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Faith by Design View Comments
By James Breig

AS HOME DESIGNERS known for specializing in “downtown chic,” Bob and Cortney Novogratz can be seen applying their talents during their HGTV series, Home by Novogratz, which has added to the couple’s phenomenal success as interior designers and house flippers. Their success has brought them international fame, loads of money, and three houses scattered from New England to Brazil.

They’ve also received effusive compliments on their work, such as national publications that have praised “the design duo [who] create downtown magic” and lauded how they “have infused entire city blocks with sophistication and style.” But the Catholic pair—married for two decades and counting—looks much higher than lighting fixtures. As they raise their seven children to be religious, they also apply their faith to their work. Bob comments on the latter when he tells St. Anthony Messenger that their TV program de-emphasizes frivolous spending.

“You can have good design on a budget,” he states. “You don’t have to break the bank. Good taste and money don’t always go hand in hand. We have a European design philosophy. Americans are consumers and have too much stuff, so we use a little less stuff.” To that end, they often employ found objects, large family photographs, and unusual flea-market finds to decorate rooms.

The religious side of the family has occasionally been displayed on their TV series, which originated on Bravo and moved to HGTV. One episode, for example, dealt with the Baptism of their seventh child in a house crowded with relatives, friends, celebrities, and a priest.

Cortney’s blogs on their room designs are often packed with words like “chic,” “pop,” and “bold blasts of color,” but she is equally enthusiastic in talking about prayer, Church, and faith.

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James Breig is a veteran writer for Catholic newspapers, magazines, and books. He now authors a syndicated media column for dozens of Catholic  papers.

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First Martyrs of the Church of Rome: There were Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of the “Apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 15:20). Paul had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his great letter in 57-58 A.D.. 
<p>There was a large Jewish population in Rome. Probably as a result of controversy between Jews and Jewish Christians, the Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49-50 A.D. Suetonius the historian says that the expulsion was due to disturbances in the city “caused by the certain Chrestus” [Christ]. Perhaps many came back after Claudius’s death in 54 A.D. Paul’s letter was addressed to a Church with members from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. </p><p>In July of 64 A.D., more than half of Rome was destroyed by fire. Rumor blamed the tragedy on Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He shifted the blame by accusing the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims. </p><p>Threatened by an army revolt and condemned to death by the senate, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. at the age of 31.</p> American Catholic Blog People are not perfect. But God does not only call upon great saints to reveal his love for the world. He also calls the broken and desperate. We are all called to act as God’s light in this darkening world.

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