What I Got From Downtown Chic




I recently got an email from someone at Sixx Design saying they read my blog &  asking if I would review their latest book Downtown Chic.  I was thrilled!  I love getting new design books and of course have been intrigued by this young stylish family of (now) 9 since I'd first heard of them.



In case you haven't heard of them, they are the Novogratz's: super-chic Mom & Dad (Cortney & Robert) who run a wildly successful design business with 7 kids!



I wasn't the only one who got the book & reviewed it so you can check out some great reviews here:



I'm a little late on the reviews since Baby 2 came right after I'd received the book, so I'm going to approach this Downtown Chic book "review" a but differently.  Yes, it was an awesome book design-wise (bold, a bit funky- industrial, fearless, personal and very instructional)  but my favorite parts of it actually pertained to the Novogratz's themselves & their philosophies.  Cortney & Robert met and fell in love when Cortney was finishing up college.  Since then, they've married, had a beautiful (really beautiful!) gaggle of children and fixed up an insane amount of buildings- turning them into gorgeous unique homes & selling them for a nice profit.  They've invested wisely & have taken risks where others were afraid to & it's paid off. 



They have this amazingly laid-back parenting style & it's SO refreshing to see.  In a time where kids' lives are completely structured & parents worry about everything, it's awesome to read about a family who doesn't succumb to all the HOVERING & STRESSING. 



A Novogratz kid has a birthday, so they throw a party.  Cake & food for the kids and drinks for the adults.  Simple. Easy. FUN.  No big deal & no reason to stress.  They just live.




They party like rockstars too & they even had a catered party in one of their unfinished buildings.  (Cortney & Robert if you're reading-  I'm SO up for being a "filler!" ;)  You'll have to read the book to check out what a "filler" is, but what a true/ hysterical idea & I'm on the look-out for some in my life! 



The book is full of perfect quotes like "The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow." (H.G. Wells)
and
"Enthusiasm is life." (Paul Scofield)



I ended up reading the book in one sitting & reading a lot of it outloud to my husband.  From there, he went to the computer & started looking up real estate listings- wanting to flip our house & start all over again.  The Novogratz's feats are that inspirational.  I've said before that one of my favorite things about life is the feeling that there's limitless potential & that we can do anything we set out to do & that so much excitement lies ahead of us.  Well, Dowtown Chic really got us thinking in that direction.  Not only do the Novogratz's have a bright future ahead of them, but by reading about their path so far, I really got excited about my own family's future & creative potential.



So what are your thoughts?  Has anyone else read it?  Would love to know!
xoxo,
lauren

ps-  How gorgeous is the color scheme in the room above??!! 

And thank you SO  much to my Maria at Colour Me Happy for including one of my posts in her Top 10 Posts and to Cristin at Simplified Bee for including Christian's bedroom in her Favorite Posts of 2009 Roundup!  What awesome surprises & I'm honored!!!! :)

49 comments:

nameisgrace said...

oh my this book sounds right up my alley. must get it stat! great review and such pretty pictures. i can't stop staring at those yellow shutters!

Carly Skinner said...

I haven't read the book but I love your review of it, and the pictures you posted are phenomenal..that trampoline IN the ground? AWESOME!

From what you wrote about the Novogratz's, I think I'd just love them! I love what you said about their philosophy on life and raising children. So great and refreshing.

Melissa said...

I think there's some secret to having large families and being productive-- sounds counterproductive, but some of my big heros in my world (children's fashion and fabric design) have huge families, and they just seem to roll right along with less moment to moment stress than I have with 2 kids. I am really interested in this book for a bunch of reasons! Thanks for the great review.

Kelly Green said...

Well done on a great review at such a busy time for you! you have enticed me to get the book! i have heard a lot about it and of course know how super cool and gorgeous they all are but you have filled me in on the gaps and it sounds like an awesome read. thank you!

Brenda said...

i recently came across this book recently at the bookstore and was in love with all of the interior pictures. I am so impressed with the family, the size, the production and success that they have is so inspiring. thanks for sharing.

Tina said...

What a gorgeous book Lauren, and even more, what a gorgeous and inspiring family!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

kerrisdaledesign said...

I love your unique angle on this book review Lauren, and what amazing family this sounds like! I'm scurrying over to Indigo.com now to see if they have it available. Hope your own little family is doing well and surviving the crazyness. How is big brother adjusting?

Karla
Kerrisdale Design

Carolyn said...

I want to read this! I stumbled upon this family a couple of months ago and sent one of Cortney's interviews to my mom because she was right up her alley. I am from a family of seven and my parents had a similar parenting style..not 'super involved', but still really great parents. I think when you have that many, you can't be too into one child's life and it's healthy for the kid to grow up with so many siblings. Anyways, I thought they were quite cool too!

Carolyn said...

And they have their own reality show on Bravo coming out soon!

Ness Lockyer said...

Really like the idea of this. We bring our boys up like that, no swimming, piano, athletics crazy schedules etc...they just get to be boys and if they want to do something we let them have a go. If they dont like it, no biggie, we stop. I may have to add this to my list at The Book Depository where I am at the moment buying more design related books. Thought I would stop by and now look another book to buy! =0)

Hope all is going well Lauren with you all.
Ness xx

Red Door Home said...

Sounds like a wonderful book on so many levels. Can't wait to read about this unique and very talented family.

Easy Does It Redesign and Consulting said...

My 50th is in a couple of weeks. Guess what I am asking for..!

Greet said...

Hi Lauren,
I do not know the book but it seems so wonderful to read!
I have never heard of it before!
Here in Belgium I don't know a design family wit so many kids!
xx
Greet

Ruthie's Renewed Treasures said...

Lauren, The picture of all the kids bikes outside the house is so wonderful. I remember feeling free like that as a kid. In and out of the house with friends and siblings, riding my bike until I was dead tired. Love that they have been successful with their business as well as their family life. I'd love to hear how they do it. Thanks for the summary of the book.


Ruthie

Laurie Jones said...

What a great review of this book and what a great family. I'm so glad I read your post this morning, I actually only have one child but our family is pretty relaxed when it comes to most families and sometimes I find myself feeling guilty because we're not always going, going going, reading your post makes me want to get this book and it also makes me feel good about how we're raising our daughter!

Sherry said...

Loved your review. I love this book and thumb through it frequently for inspiration--patenting and decorating. Heard they have a Bravo tv show coming out soon. I can hardly wait.

Developing Designs said...

Great insightful review, done in such a way that you have enticed me and many others I am sure to run right out to get this book.
Your hubby is so cute. :) I was moved and couldn't agree more with your thoughts on life and it's limitless potential it offers.
Hope all your moments with the new little addition are being soaked up and enjoyed. Happy New Year. xo

jvw home said...

can't wait to get this book...coming from a large family myself, i LOVE their style.....
thx for sharing,
jeanette
jvw home

p.s. congrats on your precious baby!!


http://jvwhome.blogspot.com

LindsB said...

I would love to read this book!! It has been on my list of books to get yet somehow has missed me till now. I'm going to go check it out asap, I love the story behind this beautiful family!

Thanks for the review Lauren!

Maria said...

It so funny that you would post about them lauren, because was just lurking on their website yesterday trying to show my husband the picture of their built in trampoline because he wants one and that is the way to do it in my opinion. they are such an innovative family and your book review really makes me want a copy, great reveiw! and thanks for answering my question about your artwork yesterday!

La Dolfina said...

I'm getting that book today!
I think I saw them in a magazine a while back...some of those photos look familiar. They look like a great family. There is a family in our town that has 8 kids and they also have always captured my imagination over the years. It's a beautiful thing :)
Thanks for the great review...and congrats on your newest team member!

Terri

Riviera Boardwalk said...

You are so right on to say you have the potential to do whatever you want at your age and stage in life. I lost count over the years as to how many houses my ex and I saw potential in and purchased to fix up and live in until another one came along and won our hearts. We usually hired someone to gut the houses because we were not DIYs but had a ball selecting all new products for the home and see it come to fruition. You go girl, go!
nancy

allbowerpower said...

Lauren - your bacon comment had me mentally picturing your scenario all morning. All I have to say is - let's be friends. That way if that situation should ever happen, I'll have a purse-full of pork to help :)

XO - Katie

p.s. my mouth is completely dry from heavy breathing over the 5th photo down - that window (is it a window?) is just plain awesome.

inge said...

I got this book for christmas and just love it. I love their different styles that they have with each house and how trendy and child friendly their houses are. I also love their use of colour and art. I first came accross their home in Livingetc magazine (available here in Ireland) and swooned over their home.

Velvet and Linen said...

I need to get this book for the shop (and a copy for me as well!).
Thank you for the introduction Lauren.

xo
Brooke

simply seleta said...

WOW, great review!!! Of course they would send this book to an incredibly CHIC momma! You've got great style!

xoxo

bluehydrangea said...

Read it, loved it, want to grow up to be just like them!!

Tracy @ Comfort and Luxury said...

Great review Lauren. I've seen this book but never felt compelled to actually buy it til now. I do admire a family that can be so productive and creative with so many little people underfoot. My one kid sucked all the energy right out of me... though I suppose if she'd had six siblings she'd have burnt some of that off on them (yikes! the thought!)

Leah said...

Great book, and great review!

I think it's easy to see a great home, and think, "so and so has such an awesome house because they don't a busy life or pets or a family (to mess it up ;) or any other interests etc.", but I was so inspired by their upbeat philosophy (and CLUTTER CONTROL!) You did a great job highlighting it!

SogniSorrisi said...

Thanks for the review, sounds like a cool read!

Hope you are doing well.

spanky* said...

umm, yellow shutters are to DIE for, in ground tramps are just insanely cool, photos everywhere make the best home & if i don't get to snuggle up in that pink little bed, i'll be sad.

luvs the blog. the only bad thing, it makes me room look like a silly glob.

[xox]

Thomas said...

i love all the photos in the hallway...just what I would do if i had a house.

assortmentblog.com said...

My, I'm going to HAVE to get this one! Thanks so for the 'other perspective' review! It's great to hear of how other families have lived, really LIVED their lives, right?

Katrina Chambers said...

I think I may need to get this book! I wish I had their motivation!!! Congrats on your new little baby boy. Just lovely. Boys rock!

daninotes said...

Great review! There was an article on them in Cookie a few years back. I stumbled upon their book at Marshalls in November, I was super thrilled to get a deal on it. LOVE them.

nkp said...

I have this book as well Lauren and I have to agree with your every sentiment. I think this couple is amazing in every aspect of their lives, both on the design front and in the way in which they raise their beautiful family. I'm such a huge fan of this power duo, I think I could fawn over their work for days. Every image is a feast for the eyes and the book is equally great in its attention to detail and real life advice. A wonderful, inspiring read all around.

I think you definitely have "Sixx" potential. I fully expect to see you with your own show, on BRAVO perhaps, someday. ;0)

xx-nelya

Emily A. Clark said...

I like them already. 7 kids and still relaxed? I need to get to know more about them! I'm sure their designs are great but I especially like the part you included about the b-day parties for their kids. . . I am so with them on that.

Isabella & Max Rooms said...

Fun review on the book and the family...with 7 kids I don't think there would be time to hover and stress over them all!! Nothing else would get done.

I'm excited for you and your family, that this book has helped you see bigger potential and expand your ideas about your own life and family and careers. For this very reason I'm almost afraid to read the book! What other ideas would I dream up...

Hope you and baby are doing well! Janell

LesleySW said...

It was really interesting to read your thoughts on this book. I like getting a review from a totally different perspective. Thank you.

Southern Aspirations said...

What a great post and I love the review that you did! Sounds like a fascinating- the personal side of them makes it sound so much more intriguing!

kerry said...

Lauren,

I loved the book also and thought you were right about most of it. The only thing I would diagree with is the part about the kids. We have 5 children and when my older ones were little we signed them up for a few things. Well the NEVER wanted to go but my husband insisted (I'm more of the push over)and now a couple these same activities are their PASSION. The are always talking about how the could not imagine life without them. I also think it's made them more responsile and disciplined.

I am in the "starting to try" things stage now with my 3rd and 4 and often have to remind myself that although it would be easier to stay home, the rewards of finding their passion are far greater.

Hope you and your sweet baby are doing well.

Thanks, Kerry

Dad said...

Hi Honey,

I think the material your freinds sent to your blog are really classy and nice, I love their style. Hurry up and get better from having Justin, I need you out here to finish the Lake House. I will be there to see you, David, Christian and Justin in two weeks. I can't wait to see you all. Keep up the good work and say hello to all your freinds from your loving father

Take care sweety

Love Dad

Barbie said...

Looks like a crazy cool book. I will have to take a look. Thanks for featuring it. I love your theme for 2010: pure organization. Can't wait for the pictures! May just have to take part if I can pull together something worthy!

Yansy said...

I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I love, love the yellow shutters. Congrats on your new baby! Sorry, for the short disappearance.

Maria Killam said...

Thanks for the mention sweet Lauren! Great post on this book, it was fun to see the photos from it!

mn said...

You know, yours is the first review I've read that actually has made me want the book. I've always thought this family was interesting and the spaces they find are cool. But of course the homes they purchase are out of reach for the average person/family, so I wasn't drawn to the book at first.
I am more excited about being perhaps inspired in my own life toward something creative. Thanks for the review!

No.35style said...

i love those garage?? doors and the gallery walls!

slinny said...

i loved this book! i put them on my blog too! ha ha!

thanks for posting!
sarah

www.pittsburgh-odds-and-sods.blogspot.com

erin said...

awesome post! must get book!