Bob and I turned our love of flipping houses into a multi-faceted vintage home interiors business that sells goods online, as well as at Macy’s, Walmart, JCPenney and other well-known retailers. We love to draw inspiration for home decor and design elements from our forever home, New York City, though we pull ideas from everywhere we’ve lived, worked and raised our family.
Inspiration Behind Cortney’s Collection Vintage Home Interiors
We’re known for our design flair, and we take lots of inspiration from the energy and eclectic nature of New York City, where we’ve made a home with our seven children. While we love NYC, I also like to pay homage to anywhere else we’ve visited by styling nostalgic or vintage pieces alongside the core elements of a room’s design.
Although I was raised in Georgia and Bob in Virginia, we rely heavily on our love of Manhattan to create our signature quirky yet elegant style. Over the past 25 years, The Novogratz company has purchased and renovated homes for our own family while also tackling projects for a select group of clients. Among the properties with The Novogratz stamp are boutique hotels, condos, restaurants and private homes across the country.
While New York City is our forever home, our family has also lived in the Hollywood Hills and spent time working in Brazil. Each home bears the signature Novogratz style but differs depending on its location. For example, our light and airy home near Beverly Hills features a laid-back California vibe. The house in Brazil celebrates a Bohemian beach feel. Our New York properties and the Berkshires estate marries the best of New York with vintage photographs next to pop art finds.
Bob and I have written four books to date, including “Home by Novogratz,” “Downtown Chic,” “Novogratz Design Fix: Chic and Stylish Tips for Every Decorating Scenario” and “Beachside Bohemian: Easy Living By the Sea — A Designer Couple’s Refuge for Family and Friends.” Long-time fans will remember our reality television show days, including “9 by Design” and “Home by Novogratz.” Each teaches the elements of design and gives tips on how to make every space personal and artistic.
The streets of New York and travel inspire both my fashion sense and style sense. I definitely have learned a lot from living in NYC and also traveling around the world. Adding seven children into my life, my style changed with each child. For example, I used to wear big hooped earrings and babies would pull on them, so I realized I would not wear earrings anymore and go more toward necklaces. Simple things like that that my kids taught me have evolved my design style. And over time, I’ve developed the design sense I have today where it’s okay to mix metallics like silver and gold, and mix pieces that are vintage and modern.
The launch of Cortney’s Collection will feature many chic and family-friendly offerings inspired by different neighborhoods I love in New York City. Families and couples can choose styles from The Village, Uptown and Downtown, as well as styles from notable areas like Battery Park and the West Village. The collection is full-on Novogratz style, mixing vintage home interiors with modern pieces, all designed to complete a polished look for any space.
When searching for new pieces for our home, we like to take full advantage of any opportunity to find new and unusual gems for our homes and our client projects. We seek out flea markets, tag sales and private shops where we can come across one-of-a-kind treasures. The most precious finds may not be expensive, but each has its own personality and charm.
Precious finds come from anywhere and everywhere, including trips to Europe. When each piece comes home, it invariably ends up in an unexpected place: vintage mirrors next to our kids’ artwork or a stately piece of art next to brightly colored floral pillows from a flea market. I follow my instinct to mix and match items, creating an atmosphere that looks like it was always meant to be that way.
For anyone looking to add their own unique flair to their space, it’s really important that you have an heirloom piece or something old to bring the soul to your house, and then something new to keep it modern, fresh and current. Both of those things can exist in one place. It really tells a story of who you are. If you love it, and it speaks to you, then it’s going to go together.
I love to buy something for my house when going on vacation or when I’m travelling. Whether it’s a throw, candlesticks, or even some type of rug, pouf or a chandelier. Bringing something from another country or another state into your home reflects that style. The whole world is so different, even in our own country, if you go from the south to the north to out west. Everybody’s style is slightly different, and so those things can all mix and live together. A western piece can live in the northeast. Something from overseas can go into a real modern, sleek home. It creates that artisan look if you pick up something from your travels. And it will remind you of that vacation.
Old Heirlooms and Timeless Trends
Follow your instincts and use pieces that you love from your own life travels or nostalgic heirlooms. You can incorporate those beloved pieces into your room’s design by making them the center of attention and using clean, simple pieces around them. For instance, the Wooster 6 Drawer Dresser adds a touch of understated glam with champagne gold finishes, while leaving room for your own artwork, sculptures or vases above. Below the glass, there’s a dedicated space to show off a curated art box, jewelry or other personal items for easy access.
There are so many great showrooms all over the world, especially in downtown New York, in Soho. Turn to those shops for that new piece, that modern current piece that everybody needs that’s fresh and very of the moment. Go to retailers that you trust because they do the work for you. Anything that’s new and modern is usually sturdy and going to last for many years to come. Letting yourself mashup vintage and modern designs can help you find new ways to showcase your one-of-a-kind finds.
Designing with clients in mind brings an opportunity to explore new ground. Working with clients with distinct ideas is the most fun because I can meld their style with The Novogratz signature look. Sophisticated family spaces present an opportunity to cater to everyone in the family. For example, we can create a hangout space for kids for an impromptu movie night while still holding onto an overall sleek and polished look. Building a design around each family member’s preferences is key to making it a comfortable space for everyone.
Keeping Up With the Novogratz
Stay tuned as we tackle our latest venture, renovating our new family home, a dilapidated 1826 pink stucco townhouse on Waverly Place. The 6,700-square-foot home, built in 1826, once belonged to former Rockette star Celeste Martin. The residence touts an impressive history — a former hotspot for musicians, artists and poets from a bygone era. We’ll use our lifetime of experience and knack for vintage design to return the home to its former glory.
In addition to showcasing a vast array of items for the home, we’re gearing up to release our exciting new Cortney’s Collection product line in 2022, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Follow along with Cortney's Collection on Instagram to check out all our newest products and announcements.