Friday, December 18, 2009
I have a new book in hand. Love the title of it: "Downtown Chic." It drew me in before I even got to thumb the pages. It's written by husband-wife team Robert and Cortney Novogratz, parents of six children under the age of 11. Hard to imagine they have any time to spare, but they do. R&C gut, renovate and design old buildings (and construct new ones, too, I think I noticed). More impressively, they're successful at it and rather prolific. In fact, they say, "the scarier the building looks, the better it is." Those words alone, I must confess, conjure up images of the Money Pit for me. Remember the 1986 movie starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long? The young in-love characters played by Hanks and Long forge ahead with a large renovation and end up with the most fabulous space. Well, same goes for Robert and Cortney -- who, by the way, forego the marital drama (unlike their movie counterparts) in lieu of forming a company called Sixx Design. All this began for R&C 15 years ago when they tackled their first reno project -- their own home (See Chapter One). Cortney writes that theirs was a condemned building in the heart of Chelsea, a now-trendy neighborhood in Manhattan. Since then, they have moved on to finalize many more successful projects. Many of them are featured in this book. They share in editorial form and in quick bulleted lists what they did, what works and what doesn't, who to hire, what to look for, and so forth. Nice large color photos bleed off many of the 175 pages. On page 19, they offer such insider tips as: 1. Location is key (everyone has heard this, I know, but R&C think it can't be said enough.) 2. Look to the creative community to find those key locations, buy on the fringe for real deals, or look for signs for up and coming areas (which they talk about further). 3. Buy directly from the owner to save money. 4. Get an engineer's report; if the structure is sound, then "you are golden." 5. Have a plan before starting. All good advice; some of which you've heard before. The difference is the detail in which they give it. Readers also get a peek into their homes and various projects -- all accompanied with worthy editorial, tips on decorating, and how to jump-start your imagination. Expensive, they say, isn't always better. Yahoo. If you need both a cheerleader and type of sherpa all wrapped up in one, the Novogratz team steps up to help -- through this book. Other chapters: "Charmless to Charming," "Paris Meets Gotham," "Fun House" and five more. It's all about designing your dream house, from wreck to ravishing. For future: They will have a show on Bravo sometime in late March. Eight one-hour episodes are scheduled to air ... Called "Nine by Design." Their book is available for under $30 via Amazon. Photos here are from parts of their book. I look forward to reading more....COMING UP on my blog: More contest entry winners and a look behind the scenes at a holiday Traditional Home magazine photo shoot. Cheers.
Posted by Love Where You Live on Friday, December 18, 2009