The Novogratz Renovate a Castle
I met the Courtney and Bob Novogratz when we were all on HGTV 5 years ago hosting our independent shows and I immediately loved them. They are just like they seem – funny, down to earth, easy to talk to, and they absolutely dance to the beat of their own drum, or in this case drumset. They moved to LA after 20 years in New York and bought an old Hollywood castle to renovate. They documented the whole process on their new series on People.com and while I’m only up to part 4 (I might watch more tonight) its pretty darn entertaining and really makes me wish they were back on TV full-time.
I couldn’t find pics that did it justice so I’m going to let you guys watch the series to see how it looks, But here is the exterior of the castle before and after:
The inside transformation is similar – its new and modern and every finish has been changed and updated. Its totally unrecognizable inside, which is controversial, I know. It’s full of beautiful pieces and modern furniture.
What is so remarkable about these people is how much they just do whatever they want in life. It’s absolutely insane to think how and why they had 7 kids, intentionally, lived in Manhattan and now moved them all to LA just for a change of pace. They became designers because they wanted to, with no training. They do things as a team and a family and because of that (not in spite of that) they have been and will continue to be really successful.
We went to the housewarming party for this castle a month ago and man it was fun. There was a burger truck, great drinks, lots of people, etc. All the usual ‘make for a good party’ ingredients. But what was so remarkable is how their entire family was involved and so many of their kid’s friends were there. It wasn’t Hollywood scene-y or shmooz-ey, it was a big family having a fun big party altogether. Breaker’s band sang and Five and Holleder break danced for everyone – not because they were showing off but because they wanted to break dance and were comfortable and confidant enough to do it in front of strangers.
It was the first time that I have ever thought ‘Wow, a small bit of fame or television work might actually be good for kids’. Maybe it’s because they aren’t being trained as actors to “perform”. Maybe it’s because they are collectively famous (and not in a ‘they get recognized too often’ kinda way), as a family. I know how much being in front of the camera as myself has made me more confident in the last 6 years so imagine if you grew up causally doing it. Not all the time, just a few months out of the year as a family, while mostly talking about design or in the background. I don’t know, guys, they were making a REAL good case for it (unbeknownst to them).
They also seem to genuinely like each other. I’m not just saying that because it sounds lovely, no, my friend Corbs and I witnessed it. We were hanging out in the screening room when a few of them came in. They proceeded to plop down and hang the heck out with their friends and each other and just shoot the shit with us pretending not to listen but absolutely eves dropping (the room is big and there were others that were in there, too, with music playing, etc). Their relationships seemed so good, and like they genuinely loved hanging out with each other. We kept saying over and over Why didn’t we start having kids earlier and what can we do to get 7 kids now!? If you’ve run into me in the last 5 months you know that “our family is complete” (read: WE ARE DONE), but after hanging out with them I was sold on big family life again. They make it look so fun and easy and joyful. Oh how I know it’s not that easy (I came from six kids, remember?) but between them and the show Parenthood there are days when I think how I wish we had started when we were 23 so we could have 5 kids at a slower pace, not this back to back (lovely) thing we decided to do. Point is: we left the party with nothing besides total admiration for this family and kinda wishing we were 2 of their kids.
YES, the design of the space is incredible with some interesting and very Novogratz-y pieces and rooms to be stared at and shared. There is insane art, the most beautiful tiled courtyard, a screening room, a game room, a music room, an amazing master bathroom and a grand bedroom for the parents and much much more. It’s room after room of personality and surprise.
I’m hoping that by watching the show I can glean some sort of secret or catch the magical spell on how they have succeeded in being so normal and so unique at the same time.
You can watch the whole series here. I highly recommend it.