 11:36 am

Guest (DerekJetah) from Da Bronx says::
Minka & I watch this show all the time, love youz guys but can't figure out where the 7 kids are and who is watching them? Are they locked up in one of the other houses when youz guys are working or hanging out together? Kinda weird, doncha think, that the kids are never seen, except for Blanket...I mean Breaker... -Derek
Jun 2, 2010 12:57 pm

Guest (jan salvador) from palm beach says::
MAD, MAD for this show! Love the setting,their homes, the combining of art, but mostly the FAMILY. The are so interesting ------every single one!
May 31, 2010 10:41 am

Guest (Mr. Smith) from Arlington, VA says::
Love the show, it's become a source of motivation for me to follow my dream and purchase an historic rundown townhome and revamp it to my liking. And I'm not even into reality show's.
May 22, 2010 7:17 pm

Guest (wendy pilon) from washington dc suburbs says::
Great show! Inspiring people. Creative, humanitarians, and fun people! My friend just introduced me to the show and I can't wait for more episodes. One of the best shows on tv. I am inspired to finish our fixer up house! I love their mix of modern and vintage.
May 22, 2010 5:05 pm

Guest (Angie ) from South Philadelphia says::
what a fabulous show! I too am a designer with a degree and cannot compete with your ideas! You guys are both naturals! Love watching you and the kids. Can wait to get your book!
May 22, 2010 11:20 am

Guest (Dawn) from Houston, TX says::
I absolutely love your show. As someone who has an interior design degree I am truly flabbergasted by your designs. You are two of the most creative designers I have seen. I cannot wait to see what you come up with each week, it's just amazing. I just watched the episode about your book and I cannot wait to pick it up this weekend. Thank you for being such an inspiration with your designs, your precious family and your charity work.
May 21, 2010 4:28 pm

Guest (paulanna) from pergolina says::
i love how you see the world how you love your children and each other and ART i own a boutique and when i need a fix or inspiration i watch your show and i am going to see your book in my shop you are all my heros.
May 19, 2010 7:27 pm

Guest (Jimmy and Kim Lott) from Portland,Oregon says::
To the Novagratz family, We love you work and your family so much!!! I want to make light boxes with art. I am so inspired by you guys. Jimmy is an artist and a singer songwriter. I wanted to show you a couple of his paintings they are unique. If you like one of them u can have it. How can I find out how to upload a picture to you?
May 19, 2010 3:46 pm

Guest (Missy Landrum) from New Orleans says::
I luv this show- I luv this family- I have been a thrift store, auction, revamp an item girl all my life- I am an artist and make lots of crazy chairs- one funny one has a huge tea cup with flowers on the seat- and a face of concrete on the back- eyes nose mouth and it says "Good Morning" across the back- it is pretty wild looking outside my doorstep- anyway I can't wait to buy your book or for the next show to be on- luv you guys!
May 19, 2010 2:44 pm

Guest (stephanie) from seattle says::
i am completely enamored of each and every member of this family. Their style, the love, the respect...the union is so comfortable...
May 19, 2010 2:22 am


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