By Ginevra Benedetti published
Known informally as The Novogratz, husband and wife design duo Cortney and Robert Novogratz have designed and developed many unique properties in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and beyond. For over 20 years, the couple has rebuilt entire city blocks from the ground up and transformed them into fabulous spaces.
As well as running a busy design studio that caters to A-list clients and boutique hotels, the couple have written several books, appeared in a number of TV shows and have designed a range of Novogratz furniture and accessories.
Take a tour of the stunning home below and when you're done, check out our page dedicated to the world's best homes for more.
Perched on a gated promontory in the foothills behind the illustrious Chateau Marmont Hotel, and radically updated by the design duo, the stylishly unconventional 1920s villa presides over almost half an acre and measures in at more than 7,700 sq feet over three floors with four bedrooms and four full and three half bathrooms.
The open plan sitting and dining room
The home was an old castle that had been built in the 1920s by a silent film star. Remarkably, there had been only three owners in 100 years, but all three clearly had very different tastes from one another, which was a design issue the Novogratz faced while renovating.
Now, the space is thoroughly modern, with open-plan interiors that include a colossal, bilevel combination living and dining room. Windows stretch the length of the open plan space with spectacular views out over the Hollywood Hills.
'The blending of interesting objects, heirlooms, photos, and books on a library shelf is an affordable way to create a space in the room that has personality and life,' says Cortney.
'Let the books be the main feature, as a beautiful book is timeless, elegant and affordable, and use the decorative items to bring color, humor, and variety. Bookshelves should evolve over time—collections don’t just come together in a single day, so be patient,' she adds.
The original home featured many small rooms, many types of hardwood flooring, and a nonsensical floor plan. The house felt like a maze with tiny rooms and multiple doorways that led to more doorways and even more tiny rooms. Everything had to be gutted and redone.
The couple have been incorporating a mix of high and low decorative elements and furnishings into their designs for many years. This is evident in this space where they have combined a high-end Tom Dixon prototype orange chair, together with salvaged chairs that they purchased at a flea market and reupholstered.
The biggest challenge was to keep the charm and period feel of the house while modernizing the entire space.
The Novogratz opened everything up to give the space a loft-like look and created a seamless feel.
There’s also a giant family room with adjoining kitchenette and a spacious guest suite with outside entrance, plus a large, loft-like gym and a recording studio.
The kitchen and breakfast room
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A huge, high-end Boffi kitchen is arranged around a marble-topped island and an adjoining breakfast room that spills out to the backyard though chic, steel-trimmed French doors.
'The kitchen had the lowest ceilings in the house, and we couldn’t raise them, so we kept it minimal, white, and open to make the room feel more spacious. When in doubt, white is always the solution to make a space feel larger,' says Cortney.
'We have used Boffi kitchens for years,' says Cortney. 'They are beautiful but expensive. In order to save on costs, we always buy a floor model which is at least 50-percent less.'
'We also have designed many kitchens with much less expensive cabinets, in which case we add more expensive hardware.'
The back yard patio and gardens
- Entertaining outdoors? Take a look at our garden party ideas for decor inspiration
'The Torrance Steel windows and doors were quite expensive,' recalls Cortney. 'We felt they were an important investment, as they made the house elegant and distinct. If you love the look yet can’t afford it, you can use steel on the main doorway and mimic the rest in aluminum and or even do aluminum throughout.'
The terraced grounds incorporate a variety of eye-catchingly tiled terraces, an outdoor kitchen and a downright stunning, oval-shape swimming pool privatized by a wall of dense foliage and surrounded by lush lawn.
The couple kept the egg-shaped pool because they loved its retro look and they laid grass around the pool instead of tile because it’s not so hot on the feet.'
The couple couldn't salvage much from the original house but they did manage to save the railing from the spiral staircase and the original details from the vaulted ceiling which now dominate the landing, alongside a striking oversized Hollywood sign.
'The lighting,' says Cortney, 'is a mix of vintage and modern, and both high and low end. We hung the best lighting in the best areas of the house.
The master bedroom
A couple of guest bedrooms, one with a fireplace, are joined on the upper level by a spacious master suite where French doors open to a small balcony with sweeping views over the city.
Cortney says of the master bathroom: 'We used expensive tile in the master bathroom but lots of inexpensive subway tile everywhere else.'
Beside the large bathtub, Cortney uses an old candelabra salvaged from a church to display her jewelry.
The kids' bedrooms
'The reclaimed wood floors were the second most expensive item on our wish list,' says Cortney. 'These were quite expensive but are incredibly durable and well-made and get better with age.'
The Novogratz family have since moved out and the home has been purchased by actors Norman Reedus and Diane Kruger.
Novogratz Design Fix: Chic and Stylish Tips for Every Decorating Scenario
Read more about this project and more, and get an insight into the design duo's tricks and tips to create a stylish and welcoming home on any budget.
Hello there, I’m Ginevra Benedetti,
Associate Editor on the Homes Content Team at Future.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been writing about interiors for the past 16 years on the majority of Britain’s monthly interiors titles, such as Ideal Home, Country Homes & Interiors and Style at Home, as well as Livingetc and of course, Homes & Gardens.
This naturally feeds into writing for wonderful websites like HomesandGardens.com and IdealHome.co.uk.
Over the years, I’ve interviewed some of the most talented designers in the business and I’ve pretty much written about every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, appliances and home tech, wallpaper and fabric, kitchens and bathrooms, even extensions and conversions.
I never tire about reading or writing about interiors, from classic timeless designs to innovative smart tech - the subject is always evolving, just as our homes do, year after year.
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