Martyn Lawrence Bullard is the deliciously enchanting and massively talented star of Bravo's Million Dollar Decorators. The English born Hollywood Hills living Bullard has a dazzling roster of celebrity clients including Sir Elton John, Cher, and Aaron Sorkin! Oh, Martyn!
The design superhero took a time out to talk about everything from shopping at Marshalls (yes, MLB does Marshalls!)...to his hysterical trip to India with fellow Million Dollar Decorators star Mary McDonald...to the secret to giving any room a sumptuous super glam-glam look on a budget.
MM: It’s here, it’s here! Million Dollar Decorators season 2 - finally! Are you completely in love with this season or do you have any do-over moments?
Martyn Lawrence Bullard: I’ve only seen episode 1 and I liked it. I had a lot of drama! The rest of the season is full on design – and maybe a little designer drama [laughs].
MM: How do you deal with design drama?
MLB: It can be unbelievably crazy dealing with day-to-day drama. It’s all about client relationships and making sure that each one of you has got trust with each other. If you build trust, when something goes wrong, you protect your client by being upfront with them right away and correct what’s going on. Or come up with a really fast second option [laughs].
MM: Any funny moments from this season that the cameras didn’t catch?
MLB: Oh my God, mad stuff happened! Episode 1, the guy we commissioned to make a fireplace cleared and took the money, and I send my assistant to go looking for him. What you don’t see on camera was that my assistant found that guy rolling around completely drunk. So much drama off camera that day.
There’s a bunch of scenes I can’t tell you yet with big celebrities. One is a bit of a train wreck and there’s unbelievable drama on and off camera.
MM: Do you watch the show with the other designers or with your friends?
MLB: Last season I rented a big room in SoHo house to do screenings and had all the designers and our friends. This year, Kathryn [Ireland] was in New York, Mary [McDonald] was in Boston, the boys [Jeffrey Alan Marks and Ross Cassidy] were in Santa Monica and I’m in the Hollywood Hills. I had Ellen Pompeo come over and we sat and drank champagne and toasted the first episode. For the next episode, really great friends of mine, the president of Capitol Records and her husband, are going to come over to watch. I like watching with my friends because it’s fun to tell stories and share that experience with them.
MM: What Million Dollar Decorator would you let decorate your home?
MLB: I love Mary. She’s hilarious. I’ve gotten to know her really well. We traveled to India together to do a collection. I love her taste. It’s very different but a grand, older style.
MM: You and Mary in India! Universe, please – I hope cameras were rolling!
MLB: Yes and we get into so much trouble [laughs].
MM: Do you like Indian food?
MLB: I’m English, and in England you eat Indian food once a week. But it’s really toned down in England. In India, it’s toned up. I have a dear friend who lives in Delhi who warned us “do not eat any of the washed vegetables” and we’re at dinner and there’s Mary chewing away at the washed vegetables [laughs]. She got wildly sick.
MM: Poor Mary!
MLB: Yes, but India is the most magical place and is so inspirational. I’m excited that the viewers will get so much vision and feel the flow of Jaipur and Rajasthan that Mary and I visited.
MM: How can people get a Martyn Lawrence Bullard super glam glam look on a budget?
MLB: One of the most important things in design is keeping your basics – like a sofa or chair - plain. Then you can spice up the room and constantly revamp it and give it a fresh look for a small amount of money. Like by throwing a beautiful purple or Indian pink throw or pillow on during the spring, and in the winter a deep red cashmere or beautiful forest green throw. You can buy pillows at Marshalls, Target, Crate and Barrel and West Elm for $20.
MM: You’ve been to Marshalls?
MLB: I had never been to Marshalls until last week when I did a segment for 'Million Dollar Decorators on a Dime.' I found the most incredible red crystal glasses for $5 from Ralph Lauren. They would have cost $500 at the actual Ralph Lauren. I was amazed. Fabulous for the holidays.
MM: What are you doing for Thanksgiving?
MLB: We had 5 or 6 invites but we just got a Wheaten terrier, Daisy! Everyone’s got dogs and Daisy can’t interact with other dogs because she’s still just a puppy. So we’re staying here. I just bought Daisy a Thanksgiving bowl! A woman that cooks for me is going to cook a lovely Thanksgiving dinner for us then leave it in the fridge for us to heat up [laughs].
MM: Congrats on your new jewelry collection!
MLB: Thank you, I’m designing a jewelry collection that’s going to launch in the spring. I’m also secretly [whispers] working on menswear. I have a whole collection of tabletops, tile, crystals, candles…My brand is really expanding.
MM: Your empire is just exploding. What makes you so successful?
MLB: I’ve worked for 20 years and I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with so many visionaries - Elton John, Cher, Eva Mendes, Aaron Sorkin. I’ve worked with major studios like Warner Brothers. Working with creative people has given me an insight of what I want out of my brand. 'Million Dollar Decorators' is showing in 56 countries around the world and it gives me this huge audience to launch products. It’s exciting to open a magazine and see they’re using my candles or furniture. It’s the ultimate compliment.
MM: What Bravo show would you love to guest star on?
MLB: I love 'Top Chef.' I’m crazy. I can lay a really cool table design, but when it comes to cooking, I can’t do it [laughs]. I love 'Top Chef '...wouldn’t that be amazing?
MM: It would be delicious!
MLB: Truly delicious [laughs]! And that Padma Lakshmi, she’s delicious! Kiss darling!