Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Photo: Tim Street-Porter
When I learned that I'd have the chance to interview interior designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, I couldn't contain my excitement. He's decorated the homes of a slew of celebrities, including Cher, Elton John and Ellen Pompeo, and appeared on Bravo's Million Dollar Decorators, which will return for season two. Here, the interior designer, who was on Architectural Digest's 2012 AD100 list highlighting the best in architecture and interior design, shares about his approach to decorating, working with celebrity clients and his latest projects.
Decor Musings: How would you describe your decorating style?
Martyn Lawrence-Bullard: I have lots of styles. I decorate for my clients, not for me, so my inspiration comes purely from their energy. For instance, Elton John really knows what he wants and has worked with some extraordinary decorators over the years. He had a vision of how he likes to live and it was my job to take that vision and make it into a reality for him. With Cher, she's always liked themed interiors. For her West Hollywood townhouse, we did an Indian fantasy and for the beach house, we went with a Moroccan villa vibe. Her whole thing was living out a fantasy in design.
Martyn infused an Indian vibe into Cher's two-floor West Hollywood home. Photo: Tim Street-Porter
DM: Where do you find your inspiration?
MLB: Travel really is the best inspiration a designer can ever have because not only does it feed your soul, it feeds your creative energy. It provides the juices that you drink upon to find new and interesting ways of doing things.
DM: What are some of your favorite places to visit?
MLB: I just came back from Istanbul -- it's one of my favorite spots. In Morocco, I love Marrakesh and Tangier. Rome is also always so inspiring for me. I enjoy seeing the great, classic architecture there.
DM: For people on a budget looking to spruce up their places, what’s one decorating tip you would share with them?
MLB: Make sure your sofa is upholstered in a plain fabric, so you can create different looks with fun, decorative pillows. You can go to Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn and buy fantastic pillows for about $20 that will completely rejuvenate your interior. Pillows are a great way to add pattern, freshen the space and delineate seasons.
For actress Ellen Pompeo's home, Martyn went for both comfort and style. Photo: Tim Street-Porter
DM: Can you share one of your favorite places to shop for clients?
MLB: ABC Carpet & Home in New York always has fresh things. I love that it has an eclectic, ethinic vibe mixed with fun, modern products. There’s a little bit of something for everyone. It doesn’t matter what I’m looking for, I seem to be able to find it there.
DM: Season two of Million Dollar Decorators is to come. How was filming the first season?
MLB: It’s been a blast and we’re thrilled to be doing season two. It was the most fun I could have with my clothes on (laughs). It has completely changed the course of my business. I’ve been called to work on major hotels and I’m even a spokesperson for Jaguar now. All of these amazing collaborations have come directly from the show, which has been extraordinary.
DM: What’s one takeaway you want readers to go away with from your book, Live, Love, Decorate?
MLB: Never be scared when decorating and truly follow your heart. Decorating is all about being brave. If you like it, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks because at the end of the day, you’re the person who has to live with it. If you think it’s beautiful, then it is beautiful. That is the whole concept of the book. It’s about living life, loving what you do and decorating with that.
DM: What projects do you have coming up?
MLB: In addition to season two of Million Dollar Decorators, I have a separate show starting in England. My fabric line with Schumacher is expanding, I have wallpaper and outdoor fabric lines launching in a few weeks, and will also be releasing new rugs with The Rug Company. I also have a line in the works with Ann Sacks. There is major product happening at every level of the marketplace.
DM: How do you feel about social media?
MLB: I love Twitter because it’s instant. As things are happening, you can let the world know and receive immediate feedback. I love Facebook as well because if you get a great message from someone, you can easily find out a bit more about the person.
Social media is the way forward, especially for someone like myself who really wants to work hands-on with people and understand what they want. It's a way to learn about new trends and keep my fingers on the pulse. I enjoy the interaction.