Hideous "bespoke library" with pre-selected books: $125,000


For people who have more money than time, taste, or intelligence: The $125,000 "bespoke library" from the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.

The publishing house renowned for its beautiful volumes and cultural perspective is offering the ultimate enriching addition to your home: a bespoke library. From floor to ceiling and wall to wall, every nuance of this room will reflect Assouline’s brilliant style—through custom carpeting, objets d’art, and beautifully framed prints—as well as your intellectual viewpoint. When the decor is complete, the shelves will be lined with a one-of-a-kind Assouline collection, consisting of 250 current and vintage volumes in the genre of your choice. Enjoy published works from the world’s foremost artists, photographers, writers, architects, interior designers, and fashion and culinary masters. With this purchase, Neiman Marcus will donate $2,500 to First Book, an award-winning nonprofit organization that provides access to new books for children in need throughout the U.S. and Canada. One custom-built library is available.
As the Minnesotastan of Tai-wiki-widbee says, "Deck chairs in a library?  A font on the floor?  That couch?  Could any decor be less appealing?" Needless Markups Presents the 85th Edition of Its Legendary Christmas Book


  1. 250 books does not a library make. Fucking hell, at least they pluralised “objet” and not “art”.

  2. The owner of a second hand bookshop who I knew personally told me that they recently sold a Mercedes boot load of quality books to a doctor who had driven in to the city from his new holiday house specifically to populate his new library. Apparently the selection process took about fifteen minutes.

  3. Where are the books? In a real library the floor to ceiling shelving of books *is* the decor.

    I have more books than that on any one of the 4 bookshelves scattered around the house – no space for a real library, much as I’d love one.

  4. “What do you think?” he demanded impetuously.

    “About what?”

    He waved his hand toward the book-shelves.

    “About that. As a matter of fact you needn’t bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They’re real.”

    “The books?”

    He nodded.

    “Absolutely real–have pages and everything. I thought they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they’re absolutely real. Pages and–Here! Lemme show you.”

    Taking our skepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the “Stoddard Lectures.”

    “See!” he cried triumphantly. “It’s a bona-fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism!”

    He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf, muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse.

    The Great Gatsby (1925)

  5. Ugh.

    The whole of the of the luxury market these days seems to have jumped the shark in selling fake authenticity – in selling the genuine-ified trappings of lifestyles their purchasers never have the time, skill, or balls to experience.

    1. I don’t know that you can call this “fake authenticity” because there’s absolutely nothing authentic about it.  Unless someone is going for “authentic retail outlet showroom.” Because this looks like it was designed by someone whose day job is doing set design for stores.

  6. I’d pay that sort of money to absolutely never have to experience such an astoundingly tasteless heap of tat.

    Money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy good taste.

    1. “Money can buy a lot of things, but it cannot buy good taste.”
      Good taste isn’t the point . . . people who buy this are after Good Taste(tm).

      Good taste is something one has . . . Good Taste(tm) is something one is seen as having.
      * * *
      If you buy the DeLuxe version of the library, a team of white-smocked specialists will periodically (call Library Concierge services for an appointment . . . free ride on the Hampton Jitney included so you may be absent during their visit) update your library, replacing de classe volumes with the latest “must be seen as if you are reading” selections and hygenically incinerating discards to keep them out of the hands of Second-Hand Merchants.

      The DeLuxe Library also includes comfortable, discreet collars which can be fitted on the household children. The collars deliver a short, harmless electric shock if the child attempts to read anything other than the seven books in the Children’s Grove section of the Library.

    1. That, sir or madam, is one of the finest euphemisms I’ve ever had the pleasure to innuendously come upon.

  7. Was ever there a “library” less designed for reading?  There’s no place to comfortably sit and read. 250 books?  When I first read that, I assumed that was just one portion of the collection.  The whole thing appears to be set up merely to show off books, except, ironically, there aren’t that many books to show off.  Instead it appears it was all designed so that every single book in the “collection” is completely visible*: the massive coffee table, the bookshelves that would be a third filled with books, at best, etc.  It’s perverse – a room built to show off, but with nothing worth showing.  Also, unless they’re building you an extension on your house to hold the library, I can’t imagine what they would be spending the money on.  Even if it’s just meant to be a concept, it isn’t very interesting.

    *Edit: And now that I see what Assouline offer, it makes sense. They don’t appear to sell anything but “coffee-table books.” Which makes the whole idea of a “library” based around these things even more ridiculous. It’s a library of books not meant to be read. It really should consist of nothing but a couple giant coffee-tables and the books.

      Regis : Can I bring out our next guest now?
      Kathy Lee : Please, please.
      Regis : Young guy, he’s got a new book coming out, and it’s about, and this is the best part –
      Kathy Lee : I love this.
      Regis : It’s a coffee table book about coffee tables!
      Kathy Lee : Yeah. Is that clever? I think that is so clever!
      Regis : I think so too. Did you get to meet him back stage?
      Kathy Lee : I did.
      Regis : I mean, he looks like a fun guy, doesn’t he?
      Kathy Lee : I love his hair.
      Regis : Yeah, oh, I do too. This guy could be a little bonkos. Really. Anyway, if you will, would you please welcome: Kramer!
      Kathy Lee : I don’t know, maybe it’s the hair or something!
      Regis : Kramer. So, a coffee table book about coffee tables. Where did you come up with this idea?
      Kramer : Yeah, well, ah, I’ll tell you, Regis… actually, this is a true story. I was skiing at the time.
      Regis : You know, when I’m skiing, Kramer, I’m trying not to kill myself, and you’re writing books!
      Kramer : Yeah, well, now you kids don’t go out and try that. You stay in school!
      Kathy Lee : Have you always had an interest in coffee tables, because, really, I love coffee tables, and I thought I was the only one.
      Kramer : You see the beauty of my book is, if you don’t have a coffee table, it turns into a coffee table.
      Kathy Lee : Is that fabulous?
      Regis : Look at this!
      Kathy Lee : Is that fabulous?
      Regis : Fabulous!
      Kathy Lee : I want one of these.
      Regis : Did I tell you this guy was bonkos?
      Kathy Lee : This coffee table (book) is full of pictures of celebrities’ coffee tables.
      Kramer : That’s true. That’s right.
      Regis : Yeah? Well, I’m not in there. Where’s mine?
      Kramer : Oh, it’s on file, right here. ( POINTS TO HIS HEAD )
      Regis : I’m tellin’ ya, this guy’s bonkos! He really is!
      Kathy Lee : But he’s adorable.
      Regis : We’ll be right back.

  8. From my favorite television comedy, Black Books:

    Customer: Those books, how much?
    Bernard: Hmm?
    Customer: Those books. Leather-bound ones.
    Bernard: Yes, Dickens. The collective works of Charles Dickens.
    Customer: They real leather?
    Bernard: They’re real Dickens.
    Customer: I have to know if they’re real leather because they have to go with a sofa. Everything else in my house is real. I’ll give you two hundred for them.
    Bernard: Two hundred what?
    Customer: Two hundred pounds…
    Bernard: Are they leather-bound pounds?
    Customer: No…
    Bernard: Sorry, I need leather-bound pounds to go with my wallet. Next!

  9. What’s the beef? Other than the directors chairs, I think it all looks very nice. Very clean and modern, like a fancier Ikea.

    250 of your genre of choice – I wonder what they have for Sci-Fi.

    That may not be a huge “library” (how many people own that many books? Other than myself, I don’t know of anyone personally), but its a nice start. One would assume you would have books already or will in the future to put on the shelves. At any rate, putting stuff other than books on shelves is pretty ordinary.

    I guess this is bad just because it is very expensive.

    ETA – a company that makes a book about Balls can’t be entirely bad – http://www.assouline.com/9781614280002.html

    1. It doesn’t look like Asinine carries sci-fi (though I’m sure if you paid them enough, they’d search high and low for really expensive, signed and illustrated editions of sci-fi classiques).

      There is this one, Gaia, which involves space travel–


      And it’s only $875!

    2. Wow, where to start? Mostly, I think that you’re kind of missing the point of this whole thing: the books are picked for how well they fit in with the overall decoration scheme, not for whether or not they fit your particular taste. (Even if they did have, say, a SFF collection, there are some authors that would make any public list of best SF authors that I wouldn’t want in my personal collection.) This collection isn’t for someone who likes to read, and would clutter up the smooth, clean lines of design with his own collection of grotty old paperbacks; it’s for someone who has made a killing in the financial world and wants people to think that he likes books, even though he doesn’t, particularly. I’ve sometimes seen very fancy personal libraries, and wondered if one of the bookcases swung back to reveal a hidden room with an old, duct-tape patched comfy chair and some flat-pack bookcases filled with the books that the owner really liked to read.

    3. How many people own 250 books? Most of the people reading this blog, I’d think.  We just cleared out FIFTEEN HUNDRED books and still have easily three times that many left in the house.  I easily have 250 cookbooks, but then I’m a culinary school grad.

      1. I dare say you have a lot more books than the average person. I am trying to guess how many I have… we have 4 large books shelves stuffed. I’d guess 800-1000… not including comic books. We are lucky and turned that useless ‘sitting’ room some people have into a schoolroom/library with a massive white board that makes most meeting rooms green with envy.

        I can’t recall going into anyone else’s home who had more books than me. Then again, maybe everyone I know is an illiterate moron.

    4. I own that many books on the shelf and half that many again stored at my parent’s house. Plus a quarter that many shoved in closets waiting for me to buy more bookshelves.  I was actually joking to a friend that between the both of us we could actually start a private lending library of just our Sci-Fi alone.  Add my aunt in on it and we could have two.  

      Those are the real books with pages.  Right now I’m working through reading a similarly long list of ebooks.

      I’m always surprised when I find out that people don’t own that many books.

    5. “I guess this is bad just because it is very expensive.”
      No. It’s bad because it sells the idea of a ‘library’ as purely something you have to have to impress your snobbish friends. It’s not there to give pleasure and enjoyment. If it was a tenth of the price it would still be bad. And 250 books? I’ve got more than that on my iPhone, I’ve no idea how many real books I own, but I’ve been buying them since the early ’70s. And I don’t give them away or sell them. I’ve got paperbacks by Zelazney and Niven I bought in ’71 that I still read.

    6. That may not be a huge “library” (how many people own that many books? Other than myself, I don’t know of anyone personally), but its a nice start. 

      God only knows how many or few books the average American owns these days.  For what it’s worth, my house contains over 250 children’s books, and over a thousand “grown-up” titles on bookshelves and in boxes in the garage.  And believe me, my wife and I aren’t fancy people, but we do love to read, and happily our children seem to have caught the bug.  Her family has always been quite literate (and literary, as well; her grandfather was an acclaimed writer), but my parents were a real estate agent and a machinist and we still had a houseful of books, even in our doublewide trailer days.

      You never know about people.  At a glance, my non-ironic t-shirts and jeans, shaggy hair, loud taste in heavy metal music, beat-up old muscle car, and laid-back, under-educated demeanor might lead you to believe that I’m not much of a reader.  But that belief would be a mistake.

      My distaste for the NM offer stems from the idea that anyone with a disposable $125k would blow it on a “library” like this.  If you want a library because you actually like books and love to read, you’d never want someone else to choose the books for you, nor would you be satisfied with spending that much money on a mere 250 sight-unseen volumes.  That right there is a mere two or three years’ worth of reading for me.  Similarly, if you want a library just to show off, you’d probably be better served getting more linear shelf-feet of books elsewhere.  $500/volume could get you some nifty quality books, both rare/historical and new/fancy.  But 250 books that are all spankin’-new and custom-bound just for you?  Really, can you imagine anyone buying this particular library and then subsequently actually sitting down and reading more than a single volume?  ‘Cause I can’t.

  10. ‘From floor to ceiling and wall to wall, every nuance of this room will reflect Assouline’s brilliant style—through custom carpeting, objets d’art, and beautifully framed prints—as well as your intellectual viewpoint.’

    For both Ass-you-like-it and the customer, this would be about bragging rights.

  11. Having been dragged along to furniture stores recently with shopping family members, I am now aware of the worst thing in the world: fake books. As in, book-shaped, book-sized items that look old (and by old I mean brown) and that say “Wuthering Heights” or whatever on the front, but are actually just decorations to be placed at a rakish angle atop a side table. They seem to be everywhere, and they seem to be actually for sale for humans, not just a thing for display in stores. I’m not one who gets offended, but these, with their hijacking of cultural and artistic worth for cheap, literally hollow visuals… ugh.

    This might be worse, however.

  12. In this day and age of e-books, do we really NEED to have vast libraries any more? My last several purchases have been via Kindle.

    My library is currently around 320-450 books. I just ordered some new shelves to put them on (they’re currently shelved double on some shelves in the closet) and am deliberately NOT getting much more space than they’ll take. The only things I really plan to be adding to it are things that don’t work on the iPad – art books and comics I really care about.

    Admittedly this is after a couple of cross-country moves and a hurricane purged my library down to a tiny fraction of its former size.

    That library doesn’t quite come together for me, but it’s not too far off from where I’m trying to take my library/living room. I mean, my wall decor is some weird fetish art a friend drew instead of tasteful B&W photographs of buildings, I wouldn’t choose that lamp or that couch – but I’m keeping it about that spare, my couch is about the same color, and I would totally paint the walls something like that if I wasn’t renting. Everything about that library is just about ten degrees off from where I’d take it, which puts it real close to the uncanny valley.

    1. A single kindle wiz a selection of good books, sitting on a lone table next to a comfortable chair displays more taste than that atrocity.

  13. Wow, so 250 books for $125,000? That’s $500 a book, and here’s some crappy furniture that we pulled out of a dumpster thrown in. I need serious lounging space when I read. Something I can put my feet up on and that will accommodate all the angles I inevitably contort myself into while reading. And those lamps? I think this setup actually *discourages* reading.

    Building your library should be a personal, ongoing process. It can’t come ready made. You collect books from different places over the years. You remember where you were when you discovered each one, what you did while you were reading it. The people that gave them to you. You can’t flip open a catalog and order a set of friends or a dozen memories, ready to go.

    Actually, if you’re rich enough you probably can. But it’d be creepy.

  14. To be fair to the doctor in the Mercedes, if I wanted to ‘populate’ a library at my holiday house, I could probably walk through a second-hand bookstore and fill a trunkload in 15 minutes too, picking only books I’ve read. I’m sure most others here could as well. In fact, now that I think about it, it seems like it would be kind of a fun exercise…

  15. I’d rather have another $125k worth of books. I’ve already got a library of 2,500 books, and I know many other people with similar sized collections. These days, most of what I get is electronic simply because my library is out of space.

  16. Well, uh… that sofa looks damn tough to dig your claws into, if you’re a cat.  I guess that’s one selling point right there.

  17. Not a big fan of that as a whole, but I kind of dig that rug.  It would certainly distract from my seven leaning, overflowing $20 Ikea shelves and trash-day couches.

  18. Man, what’s with all the meanness around here lately? BoingBoing used to be about cheering neat, out-of-the-ordinary, fun stuff we should like, not kvetching like teenage girls (or, worse, YouTube commenters) about how stupid other people are for having different taste than we do in decorating or how to spend one’s leisure time.

    1. I don’t believe that BB has ever been about praising bad ideas or suspending your critical judgment because it might possibly offend somebody. If you want to do up your own site where nattering nabobs of negativism are swiftly and permanently banned, feel free.

    2. Nothing to do with being mean, as such, but put bluntly, this sort of thing is quite contrary to what boingboing is about, and so deserves as much opprobrium as can be heaped upon its miserable pointy little head.

  19. I am sure I am not the only one who is sick of the growing use of the word ” bespoke”. For me is has become shorthand for “designed for or used exclusivly by douchebags”.

  20. Pish. How about a nice, cozy study, populated with some simple wingback chairs and the warm glow of a gas fireplace. A small stereo can lend a bit of Oscar Peterson to the room, if need be. Have a warm bulb in your reading lamp, a comfortable pair of slippers on your feet and a glass of something spiced on the side table. Books if you like, but there’s no shame in using a Kindle or a laptop, these days, as long as the screen is turned down to a reasonable level.

    That’s all you need to unwind and enjoy some reading. You don’t need to spend $125,000 to recreate some Soviet aristocrat’s tacky excuse for furniture.

  21. Speaking of books fitting the decor, is it wrong that I chose warm tones for the living room in my old flat to go nicely with the bright orange spines of old Penguin paperbacks?

  22. Let’s just assume that this is the product of a high school design class contest.  At least that would make sense.

  23. I’m certain there are no end of actual libraries that would be glad of $125000.

    But then someone might use it.

  24. I walked into one of their stores in Las Vegas, all their books are cheap crap that they sell at about 8,000 times what they’re worth. For 10,000 dollars they’ll sell you a 1/2 chest designed by Versace filled with a set of their flimsy worthless picture books. They paint themselves as some high-end brand name, but they sell stinky garbage. They did have some cool 200-300 year old books in the store though. The clerk was cute, dressed nice, and new nothing about books.

  25. For $500 per book, one could have a similarly-sized collection of private-printed and custom bound books made by a real bindery, and it wouldn’t cost nearly so much to have some real shelving, instead of one ridiculous television cabinet.

    Though I really can’t understand how 250 books constitutes a “bespoke library:” My family’s library had around 10k books in it before we started dismantling it, if I recall correctly, and we considered it relatively small. Of course, those were actually real books, too, so they weren’t going to nicely match in the same way, and would actually have some creased spines and cut pages.

  26. It may be the alcohol talking, but I happily admit to owning an Assouline book:  http://www.assouline.com/9782759402991.html super great, it reads like whole episodes of Mad Men rolled into one.  I’m not in any way embarrassed.  I even bought it from the Las Vegas store, and agree wholeheartedly with Alex Buck’s assessment of the price and the help, but not the books.

  27. Only 250 books? I stack that in the bathroom. All I need is 5K for my perfect library: 4.5 for the Eames lounge/ottoman, and the rest to re-stock the liquor cabinet. I already have the rest.

  28. So… That same look can be put together for about $2300 in materials from IKEA (except the rug) and 2-3 days of a smart ikeahacking handy person’s service. Say… Another $1500 and a couple hundred in materials. $4000, give or take.

    I like the look and I think the rug is brilliant… But if I’ve got $125K kicking around, I’ll happily spend 5K of that on the room and the rest on the books.

    I do hope the designer is in fact using IKEA sourced materials and having a lovely joke on the buyers. Wealth redistribution indeed.

    1. re: “That same look can be put together for about $2300 in materials from IKEA (except the rug)”

      Not that everything ‘luxurious’ is worth the money – but they do tend to be well made. I highly doubt the quality of IKEA would hold a candle to what ever they are selling above.

      There is a reason some furniture becomes heirlooms, and others left in the drive way for it to be scavenged.

  29. I am fairly certain that this was made on Google Sketchup, or Second Life or something. That image is pretty definitely a CG rendering, not a photograph. That coffee table. Those shadows.

    So the question is, did some intern just search for “chairs” in the Google Sketchup database, find some folding director’s chairs, pasted them in and thought “good enough?”

  30. Are they actively trying to kill the printed word?

    I’ll keep my living room, hundreds of first editions comfy leather and a dog in my lap!

  31. It seems to me that for those people who would actually ‘buy a library’ from a Christmas catalogue…it would be easier & would get their point across quicker…to just decorate their rooms with their money.

  32. in the mid 1980’s I remember visiting a “rich guy” in Austin, with a “library” in his house.  He proudly showed us all the leather books that had been glued together, shelf by shelf, and laquered so they would not “rot”        I was almost in tears.   I love my iPad, but nothing replaces the feel and smell of real books.

  33. I think most people here are misunderstanding the idea of something being “bespoke.”

    They’re not selling exactly what’s pictured. As has been noted, it’s CG and not particularly tasteful (though I don’t think it’s *that* bad).

    What bespoke means is that something is made – from scratch – for you specifically. To fit your tastes (if you have any – not a given for people who can spend this much money), your house and the other decor in it, etc.  The designer uses his/her talent to find things that work together and that you like. Depending on how much the furniture costs – which is probably a lot more than you think, and it certainly won’t be Ikea (I like Ikea, myself, but I recognize that it’s cheap) – most of what you’re paying for is the taste and skill of the designer. Plus, of course, the cost of the items, many of which will be vintage and potentially quite expensive.

    It’s the same with bespoke clothing… is a single suit from Saville Row really worth $5000+? The fabric certainly doesn’t cost that much. But you’re paying for an item made to your exact measurements, and for the skill and taste of the tailor who knows how to make you look damned sharp.

    FWIW I paid about $150 for a bespoke suit from a tailor in Thailand. It’s the best-fitting suit or sport jacket I’ve ever tried on, but it doesn’t look that great style-wise. You get what you pay for. If I was more knowledgeable about style at the time, I could have instructed him more specifically and gotten something really good – but his personal style sense wasn’t worth much, and it shows. It’s the same deal with something like a “bespoke library” – if this is something you want but you have no sense of style or taste, you’ll have to pay a designer a lot of money for their style and taste.

    1. re: “I paid about $150 for a bespoke suit from a tailor in Thailand.”

      +1 on buying custom suits. My cousin had business in Hong Kong for the better part of a year, back and forth. He got some really nice suits made. I soooo badly wanted one that had this Mandarin collar. LOVED it. The best he could do was get me a reversible silk shirt with a Mandarin collar. (Worked nicely last year as Mulan’s dad.”

      1. Ignoring your terrible collar for a moment, if you are a grown man who wears a suit, and everyone should own at least one good, fairly conservative suit,  you should be getting them made.  If you are a fourteen old going to your cousins wedding, you can buy something off the rack. Other than then you have no goddamn excuse.

        They don’t cost much more, off the rack suits look tacky at best and at worst make you look as though you’re wearing somone elses clothes.

        1. Something about you is showing there–your social class, I guess.

          Off-the-rack suits are fine if you only wear suits to weddings and funerals, especially if off-the-rack suits are worn by just about every other male at the weddings and funerals you go to. (How’s that for a “goddamn excuse”?) 

          So yeah, at the weddings and funerals I go to, the men do look like they’re wearing someone else’s clothes, whether their suits are tailored or not, because they look uncomfortable wearing something that they only wear once a year or so.

          1. No. It’s not an excuse.

            I’d buy it if it were some extravagence that didn’t cost the same or cheaper than a normal suit if you’re getting it made out of the same stuff as an off the rack suit.

            I’d buy it if every single ethnic group except white protestant males were at least aware that you can and should get your suits made.

            I’d buy it if it wasn’t painfully obvious at nearly every important official occasion in your life, you’re going to need a decent  suit.

            I’d buy it was hard to find a tailor or if most of them weren’t in mainly working class neighborhoods.

            But none of these things are true. I could see it if you lived out country but otherwise? All you’ve got working against you is laziness.

          2. As far as I’m concerned, any man that doesn’t own a pair of leather thigh boots can just crawl in a hole and die.

          3. As long as they’re handmade, of course.

            Wearing a pair not specifically made for you at  best makes you look like a comedy drag queen. At worst, it makes you look like you plan to use said boots to masturbate later.

          4. Wearing a pair not specifically made for you at  best makes you look like a comedy drag queen. At worst, it makes you look like you plan to use said boots to masturbate later.

            Both those things are true, faithful and accurate for my situation.

        2. If you are a fourteen old going to your cousins wedding, you can buy something off the rack. Other than then you have no goddamn excuse. 

          I have a goddamn excuse.  In my forty-two years on this green earth, the one suit I ever owned had occasion to be worn precisely once, back in 1990.  Alas, it doesn’t fit anymore.  The weddings of which I’ve been a part (bridegroom at two, best man/groomsman at four, officiant at one) were few enough and far between enough to need rented, not owned, tuxedoes, if for no other reason than to avoid wearing the wide-lapeled pastel ones of my extreme youth any later than necessary.  The weddings that I’ve simply attended required no more than a sport coat and my newest jeans.  That’s Southern California for you, maybe.  For a while there, I had occasion to go to the Emmys a couple of times, and had I worked on Emmy-nominated shows any longer, I would have finally gotten around to buying a classic tuxedo.

          But a suit?  Seriously, it doesn’t come up.  Maybe it’s because I’m some barefoot trailer-park-bred hick from San Diego, where the denizens are known to wear shorts and flipflops to the opera, but y’know, my social standing is just fine where it is.  Not only do I not need a custom-tailored suit, but I really don’t need a suit at all.  And if that prevents us from ever rubbing elbows in the same social circles, well, I guess I’m going to have to try to get used to the idea.

    2. I think most people here are misunderstanding the idea of something being “bespoke.” They’re not selling exactly what’s pictured. As has been noted, it’s CG and not particularly tasteful (though I don’t think it’s *that* bad). What bespoke means is that something is made – from scratch – for you specifically. To fit your tastes

      I don’t think you’re correct, because that’s not what the ad says:

      From floor to ceiling and wall to wall, every nuance of this room will reflect Assouline’s brilliant style—through custom carpeting, objets d’art, and beautifully framed prints—as well as your intellectual viewpoint.

      All the stuff in the room will reflect Assouline’s brilliant style. The only thing “bespoke” about it is that it will fit your “intellectual viewpoint” — that is, you’ll get to pick the genre.

      It’s about as bespoke as a handmade suit from Saville Row where they never take your measurements, never ask you what color you like, but you get to say “I like styles from the ’90s.”

  34. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I know several people whose living room bookshelves are decorated with outdated textbooks 25 years after they graduated.  You kind of wonder if they curl up on Saturday night with a glass of sherry and a dog-eared copy of Principles of Applied Phlebotomy.

    1. Its funny, I dealt with this issue only yesterday. We’ve just moved into a new place and all our books had been in storage for over 18 months. We cleared out our ‘Look, LOOK everybody, we’re educated as shit!’ shelf, and I did have a few pangs and thought I might sit down and read up on Artificial Intelligence again one day, but now I feel a lot better.

    2. I keep my college chemistry textbook, along with a book on metallurgy, and bullet/shell reloading in my car trunk. You never know when you’re going to need to oppose deadites or primitive screw-heads.

  35. Couple things:

    – The ad promises books, rug, picture frames, and “objets d’arte” – no furniture. Everyone take it easy.
    – Picture is definitely CGI.
    – The whole idea is obviously total bullshit.
    – I’d take the Ferrari, given the choice of Fantasy Gifts.

  36. Yeah. As Penguinchris said, this is actually a fairly nifty idea if you decide to look at what it is instead of being outraged like you’re told to.  You’re paying a dude to put together a library to your specifications, within reasonable limits.

    And frankly, if you’re at the point where your house includes a library /mouldering  sci fi paper backs are not going to cut it/. People who aren’t Boston Brahmin or Academics don’t put the actual books they read in their library because your actual books you read are cheap crap that you’re meant to throw out after you’re done.  You should at least shell out of fancy, aesthetically pleasing versions thereof.

    1. “this is actually a fairly nifty idea if you decide to look at what it is instead of being outraged like you’re told to”

      No, I was able to feel slightly nauseous looking at that god-awful monstrosity all on my own.

  37. You know what they say about Assouline: When you Assouline you make an “ass” out of “oul” and “ine.”

    Seriously, has anyone else seen a similar service from the Strand Bookstore in NYC? They will curate a library just for you for a price.  The service’s name? “Books by the Foot.”

  38. Also, since it’s Halloween, here’s a question: What happened to the interior designers that used to make “boospoke” bookcases?  You know the ones where you would tip out a book at a 45 degree angle and then the bookcase pops open revealing a room/staircase/firepole-to-other-place behind them?

  39. Last time Books By the Foot was mentioned on Boing Boing, people were smart enough to realise that it’s mostly used by set decorators. You know. For film, theatre, photo shoots. 

    As to that Assouline thing…I’m in the ‘250 books is a shelf not a library’ camp. If you’re paying that kind of money for a library, there should be more books in it. 

  40. What a horrible concept, I suppose the technological equivalent (I was going to say modern day but this is modern?) is going onto pirate bay and downloading a torrent of 5000 ebooks.

  41. Before the bubble, $125k would have bought my house and the house next door. After the bubble, $125k would buy most of the houses on this block.

  42. Ahem, this is nothing new. NM simply is giving someone a name to go along with the pre-fab library and giving the new owner a chance to say they bought it from NM. As with that GREAT GATSBY quote, rich people have been making fake libraries for centuries. In the DFW metroplex I knew several designers who routinely bought books from used book stores to populate “libraries”.  Up here in NY, after the family moved into our new place, it shocked me how many people commented that my books needed to be arranged by color & size.  It truly is sad. 

  43. 250 books?  I have more than that on my iPad in one format or another (yes, including comic books as well) a comfy chair to curl up in and the decor isn’t complete tat.  

    There is a distinct lack of books in this ‘library’. 

  44. All you’ve got working against you is laziness.

    No, that’s not it, but I can see that there’s no point in trying to explain it to you. Because what you’ve got working against you is your inability to see that a lot of other people live differently from you. Very differently.

    1. I live in my bespoke library. I requested a bed, toilet, and kitchen for mine, but provided my own books.

    2. No. Really. Explain it to me.

      It’s not a poverty thing because if you can afford a cheap suit, you can afford to get one made.

      It’s not an ethnicity thing because wearing off the rack suits is really distinctly a white guy thing.

      It’s not a class thing, because getting your first suit made was a thing until off the rack suits became ubiqutous.

      Yes. People probably won’t because it’s easier or they aren’t aware you can do it. But you are dealing with a very, very small population who can afford an off the rack suit that couldn’t get a cheap tailored one.

      So unless you’re willing to expand a bit, I’m thinking you just want to play class warrior, which is always fun,  haven’t actually met any real working class people but sure are fond of the idea of them.

      1. So unless you’re willing to expand a bit, I’m thinking you just want to play class warrior, which is always fun,  haven’t actually met any real working class people but sure are fond of the idea of them.

        So you don’t believe that those are the kinds of weddings and funerals I go to? The kind where most of the people there assume (yes, wrongly) that “tailored” means more expensive, so they buy off the rack instead? Where most of the people don’t even know where any particular tailors are? Where most of them can’t even tell that the men’s suits don’t quite fit them perfectly, or else don’t care, because they’re more dazzled by how unusual it is to even see them wearing suits?


  45. It’s like an abortion or gay sex: if you don’t like it, just ignore it. Granted, that carpet is going to haunt my dreams BUT! Someone likes this crap. We don’t. Let it go.

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