Reality Couple The Novogratz Give Florida School a $50,000 Makeover! (PHOTOS)

school is cool!
Novogratz Classroom Makeover Bounty 2011
Cortney and Robert Novogratz are a young, artsy couple who have spent the last decade designing unique properties, raising seven kids and starring in their own reality show. They'll be back on the tube this summer on HGTV's Home by Novogratz, but they've been keeping busy in the meantime with an amazing $50,000 school makeover!

Click through the gallery to see the transformation, then peep these tips from the decorating pros on how you can upgrade your space:

The couple partnered with Bounty in their efforts to help improve public schools. Winegard Elementary School in Orlando, Florida was named the grand-prize winner. 

What inspired you to do the school makeover? It wasn’t a difficult decision. We obviously love kids (we do have seven of them!) and support them. We love what Bounty has done, offering to help schools all over the country clean up their environments with their “We Love Our School” campaign in order to help make learning easier and more efficient. We get a chance to help out a school that really needs it, and offer inspiration to kids who are hungry to learn and have been affected by budget cuts and other shortages that many schools face today, especially in the area of artistic pursuits.

Your children have play an important role in your careers; can you give a few examples of their ideas that you incorporated into the makeover? We spoke to them to see what they thought were important assets to have in the classroom to make learning easier and more fun. They suggested ideas like using bright colors, fun art work, and to provide the kids with good places to store their materials. The part of the school we are making over at Winegard has to do with the creative arts, so the kids suggested anything that would help the students to be inspired -- musical instruments, computers, craft materials. Check out our makeover pictures for many of these ideas realized.

How did you ultimately choose the school that would receive the makeover from all the entries? Bounty ran a nation-wide contest to find their winner, and they chose Winegard Elementary School in Orlando, Florida. The school hasn’t been updated in a really long time, and it is exciting to be able to help!

Some people are terribly unorganized and bad at design. What are some basics to know about creating a clean, workable space in the classroom, office, or home? Our number one cardinal rule, get rid of clutter! Go for a fresh coat of paint. Make sure the space has adequate lighting. Find a place for everything -- storage baskets, shelves, cabinets, and make sure that the storage is easily-accessible for the kids (or adults) who will be using everything. A clean, clear space to actually do your work, like a desk, or a table is important, and you are all set.

What are some ways to makeover a space without a big budget? There are lots of ways to freshen up a space without spending a lot of money. Fresh paint really works wonders. Go to a flea market or a tag sale and find some distinctive pieces that are inexpensive but will make your room interesting. Cool design stores with reasonable prices like Ikea are so helpful. You can customize any of their furniture with paint or accessories; like your grandmother’s quilt on a modern bed. They also have fantastic accessories like throw pillows, rugs, and vases. Take a piece of furniture in your home that you are not using and repurpose it for a makeover. Hang some art. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, just look interesting and colorful. Maybe it is the kids’ artwork framed. Get inexpensive storage in bright colors from the Container Store. Great ideas have nothing to do with money. Use your imagination, take some risks, try some new things to freshen up your environment.

 

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