Step Inside Martyn Lawrence-Bullard’s Vibrant Hollywood Home

“There should not be anything in your house that you can’t use, drink from, sit on, or eat out of.” -Martyn

The world famous designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard derives inspiration from travel, is dedicated to the pursuit of the finer things, and has a passion for bringing beauty and serenity into the lives of the rich and the famous. It is only fitting, then, that he would have a Hollywood home with such a vibrant history.

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard
the dressing room takes inspiration from Martyn’s travels to India, and he adds pops of character with pieces he’d picked up while abroad—the designer calls this a traditional Englishman’s take on decorating
With trademark glamour and a flair for the exotic, Martyn’s clientele includes Kendall Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Tommy Hilfiger, to name a few. The designer has also worked with several premier hospitality properties such as the iconic Colony Palms Hotel in Palms Spring, the Chateau Gütsch in Lucerne, Switzerland, and is currently overseeing hotel designs in Santa Barbara, Istanbul and Miami Beach.
Martyn Lawrence-Bullard
For his home, though, he chooses something a bit more old Hollywood. Originally built in 1924 for a German silent movie director, the house’s first inhabitant was actually the illustrious Rudolph Valentino. Following Valentino’s stay at this Whitley Heights oasis, Gloria Swanson made it her home twice—once in the early 1930s, and then again when she was filming Sunset Boulevard.

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard
the dining room’s ceiling comes alive with stenciling inspired by a design by the Italian fabric brand Fortuny, while 19th century Italian chairs are arranged around a custom-made table; Martyn spends a lot of time outside decompressing after a hard day at work, so he worked to make the house’s yard lush and stylish. The thriving foliage was selected based on the plants you’d find in a 1920s garden, while the chevron-print upholstery and pillows are a visual contrast to the greens.
Subsequent to Swanson, William Faulkner, playwright extraordinaire and writer, lived in the house, utilizing it as a writing pavilion. It was on Martyn’s balcony that Faulkner wrote the award-winning screenplay for the film All About Eve.
Martyn, an artist in his own right, as well as a former model and classically trained actor, understood the drama, romance and mystique that this jewel of a property held. He came to find “Villa Swanson” while working with world-renowned photographer Tim Street-Porter, who at the time was shooting his work at the Pepsi-Cola Ranch for Architectural Digest.

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
Off the dining room, double doors reveal a lion head relief framed by graphic tiles, continuing the play of prints from the interiors ; the curtains also came from a line he designed for Schumacher
The home felt “enchanted,” tucked neatly away in a cul-de-sac in Whitley Heights, and possessed an aura of old Hollywood romance that struck a chord with the designer. He purchased the home in 2003, but it became clear that the home would need a complete restoration.

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
the patterned tiles and cabinetry were all original to the home, and is played up with white appliances and décor in the same hues; arches are a continuing feature, even in the bathroom. The retro sink is accented with Middle eastern-inspired décor
He started by replacing the damaged wood floors with exquisite reclaimed antique wood from an old barn in Idaho. Antique French limestone and terracotta were chosen for the magnificent lush patios’ floors, and in a surprising turn of events, an original 19th century tile was uncovered in the kitchen. The four tiered gardens, hidden nooks, and seamless indoor-outdoor space consistently served as an idyllic backdrop for wildly fantastic themed soirees, as well as intimate gatherings with celebrities such as Cher, Elton John, Ozzie Osbourne, Christian Louboutin, Tamara Mellon, and Christina Aguilera—to name a few!

 Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
Little nooks, like this path to the courtyard, are filled with graphic details that somehow all tell a story—the weathered religious paintings, the unconventionally shaped lamps, and the graphic black and white tiles that hark back to the house’s art deco roots.
For the interiors, Martyn felt strongly about allowing the architectural style of the house to act as his guide. Every inch of the space is covered in exotic luxurious objects, although the emphasis of the décor is on 18th century Spanish, Portugese and Italian furniture.  The designer meticulously selected each and every item, purchasing pieces from auction houses all over the United States, as well as in Europe. However, the color red serves as a unifying element in the space, and was important to keeping an authentic Spanish-Mediterranean flavor, along with the array of colorful fabric from his personal line.

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
Martyn breaks up the black and white color palette in the more private spaces, he brings in warmer colors for the master bedroom. An intricately carved wooden bedframe is softened with a fur throw and printed linens for a cozy look
Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
Martyn designed several of the pieces in the home, such as the cocktail table, stools and patterned chair in the living room.
Tobacco-hued carved woods, sexy vibrant fabrics, and shimmering details of crystal and silver all work in harmony to deliver an enigmatic grounded sensuality that is the hallmark of Martyn’s work. It’s an unusual concept to some, but everyone ought to adopt his philosophy of living: “There should not be anything in your house that you can’t use, drink from, sit on, or eat out of.”

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
the breakfast nook’s arch is emphasized with painted stripes that make for a very striking visual. An upholstered bench and mismatched pillows add to its strong look, while a Moroccan table follows the black and white palette
It’s sound advice, and in the case of this residence, Martyn steps back to let the house’s history and heritage shine through. There certainly is a fair amount of glamour here, but it’s welcoming and restrained—as if it takes a quiet satisfaction in knowing its luxury can only be seen with an appreciative eye.

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Hollywood House
vintage traveling cases serve as décor, while playing up the home’s old Hollywood glamour.


Zee Lifestyle
Zee Lifestyle

Zee Lifestyle strives to capture the pulse of Cebu! As a city-centric lifestyle magazine, it aims to inform and entertain with features on culture, personalities, travel, food, fashion and everything in between. Follow Zee Lifestyle on Instagram at @zeelifestyle.

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