Interview: Robert and Cortney Novogratz

Robert and Cortney Novogratz do keep themselves busy. Not only have they been successful and inspirational designers for more than two decades, this dynamic duo has also been sharing their knowledge of design through the medium of television, most recently on HGTV’s Home by Novogratz. They’re also the authors of the successful book, Downtown Chic.

Robert & Cortney Novogratz (via)

Oh, and if you haven’t already heard, they have seven kids to take care of too!

The Novogratz Family

I recently had the opportunity to ask Robert and Cortney some questions about their approach to design. Before I share their responses with you, I thought we could have a little peek into their own homes (yes, multiple). I really love seeing how designers design for themselves (and, of course, how they incorporate white).

In New York…

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In Great Barrington…

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In Brazil…

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The Novogratz also bring in quite a bit of white into the spaces they design for their clients.




I just love that while this couple obviously loves high-impact colours, industrial design, and a variety of materials, they also use white to make their designs complete. I recently asked them about their fondness of white, among other things, and I am happy to share their responses with you today.


1. What is one of your favourite spaces to design?

We love all different kinds of spaces. Homes, stores, schools – we are always looking for a new challenge.

2. What are two of your best organization tips, tricks, or tools?

Two great tricks for instantly improving your space: 1. Get rid of clutter and watch your room open up and feel more spacious. 2. A new coat of paint can work miracles. Don’t be afraid to try a little colour (or more) if you are feeling bold.

3. What three elements define a well-designed space?

Does it work for the people using it? Is it comfortable? Is it chic?

4. What are four of your best ways to avoid clutter?

Get rid of what you don’t really need. Kids don’t have to have boxes and boxes of toys. Just keep their favourites and what they use regularly. Donate the rest, give it to friends or family, or have a tag sale! For what is left – get some good storage. Make it easily accessible to the kids. The same applies to adults. If you have a collection of something you really love, or books you don’t want to part with, find a cool way to display them that does not look cluttered. Closed-cupboard storage is great for things you really need but don’t necessarily want out for the world to see.

5. What are five of your favourite white accessories/objects/pieces of furniture (that you own or that you often use in your designs)?

We love white candles, white flowers, and white walls. They are all excellent for different reasons. Because we love bright pops of colour in our design, white is a really good way to make art, accessories, and brightly-hued walls pop. We have great white vintage dining chairs made from washable leather so they are easy to clean. The floors in our country home are painted white, which really opened the space. White is classic and always looks good.

6. What are your six top shopping destinations (i.e., for home, clothing, food, etc.)?

We have lots of shopping destinations. We love a good flea market anywhere in the world and the one in Brimfield, MA, is one of the best. We also love shopping for vintage pieces in Hudson, NY, and several locations around NYC. For decor items that are affordable, CB2, IKEA, Target. For clothes and food, there are nine of use, so the shopping choices are quite diverse.

7. What are seven of your kids’ favourite toys/books/objects?

Legos (especially Star Wars) are big with our twin sons, who are six. One of our sons loves music and musical instruments. Our girls love to read. Our oldest is an athlete so many of his favourite things are in that arena. Our three year-old has a stuffed dog he likes quite a lot.


Many thanks to Robert and Cortney Novogratz for taking the time to respond to my questions. Thank you to Sarah Stevens at Shaw Media/HGTV Canada for arranging this interview.

Read more about HGTV’s Home by Novogratz here.


  1. pdginteriors January 24, 2012

    It is always fascinating to peek into the home(s) of an interior designer. Thanks for this insightful post.

  2. Shannon (8foot6) January 24, 2012

    this family amazes me! good interview!

    • Jordana January 24, 2012

      I could really get used to living in their house in Brazil. This family oozes cool, doesn’t it?


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