I am so happy to bring this interview to GIGS. The Novogratz Design Duo are major talented, self taught, managing a large family, and working together everyday on their love for design. This interview was right on time, and helped me tremendously. All the questions that were burning an imprint in my head were answered by the best. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as Mr. Styles and I did.
What hurdles if any did you guys encounter being self taught designers? We made some mistakes along the way, but we learned from each project and evolved. On the other hand, it is very liberating not to have any pre-conceived notions about what we are “supposed” to do!
Do you feel you were embraced by the design community initially because you were self taught? It wasn’t really an issue. People liked what we did, and it didn’t matter if we taught ourselves or learned somewhere else. They embraced our creative expression, and we appreciate that.
What advice would you offer someone with talent wanting to jump into interior design, but school is just not in their cards right now? Just go out and do it. Get out there, intern or apprentice with somebody’s whose style you admire, find a way to work on projects that interest you and will teach you valuable information so you can go forward with your creative desires.
If you guys weren't designing right now, what would you be doing? Catching up on our sleep! HA!
You both seem so cool, easy going, and relatable. Not what most people are use to seeing in high end designers. Where does that come from? We love our work, we feel lucky to be able to do something we have great passion for, and we try to be mellow. With seven kids, you really have to learn to go with the flow to a certain extent.
Have any of your children expressed interest in design? Several of them. They have a good eye and strong opinions, and often make very good points about design.
What was your very first design job? And what was going through your minds in the process? Our first job was a condemned house we bought in Chelsea and decided to renovate. What was going through our minds? What were we thinking!
Are there any designers with styles that you favor? There are a number of designers that we admire enormously. Prouve, Nouvel, Starck, among others!
What is your opinion on the definition debate of a decorator versus designer? We haven’t really considered it that carefully. We are more focused on the work than the definition of what we (or other people) do.
Who would you love to work with that you haven't already? There are so many interesting kinds of projects we want to do. Definitely more retail and public spaces. We have discovered that we love the challenge of a commercial space. And we’d like to work in Europe, and there are tons of talented people out there we’d love to work with.
What advice would you give someone decorating their first home on their own, without a clue as to what they should buy first? Figure out what your lifestyle is and what you need most, and go from there. Get a few major pieces that will anchor your home (like a good couch) that you can keep forever. Build from there, and live with things a bit and try a few things out and soon you will have a nice environment that you enjoy.
How do you guys feel about sofa sets, bedroom sets, table sets...etc. Do you think people should stop buying matching sets? We’re not into things being so matchy, matchy. We like to mix it up, but sometimes, two of something works. It’s all about not being too predictable. Take a few risks and try new things.
I’m sure working with your spouse can be a bit sometimes. How do you guys separate the two (professional/home life)? We actually find it very convenient to be working together, working out of our home (where we can be with the kids), and if we need to discuss something, whether it is family or work, we can fit it in sometime. We are not really about separating things, but about integrating them. We like to hang with each other. And we try to make time for us to be alone as a couple, when it is not about work or the family, and it is just us. That doesn’t happen so often, but we really manage to work it out.
What colors are your using for fall? We always love color. That is why we created our own paint line. Bright, saturated, colors that pop are always something we go for. In our country house, we painted each bedroom a cool color—orange, green, blue, violet. In a recent project we did for our tv show, we took a boring, white box condo and made each room sing with color, yellow, hot pink, teal. We often like to use white as a backdrop, and then bring in the color!
I read about a new line coming out from you guys. Can you offer details? Our paint line is already out. It’s Novogratz for Stark Paint, and it is available on our website, www.thenovogratz.com and will be available at select retailers soon. We also have a product line coming out this year, and are working with major retail, so we will have some very cool news soon! We featured some of our carpets and accent pillows on the show this season, too.
Do you guys read blogs, and participate in social media? Of course! Both are such a great way to reach people, and for them to reach you. It’s such an important way of communicating. And where we have gotten get so much support, which we really, really appreciate.
Final question: What advice would you offer someone trying to make interior design a career, but they cant find a door to open? Find somebody whose aesthetic you admire and intern--learn things, and that will help lead the way to where you want to go. If you really want to do something, find a way to get started, to learn the ropes and figure out what you want to do ultimately.
Let me add that I love the photos of Madonna, and Tupac in this room. IN LOVE. My new search is for a Tupac image for the largest wall in my home. Good Luck Tamara.
Do you love the colors used in their projects? Me too, and they now have their own line with Stark Paint. A collection of low VOC paint.
You can catch HOME BY NOVOGRATZ on HGTV every Saturday.
For more information on the Novogratz, visit their site here.
Thank you Cortney and Robert!
Much RESPECT Indeed,
Family Photo: Tim Geaney ; Couple Photo: ONE.1; Project Images from Novogratz Site