Notes On Mystery Clients

February 8, 2007

I really enjoyed Top Design last night, at least the first 10 minutes of it when the designers were assigned a mystery client with only a short bio to go on. It reminded me of the projects in design school that I enjoyed so much, and watching the show encouraged me to run upstairs and drag out my very first design board because it was based on a mystery client.

Notes On Mystery ClientsThe mini bio I was assigned disclosed that my clients, Sid and Darby, had an extensive art collection, were downsizing from a home to a loft space, newly retired, loved warm, rich colors and ecclectic decor, and were big on texture and hardwood flooring. Both needed a space for books, their baby grand piano, and because Sid entertains often, he would love a bar. Although the floor plan was open concept, both wanted their own ‘area’ to do the things that they enjoyed most. Neither wanted traditional bookshelves. Both craved one leather piece in the room to bring back memories of their Texan childhood. I selected the Joshua Tree Camp Chair from Ralph Lauren.

Each student in my class had their own mystery client to work on, each slip of paper had a budget, and only two slips had a “no limits”budget — guess who was assigned that one? Yes, me. I was thrilled. We also had to work within the confines of certain space limitations in regards to plumbing and such, and each student had to work off of the same floor plan (see floor plan on left side of the board).

We were given a week to complete the project, access to the design center, etc. and within that same week, the board had to be finished and presented before the class, including a complete report detailing everything about the lifestyle of the client and why certain choices were made, and of course a larger, more detailed, floor plan (forntunately for me, models or computer rendering wasn’t a requirement back then, thankfully as I only do hand rendering and only dabble in CAD).

This acrylic built-in for books was my favorite feature. I want this in my own home someday as the appearance of ‘floating’ books is quite lovely, don’t you think?

Notes On Mystery ClientsThankfully, unlike Top Design, we weren’t later told that our space was really for children. :)

(images from holly becker for decor8)


  • Reply Anonymous February 8, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    Impressive results, and I’m with you, that lucite shelving is on my new list of wants. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply JHAYNE February 8, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    oooo. . .can’t say i’ve ever seen ‘floating books’ before, but if very much like what i see! can you also tell me more about that dining room table (i think it’s labeled ‘e’)? i love the base on it.

  • Reply decor8 February 8, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    That table is actually a custom table that I designed, a black metal base with a marble top with flecks of teal and orange. I’m glad you like it. :)

  • Reply Anonymous February 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    This was your first? What talent, clearly in your blood. But it is evident by how you write about design that you know your subject matter. I always envy those who can pull together a look so well.

    Claire G.
    (the one you met at croma last week)

  • Reply Anonymous February 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Does anyone know how I could build one of these? I don’t know much about furniture construction. How would the shelves have to be bracketed to support the weight of the books? Would the brackets just be drilled into the sheetrock wall?

  • Reply decor8 February 10, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    This is a custom peice, so you’d need to consult with a contractor.

    However, you could search online a bit and come up with your own DIY project using lucite shelving brackets and shelves from a supplier. Just contact the supplier first to ensure that they can be installed directly into drywall, maximum weight (if you are using these for books specify that), etc.

    Try these guys maybe?

    You could also search vintage furniture dealers online, since lucite was huge during the mid century and you can find complete bookcases made of the stuff, often trimmed out in chrome though, but you may find a 100% lucite version.

    For instance: This one is gorgeous for only $1,500- USD


    Good luck!


  • Reply Anonymous February 13, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    There are also some really neat floating book shelves by Umbra that could achieve the same results with less construction and probably for less money. You can find them at the container store. http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?PRODID=10016053&CATID=13394&searchId=7646313&itemIndex=1

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