Martyn Bullard is one of the top names in interior design: “modern does not have to mean restrained"

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If you want to keep abreast of the brightest ideas in interior design right now, Martyn Lawrence Bullard is definitely someone you should know about. According to Elle Decor, amongst other influential voices, Bullard is one of the world’s top 25 interior designers. A leading authority in the field, the Architectural Digest, ranks him even more highly. He has also made a name for himself as a television personality in the United States with the popular interior design programmes Million Dollar Decorators and Hollywood Me.

Designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the Pink Cabana Restaurant clearly shows Bullard's bold style.

Bullard was born in Lewisham, London, but has lived in Los Angeles since the 1990s. He divides his time between his home in the Hollywood hills and his desert hideaway in Palm Springs, a Modernist building from the 1960s. Bullard loves to travel, is a fan of the Brutalist chairs of Paul Evans, and has used Guerlain’s Vetiver fragrance since the age of 15.

“I love to travel because seeing new places feeds the soul and gets the creativity flowing at the same time”, Bullard said in an interview with Elle Decoration magazine. This is a sentiment that many other enthusiastic travellers are bound to share.

One of the things he treasures most in life, however, is his dog, Daisy, a soft-coated Wheaten terrier: “Daisy’s a big, fluffy ball of love that makes me forget all the stresses of the day”.

Bullard’s interior designs are a good example of the broadness of the concept of a modern house. “Modern” does not mean having to do what everyone else does–there is the freedom to mix and match different products boldly. Nor does modern have to mean restrained. Not only does Bullard embrace this freer conception of modernism, but he also refuses to compromise on quality or unique details. It is this bold combination of principles that has made him famous.

As well as designing for modern homes, Bullard has travelled the world to design the décor for many luxury hotels and tourist destinations. Examples of buildings that bear his handprint are Chateau Gütsch in Lucerne, Switzerland, The Residencies at Seafire in the Cayman Islands, and the Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara.

Among Bullard’s celebrity clients are actress Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy fame and the model Cheryl Tiegs.

The Sands Hotel & Spa is an old hotel converted in a luxurious Moroccan style. The bold pink walls depict the capital of Morocco, Marrakesh, known for its pink color.

Kontio and Bullard discussing collaboration

Kontio’s customer base is not only Finnish; the company is also constantly active in the wider world. Kontio is a regular participant in various international events, always on the lookout for ideas and influences that could make successful combinations with timber. For success in these endeavours, courage and vision are essential.

One prospect that Kontio is working on is collaboration with none other than Martyn Lawrence Bullard. For example, collaboration with Bullard is being discussed in connection with the construction of a hotel in Algeria.

“We would certainly use his interior design services, as his approach is extremely interesting”, says Kontio’s creative director Olavi Kujanen.

It’s fair to say Bullard is something of a superstar: he is regularly asked for autographs, and many are visibly awed in his presence.

To Kuljanen, however, the British interior designer came across as a very pleasant and approachable person when they met in October 2018 at the Moroccan-style hotel designed by Bullard in Indian Wells, California.

“His dedication to service was clearly visible, despite his stardom. He was keen to chat and tell me about how the building was designed and decorated.

The Sands Hotel & Spa is an old hotel that has been refurbished and given a new lease of life in a luxuriant Moroccan spirit. There are bold pink walls of the sort that the Moroccan city of Marrakesh is renowned for. There are vivid contrasts in black and white, and on the other hand extremely bold use of colour. The hotel definitely has Bullard’s style written all over it. The allure of the desert also comes across very strongly.

“Martyn said that he is always given certain constraints, but otherwise has a free hand. All the hotel guests want to experience a sense of individuality and to feel that their hotel room is unique”, says Kujanen.

Sands Hotel & Spa is the first design hotel in Indian Wells, California.

Follow Martyn Lawrence Bullardia on Twitter: @MartynBullard, and on Instagram: @martynbullard

Bullard does not compromise on quality or unique details.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard

  • Born 30 March 1967
  • Lives in Los Angeles
  • Bullard began his career in design while still a teenager, buying and selling décor items. He quickly learned to recognise the value and quality of design of these “oddments”, as he called them.
  • Bullard moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s in hopes of beginning a career in acting. A producer for the film Ed Wood, by the celebrated director Tim Burton, visited Bullard’s home and was fascinated by the décor. He was quick to hire the young man to design his home. This set off a positive chain reaction, with Bullard getting more and more significant interior design assignments.
  • His style has been described as “Hollywood glamour meets ethnic exotica”.
According to Bullard, the modern does not have to mean restrained.
The design of the hotel rooms was based on the desire to provide each guest a unique experience.
Kontio's creative director Olavi Kujanen (left) and Martyn Lawrence Bullard met at the Pink Cabana restaurant designed by Bullard.

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