I have this stereotype of the decorating gurus. You know - single, or married with no kids, unrealistic expectations of how a home is used. The kind with houses that are always showcase, picture perfect because there are no children around to mess them up... or if they have a child or two, everyone's gone all day long, so there's no time to mess it up.
My stereotype was completely blown out of the water when I read Downtown Chic: Designing Your Dream Home: From Wreck to Ravishing by Robert & Cortney Novogratz with Elizabeth Novogratz.
This couple, Robert & Cortney, are really down-to-earth people with an awesome eye for what works. They live in New York, of course. But they have six children. And their children share rooms!
I think I love this book for that very reason. I mean, I didn't know New York had any families with six children (two sets of twins, by the way). I didn't think anyone with the kind of income the Novogratz's have generated through their business had children who shared rooms. The four boys are in one room. I just thought you'd like to know that.
Granted - it's a large house. With a roof-top basketball hoop. The rooms the children share are probably bigger than my living room.
But they share. It's so out-of-vogue in the decorating books and magazines I've seen I can't hardly get over it.
I really like this book because Robert & Cortney are so real - especially for a couple who has a vacation home in Brazil. (Honestly, it blows my mind how a family of eight can afford to travel to Brazil more than once in a lifetime - guess that shows how small my world is.) Cortney shares how they kind of 'fell into' the business of redoing houses, even entire blocks of homes, in New York. Right place, right time, right synergy. I love that they realized their passion - they love traveling, shopping, renovating, and don't mind the mess.
The end result is stunning, but I wouldn't do well with the process. The process is where they seem to thrive.
A couple of things I missed in this book - perhaps because I read Sarah Susanka's Not-So-Big Remodeling recently. I missed a big picture of each house - the blueprints, more pictures of the interior living spaces. I don't feel like I could really replicate or even begin to create my own style with their sparse tips shared in this book. I think the main message is to allow yourself the freedom to experiment, make mistakes and surround yourself with what you love.
Perhaps that is something I can start doing.