9 By Design on Bravo – When 8 Isn’t Enough…

Holiday parties are always a big blur for me. I get all dressed up in something other than black – very difficult in the typical wardrobe of a NYC girl – then get myself to the venue by taxi or subway, eat rich foods too easily accessible while shooting the breeze with a few fellow party guests, drink way more mixed drinks and champagne than I should and unequivocally forget the whole thing within a week.

But this past Christmas, I was invited to one holiday party I will never forget. It was at the fabulous West Side Highway glass home of interior designers (and groundbreaking architects, if you ask me!) Cortney and Robert Novogratz. Last year I reviewed the hotel they opened on the Jersey Shore – Bungalow – for Chic Today and dear friend, not to mention SUPER fabulous woman Carol Leggett is the couple’s publicist, which all conspired to secure my name on one of the most sought after holiday guest lists this side of the Atlantic. 

Their home truly is divine, everything you may imagine it to be and more and the Novogratz’s middle names should be “Welcoming”. I was met at the door by middle boy, and part-time rockstar Breaker, who helped take off my coat and offered me a drink from the “lemonade bar” the under 21s were running out of the ground floor basketball court. Needless to say, after such cool beginnings the evening was wonderful and set a very high tone for all holiday parties to come for me.

OK, so now the Novogratz have a fabulous new reality show on Bravo which premieres on Tuesday, April 13th at 11 P.M. and is titled ’9 By Design’. With their seven kids, ranging in age from in the womb – at the time the show was initially filmed – to 12-year old Wolfgang, the couple manages to still be cutting edge, supercool and the kids incredibly well adjusted. Of course, no one really wants to see a show where everything is peachy and easy, so lets just say that in the world of interior designing, things don’t always go as planned and a few meltdowns are the order of the day…

I recently sat down with Carol Leggett and asked her what it was like inside the weird world of reality TV and what her personal experience was while filming the show. 

E. Nina Rothe: What was it like to be behind the scenes of a reality show?

Carol Leggett: There were a lot of people involved. It was like being on a movie set, and it was fun, but it was also a lot of work. But we are really happy with the result and excited about people seeing it finally!

ENR: How many hours of filming go into making a one hour show which will air weekly?

CL: It took us around 70 hours of filming to complete a one hour episode. We worked 4 days a week and twelve hours a day for ten months. I am tired just saying that!

ENR: Did the cameras follow you and your clients around everywhere, or were some places off-limits?

CL: The bedrooms of the house were off-limits most of the time, and the kids were filming only part of the time. There were a lot of people around, so I got into the habit of showering in a bathing suit! Very little privacy.

ENR: What was the fun aspect of the experience for you and what did you feel you never wanted to deal with again?  

CL: We met so many amazing people as part of this project, more than we ever expected. Also, the show opened a lot of doors for us, literally and figuratively. That was really cool. The worst part: the tv show slowed us down. We took on more work than we ever have before, and did it at a slower pace for filming!

B & W photo by Tim Geaney, family portrait by Matthew Williams – All images courtesy of Carol Leggett PR

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