Warning to All Legitimate Designers: New Show Will Infuriate You, Too

This week, Bravo TV launched the new reality show, “9 By Design.” Featuring two wealthy self-taught designers who flip homes and their seven children, I knew this would be a show I would love to hate. After cringing while watching the entire preview special and first episode, I’m sure I had the reaction Bravo was expecting from viewers.

The show follows the Novogratz family through the process of selling their current apartment and renovating a new home. It is obvious the couple tries very hard to follow trends, whether through their clothing or design. Bob’s assortment of woolen hats and Cortney’s graphic wrap dresses achieve the “Brooklyn Chic” they are currently going for in their designs. The home they are renovating, which is just north of Atelier Jean Nouvel’s new 100 11th Avenue and Gehry Partners’ IAC Headquarters, will feature a painted façade by British artist Richard Woods on the exterior with an IKEA kitchen on the interior. There are eight episodes this season, and throughout viewers will watch them build four projects, including a boutique hotel and a beach house. If only struggling architecture firms could be so lucky in this economic climate.

I don’t know what’s more infuriating about the show — watching Cortney tear through a home pointing frantically at random walls exclaiming they all need to be demolished, or listening to Bob’s quips and words of wisdom about design (“You can bring charm to any four walls,” and “Life’s not perfect. That’s our philosophy in life and design”). As a design professional who takes architecture very seriously, to watch the two of them proclaim how they simply have a knack for design and how easy it is if you put your mind to it, devalues the field in so many ways it is depressing. I found myself wanting something to go wrong to prove to them, and other viewers who may be inspired to haphazardly gut-renovate their apartments, that the field of architecture is much more complicated than reading up on the subject in magazines and getting rich friends to buy into the idea that you are idiot savants in the field.

I don’t know if I’ll last the whole season, but I know I’ll keep watching for the first disaster…