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Don't let Martyn Lawrence-Bullard's flash fool you - he may be a Bravo regular, published his own book and have his own home collection, but his designs mean serious business. Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Design has tackled big name celebrity homes (we're talking Sir Elton John, Cher and Joe Frances) with total genius, managing to create fantasy spaces that are still warm and inviting. While looking through Martyn's portfolio, we were blown away by his ability to incorporate cultural influences in a way that make them feel so naturally intrinsic to the space he's decorating. Almost like theatrical set design, Martyn's ability to completely transform a space is a total inspiration. Talk about a master of their craft.
We're so honored Martyn took time out of his insane schedule to answer our Designer Crush Q&A!
1. Where do you currently live in CA and what's special about how you've designed your personal space?
I live in the Hollywood Hills in a 1920s-style Italianate villa built by Rudolph Valentino and later home to silent movie star Gloria Swanson and finally famed writer William Faulkner. The home has creative energy flowing through its walls. It is to me a hub of inspiration and my personal sanctuary. It's been designed around my most special possessions incorporating my collections of photography, Italian antique furniture and deep, sexy, soft furnishings for total lounging comfort.
2. What's your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)?
Lady GaGa, I believe, would be a dream design client. Her wild and creative personal style must translate into a fantastical interior. Layered, adventurous, intelligent and super sexy. Just the way I like to design!
3. In real life, what's your favorite design project you've completed to date?
I love all my projects and am always especially fond of the latest one! It's like giving birth to a new baby, they instantly become your favorite obsession for a while. The home I recently completed for Sir Elton John and David Furnish has got to be my current favorite. A mix of amazing modern art and fine 1970s Italian furniture in a super mid century clean-lined home in Beverly Hills.
4. You've been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be?
A Milanese ebony cabinet inlayed with ivory detailing depicting fantastical scenes with Roman gods and Renaissance details. The cabinet dates from the late 18th century and is the first thing I bought for my current house from an auction house in London.
5. What's your creative process when designing a space?
I firstly make sure I fully understand my clients' decorative dreams. I ask questions like what do you like about your current home and what don't you like about it? What's your favorite restaurant, hotel, vacation spot, fashion designer, etc.? From this info I build a picture and start to understand the direction I will build upon to create the most personal space for my clients.
6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?
Istanbul has been a major design destination for me. Wondrous fabrics and fine lanterns. Marrakech is also an amazing spot, especially in the Old Medina. The antique fair in Parma, Italy is amazing for both antique and vintage items. It's on twice a year. And of course the Marche Au Puce in Paris always gives up fun and highly decorative objects.
7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?
I'm not too good at any DIY myself. I once tried to 'salon' hang a grouping of pictures together on a wall in my library. I stupidly hung the highest one last, which then slid off its nail head hitting the one below and causing a catastrophic collapse of all 8 pictures, damaging one and almost all the frames of the rest! So now I leave all DIY projects alone and bring in the professionals. For me that's the less expensive way to do it!!
8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?
I love that brass has made an enormous comeback. I love the idea of having brass taps and fittings in bathrooms, brass tables and coffee tables in living spaces, even brass-framed lighting and chandeliers. That subtle golden glow is timeless but again very modern. The revival of a classic!
9. Lightning round!
Beach or mountains?
Twitter or Facebook?
Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?
Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?
Would you rather shop new or vintage?
Great view or perfect pool?
SF or LA?
10. What's one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?
Get yourself the best accountant you can find and leave the business side to them, thus allowing your creativity to be totally channeled into making your projects magical!
Want more Martyn?