Home Sweet Hollywood – Modern Home Decor
Bob and Cortney Novogratz couldn’t resist renovating this old Hollywood home and infusing it with a unique modernistic charm.
Seeing the potential in an old home is at the heart of what any good design team does, even in Hollywood, a town where starting from scratch is the norm. If you happen to be a dynamic design duo renovating a house you plan to call home, the concept of “the norm” is in the eye of the beholder. Bob and Cortney Novogratz, who previously spent 20 years working in Manhattan, definitely saw the potential in a Hollywood Hills home they stumbled upon while driving around the neighbourhood.
When that home is a 1920s white stucco house with a slate roof and turrets that resembles a castle, it’s easy to see why they decided to keep the basics and personalize the rest. The move did present some challenges, but the out-of-the-ordinary house is a perfect fit for a family that admittedly welcomes anything beyond the norm. At 7,500 square feet, the four-floor home certainly has plenty of space for the savvy designers and their seven children, Wolfgang, Holleder, Tallulah, Breaker, Five, Bellamy and Major.
Built in 1926, the castle-style home originally had six bedrooms. “These old houses have a lot of rooms,” Bob adds. “Coming from New York, we wanted big rooms, big open spaces. We raised the ceilings where we could [to get] kind of a New York loft feeling, especially on the main floor.” An open space on the main floor turned into a combination living and dining room from four original rooms. “The living room has the best views and the best light,” Bob says. “We spend a lot of family time there watching Netflix.”
A lot of landscaping work was done to breathe new life into a home that once belonged to a Hollywood star of yesteryear. “We did it all ourselves,” Bob explains, “which we had never done before. We took out all the dead stuff and then, through the Internet, kind of figured out what we liked and didn’t like. We got very lucky. We found a local guy that was affordable that worked with us on it.”
For a couple with an appreciation for all things vintage, the Hollywood Hills is an appealing location. Bob observes: “[There’s] a lot of historical significance. The house directly in front of us is the Frank Lloyd Wright Storer House, which is one of his most famous residences. The house next door to that is Katy Perry’s old house. She just sold that recently. Three houses down is Diane Keaton, the actress. The house directly next door to us was Marlon Brando’s house for 40 years. There’s a lot of fun history in the Hollywood Hills.”
“We gutted the whole house,” Bob says when discussing the process of renovating the home. “We kept the whole outside look of the house but we had to redo all the stucco.” While the couple wanted to keep as much as possible, there was also a need to make some carefully selected additions, including vintage-looking steel windows. “In Hollywood they knock houses down all the time and we didn’t want to do that,” Bob adds. “We wanted to preserve the history.”
Artwork plays an important role in the home’s décor, effectively tying together various vintage and modern design elements. As for a favourite place in the home, it’s a choice between two spots. “I love the backyard,” Bob says before adding, “and I like the living area. It’s very comfortable there, and it has great views.”
Bob and Cortney Novogratz are self-admitted fans of Old Hollywood. Or, according to Bob, “what it once represented. It was fun and there’s still the most entertaining places to visit.” As New Yorkers they differ from the norm by walking as much as possible to get a feel of the city they have called home for the past two years.
Although the transition from New York to Los Angeles wasn’t without challenges, the Novogratz family feels that they have found their dream home in their redesigned castle-style house that is dripping with vintage charm.
Costas Picadas/Interior Designer Bob and Cortney Novogratz