Live, Love and Decorate with Abandon

By Shelley M Black

An Award-winning Los Angeles-based interior designer Martyn Bullard is renowned for his mastery of a broad range of styles and inviting interiors. Consistently named as one of the world’s top 100 interior designers by Architectural Digest, his unrivalled attention to detail and eclectic yet sophisticated style have earned him a position as one of the A-lister’s favourites.

He’s hung wallpaper for sisters Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, and Kourtney Kardashian; his iconic style has graced the homes of Tommy Hilfiger, Cher, Ellen Pompeo and actress Eva Mendes, who is married to one of our favourite Canadian actors, Ryan Gosling.

But even if you’re not an A-lister, you can covet Bullard’s unique aesthetic and be curious about what continues drives his passion across a plethora of tantalizing design projects. Homefront caught up with the popular television personality to find out.

What or who is your biggest inspiration right now?

There’s a collection. Sir John Soane will always be a great inspiration for me. His work has influenced so much of today’s architecture. I carry a torch for self-taught Japanese architect, Tadao Ando for the purity and critical realism of his designs.

Richard Neutra’s mid-century values that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living capture my imagination and then there’s Renzo Mongiardino, my design icon, whose theatrical interiors remain spectacular. David Hicks, also a legend, often excites me with his use of colour in modern meets traditional juxtapositions. And then there’s French decorator Jacques Grange, who has a wonderful sense of style, as did the late David Collins, especially in his public spaces and restaurants.

Is there anyone you fantasize about designing for?

My dream assignment would be to design a home for the flamboyantly provocative Lady Gaga. She’s amazing and I would love to work with someone that creative. I’m certain our collaboration would result in the most out of the ordinary interiors.

Creativity and innovation are not easy to summon up. Is there a magic ingredient?

It’s essential for anyone in the field to stay curious and push themselves each day to keep on discovering. My muses come from the things that surround me. Every day I see, smell or touch something new that gives me pause to celebrate. New countries, the beauty of different cultures, colours and tastes…all become the threads that I can weave into my decorative tapestry.

Tell us about working with celebrities?

My celebrity clients are treated no differently than any anyone else. With each and every commission, I’m on the job to help someone realize their decorative wishes and dreams. The client’s personality should shine in their interior spaces. In other words, my decorative scheme should be a complete reflection of their personalities.

Working with a celebrity is slightly different as, by nature, they tend to be more adventurous and oftentimes, they love to let their imagination run free. (Their pocket books as well!). It’s my job is to reel them back in, formulate the desired look and make their home into a stunning sanctuary for them. Celebrities are just like the rest of us; They need a private reserve where they can recover and rest from their animated lives.

How do you remain unique and still capture mid-century glamour in your work?

The best interiors have no borders between age and beauty. All beautiful things belong to the here and now. I love to mix a mid-century chair with a modern sofa and an 18th century painting, or a modern artwork with a 1950s table and a Minotti sofa. It’s all about form and, as long as there’s a connection between colour and shape, it works. Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, as I’m regularly reminded. However, I believe it’s beautiful to be adventurous and limitless with décor. My motto is: Live, love and decorate with abandon. 

What’s your latest obsession?

Photography. Right now, I’m enjoying photographic art in my projects and my home. I have a large black and white collection that is constantly moving around between my homes and office.

Colour photography is my new medium. The infusion of colour into spaces through the hanging of photographic art with other media such as drawings or oils has created my own private gallery—it’s a mixture that creates a fabulous eclectic symmetry that I love to share.

But surely it takes million dollar budgets to decorate with such style?

Great style doesn’t come with a price tag. It can be an item that costs one dollar or a million dollars. You can create the most magical of interiors on a tight budget by scouring flea markets and high street stores. It’s like clothing; it’s really all about how you put it together. Style isn’t about expensive things or rare objects; it’s about mixing things and how you feel with them sharing your space. When you love a piece, the price tag means nothing.

Shelley M Black’s career has spanned a unique range of editorial and corporate roles with Flare and Maclean’s. She enjoys writing about all forms of design.

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