As I knocked on the front door of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s 1920’s Mediterranean Style Villa in Los Angeles, I felt like I’d stepped onto the set of a Shakespearean play. A window from a Juliet balcony above me flung open, and Bullard himself appeared, calling, “Hello Darling! I’ll be right down!”
Bullard’s charming partner, Michael, welcomed my photographer, Hugh, and me at the door. By his side was their adorable puppy, Daisy, whom they affectionately call their “baby girl.” They’d flown in from Italy only the night before, but they both looked as fresh as daisies. We were ushered in and within minutes, Michael returned with a steaming Hermes teapot & matching cups. It looked so good, I made the following note to self: “Purchase Hermes tea set as soon as humanly possible and serve tea to any person who walks through my front door.” After one sip I had convinced myself that it’d be a great way to get in touch with my English roots and the splurge was therefore completely justified.
Let me give you some background on Bullard. He arrived in LA in 1994 as an aspiring actor, but it didn’t take long for his love of design to win over. Bravo’s TV producers realized he should be playing no other character than himself, which brought him a starring role on Million Dollar Decorators. He has earned a reputation as the official “designer to the stars.” Just to name-drop a few, we’re talking the likes of Elton John & John Furnish, Christina Aguilera, Cher, Tommy Hilfiger, Pamela Anderson, Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne, Eva Mendes, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian.
I love mixing metals, brass with bronze, chrome with stainless, copper with platinum.
Once the warmth of the tea started to settle, I began to take in the opulent interior of the couple’s home: It was a feast for the eye; pattern on pattern medieval hand-carved sideboards, cabinets and chairs, and an amazing zebra print rug under my feet. “The rug was once in Andy Warhol’s studio,” Martyn told me. “If only the stripes could talk!” How does one even get the chance to purchase a rug which once resided in Andy Warhol’s studio? I won’t even begin to guess, but what I will say is, that rug is a celebrity in itself.
I think in design you should never have any rules. Be free to express yourself and your creativity. Always take chances. You only live once.
Next, Bullard extended us an invitation—drum roll—upstairs to his dressing room. Bullard’s ensemble never fails to impress, and here I was seeing the source of his fashion sense. It was like Aladdin’s cave in there: full of magic. Shoes, shirts, jackets and vests were impeccably compartmentalized and there were more cravats and scarves than you could poke a stick at. A statue of Napoleon oversaw the comings and goings in this room, his neck dripping with chains. There were inlaid ivory and wooden boxes brimming with cuff links and masculine power rings, silver cobra candlesticks and tortoise-shell dishes, and an array of Bullard’s signature scents.
Linen has long been my fabric of choice but more and more I’m drawn to velvets, especially when used to upholster furniture pieces with brass studs.
The next thing we noticed was a pile of matching Louis Vuitton Luggage arranged in perfect shoot-worthy precision on the floor: signs of their recent trip. My eye travelled further and I realized Bullard’s love of LV luggage was no fleeting affair. There was an additional stack of beautifully aged, vintage LV suitcases, arranged neatly in a way that would make Monsieur Vuitton himself utterly proud. Had I been sitting on a chair I would’ve fallen off it.
What a wonderful adventure it was to peek inside the door of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s exquisite home. Anyone who has met him will agree that he is a true gentleman with charm, charisma and definite stage presence.
I have beautiful treasures collected from around the world and grouped together they offer me travel memories which always inspire my interiors.