Whilst FINALLY catching up on my perusal of past issues of ELLE DECOR, I thumbed across the inspirational, eclectic and beautifully layered home of TV’s Million Dollar Decorator Designer, Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Bullard is known both for his massive, yet charming personality on Bravo’s M.D.D. program as well as his creations of dramatic and memorable old Hollywood interiors. Martyn Lawrence Bullard‘s client roster includes the likes of Cher, Elton John, and Jimmy Choo to name but a few (sorry for the slight rhyme…I couldn’t help myself). However, for me it is his own home in Whitley Heights in L.A. that simply entranced me with its rich and conceptual layering and playful homage to its storied past. The home is an old Hollywood Spanish icon built in 1922 that was once home to the silent-film icons Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson. (As if THAT wasn’t enough… novelist William Faulkner wrote screenplays on the balcony off what is now Bullard’s master bedroom). Seriously… HOW could one walk down a staircase once owned by Gloria Swanson and NOT reenact the fabled scene from Sunset Boulevard EVERY time. (I know I certainly could NOT). What I find delightful about the Design is that Bullard opted to NOT do the standard Hollywood “tear down and build BIGGER” routine (Think of the atrocious loss of Pickfair in Hollywood. The perfect example of an endless budget and absolutely no taste) .. but instead opted to worked WITH the home and draw out its inherit gorgeous features, whilst commemorating its important history. Some of my favourite rooms from the beautifully written and photographed ELLE DECOR article include the following:
The master bedroom is as much an homage to Hollywood past, as it is a layered, modern-melding of World cultures and travels… Bullard designed the bed and fabrics, while the rich and deep wall colour is by Farrow & Ball… one of my favourite colours, Eating Room Red.
Essential, decadent and functional, the Dressing room is a refined and elegant study of World cultures. The subtle homage to India plays off beautifully against the graphic,sculptural chandeliers giving the effect of a “Maharaja’s palace” as Bullard says in the article. The dressing room’s walls are covered in another fabric Bullard designed for Schumacher, while the light fixtures are by Restoration Hardware.
One of my favourite spaces in the feature is the “Screening Room”, which has been swathed in more of Bullard’s own fabrics. Diminutive yet BIG on style and impact, this space speaks eloquently of Design, comfort and approachable glamour. I love the original 19th-century Turkish table and the exquisite original photo of Elizabeth Taylor by Herb Ritts. The sexy Morrocan style pendant is exactly like my featured Zenza lights.
The Dining room, whilst snug in size, ensures you of an evening of sophistication, warmth and exquisite beauty. Bullard had the ceiling stenciled in a pattern inspired by a Fortuny fabric while the light fixture is made of vintage Indian lanterns. I love the combination of the custom-made table surrounded by 19th-century Italian chairs (again covered in a Bullard-designed fabric for Schumacher). The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Great White which allows the exquisite patterns and the rich tone of the ceiling to pop beautifully.
One can almost see the reboot 2013 version of Norma Desmond reclining on this exquisite chaise in the garden. Stephen Block of L.A.’s Inner Gardens has created, with Bullard, a moment of complete escape and beauty in the yard (with as they say in the Elle Decor feature, a reference to Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech). I love the usage of the rich blossoms against the black and white furnishings/fabrics and rich green vegetation which allows the purple philodendron, blue agave, and imperial bromeliads to pop powerfully while at the same time giving a subtle homage to plants often used and found in a 1920’s garden. Recessed in a wall in the courtyard is a 19th-century Portuguese plaque added by Rudolph Valentino.
The Living room immediately sweeps the viewer up in the romance and lineage/pedigree of the house and beautifully combines the best elements of glamour with comfort, of style with substance, of approach-ability with inspiration. The photograph is by Denise de la Rue, the wall sconce is 18th-century Italian and the rug is by Mansour Modern. Bullard custom designed the cocktail table, stools, and the patterned chair to create pieces with a visual weight to ground the space, yet still leave a fluidity and effortless movement.