Client Fiction: Brad & Angelina


As I flip through the design magazines that show up in my mailbox every month and see a famous so-and-so’s L.A. home or far-away retreat, I always find myself imagining what I would do for a celebrity client. Something that I find utterly fascinating about design is how much psychology is involved in it. I love to listen to people’s thoughts, wishes, and needs, learn about their lifestyle, gather information that some people may think is unrelated to design (favorite drink, wardrobe choices, ultimate vacation destination, passions, etc.), and begin to pull the pieces together to develop a look that perfectly reflects them. Figuring people out, “getting” them, is a total blast! It’s like cracking a complex code to get to some fabulous sparking jewel…it’s a real rush!

One thing I like to do in my spare time as sort of a “game”, something to keep my brain sharp like with mind puzzles and riddles, is to pick a celebrity to create a design for. I gather a series of images of that celebrity, do a little research on them, and think about what kind of person they may be and how they present themselves to the rest of the world. Based on all the information I have, I try and “crack their code” and design a space that I think reflects them.  

Today’s client fiction is actually a couple- Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie…Picture3

Based on these images and what I know about them as individuals and a couple, the key words I felt I needed to incorporate in their design are as follows…

  • cool
  • modern
  • simple
  • sophisticated
  • tailored
  • architectural
  • confident
  • masculine
  • feminine
  • sexual/sensual
  • badass/tough
  • dark/mysterious
  • strong
  • sultry
  • smoky
  • family
  • philanthropy/altruism
  • coexistence of individuality and unity

I drew up a quick sketch of an imagined bedroom/sitting room for them (below). The bedroom is in the foreground, a balcony would run the length of the room on the other side of the Nana wall system (sliding window/doors), and the sitting room is on the other side of the fireplace wall. Taking a cue from my key words, I kept the lines simple and strong and incorporated dark colors and metals, but was also sure to blend in some curves, soft textures, appropriate colors, and natural elements to keep a nice balance. I pulled in some items from Africa, knowing that this is an important place to the family, and included subtle “global” hints, since this dynamic duo travels a lot, aids people around the world, and has several adopted children of different ethnicities.

One of my favorite design statements is the soft, supple black leather used for the headboard, which I ran all the way up and across the ceiling. The paint color (used as the background for the design boards below) is Ralph Lauren Galvanized, with Neutral Brown (not shown) on the ceilingCCF10222010_00000

Here are the design boards I created…Picture1

(Left to right, top to bottom)

  1. Maccasar/Black Ebony wood paneling and doors for concealed closet and bar, and long, sleek custom see-through fireplace with calibrated honed and gauged black slate tile above and below it
  2. Black Edelman Calf Luxe leather for headboard and ceiling treatment
  3. Corbett Lighting Vertigo pendant over bedside tables (made of hand-crafted iron in bronze with gold leaf and caramel ice finish)
  4. Robert Hansen’s Chac Mul- made of automotive lacquer poured onto masonite which was cut into the shape of a woman’s body (free-standing piece)
  5. Lionel Gilbert’s Blue on the Side oil on canvas
  6. Armani Casa Bottecelli bed
  7. 1950’s Italian tables by Aldo Tura, used on either side of bed, made of goat skin wrapped wood topped with smoked glass (they remind me of hands lifting something up- a nod to helping those in need)
  8. Pillows by Calvin Klein and Armani Casa, green velvet in front by Holly Hunt (tweeds, shimmering fabrics, soft velvets, and subtle pin-stripes were influenced by the couple’s wardrobe, along with other things throughout the room)
  9. Charcoal grey Tibetan lambskin rug
  10. Calibrated honed and gauged (which creates a smooth, even surface) grey slate slab flooring (radiant heating underneath)
  11. Billy Wilder chaise by Charles and Ray Eames, ca. 1968
  12. Bronze mesh metal curtains which run along entire wall of windows


  1. Children of Africa photographs found via Google image search
  2. Raimond LED Suspension by Moooi for Lumens- sphere made of polished stainless steel containing 252 LED lights throughout- 35” in diameter (one of the many global references- representing people across the globe and how we’re all connected, each with his/her own “light” which they create)
  3. Japanese oil on canvas, titled Green Symphony, by Hiroshi Nakamura, ca. 1958
  4. Serpentine art by Parisian artist Guido Mocafico
  5. Sofa by Armani Casa
  6. Pillows by Calvin Klein and Armani Casa, Zambian Kuba Cloth pillow from Room and Board through Toka, a company who helps African women become financially self-sufficient
  7. Original 1960’s polished chrome and leather lounge chairs by Michel Boyer
  8. Bax rug from Armani Casa
  9. Custom 1970’s smoked glass cuboid end table
  10. Italian cocktail table made of chrome with brass inlay and glass top, ca. 1970’s
  11. Black powder-coated steel sculpture by Ray Klausen (to me, this has notes of mother and child, love, security, and the circle of life, to name a few…a very spiritually-inspired piece, I think)
  12. Original Robert Loughlin acrylic painting

That was a fun little project! I don’t know Brad and Angelina personally, but based on all you know and have heard/seen of them, do you think I hit the nail on the head? Did I convey them accurately through my design? Is there something you would do differently? I would love to hear what you think…

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