Bob and Cortney Novogratz are a design duo—and parents to seven children—who recently bought a 1920s-era castle in the Hollywood Hills. Check back regularly on @TheNovogratz.as they blog about the rewards, risks, messes, and successes of the project, giving their expert tips and tricks for home renovation. You can follow them on Twitter at
Building and decorating a house is an exciting process, and one that hasn’t gotten old even after going through it 10 times already (the castle is the 11th).
As designers of not only homes but also boutique hotels, we’ve learned a lot about what makes a space feel luxurious and comfortable, as well as what makes it timeless.
Designing boutique hotels has been a blast, and a really big learning experience. We’ve immersed ourselves in new communities and cultures and met some wonderful people in our experiences. Our past projects have included Hotel Dylan in Woodstock, NY, Bungalow Hotel, and Club Lulu’s at the W Hotel, and we’re currently remodeling Timber Cove Inn on the Sonoma Coast and an old Victorian hotel near Asbury park.
These hotels have also shaped our aesthetic for designing homes — from the layouts and finishes we choose to how we furnish and accessorize.
With the emergence and success of sites like Airbnb, the incentive to design your home like a boutique hotel is higher than ever. You could potentially make enough money each time you rent it out to cover the costs of going elsewhere for a weekend, allowing you to see more and do more. We’re so adamant that this is a great way to design homes that we’re writing a Rizzoli book about it (look out for it in Spring 2016).
Here are the best tips we’ve gathered along the way:
1. Big living spaces, rather than smaller, segmented rooms, are much more welcoming and conducive to entertaining.
2. Make your bathroom spa-like; real relaxation should be every day, not just when you’re on vacation. Keep materials simple and classic, do some research to get economical, eco-friendly fixtures that will last, and keep great bath products (you won’t have to shampoo as often, and your bathroom will automatically look better). We love Kiehls and Molton Brown.
3. Get cozy, crisp linens for your bed. White, white, white. We’re working on a boutique hotel bedding line with Divatex, and can’t wait for it to hit the market.
4. Use blackout shades in your room. Everyone’s better with a good night’s rest. Our go-to company for great, affordable shades is The Shade Store.
5. Invest in a beautiful tray to serve your friends and guests cocktails.
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