Following a complete renovation and redesign, celebrity design duo Robert and Cortney Novogratz have breathed life back into an airy Spanish villa nestled in Hollywood’s most desirable location
Whether or not you regularly frequent West Hollywood, it’s likely you will have heard of The Bird Streets. North of Sunset, this glamorous neighborhood has become one the most desirable locations in the area for real estate, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew Perry, Tobey Maguire and Jodie Foster, to name a few, all taking up residence there. Even Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn and legendary film director George Cukor were regulars of the iconic houses back in the day, which speaks volumes of their glamour and star power. It’s no surprise then that Robert and Cortney Novogratz – the stars of 9 by Design on Bravo and Home by Novogratz on HGTV, which both aired in the early 2010s – would choose to set up home there, with the celebrity interior designers recently completing their total gut renovation and redesign of a grand 1930 Spanish modern villa.
“We bought the house back in 2019 for our family to live in, and this renovation is one of the most ambitious projects we’ve ever done,” Robert Novogratz tells Effect Magazine. “We decided to go back to our longtime vacation home in The Berkshires during Covid, but we got the Bird House completed despite lockdown, delays in supplies and other issues, and we are so proud of how the house came out.”
Perched high upon the Hollywood Hills and spanning an impressive 7,500 square feet, it was the five-bed five-bath villa’s prime position that first drew Robert and Cortney to invest. “It was all about the location for us,” explains Robert. “And amenities like a pool house with bar, a sauna, huge walk-in closets, an indoor courtyard, gym and theatre. We wanted to create a luxurious outpost with tons of privacy, so that’s what we did.”
While the Novogratz’ plan was to re-design the house to be the most luxurious and modern version of itself, the duo were keen to keep the 1930s building true to its roots by embracing the original layout, then making the spaces feel lighter and brighter by raising ceilings, adding steel-framed windows, opening doorways and using more modern design elements. “Our vision for the Bird Streets house was to bring back the original charm, but digging through the layers of the tired corner property revealed countless issues,” says Robert. “The only option was to tear the house down and start again. We replicated the original layout but extended the ceilings and added another level, bringing the bedroom count to five.”
When it came to the interiors, Robert and Cortney were determined to pay homage to the star-studded neighbourhood and its old Hollywood feel by sticking to a Spanish-inspired design, from the classic terracotta roof tiles made in Santa Barbara to the copper gutters and white stucco. White oak floors line the inside spaces while a central, open-air courtyard, which features classic red and white Clé Tiles encaustic tiles, leads to a huge room with cathedral ceilings and custom-made fireplace mantel. “The original internal courtyard, where indoors and outdoors merge, reminded us so much of the old Hollywood days that we decided to make it the focal point of the home,” explains Robert. “We wanted to play the entire house off that.” And so they did, with each room of the home designed with oak accents against cream-coloured walls, perfect to create that much-desired Spanish-villa-inspired look.
Enter the house and you’re immediately greeted with a grand balcony overlooking a picturesque saltwater pool and 500 square feet of lush greenery, secluding the home from any paparazzi snaps. The designers utilised their hotel design experience to create a boutique environment for the outdoor space including a stylish pool house bar complete with Charlotte Perriand Les Arcs bar stools, white oak cabinets, Calcutta counters and the star of the show – a lime tree from which to pull fresh fruit off for drinks.
The Bird Streets have always been an oasis for top Hollywood names. Historically it has been one of the most desired and glamorous places to live for both old and new Hollywood alike, so it was an easy decision for us to buy here.Robert Novogratz
As for the outdoor furniture, the Novogratz – who have recently put together their own collection for Next – looked to Vesta for their design-driven pieces. “We had to downsize the original size of the pool to leave room for a roomy pool house, but it’s my favourite part of the house,” says Robert. “I’ve designed so much, but I’ve never done a pool house bar so I’m glad that I finally got my chance.”
Quite clearly designed for both socialising and relaxing, the refreshed kitchen is a true beauty, once more crafted in light, airy tones that pay tribute to the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that California so craves. “We replaced the original bulky cabinets with open shelving and added a sleek La Corne range cooker and timber Trias Counter bar stools,” adds Robert. Vanilla-hued Venetian plaster walls, limestone benchtops and white-oak cabinets complete the line-up. All other indoor spaces follow suit including the spacious living area which comes decked out in a sophisticated palette of creamy neutrals with custom fireplace designed by Noor El-Mohandes, and the light-filled master bedroom that features an open private balcony with sublime city views. “We discovered the chaise on one of our many trips to Paris, the Charles Dudouyt table lamps are from our favourite shop in LA, Orange Furniture, and the artwork is by Ivan Witenstein,” he adds.
Speaking of artwork, Robert and Cortney were keen to opt for artists who could mirror the glamorous-meets-modern feel of the villa, with an impressive collection that the pair has been cultivating for decades. As such you will find a number of big names bringing the pizzazz to the walls including an Enoc Perez in the living room and a Tracey Emin in the guest bedrooms. The pair also utilised iconic photographs, with a shot of River Phoenix captured by Diego Uchitel in the pool house bathroom. “We chose art that we felt reflected the house,” explains Robert. “Bold, modern pieces that still have a lot of opulence and desirability.” Now that the home is finally ready for its close-up – resulting in what Robert’s friend described as the ‘most edited’ space he has ever worked on – it’s safe to say the result is yet another prime example of the husband-and-wife duo’s design prowess, and certainly deserving of its spot amongst the real estate elite. “The Bird Streets have always been an oasis for top Hollywood names,” concludes Robert. “Historically it has been one of the most desired and glamorous places to live for both old and new Hollywood alike, so it was an easy decision for us to buy here.” And even though the family won’t remain in Los Angeles – after the pandemic hit, they decided it was best to be back in New York – there’s no denying this epic renovation will remain one for the books.
Effect Magazine is brought to you by The Bruno Effect