Industry Profile: Cortney Novogratz

 With a busy design firm, a book and 7 kids, it’s go, go, go for design duo Bob and Cortney Novogratz. Dabble talks to Cortney about the strategic mix of high and low and new and vintage. 

Industry Profile with The Novogratz

DAB: How did you discover your passion for design, and how do you make it work living and working together, blending your creative personalities?
CN: I don’t know if passion found us or we found it. We bought a condemned building in New York City when we got engaged and renovated it. It took us about 3 buildings before people started saying, ‘you should do this for a living’. We found our job and career in that one home. We learned along the way. Eventually, friends and family members asked us to do their places and our careers took off.

DAB: Why is it important to create accessible design, regardless of budget?
CN: At the end of the day, everyone should have an amazing house. It really is a sanctuary, so to speak. For a lot of people, they don’t have the budget. Some of our best ideas come when we have a small budget. That’s when we have to be creative and think everything through because there is no room for mistakes. Buying items at flea markets gives you the freedom to be more unique. It doesn’t matter if you only paid $20 for an item at a garage sale. That’s what makes it cool.

DAB: You like to combine new and vintage. At what part in the process do you determine which items should be new and and which ones should be vintage?
CN: A sofa, for example, needs to be comfortable and it needs to last. You’re not going to buy a sofa every few years, so if you find a vintage one with good bones, you need to make sure it’s reupholstered properly. When we shop at chain stores, we buy a solid piece that’s gonna last and that’s adorable. Then we sprinkle in one-of-a-kind, funky, flea market pieces. I think the combination of modern, brand-new mixed with mom-and-pop, antiquey stores is ideal. That old piece brings soul to the house, and the new piece brings in the function that we need.

Cortney Dabbles

DAB: You aren’t afraid to use bold colours. What advice would you give to someone who wants to use colour but is afraid?
CN: Start off slowly if you’re having anxiety over color. Paint a focal wall a really bright color. Maybe the wall behind your bed or just a door. Live with it, see if you like it. Then, paint the ceiling, or finish off the other walls. You could also paint a chest of drawers in a really bright color. I think we can all live with more color and should take a risk.

DAB: What 3 tips would you give someone trying to achieve a vintage / modern look?

CN: Buy something old, a lamp, a chair, a vase. And then buy something contemporary, with clean lines. Maybe a sofa or coffee table. Add a mixture of textures with pillows and fabrics. If one fabric is a linen, add wool or an old quilt. If you bought an old lamp, buy a big, modern lamp shade. I think it’s just mixing all the things you love so it feels like a home, rather than something “decorated”. That’s important to me.

DAB: Is there a city or country where you haven’t designed, but would like to?
CN: Oh, definitely Asia. So we want to go to Japan. My daughter wants to go too. We have a place in South America so we go to Brazil quite a bit, which has really been inspiring. But I think the more travel we have… oh, India! My daughter would definitely say India.

 

CONTEST: Williams Sofa from the Glen & Jamie Designer Collection – Winner Selected

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Win a custom Williams Sofa From the Glen & Jamie Designer Collection!
Customize the Williams Sofa (80W x 36D x 38H) with your favourite fabric! Pick the colour and texture that suits your living room.

Each piece from the Glen & Jamie Collection is as unique as its name, and has been built to ensure that the design adapts to the way we live today as a family and are in line with the current North American aesthetic.

Value: CA$2,600
Courtesy Glen & Jamie 

Winner Selected:

Congratulations to Dale Kearns!

Contest closed September 25th, 2014 (Ontario)

 

Congrats Elte on 95 years!

This May marks a major milestone for leading home furnishing retailer Elte, as it celebrates its 95th anniversary. Established in 1919, the family-owned company was founded on the notion of providing the world’s most beautiful products to shoppers. Almost a century later, and with an expanded complete offering of home furnishings, carpets and accessories, Elte continues to focus on curating the best products from around the world, while offering a personal touch to its loyal customers.

Elte

Elte’s 150,000 square feet showroom is located at 80 Ronald Avenue in Toronto.

Today, led by Ken Metrick, the founder’s grandson, Elte has evolved into one of North America’s largest retail establishments while staying true to its heritage, operating as a closely-knit, family-run business spanning over four generations. Working daily with Ken Metrick are his wife, Renee Metrick, Furniture Buyer, and their sons Jamie, who buys different types of rugs, and Andrew, Furniture Buyer.

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From left to right: Andrew, Renee, Ken and Jamie Metrick – Photography by Katherine Holland

 

For more information, visit: www.elte.com @elte #elte95

It’s Christmas Time

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The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, cozying up around the Christmas tree, making plans and sharing laughs. At the centre of it all stands the tree. We’ve created three fun ways to spruce up your spruce (or pine or balsam) for this season and here’s one look.

It’s Time
For a nostalgic look at Christmas past and present we’ve trimmed the branches with strands of pearl garland and hung sterling silver pocket watches from sturdy ribbons. Clock hands hang like icicles, adding sparkle and refection beside white string lights.

 

Read the entire article ‘Take 3 – Christmas Time’ in Issue 11 of Dabble

Family Cottage

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Ready to update his 1920s family cottage, Mark Narsansky turned to his designer and longtime partner Philip Mitchell for help. How did Philip create more space to host more and larger family gatherings while preserving the cottage’s vintage personality?

This family cottage plays host to many guests on a frequent basis. Designer Philip Mitchell says, ‘The layout of the furniture helps to ease traffic flow in the living room.’

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To accommodate large dinner parties, Philip chooses a table that extends to seat 26 guests, perfect for holidays, birthdays and special events. A distressed finish means there’s no drama if children or pets accidentally scratch the surface.

To read and view the full home tour, check out Family Cottage, Issue 3 July/Aug 2011.

Family Cottage

  • The graciously renovated cottage hosts frequent and large gatherings.
  • LEFT French doors lead from the living room to patio and adjacent sandy beach.
  • The linen window treatments from Kravet play a dual role: they cool the air in summer by controlling light levels while adding visual and physical warmth during the winter months.
  • A banquette is a practical addition to the space, providing more seating in the smallest possible footprint. Plus, overnight guests can sleep on the window seat as its dimensions are similar to two single beds. “When the beaming sun and cottage snacks conspire to make sleepy guests,” laughs Philip, “I find this the perfect spot for a catnap.”
  • The nautical candle sconce from the Bombay Company was electrified to provide ambient lighting.
  • To accommodate large dinner parties, Philip chose a dining table that extends to serve 26 guests, perfect for holidays, birthdays and special events. A distressed finish means there’s no drama if children or pets accidentally scratch the surface. A sideboard with inset marble inlays accommodates hot serving dishes.
  • Other traditional accents include a vintage chandelier which gives off a warm glow above and reclaimed antique floors.
  • In the ensuite, Bianco Carerra marble optimizes light and offers an easy-to-live-with surface that ages gracefully.
  • An eclectic display of crocks sits atop an antique storage cabinet. The sconce is a vintage gas lantern. The turn-of-the-century Canadian landscape painting sits against cream wainscoting and below soft gray-green on the walls.
  • Vintage florals drape the bed with its crisp white sheets in the second floor master bedroom.
  • The roofline dictates an unusual angle above the vintage headboard from Patina Antiques. Twin ottomans in slate blue fabric rest at the foot of the bed.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM McGHIE

Far from the hectic pace of Toronto and nestled along the northern shores of Lake Erie is the tiny town of Wainfleet. An idyllic spot to spend summer weekends and holidays surrounded by lake and land. Ready to update his 1920s family cottage, Mark Narsansky turned to his designer and longtime partner Philip Mitchell for help.

Today, the refurbished cottage boasts ample room for entertaining family, friends and even frequent overnight guests. But that isn’t how it started out. The challenge for transforming Mark’s childhood vacation home was to rework the footprint to accommodate larger gatherings while preserving the cottage’s vintage personality.

To maximize seating for evening and weekend gatherings, the bright and cozy living room is smartly laid out with comfy sofas, plump armchairs and large coffee and occasional tables. A long pillow-topped banquette borders the front windows. Fabrics are a mixture of durable woven textures and kicky cottage stripes and prints.

All kitchen tools—pots, pans, plates and cooking utensils—are easy to grab from the storage shelves on the island and the wrought iron racks hanging above. Architectural trim details, vintage lighting and hardware are inspired by the cottage’s original 1920s architecture. The island features a marble surface, ideal for baking as well as sturdy counter space. Cabinetry finishes are hand painted and, if they chip, can easily be touched up.

The cottage has three additional bedrooms on the newly built second floor, though there is nary a bulge on the cottage exterior to reflect the change. Why? “Because the rooms are tucked behind the roofline and concealed behind discreet shed dormers,” responds Philip. Clever.

Philip was eager to replace dark stained walls from the original design with light-reflecting warm colours such as soft green, grey and cream. Philip says he’s a fan of mixing different finishes—from stained and painted wood to forged iron, it makes the space so much more interesting.

Philip sums up the renovation this way, “Our cottage is still full of 1920s details and is primed for the demands of the millennium lifestyle.”

Simple Pleasures

  • Surrounded by pristine white and warm woods, Culley Ingram strikes a contemplative pose in her restful Nashville living room.
  • This chair was found at Antiques at the Factory and the busy mother of two fell in love with the artisanship behind its elegant shape. The oil painting is by Danielle Rahe Fox, an artist from the Ingrams’ hometown of Santa Cruz, California. Family, as displayed in the homegrown gallery rising above the main floor staircase, is a priority for Culley and her husband, songwriter and music producer Jason Ingram. Daughters Blythe and Nola are much in evidence throughout the home.
  • Culley finishes icing red velvet cupcakes.
  • Simply furnished, the master bedroom gives way to a large deck, ideal for family barbecues and summer sunning. Culley painted existing grass cloth covered walls a crisp white, preferring the subtle texture to flat drywall.
  • Jason’s home office, just steps from the family kitchen, is an actual recording studio.
  • A collection of guitars and a mandolin, gifted by a dear friend, strike a pleasing chord on display.
  • The graphic black and white canvas is a portrait of Culley by artist friend M. A. Wood.

With sunshine pouring through the windows, reflecting onto cushy white upholstery and pristine walls, there’s nary a trace of the formerly dark rooms the Ingram family moved into several years ago. Craving a backdrop for living rather than a “show house”, Culley, a self-taught design enthusiast, set about creating a peaceful sanctuary for her family of four.

Culley humbly chalks her design abilities up to genetics, slowing as she speaks of beloved grandparents:

“They were world travellers who had an ability to appreciate an object’s inherent beauty. My grandmother taught me to look for potential in objects both humble and grand, while my grandfather taught me to enjoy the hunt and respect the process of creating a home.”

Undaunted by raw possibilities, Culley sees blank spaces on walls and in rooms as “opportunities.”

 

Culley’s Fave Design Stores

Epiphany – contemporary and antique furniture and accessories

Dealer’s Choice – where Culley bought her living room chandelier

Iron Gate – new and vintage offerings


Words by Kimberley Seldon; Photography by Simon Burn