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.

 

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.

Elte - Metricks

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

 

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

Smartsizing: Tips to Maximize Space

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Watch Cityline Homeday, March 20, 2014
Set provided by Decorium

Maximizing Space:

  • Built-ins and modular furniture maximize storage. Use as much vertical and horizontal space as possible. Contain clutter and maximize space with book shelves.
  • Add mirror to make space look larger.
  • A monochromatic colour scheme visually enlarges a space. When all colours are close in tone and value there is no contrast so the eye is able to move through a room uninterrupted which creates the illusion of additional space.
  • Multipurpose (double-duty) furniture creates flexibility within a space. Make sure furniture serves more than one function. Daybed which can be a sofa but also a bed for guest to sleep on. A coffee table that rises to eating height. Console tables that can be pushed together to form dining table.
  • Use chairs rather than sofas for maximum flexibility. They require less space and can be moved around more easily.
    Consider a Murphy bed in small spaces.
  • Avoid sectional. With a sectional you are limited by the way it can be positioned. Sectionals are also more difficult to get in elevators.
  • Use an island. Something on wheels that can be moved around as counter space or a place to store items.

Cityline set provided by Decorium

How to Karim-ify Your Home

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You name it and he’s designed it. Over 3,000 designs in production, countless awards and numerous collections for some of the world’s best known companies.

Dabble talks design aspirations and dreams with Karim Rashid in the March 2014 issue.

Here are Karim’s ten most important recommendations for the home:

  1. Create large white spaces with accents of strong positive colors.
  2. Knock down walls that are not structural and open up spaces as much as
    possible.
  3. Have less but better furniture. Try to substitute 2 or 3 pieces with one.
  4. Impose order. Line everything up perfectly: vases, objects, books,
    stereo equipment. Order inspires. Order is Zen. Order is relaxing.
  5. Avoid curtains. Curtains are dirt and dust collectors and make spaces
    look smaller with added bulk and weight. Use seamless mesh blinds instead.
  6. Make do with less. And make sure you really want what you¹re buying. I¹m
    not anti-consumption per se but I think it¹s essential to consume with
    awareness. Buy only what you need.
  7. Use materials that are easy to clean and that age well. Plastic floors
    (laminates, vinyl sheeting, or artificial rubber) are lightweight and
    inexpensive materials that wear well and are more resistant to scratches and
    staining.
  8. Avoid sharp edges. Let your space flow.
  9. Make your space reconfigurable.
  10. Embrace (don¹t fear) technology

Jamaica: Top Spots in Ochos Rios

Ochos Rios is the ideal antidote to winter. Here are 6 warm reasons to visit now.

1. In 1955, the famed English playwright, Noël Coward purchased a retreat 1,200 feet above Blue Harbour for $150. Here he would build a simple house, which he named Firefly. The hilltop property boasts incredible views of the north coast of Jamaica which is open to the public for exploring.

Statue of Noel Coward at Firefly Photography courtesy Angela Auclair

Statue of Noel Coward at Firefly
Photographed by Angela Auclair

2. Famous for its Jam-Italian fusion cuisine, the restaurant Evita’s has hosted many celebrities including Princess Margaret and Brad Pitt. The menu celebrates creativity and has garnered a reputation as “the best little pasta house in Jamaica”.

Contributor Nicholas Rosaci poses with Evita and a Chef. Photographed by Angela Auclair

Contributor Nicholas Rosaci poses with Evita and Chef in the kitchen at Evita’s.
Photographed by Angela Auclair

3. Right outside Ochos Rios are the breathtaking Dunn’s River Falls, which are over 600 meters high and cascade through steps of crystal clear water into the Caribbean Sea. Be brave and climb the falls at Jamaica’s most famous water attraction or be led in a human chain by an experienced Falls Guide.

Dabble does Jamaica96

Climb Dunn’s River Falls alone or with a Falls Guide.
Photography by Angela Auclair

4. Wassi Art is the premier place for a one of a kind Jamaican pottery. Local artists create beautifully sculpted and painted merchandise in plain view of their audience. If you are looking for something special, it’s worth spending an afternoon right here.

Dabble does Jamaica93

See pottery being made first hand at Wassi Art.
Photography by Angela Auclair

5. Located on the Good Hope Plantation, David Pinto’s Ceramic Art Studio offers an immersive and educational look into the fundamentals of ceramic making. David’s world recognized work ranges from clay teacup to spectacular life size objects of art.

Dabble does Jamaica94

Meet David and his team at David Pinto’s Ceramic Art Studio.
Photography by Angela Auclair

A Tour of the White House

Image Credit White House Museum

Image Credit White House Museum

American royalty, the White House is arguably the most iconic home in the US.

1.5 million visitors tour the White House each year, but they see only a handful of the 140+ ground and mansion areas. It is broken down into three sections, the East Wing where the Emergency Operations Center resides, the West Wing, where the Situation room is, and the Residence, a four-story living space.

In total, the White House has 132 rooms, including 16 family-guest rooms, 1 main kitchen, 1 diet kitchen, 1 family kitchen, and 35 bathrooms totaling approximately 55,000 sq.ft. It also features 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplace mantels, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.

During the War of 1812, the White House was completely demolished by fire with most of the valuables being ransacked by British troops, leaving only the exterior walls standing. President Madison hired architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Hoban to lead the charge on the rebuilding project. When Teddy Roosevelt came to office in 1902, he decided the White House needed to be expanded and modernized due to overcrowding and an outdated appearance. He selected McKim, Mead & White to remove the Tiffany screen and all Victorian additions and replace everything with a neoclassical style that wasn’t popular with most subsequent Presidents.

Out of respect for the historical value of the house, no substantive architectural changes have been made since, but many have taken turns redecorating and refurbishing to make the residence more in tune with their personal style. Jackie Kennedy, who decorated all the rooms by theme and periods of world history, made some of the most significant changes.

We’re here to give you a quick tour of some of the most interesting interior design features of America’s first family.

Blue Room
The center of the State Floor, the Blue Room is known for its breathtaking view over the South Lawn and oval shape, the perfect area to receive guests. The elliptical saloon was decorated in the French Empire style by President Monroe with its most striking element an early 19th century gilded-wood and glass chandelier encircled with acanthus leaves. Blue satin geometric draperies are hung with a border of gold rosettes that match an equally extravagant carpet. Furnishings are heavily corniced and the ceiling is painted in fresco, adding to the richness of the space.

The Blue Room

The Blue Room, 2009 (Image Credit: Reuters)

Oval Office
The President’s formal workspace, the Oval Office has hosted a number of important diplomats, dignitaries and heads of state through the years. Each President has decorated the room to suit his tastes, but the most consistent features that remain include a white marble mantel that’s been there since 1909, two flags, and the famous Presidential seal on the ceiling.

The Oval Office

The Oval Office, 2010 (Image Credit BBC – Reuters)

Vermeil Room
Also known as the “Gold Room,” the Vermeil room serves as a display room and, for formal occasions, a ladies sitting room. More subtle and feminine than most of the other rooms, soft yellow paneled walls accent a collection of vermeil, gold-plated silver, a gift from Margaret Thompson Biddle. The carpet is a Turkish Hereke from around 1860, chosen for its pale green background and gold silk hues. Other prominent accents include early 19th century mahogany pieces like a circular table and a pier table, plus an impressive ten-armed cut-glass chandelier and scroll sofa.

The Vermeil Room

Vermeil Room, 2008 (Image Credit: Architectural Digest)

 

Green Room
Originally envisioned to be the “Common Dining Room,” the Green Room has served many purposes over the years from lodging to entertaining. Still featuring green water silk-lined fabric chosen by the Kennedys in 1971, draperies of striped beige, green and coral satin adorn the walls of the Presidential Parlor. All the accessories are gilded and ornate including a pair of hand-carved American eagles, a favorite decorative motif of the Federal period.

The Green Room

Green Room, 2008 (Image Credit: Architectural Digest)

Lincoln Bedroom

In a room Lincoln never actually slept in, the Lincoln Bedroom is part of a suite of rooms that hosts overnight guests and political supporters. It has been furnished in Victorian style since the Truman renovation and is rumored to be haunted. Famous furniture includes a commanding 8 by 6’ rosewood bed with canopy, slipper chairs, sofa, and cabinet chairs. Featured prominently on the desk is one of only five holographic copies of the Gettysburg Address. The room was updated in 2004 with an opulent white marble mantel, canopy carved in the shape of a crown, and deep emerald green, yellow and purple draperies.

Lincoln's Bedroom, 2007 (Image Credit: Newsweek - Gary Fabiano)

Lincoln’s Bedroom, 2007 (Image Credit: Newsweek – Gary Fabiano)

GoldenEye – The Home of Ian Fleming

“I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to live the rest of my life in Jamaica.”

~Ian Fleming

Design Contributor Nicholas Rosaci at GoldenEye in Jamaica. Photography by Angela Auclair

Design Contributor Nicholas Rosaci at GoldenEye in Jamaica.
Photography by Angela Auclair

On the northern coastline of Jamaica, in the parish of St. Mary’s, is the GoldenEye Hotel and Resort. This Caribbean hideaway, comprised of 13 luxury villas and lagoon cottages has restaurants, pools, spas, and beaches. It’s also got Bond. James Bond. Well, at least it has his essence.

GoldenEye is an oasis which has played host to legendary visitors such as British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, Noel Coward, Elizabeth Taylor, Truman Capote, Errol Flynn, and more recently Jay Z and Beyoncé, Martha Stewart and Bono. (Martha and Bono were not there together!)

Beloved British author, Ian Fleming purchased these 15 acres of land in 1946. He turned the donkey race course (we’re not making this up) into a 3 bedroom bungalow and named it GoldenEye. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea one can no doubt understand how Fleming grew inspired to write the 14 novels of his now famous James Bond 007 series.

The estate was purchased by Bob Marley in 1976, and sold one year later to record mogul Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records. Blackwell propelled Reggae music worldwide and catapulted the careers of Bob Marley, Grace Jones and U2.

GoldenEye Hotel & Resort, formerly the home of Ian Fleming. Photography by Angela Auclair

GoldenEye Hotel & Resort, formerly the home of Ian Fleming.
Photography by Angela Auclair

Recently renovated, GoldenEye re-opened in 2010 with an additional 17 rooms. The décor has an organic-tropical vibe that just may inspire you to do something creative.

fleming

Ian Fleming wrote all 14 novels of the James Bond 007 series at GoldenEye.

Not planning a trip to Jamaica this year? Then check out Pierce Brosnan (a gorgeous Bond!) in the movie of the same name. GoldenEye.

Luxe Desert Retreat

  • Jamie used a grasscloth wallpaper in the foyer and hall to create textural interest without distracting from the beauty of the moulding.
  • “Reflective quality doesn’t always have to be glass, marble or other hard surfaces. Shine also comes from fabrics like the silk velvet material on the sofa cushions.” ~ Jamie
  • A classic white kitchen with framed cabinetry and white Calcutta marble countertops complements the home’s traditional elements. A custom marble mosaic on the back of the island acts as powerful art in a neutral colour scheme.
  • In the master bedroom, Jamie demonstrates that it is completely acceptable to put a bed in front of a window.
  • “I reoriented the floor plan and put the bed in front of the window deliberately to make the bed front and center in the room.”

You wouldn’t know it from its formal interior, but this 7000 square foot home is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, amidst the deserts and the cacti. Designer Jamie Herzlinger is up to the challenge of transforming the house from top to bottom with her client’s specific vision in mind: luxe desert retreat.

When you enter the home you are instantly greeted by the 19th century Dutch corbeille-shaped canapé which sits on top of Marie Antoinette patterned hardwood floors: the entrance showstopper.

Jamie designed a niche in the foyer to give the room a large presence. The mirror, that sits above the Marquetry commode, purposely reflects into the dining room.

Jamie describes this space as refined elegance because it’s not too formal but formal enough to go from jeans to black tie.

Jamie says the key to achieving a similar look is to always keep it simple. A neutral palette should have different variations of white and flexible lighting, including table lamps and a chandelier like the Sophia Chandelier by Jan Showers. Desert life never looked so luxe.

Photography by Werner Segarra.