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To the Castle! A 1920s California villa transformed

This dramatic home has been transformed by design duo Cortney & Robert Novogratz – collectively The Novogratz. Here they also share some effective interior design shortcuts that informed the project

Designed by The Novogratz

From The Novogratz:

Husband and wife design duo Cortney and Robert Novogratz have designed and developed many unique properties in Manhattan, Los Angeles, and beyond. For over twenty years, this fun, hip, artsy couple has rebuilt entire city blocks from the ground up and transformed them into fabulous spaces.

Description of project:

Perched on a gated promontory in the foothills behind the illustrious Chateau Marmont Hotel, and radically updated by design world mavericks Robert and Courtney Novogratz, the stylishly unconventional 1920s villa presides over almost 2023m² and measures in at more than 715m² over three floors with four bedrooms and four full and three half bathrooms.

The home has now been purchased by a celebrity couple.


The home was an old castle that had been built in the 1920s by a silent film star. Remarkably, there had been only 3 owners in 100 years, but all 3 clearly had very different tastes from one another, which was a design issue the Novogratz faced while renovating.

There were many small rooms, many types of hardwood flooring, and a nonsensical floor plan.

The house felt like a maze with tiny rooms and multiple doorways that led to more doorways and even more tiny rooms. Everything had to be gutted and redone.

The biggest challenge was to keep the charm and period feel of the house while modernizing the entire space. The Novogratz opened everything up to give the space a loft-like look and create a seamless feel. 

The biggest challenge was to keep the charm
The biggest challenge was to keep the charm and period feel of the house while modernising the entire space. The Novogratz opened everything up to give the space a loft-like look and create a seamless feel. 

Thoroughly modern, open-plan interiors include a colossal, bi-level combination living and dining room, a huge, high-end kitchen arranged around a marble-topped island and an adjoining breakfast room that spills out to the backyard though chic, steel-trimmed French doors.

A couple of guest bedrooms, one with a fireplace, are joined on the upper level by a spacious master suite where French doors open to a small balcony with sweeping views over the city.

The walk-in closet is lined with custom built-ins and the bathroom features a huge shower obscured behind smoked-glass panels. There’s also a giant family room with adjoining kitchenette and a spacious guest suite with outside entrance, plus a large, loft-like gym and a recording studio.

The terraced grounds incorporate a variety of eye-catching tiled terraces, an outdoor kitchen and a stunning, oval-shape swimming pool privatised by a wall of dense foliage and surrounded by lush lawn.

The back patio and outdoor fireplace.
The back patio and outdoor fireplace.

Castle highlights according to the Novogratz:

  • The Torrance Steel windows and doors were quite expensive. We felt they were an important investment, as they made the house elegant and distinct. If you love the look yet can’t afford it, you can use steel on the main doorway and mimic the rest in aluminium or even do aluminium throughout.
  • The reclaimed wood floors were the second most expensive item on our wish list. These were quite expensive but are incredibly durable and well-made and get better with age.
  • We have used Boffi kitchens for years. They are beautiful but expensive. In order to save on costs, we always buy a floor model which is at least 50-percent less. We also have designed many kitchens with much less expensive cabinets, in which case we add more expensive hardware.
  • We used expensive tile in the master bathroom but lots of inexpensive subway tile everywhere else.
  • The lighting is a mix of vintage and modern, and both high and low end. We hung the best lighting in the best areas of the house.
Designer: "The Torrance Steel windows and doors were
Designer: "The Torrance Steel windows and doors were quite expensive. We felt they were an important investment, as they made the house elegant and distinct."

Story by: Trendsideas

28 Feb, 2021

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