One of the most prominent interior designers in the world today, Martyn Lawrence Bullard started young and built his niche in the luxury design industry. Although drawn to acting in his younger years, a street market stall at twelve-years-old launched his love of design. Natural talent and a great eye for celebrity style fueled his meteoric rise onto magazine covers and into the employ of some of the hottest names in Hollywood.
His client list reads like a Who’s Who. Cher, Tommy Hilfiger, Kylie Jenner, and more have sought him out to transform their spaces. Martyn shared with us his story and insights on catering to his notable clients’ tastes and lifestyles.
Q: What inspired you to become an interior designer? Talk to us about the journey from starting out to becoming an award-winning, world renown designer with impressive A-list clientele.
MLB: I started my career, without really knowing it, at the age of 12 when I convinced my father to rent me a stall in Greenwich market selling bric-a-brac that I would buy with my pocket money. This hobby would in fact become my education of antiques and design, decorative arts and most importantly educated me on places of origin, styles and periods.
I did this until I was 17, and then joined the Lee Strasberg Acting Academy in London, resulting in my acting for a few years and eventually moving to LA to pursue that career. After a while in LA and few small parts, the producer from a movie I was in came for dinner at my little house that I had rented then and loved it, asking me to decorate their offices. I did it for fun thinking it would turn into another movie part, but instead it led into more design jobs and a bunch of celebrities hiring me within my first year of this new career. Within 9 months, I had 6 magazine covers worldwide and the rest is now history!
Q: Tell us about a project or two you’re most proud of and why?
MLB: I think I have to say my projects for Cher have always been favorites. With her great theatrical style and love for interior design, she made the most amazing client. Her directive of wanting to live like the first wife of a Maharaja could not be more exciting, enticing and inspirational. The results were magical, full of theatrical tricks and decorative delights.
I also loved my work for Kylie Jenner. Working for someone so young, but with such strong ideas, was a truly fun project to lead with strong, and now very replicated interiors. Color infused and playful in every way, artwork and vintage furniture infuse a joyous vibe and give a layered look that mirrors her style and her youth.
Tommy Hilfiger’s homes have been wonderful to work on also. When you work with a fashion designer it’s always a great experience. Their passion and understanding of color and form is amazing and allows me, as the interior designer, to really run wild with a look and be adventurous as the client is used to such when making fashion show decisions and collection directives. From his Golden Beach, Miami house to his Connecticut estate, both very different projects, Tommy was always totally connected to the projects, hands on and willing to take chances for spectacular results. He’s a true gentleman and design impresario.
Q: What are the prominent design trends you have your eye on in 2020? How will you differentiate your projects while still remaining ‘on-trend’?
MLB: I never follow trends, trends are to be made, not followed. I believe we should design for our clients’ needs and not for a trendy look. I love to create spaces that reflect the client’s personality, making the home their own and not some designer fantasy. There is nothing more interesting than a home that becomes a window into the soul of its owner.
Q: With so much innovation in the way we live, how do you envision the future of interior design?
MLB: Design has changed significantly in the last decade due to technology and all that brings with it. From computer generated programs that form rooms at the touch of a button to furniture that can literally be printed out! The home tech systems are changing so rapidly creating more ease of use for lighting and decorative details. Digital printing is bringing about new ways of designing, from fabrics and wallpapers, to all home graphics. The future is upon us and evolves daily. The next decade of design will be unlike anything we have ever seen before and is moving faster than anything else we have seen in decorative history until now.
Q: In what ways do you work with each client to ensure the finished product is exactly what they imagined?
MLB: I work very closely with my clients, firstly asking a stream of questions to identify their tastes and styles, then I often give them the homework of gathering imagery or maybe making a Pinterest board of the things they like, own and want to incorporate, or would love to own – it may be as random as a door knob from an entire room image, to a color, or fabric. Eventually all these pieces become like a jigsaw puzzle, that becomes my job of making the imagery fit together in harmony, resulting in the perfect picture for my client of their dream home. We execute the design from this, along with the language the architecture gives us and the clients desires mixed with my imagination to help the vision become reality. The process is in each step revealed to the client, and as such makes them very connected to their project and have a true attachment to the process and the final result – a completely customized home and sanctuary.
To learn more about Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design visit www.martynlawrencebullard.com.