Bob and Cortney Novogratz Blog: How to Combine Your Home Design Style with Your Significant Other’s

02/26/2016 at 12:39 PM ET


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 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 @TheNovogratz.

Living with others is all about compromise. We know well, after being married for over 20 years and raising 7 kids. Compromising with a significant other is already hard enough when it comes to responsibilities like bills and parenting; don’t make it hard when it comes to designing your home.

Whether you’re just moving in with your significant other or you’ve been under the same roof for years and are revamping your home, incorporating two people’s styles should be an exciting process that teaches you more about each other.

Here are a few of our tips for seamlessly combining styles:


1. Use what you’ve got. Both of you probably have some special pieces, either from exotic trips or handed down from your family. If you’ve got an antique wingback chair, and your significant other has a modern sofa with clean lines, throw a brocade pillow on the sofa and a geometric blanket on the wingback. As long as your colors are complementary, you can really mix whatever styles you want to.

RELATED: 6 Easy Ways to Turn Your Home into an Entertaining Space


2. Shop vintage. Take your time when investing in new pieces. Visit flea markets and estate sales with your partner so you end up with something unique. Robert and I are always debating who’s more modern and who’s more traditional. Mixing vintage with modern strikes the balance for us. We also love combining feminine colors like lavender and plumb with more masculine colors like browns and blacks.

RELATED: Bob and Cortney Novogratz: 9 Tips For Designing a Home Your Kids Will Be Psyched About

3. Pare down. No one needs two of the same thing. Keep the best version, donate the other, and move on.


4. Make one big change. Whether it’s a focal wall with a gorgeous wallpaper you both love, or a new piece of art, if you both like it, it will inevitably incorporate both of your styles. Robert and I found a gorgeous cherub sculpture on one of our trips overseas and loved it so much we had it shipped back so it could be part of the facade of our house. We still talk about that piece several houses and years later.

5. Address the elephant. If you absolutely hate something your partner brings to the table, talk about it, but be sensitive. If there’s sentimental value, maybe a fresh coat of paint or a new fabric will make the piece livable. Your relationship is more important than getting rid of something nostalgic.

6. Defer. It’s likely that one of you is more interested in design than the other. If that’s the case, give the person with a passion for design the veto on things you can’t agree on.

At the end of the day, you found each other for a reason, and decorating your home should be fun and remind you of all the reasons you love one another. It’s all about creating a place to host your friends, make memories, and kick back and relax together.

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms


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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Tamekia Marjenhoff on

There exists a single way to get any person to do something, and that is to encourage them to feel they want to do it.

Caleb Mons on