Downtown Chic Book Review & Giveaway

January 12, 2010 separator giveaway

“There is an unmistakable playfulness to the [house] Robert and Cortney share with their [seven kids]. We dare you to look without saying ‘wow.’” ~O Home Magazine

I cannot even tell you how excited I was at the opportunity to review Downtown Chic: Designing Your Dream Home: From Wreck to Ravishing, but it just got better and better from the moment I peeled away the plastic and cracked the cover! This gorgeous book is filled with massive photos of stunning interiors, quotes (love), and lots of useful and practical little lists and bits of advice from the authors.

Cortney and Robert Novogratz and their seven darling minis make up the dream team that is SIXX DESIGN. Now, I realize the minis probably don’t too terribly much designing of their quite yet (especially the teensiest of the bunch!), but they are very much part of the team because the whole gang will soon be the stars of their very own show on Bravo! The Novogratzes turn nothing into something truly spectacular and have made over several homes of their own as well as various commercial projects.

You guys know how much I love quotes. I collect them, really, so this book has earned a special little place in my heart. Each main image page has a different thought-provoking quote beautifully incorporated. One of my favorites:

Design is not making beauty. Beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.
– Louis Kahn

Besides the quotes and stunning inspiration, I just can’t get past how clever all the little ideas scattered throughout Downtown Chic really are. I mean, they sunk their kids’ trampoline into the ground, like an in-ground pool. C’mon now people – does it really get any more impressive than that?!?

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
– Mark Twain

You know those helpful little lists that I mentioned? Well – they’re [another] one of my favorite things about this book. I love how this design duo can mix chaos, kitsch, and color in one room for an explosion of perfectly crazy unity and then go stark-bare in the next for a tranquil, spa-like atmosphere. Their house in on the beach in Brazil (yes – on the beach; yes – in Brazil; yes – I’m jealous) proves that this couple can work their magic anytime, anywhere. The Brazil chapter includes a list on purchasing artwork – an intimidating task for many. Here’s a little teaser:

Do your homework. Or be sure to read “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

The Giveaway
One lucky Shrimper will receive their very own copy of this gorgeous and incredibly inspirational hardcover coffee table book, valued at $45.00!!! This giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, January 24.
  • To enter, simply leave a comment with your most clever small-space solution. I live in a teensy little apartment – almost a studio. Enlighten me. This step is mandatory, and please make sure to leave your e-mail address in your first comment.
Additional entries (Leave one comment for each entry.):
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148 comments

  1. If your bathroom is small, buy a shoe holder and hang it on the back of your bathroom door. Store all your ‘stuff’ in there: deodorant, make-up, brushes, qtips, blah, blah, blah. Just no hot curling irons!
    heatherpooh (hotmail)

  2. to give you more space, have a murphy bed. to give the illusion of more space, mirror the walls. I went to zion shore and like the skull necklave for my wife. thanks

  3. We had to smash all of our belongings in one room while we stayed with a friend, the ikea expedit shelves placed vertical helped add a lot of room by putting items in baskets so it didn’t look cluttered…staying organized and tidy in a small space is a must!

  4. My previous answer describing making a linen closet into an office has not appeared so I am reentering it. I took out 3 shelves, added a stool, a desk top slab with a drawer, a lightbar and put up a pegboard on the closet door to hold incidentals and in-out mail.The two remaining shelves hold my printer and various files and supplies in easy to access baskets. A waste basket holds all my printer, extension and pc cords etc. I unplug and put it on the desk and shut the door when I’m not using it. I got rid of a ton of paper clutter and floating junk. My towels went up above the bathroom door on shelves and the other linens are in a storage drawer under my mattress. The whole deal cost about $100.00. I’m giving myself a shredder for my B-Day and then I will really be all set. Great book, by the way.
    hickcrazy1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  5. I’m in college and thus have a tiny little apartment where I have to keep all of the items I’ve obtained over the years. Too help with space, I have made sure that all desks and other furniture items have a nice bit of storage space with them, whether it is built in or made with colorful boxes. I also make very good use out of my closet, having installed 10 shelves in there! :)
    Amanda Barnes
    [email protected]

  6. I am compulsive about throwing things out (or donating to charity) that I don’t use, wear, want anymore. Seems like if we have too much space, all we do is collect stuff to fill up the space. Pretty soon…we are ruled by our stuff.

  7. I hang a good looking big chain from ceiling to floor and hang my purses from ceiling to floor. Put your bed on tall legs and free up the space underneath for almost anything

  8. This might not seem very brilliant or original, but it’s been the best way for me to deal with living in a small space: I go through my stuff several times a year and give away/throw away/sell, etc whatever I no longer need, no longer works, etc. Especially with my clothes – I have very little storage space, so I try to keep only the clothes that I really like and wear often.

    My apartment is less than 800 sq ft and I share it with a roommate, so I’ve found it’s necessary to keep a tight rein on my belongings. I also try to keep my kitchen utensils/dishes to a minimum because my kitchen is so tiny and I have very little cabinet space. Of course the upside to a tiny kitchen is that I can stand in front of the stove while cooking and be able to grab whatever I need without moving my feet because everything is within an arm’s reach! :)

    mem4dr(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. I actually do live in an apartment and my clever small space solution is how I converted my laundry room in a giant argus monitor room. Both lizards live in the room while we use it as storage. Since we don’t have a washer and dryer it’s perfect. They are using the space and my ferrets are protected from them.

    My apartment is small and we literally have 8 animals in the whole apartment.

  10. So we lived in one bedroom for 5 years and for the last year we lived with our daughter in their too!
    So my biggest tip is to use crates or boxes for shoes or jewelery etc that are clear and label them. That way you will know where things are and can arrange them the best way you think they should be easily.
    busybbee05[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au

  11. I live in a small apartment too – best tip is don’t under estimate the value of your doors! You can buy multiple types of door hangers – but you don’t have to just store shoes in them! Try hair brushes, balls of wool, ties, cups & mugs, bigger ones hold magazines & books or you can make your own and add a fabric pin board for messages & notes etc!

  12. oo I’ve got a couple! first off start by painting everything a light shade, it makes it look bigger and airs it out, paint the ceiling a shade lighter than your walls, and keep the floor the darkest it lengthens the walls. If you also paint one wall a slightly darker shade it’ll lengthen the entire room, but you kinda got to do one or the other. An extra step to make the room look taller is to install your curtains a couple inches above the actual window! But my best advice is simply to declutter and have a place for EVERYTHING! :)

    Anna
    [email protected][dot]com

  13. I visited the House of Hearts where the feature article is the 2nd part of a road trip to Savannah. It’s chock full of info- and the photographs are stunning.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. We live in a very small apartment also. We have built some furniture with shelving onto the walls. We use lots of baskets around the house for organization. We use shoe bags in every closet and an organizer under the bed.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  15. I have a small apartment also, my biggest thing is baskets and bins! I have two large colorful baskets underneath my coffee table that store dvds, games, and remotes, an old colander on my microwave for fruit, and even little baskets for the shelves in the bathroom so our toiletries are out of sight! :)

    juxta.umino {at} gmail.com

  16. Our biggest solution has been using single pieces of furniture for multiple things. My son has a bed with drawers underneath, eliminating the need for a separate dresser! Doing this helps save tons of space!

    clctaube @ yahoo.com

  17. im living in an apartment and my biggest problem is closet space. i have shirt hanger and pants hangers that have multiple hooks going down so to save room, i also have a shoe rack which does take up a good chunk of floor space in there but not nearly as much as the 50 pairs of shoes it can hold. I also found this neat “sweater organizer” at target. It hangs off the rod in your closet and has 8 shelves going almost to the ground. they are very roomy and i can fold and put lots of clothes in it!

  18. Living in a small space, one of the most useful things I know to do is minimize the things you have out… pick a closet for some slightly long-term storage and put all the dishes, clothes, blankets, etc, that you don’t foresee using in the immediate future and let them hang out there for a few months/years.

    Cute blog, fun giveaway!

    comedyofmanners(at)gmail(dot)com

  19. Ooh-ooh-OOH!! I visited the Frog Bag…and I think I’m in love! :) There’s a ‘Swirl and Greens’ necklace that might need to come live with me! Thanks…I love it.
    h4schaffer at gmail dot com

  20. It seems most of my tips have been covered (think vertically, use shelves, etc.). But I have a bit of experience in having to maximize space, and one of my favorite tricks was to use storage boxes of all the same size. I three rows of them, two boxes high, against the wall, covered them with a couple pieces of pretty fabric that complemented my furniture, then put my sofa in front of them. I had a very convenient shelf/table/knickknack display right behind the couch, storing a gajillion things I didn’t often need, and it looked great!
    Good luck and have fun. While it’s frustrating to deal with a small space, the challenge to come up with creative ideas can be great fun!

    h4schaffer at gmail dot com

  21. I would have to say a sofa bed, futon or bed that flips into the wall. Beds take up so much room — also mirrors give the illusion that your space is bigger. Thanks for the great giveaway

  22. Wow! Fun blog! My first time stopping by. I doubt I can enlighten you on small space, even though we are crammed in an apartment as well. I do use under the bed storage boxes. And I like defining spaces with cute area rugs, they allow me to make a statement and define a space at the same time. I would love to win that book! Quotes are my favorite, too, and I could use some inpsiration around here! Thanks for your blog and a great giveaway!
    [email protected]

  23. The best solution I have to offer is divide the space into separate spaces by using bookshelves, decorate screens, etc. Also it is a good idea to buy furniture that can multi-task, such as storage benches, and ottomans with built-in storage.

    [email protected]

  24. We have a small space too, with practically no closets. I agree with a lot of the comments about using vertical space, but if you can eliminate things that can’t do more than one job, it helps the space feel bigger, especially in the kitchen. (I love the idea of a sunken trampoline too!)
    cbeargie (at) yahoo.com

  25. i found you on creative blog today…and i LOVE you! thank you for sharing your creativeness!

    this giveaway…how awesome! we live in a loft in saint louis…with 2 small children. we WISH we had more space. for now we use ottoman’s as storage boxes and have turned our daughter’s walk-in closet into toy central with storage boxes and bins from target (it’s also still where her clothes go). works out great! and we put little pictures on the front of the boxes so that addison knows what toy goes in what box.

    under our sinks we use those plastic bins with drawers to keep our stuff organized…and it keeps conner (our 9month old) out of the bad stuff.

  26. My best advice is to play with the light. Get sheer curtains so that more natural light comes in, and paint the walls bright colors. Doing this will make any room seem bigger than it acutally is!
    jjak2003 at gmail dot com

  27. I like ottomans that open up and have storage inside – I hate how storage units and seating space always seem to be competing with each other!

  28. We lived a tiny military house with a very small bedroom. To add space I took the closet door off and strung a curtain across the doorway. cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

  29. Use ONE big peice of furniture in your small space;} It doesn’t have to be ginormous- to scale, but it makes the room seem balanced;}
    (a little something I learned from Small Space Big Style)

  30. I like using those old-fashioned egg baskets made of wire that come in three tiers (usually in copper, gold, or silver finish). I hang them from the ceiling all over the place, and they hold a lot of stuff, and they are see-thru, so you can always see what you have at a glance. They can be found at any kitchen supply place.
    Alicia Webster
    [email protected]

  31. My small space solution: under the bed boxes! I put things I don’t need regularly in boxes under my bed, and it saves a lot of space. You can get lifts for a bed to make room for more/bigger boxes, too, or even loft it and put furniture underneath :)

    [email protected]

  32. Really, I am all about the Futon! ..no kidding.

    Visiting friends in San-Fran years ago, the pulled out one of those three-fold, flat Styrofoam beds from the closet. My husband was horrified asking why were could not sleep with all the others across the street at the hotel.
    I was told we were privileged.
    We woke up the next morning, and he exclaimed that was the best sleep ever. No lie.

    I have since found them at the local Japanese market and a K-Mart, too.

    I still love the whole concept of the Murphy/Wall bed, and it seems to be making a comeback in N.Y.

    Friends in Malibu used the roll up futon, and actually rolled it up every morning!..and tossed it up in the loft, to start their day in their all white space so as not to disturb their beautiful view.

    A friend’s Japanese Mom, corrected me once…
    she said in her thick accent, “No, no…only men say Futon, women say..”Often”..! ;P

  33. Think up! GO UP with everything. Wall units are great to save floor space.
    another thing is store things under.
    I love tubs to store things in under beds under couches, if they have a cover to the floor.
    Docorative boxes sitting around or trunks. You can organize a whole lot inside these things and it will loosen up more space for you to not have clutter sitting around and you can use them as decorative pieces and they will look nice and be utilized as a benefit to your space.

    mommiesgotfivechildren at hotmail dot com

    You can see in my email address, that I have had to learn to utilize space.
    5 children accumulate a lot of space, so you have to learn to organize their things rather than organize them.

    Have fun and enjoy!

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