For this episode of Home by Novogratz, we took the whole family and our crew down to Orlando to help out Winegard Elementary School. This deserving school won a $50K makeover in a contest, and Robert and I were asked to give a fresh, new look to their music room. Our goal? Make the huge room colorful, comfortable and inspiring. First, we created custom stencils featuring the names of more than 150 famous musicians and arranged them in a border around the ceiling of the room. The Beatles, Beethoven, Placido Domingo, Pink Floyd, Tupac, U2… artists from a wide range of eras, backgrounds and styles to pique the students’ curiosity and creativity.
We also painted blue stripes (the school’s color) and piano keyboards on the room’s doors. These are both projects you can easily do at home (with the help of your local copy store) to bring in a “wow” factor to get your creative juices flowing.
With a room this huge, we decided divide the space into activity zones working in from the corners. The art station is now filled with brain-stimulating supplies and iconic Panton chairs in orange and white.
David and Jane Cohen finally moved into their dream apartment, one with big, beautiful windows filled with stunning views of Manhattan, a terrace perfect for entertaining and other architectural details that made the it distinctive. But their temporary furnishings were too neutral and bland, really, making the penthouse a big white box. Far from the colorful home Jane and David wanted it to be.
Rob’s and my goal was to take their design sky high with a vibrant and timeless eclectic look. We mixed contemporary furnishings with vintage pieces. And to make their new home really pop, we used metallics to reflect the New York City skyline and bold blasts of color in the furniture and art to make the space really fantastic.
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Since we were working with 18 foot ceilings, hanging the six mod gold lights of varying sizes that we found at ABC Carpet and Home made for a much more dramatic statement than a single chandelier would. And by hanging them at different heights, they can be enjoyed from below, as you are walking up the stairs and from the second floor.
The art, including a piece David and Jane already owned positioned next to the silver chesterfield and the “figure of speech” painting we commissioned by artist Cristina Vergano hung above the stairs, gives the apartment a quirky and smart jolt of character.
We found the Philippe Starke inspired marble dining table at Modani, as well as the silver Croco Louis-style chairs. The oval shape allows for more seating, a perfect fit for the space. We scored the mint green 40s chairs, navy Deco chairs and Harry Bertoia chairs at Adelaide.
To make your own environment pop with character, invest your budget in bright throw pillows, a colorful carpet, unusual art (it doesn’t have to be expensive!) and lots of funky vintage furniture mixed with contemporary pieces. Remember, big walls need big art and cool accessories help define a space in a more exciting way.
We love designing for our seven children, so the Everett family basement makeover was a blast! Even though the logistics of creating a bright and fun entertaining space for three kids and two adults is challenging enough, but we wanted to make this basement extra special with an emphasis on art and family memories.
Scott and Elyse’s kids are very creative, and they had accumulated loads of their art work with no place to hang it all, so we knew this had to be a focus of our design. Their new ultimate art space for kids now includes a wall stacked with pull-out craft paper, a wall covered in chalkboard paint and a cork board covered wall perfect for displaying art. And because it can be heartbreaking to part with our children’s art but eventually it can become cumbersome to keep it all, we went with the “shrink art” solution for the Everett family (something we’ve done with our own kids’ art.) Our friend and artist Jan Eleni makes wonderful archival solutions for displaying and enjoying your prolific young artists’ work forever.
We wanted mom and dad’s area of the basement to be full of personal keepsakes, just like the kids’ space. So we designed a focal wall covered in beautiful black-and-white wallpaper made from their family photos. This is a super easy project you can create online using one photo or a collage of photos for about $10/sq.ft. Adjacent to the family photo wall hangs an Ann Carrington original made with some help from our kids. The backing on the flag art is magnet boards that can be found at most home improvement stores.
Last week, we created a flirty pink-striped staircase for two surfing sisters. Well, clearly we can’t get enough funky staircases, because we did a playground style one this time — complete with a slide! In the show, wasn’t it fun to see the kids and parents can slide down to their new basement?
Hi everyone. Filming Home by Novogratz has been so much fun. Every episode we shoot allows us to meet new interesting people and work our vintage/modern, high/low, “no rules” design magic on their places. Instant makeovers can be stressful, but the energy and spirit of our fabulous crew and the reactions of psyched homeowners make it all worthwhile. It’s similar to how Robert and I are raising our seven kids — controlled chaos!
Here’s Robert and me with Deborah and Katherine Chen, two amazing sisters and our first clients. They bought an inexpensive house in rough shape in Far Rockaway, New York so they can enjoy weekends at the beach surfing. What do they want? A playful, girly beach pad. Their design inspiration? Betsey Johnson! Taking Deborah and Katherine’s cues, we knew exactly what to do. The staircase is the first thing you see when you enter their house.
We chose to stripe the stairs for a real “wow” factor. (If you’re on a super-tight budget like us, with some colorful paint, you can tackle anything!) We measured the stripes for the stairs using painters tape and decided to go vertical. Three different shades of pink (their favorite color) with one pale blue one, and it looks amazing! The sisters love their new house , and I’m sure they have the most playful staircase in all of Rockaway.
If you haven’t seen the show, when you do, I think you’ll agree that Deborah and Katherine’s home is now light and airy with a cool beachy feel. It’s also packed with spunk and funky touches, like the kitchen renovation with a pink stove and baby blue vintage fridge and their new bedroom featuring Ghost Girl images put there by hand by world-famous graffiti artist Matt Siren.
For next Saturday’s episode on July 23, we head down to the basement for a family playroom perfect for kids and adults. But first, here’s another picture of Deborah and Katherine’s pink surfer chic living room. What do you think? Love the stairs and the pillows? So Betsey.
Tell me in the comments below.