Eric B- The Blind Designer  inside the house of one of his clients that is being remodeled. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.

Eric B- The Blind Designer

Blind Designer Eric Brun-Sanglard sees what other people can’t even imagine. This inspired him to launch a career in home design after becoming blind more than 10 years ago.

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The French born Brun-Sanglard, – who refers to himself as Eric B. – was a successful creative director in the advertising business, regularly jetting between Los Angeles, New York and Paris when he was gripped by an HIV related eye ailment, Cytomegalovirus Retinitis (CMV). Despite efforts at treating the disease, Brun-Sanglard lost his vision by November 1995.

The disease was potentially deadly. “Losing my sight was not about becoming blind, but preparing for the end. I had a bigger war to fight.” Brun-Sanglard’s fight lasted into 1996 when the inhibitor drugs became available his disease went into remission. “Being blind became a new life I had to endure, but being blind wasn’t so huge anymore.”

“I didn’t want to fight my way back into my old life,” said Brun-Sanglard. “Reinventing myself into someone else became a way of avoiding comparing my new life and old life.”
Brun-Sanglard’s home became a refuge. “I wanted to create a safe place where I would feel serene and protected.” Brun-Sanglard began remodeling his home.

Soon after, Brun-Sanglard had to sell his home to help pay his medical expenses and move into more modest digs. Looking for a fixer-upper to live in, Brun-Sanglard ended up with two properties, which he and a partner fixed up and sold. It was so successful that they created their own company, Eclipse Design, in 1998.

In 2001, Brun-Sanglard discovered that his partner had been embezzling money, plunging the company into debt. He was forced to sell his home to pay the company’s debt and start over.

Today, at the age of 43, Brun-Sanglard works with the aid of his assistant Ron Tremblay. Brun-Sanglard starts his projects by walking through the space, getting a feel for the room. When you are blind, the other senses become more acute, he explained. He continues to explore the room feeling the textures of the walls, the features of the room while Tremblay relays details and colors, making notes for Brun-Sanglard. Tremblay then produces raised blueprints on a specialized machine from which Brun-Sanglard works.

Tremblay – who jokingly refers to himself as the seeing-eye designer – said, “Eric is a great guy to work with. It’s fascinating to watch him work. He has amazing intuition and an amazing sense of detail…Because he is blind, it gives me the opportunity to participate in ways I couldn’t with a sighted designer.”

The hardest part of being a blind designer is “to convince people I can do their house,” said Brun-Sanglard. The best publicity has been people seeing the houses that he has done on his own for sale.

Brun-Sanglard’s lack of sight was not a deterrent for actress Virginia Madsen, whose recent work includes starring roles in Sideways and Firewall. Madsen has hired Brun-Sanglard to do her garden. “I knew Eric would know how to meld my taste with a contemporary theme. Being blind was secondary,” said Madsen. “Being blind makes all the other senses more acute. Eric knows where the sun falls and where the breeze will blow on your face at night.”

“I’m always one step ahead,” said Brun-Sanglard. “I have a tendency to always be in the future. It scares me to sit still too long.” Next on his agenda is a television show “Designing Blind,” due to air next September. The reality show will focus on the experience of taking couples through the design process blindfolded.

“I want to show the world that you can do something useful even if you are blind,” said Brun-Sanglard. He is a mentor in the blind community. He hopes teaching and sharing his experience with inspire others. “We all go through hard times. We have a choice to be a victim or learn and grow from it.”

“I have a virus that should kill me,” said Brun-Sanglard. “I have no time… If I stop reinventing myself constantly I will die.”

Text by Mimi Rohr
(c) 2006 Mimi Rohr


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Eric B- The Blind Designer  inside the house of one of his clients that is being remodeled. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer
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February 16, 2006
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Eric B- The Blind Designer . Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (R) being helped by his assistant Ron Tremblay in reading blueprints with his finger. The lines of the blueprints were raised Braille-like by a special device.  Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer reads blueprints with his finger. The lines of the blueprints were raised Braille-like by a special device. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer reads blueprints with his finger. The lines of the blueprints were raised Braille-like by a special device. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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The special device that raises the lines drawn on a paper after it passes through. This helps Eric B- The Blind Designer read blueprints of a project. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer in his office using a special software that vocalizes the information that is normally read on the screen. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (L) being guided by his assistant Ron Tremblay to walk through the debris of the construction site of one of his projects outside Los Angeles. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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The foot of Eric B- The Blind Designer (L) feeling the terrain while walking on the construction site of one of his projects outside Los Angeles. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (R) explaining his design to foreman Kamal Jeet for a building project outside Los Angeles. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (L) uses a talking measuring tape while reviewing the work done for a client outside Los Angeles. He is being helped by his assistant Ron Tremblay. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (L) being helped by his assistant Ron Tremblay read blueprints with his finger while reviewing the work done on a new swimming pool he designed for a client outside Los Angeles.  The lines of the blueprints were raised Braille-like by a special device.  Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (R) being helped by his assistant Ron Tremblay analyze new bathroom fixtures at the Living Square store in Los Angeles. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (L) helped by his assistant Ron Tremblay reading the Braille-like blueprints of the work being done on the house of one of his clients. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer (L) feels the space with his hands inside the house he doing remodeling work for one of his clients. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B, The Blind Designer (L) shows to famous mortgage broker Craig Van Skaik (R) some of  the work he designed in his dining room. In the middle is assistant Ron Tremblay. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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A file picture of the dining room of famous real estate and mortgage brokers Chuck Keller and Craig Van Skaik before Eric B, The Blind Designer started remodeling. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B, The Blind Designer, in the kitchen he entirely remodeled for famous real estate and mortgage brokers Chuck Keller and Craig Van Skaik. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer inside the house of one of his clients that is being remodeled. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer  feels the light chandelier inside the house of one of his clients that is being remodeled.  Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer inside the house of one of his clients that is being remodeled. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer discussing with movie star Virginia Madsen a construction project on her property near Los Angeles.Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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February 18, 2006
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Eric B- The Blind Designer in front of the expensive house he once owned and re-modeled with his partner but had to sell in 2002 to pay back his debts accumulated by the same partner. French singer Mylene Farmer wanted to buy it but US actress Penelope Cruz got it and still owns it. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer inside his Los Angeles house that he designed himself. Eric Brun- Sanglard, 43, a.k.a  Eric B- The Blind Designer, became a successful designer after he was blinded by illness more than 10 years ago. Some of his clients include movie stars like Virginia Madsen.
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Eric B- The Blind Designer
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February 18, 2006
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