Five minutes with Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Kylie Jenner’s interior designer
Originally from London, Martyn Lawrence Bullard began his career as a teenager selling antiques at Greenwich Antiques Market, but is now based in LA, where he has become one of the world’s most sought after designers.
His client list includes celebrities like Cher, Ellen Pompeo, Elton John, and Kylie Jenner, and his recent redesign of the latter’s Calabasas home featured on the March 2019 cover of Architectural Digest, causing quite a firestorm online.
We catch up with the interior designer as he launches his second The Rug Company collection.
My projects have a very varied style. I have worked on restoring a twelfth-century castle and created an interactive laser light show dance room. It’s not the period or style that excites me, it’s the learning process within each project. I love to evolve and be challenged. That’s what keeps my creative juices flowing.
I always ask my clients a series of ten or so questions that really give me a great insight into their decorative tastes. What they love about their current home and don’t like, their favourite place to vacation, where do they like to eat, what’s their favourite hotel and why. Often they don’t even see the correlation of their answers, but when it’s laid out it forms the jigsaw pieces that will eventually create the picture of their perfect home.
Marrakech rug, from €4,358, The Rug Company available from Maoliosa
The fun part of designing my own collections is that I can do what I like – what inspires me personally at that time and what I feel is missing in the market place. From pattern and colour to texture, it’s all an expression of things I love and reflect a certain part of my personality that hopefully others will gravitate towards also.
My latest collection with The Rug Company is primarily inspired by Palm Springs, the iconic Californian mid-century getaway, famed for its architecture, swinging 1950s and 1960s décor and Hollywood’s rat pack playground. Having recently bought a home there myself, I have been entranced by the decorating legends that have worked there and by the multitude of majestic styles that blend seamlessly within its mid-century architecture.
Stevie Mac rug, from €3,540, The Rug Company available from Maoliosa
I used a muted palette for this collection, and I feel captures the spirit of today’s interiors. However, as with all The Rug Company pieces, they are totally customisable and a client can add or change any colour to suit there own palette and desired look. For me, a rug is a piece to layer into a space and grounds the whole room, adding luxury and texture.
Kylie Jenner’s home is now the most famous interior in the world. There are over a billion traceable impressions from the story, making design publishing history. Obviously, as fun and creative as the interiors I designed for her are, her personal fame has created this phenomenon. I was shocked by the power she exudes and the thirst from the public to know more about her and the way she lives.
View this post on Instagram
Good morning world ! My latest @archdigest cover features the home of @kyliejenner …. one of the most fun homes i have ever worked on , full of Kylie’s fun loving energy and chic style. Designing for someone so young yet with such style was a dream come true and i had such a great time making a home for her to welcome her baby and creating a sanctuary for her and her family to enjoy their home life to the fullest. Thank you Kylie for trusting me and my team , @krisjenner for your love and support , @amytastley for the beautiful cover and @mayer.rus for the brilliantly written story. @lawrenhowell for such chic styling genius ……And last but not least @thefacinator for one of my all time favorite cover shots ! #kyliestyle
It was a great pleasure to design her home, a house that is her first real adult home, where she would welcome her daughter and grow from businesswoman into the world’s most successful business entrepreneur in her age group. I hope her interiors have also inspired young people to be creative and fearless with their own decorative passions and fantasies, no matter how big or small your budget is. The goal is to live with a personal style that makes you happy on whatever level that is and will become your trademark.
Ceilings are the most ignored decorative space. In history, the ceiling was always the area where the most money and attention was given, but over the last century, that fashion has been lost. For me, I adore using ceilings as a great expanse to design and create on, giving drama and romance into a room. I feel it’s fresh again, often unexpected and always attention-grabbing.
An ornate ceiling is softened by a South Ridge Teal rug (from €3,133, available from Maoliosa).
I’ve just finished work on a Georgian Irish country house. My American clients who purchased it have deep connections with Ireland and a passion for the land and its peoples so it has been a complete delight to work with them, restoring the house into a home for their family. We have scoured the world for pieces to bring back to Ireland and taken great pains to be sure we honour the history of the estate, its Georgian interiors, and its owners. I have enjoyed every moment of the process and have my own special attachment to Ireland that has added to the enjoyment. My middle name being Shamus, named in honour of the barman who over-served my parents in a Dublin pub the night I was conceived!
I think pink gold or rose gold tones are going to date very fast. From bathroom taps to side tables, although a beautiful hue, I prefer to keep that to my jewellery rather than expensive home accessories that I feel we will all be tired of soon.
My latest interior obsession is green. I have always loved green in my interiors, but it seemed to lose favour with the public in the last few years. However, I’m happy to celebrate its comeback and am ferociously designing with green in all of its shades, adding it to many of my current interiors in one way or another.
Green is such an underrated colour according to Martyn. Here, he pairs botanical green wallpaper with his South Ridge Pink rug from his new collection (from €3,540, available from Maoliosa).
Diana Ross would be my dream client. An unexpected choice maybe, but I have loved her and her music for my entire life. When I was a small boy my sisters would play her albums over and over again as they got ready to go out. I almost got to work for her a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the home she was buying fell through due to structural problems, but I left our meeting glowing from the warmth of her personality and the passionate exchange we had about the way she wanted to feel and live in her home. Not only an icon but a beautiful soul too. I hope one day soon we get to work together properly to make her decorative dreams come true.
My advice to anyone starting an interiors project of any size is to trust in yourself. Never be afraid that your vision or taste is different from your friends, family members or neighbours. We are all individuals with individual taste. Believe in that and move fearlessly forward to execute that vision. Whether it’s a purple bedroom or a floral sofa, if you’re feeling it, then go for it. You will surprise yourself just how good that feels and looks, and how easy the rest will fall into place. Personal style is the most expressive way to show a window into your personality, and the very best interiors are always filled with personality. It’s always the star ingredient.