03 January 2008

Martyn Lawrence-Bullard

Palm Springs, California: The Colony Palms



Those wishing to spend the night with the debonair and extremely handsome L.A. designer, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, can now do so at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, California that he recently decorated. Lawrence-Bullard, co owner of the interior design firm Martinys-Tripp was born in London but came to America to become an actor. That career soon fizzled, but Martyn remains connected to the big screen by designing interiors for many of Hollywood's biggest stars. Though not quite a household name, he has achieved some recognition in America and is currently named to Architectural Digest's famed list of Top 100 Designers. Lawrence-Bullard's style includes lots of ethnic touches from Morocco, Italy, Spain, and the Near East. He favors red paisleys and uses this design motif often. One of his signature looks is a heavily carved, wooden, four poster bed. Why would anyone choose Martyn to design a hotel in Palm Springs - home to the mid century design revival and all things hip from the era of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin?


The current owner of the Colony Palms Hotel, Steven Orhen, states he hired Martyn to oversee the $15 million renovation after seeing his home in a magazine. He admits that Martyn is not the typical contemporary designer that Palm Springs attracts. Martyn's home, which captured Orhen's attention, was built for the legendary Rudolph Valentino and is furnished in an eclectic style with liberal Italian and Spanish influences. Orhen could see a connection between Martyn's home and the Spanish influenced architecture of his once popular Palm Springs hotel. The hacienda styled hotel was built in the 30's as a gambling den by a reputed mobster. Later it was purchased by the Howard family, famous for owning the racehorse Seabiscuit. Ohren, the current owner, is a Palm Springs resident who was intrigued by the hotel's architecture. He bought the crumbling relic hoping to turn it into a first class boutique hotel.


Today, open for just a few months, the renovation is complete. Lawrence-Bullard's design plays up the Mediterranean feel of the architecture. He infused the hotel with warm colors such as olive greens, ochre yellows and terra cotta oranges. Some rooms are housed in individual casitas with Spanish tiled roofs. Trend worthy suzanis turn up in the bedrooms along with Moroccan styled mirrors and tables. There's a spa and a highly touted restaurant for guests, along with swimming pools, both public and private. Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, whom no one would claim is shy, has no self-promoting web site and his appeal is still somewhat limited to the Californian area. But, with the opening of the Colony Palms Hotel, along with all the publicity it is receiving, Martyn seems poised on the brink of super stardom.


Colony Palms bedroom by Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. Suzanis hang behind beds, floors are tiled and covered with seagrass matting, black and white ticking bolsters and drapes, Moroccan frames are to the side of the bed. Notice the ruffled hem detail on the desk chair.


Close up of another guest room. Here the suzani is different, as are the side tables.


A third room with a Moroccan styled banquette in the patio.

Close up of bathroom sink. Note the "rug" of french tiles and the mother-of-pearl chair holding towels.


Ticking covered chair with nailhead detailing, Moroccan table and frame. Suzani pillow.

The hotel pool and bar at dusk.


Colony Palms Restaurant with banquette and hanging pendant lights.

Picture of Lawrence-Bullard's home that attracted the owner of the Colony Palms. Built for Valentino - this picture features the red, white and black that Martyn used throughout his house. Red paisleys decorate the sofa's skirt. Here Martyn uses the same black and white ticking and suzanis (in chair) just as he does in the hotel.




Californian home designed by Martyn. Note the turned wood, four poster bed. Antique red paisleys cover the bed and the chair. Both the bed and paisleys are trademarks.


Family room in the same house as above.



Breakfast room with oriental rug, red paisley, and french lantern.


Living room that shows the eclectic mix that Lawrence-Bullard prefers: eastern and Spanish antiques mixed with contemporary art.



Martyn Lawrence-Bullard modeling at the hotel. Too bad he's so unattractive! ha!

45 comments:

  1. Happy New Year Joni! What a great post! The Suzani headboards are to die for. And I want a Moroccan patio with the white and red pillows. How fabulous. Your in depth and well researched posts are always interesting reading.
    Julie

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  2. Wonderful post, Joni! Charming hotel... I love the way your posts are so lushly illustrated with plenty of wonderful photos. Happy New Year!

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  3. What fun! His background sounds very similar to Billy Haines!

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  4. Gorgeous! All of it. Especially that bed, chair and paisley photo! Love that.

    Happy new year!

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  5. I really like the use of the black and white ticking and red paisley throws. Great mix. Thanks for the post.

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  6. Suzani up the wuzani.

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  7. Happy New Year Joni. Love the pool cabanna and Mr Lawrence-Bullard is not bad himself either ~

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  8. Hi everyone - thanks for the comments. Hi Mr. Anon: I know you're sick of suzanis and I'll be the first to admit there's been a flood of publicity this year, but truthfully, no one I know personally has ever heard of them! They are like - what is a suzani? I try not to let magazine driven trends get to me and influence what I like. Because, that's all it is - editors driving up a trend then knocking it down. Still - I like them, they give me pleasure to look at them. And until I don't feel that way, I'll keep my high opinion of them. But for sure - I won't be placing them in any client's house. They don't understand suzanis.

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  9. Joni, Beautiful post! I think this place is fabulous and I want to live there. I still say that great looking things are timeless and although some may say that suzanis are overdone, I think the use of them as headboards in this setting is lovely! I agree, the average person says "What's a suzani?" like they do with so many fabulous ethnic objects and textiles. Happy New Year and keep up the great work!

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  10. joni,
    I think I have his web address. I'll try to send it to you Sat. Last year he had a site:)

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  11. I just enjoy somebody that does an ecelectic style in such a skilled manner. It is my belief that if you can pull off a well balanced look in the eclectic style then you are a truley a talented decorator. Just my opinion of course :)Glad to have you back on my daily read!

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  12. I LOVE SUZANI .
    SHANA TOVAH MY FRIEND .
    MAY YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE
    GUESS WHAT I'M COMING BACK FROM ISTANBUL AND I'VE BOUGHT A BUNCH OF SUZANI.
    They are wonderful, can't wait to use them

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  13. 1. If I had clients who hadn't heard of suzani, they'd be the ones I'd use it on. They're the only ones who haven't been overexposed to it, and would still appreciate it.

    2. Magazine editors can't drive up a trend unless it's already out there, used all over the place...by decorators.

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  14. Oh also, did you know his homes are featured in Hollywood Style from Rizzoli and Annie Kelly's Rooms to Inspire?

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  15. It was http://www.martynus-tripp.com/ but this site no longer seems active. Maybe he received too many unwanted inquiries after that reality show :)

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  16. So divine! I love it all- especially the color palette for the hotel.

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  17. Hi, Joni! What a wonderful hotel, I'd love to stay there. And his house is just fabulous, I can understand why he was chosen for this endeavor.

    Well, I'm pretty ordinary I guess, cause I had never heard of suzanis until I saw you write about them, but that doesn't surprise me. I'm not on the cutting edge of any design trends, but I love to enjoy all the eye candy! So that's why I come by here.

    Thanks for your very encouraging words to me this week..I really appreciate it!

    Have a wonderful, Happy New Year!
    Rhoda

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  18. Rhoda- don't feel bad, 99.99% of the world's population never heard of suzanis either!!! Thanks for the comment.

    Joni

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  19. Anon - you must live in nyc or chicago - people in Houston don't want things that they're neighbors DON"T have. Well, my clients at least. Trust me, I would love to have clients that have either heard of suzanis and are terribly sick of them, or have heard of them and want one!!! My clients tend to be really uneducated design wise, so that's why they hire me of course, but suzani's are not something they've seen in the Horchow or Neiman's catalogue.

    and I know what you are saying about the magazines - Michael Smith started using suzanis, then Samperton, then the magazines started showing more designers using them, but still, it was fresh until this year when it seemed almost every magazine had a primer on suzanis and suddenly it was vomitus, very quickly. I don't care though, I'll bet there are 10 houses in Houston with a suzani in it, maybe. Could be a few more, but doubt it. I still love them. Just like I still love toile - I recently redid the paper in my powder room with Cowtan and Tout's chinese toile and how many times has toile been proclaimed passe. I'm sorry - but I love walking into that powder room now, I smile - it makes me happy! Thanks for the discussion !!!!!!!

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  20. Hi Joni!
    You go girl! I still like antlers too, and zebra skins in moderation. And white coral. And white lacquer.

    This guy is a gem. I love his style. I think it is timeless, but also fresh.

    As usual, a wonderful post! I look forward to reading your posts.

    And what would we do without anon to make life a little more interesting! Please visit me sometime anon!
    Katie

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  21. Katie - hey, thanks! liaten - Anon hasn't been by for awhile, so let me enjoy him and then I'll send him over to you!!!! I love his comments! They are honest to a fault.

    Joni

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  22. Yeah, they're pretty. Nothing wrong with looking at something and saying "It's pretty. It makes me happy." But you're allowed to have more than one neuron fire in your brain. You can have a second neuron say "Well yeah, it's pretty, but it's also getting tiresome--done to death."

    Eventually, in the '60s, I think, everyone agreed that Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" was beautiful, but that prints of it were showing up in everyone's house on the planet, and that through sheer overexposure the image had become stale. And the prints started coming down, thank god.

    You're allowed, as a decorator, to value uniqueness, originality, and independence, as well as the nice sensation that something is pretty.

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  23. Anon- who's going to have the last word here? You're making me want to rip my suzani off my table and burn it on the front lawn in effigy. I suppose I posted this story (becuase that IS what this is all about in the end) because most hotels are not fashion foward or trendy at all. It's exciting to find a place to stay where the decor might mimic something you would like for your own home or to stay in a room decorated by someone you admire. I thought that Martyn gave this hotel a fresh, fun look rather than the typical 60s look proliferating in P.S. now. Also, there's a trend going on with well known designers renovating hotels. When I find one, I blog about it. I stumbled on this hotel one night and it seemed worthy to blog about - with or without the suzanis. truce? but hey = thanks for dropping by, I love it when you do! It validates me.

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  24. Joni, you're so right! It's unfortunate when something is 'done to death', but it can still be a viable option when it's appropriate. What is great about these interiors is that they reflect the architecture and have a lot more integrity here than the Hollywood glam or P.S. 60s look that is now on the verge of being 'done to death.' What is truly original anymore? Most designs are regurgitated in some form from the past. What we can hope to do is use them in a fresh way. Modern and truly unique design can only go so far, and then it's just uncomfortable and it becomes art. But for me, the overall interior decor needs to feel like it belongs to the architecture.

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  25. Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

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  26. Happy New Year!
    Great post, I saw a reality show with MLB in it and he seemed quite the character.

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  27. Funny, my eye just went straight to the paisley which I have always loved. I think "Etro" does paisley with a modern twist.... perhaps this will happen to "Suzani"-

    These Pattern Designs hold historical reference and then innovation for designers to create something fresh!

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  28. Topsy: I agree!
    Crescent: Get lost, please!!!!!!
    Suzy: I saw it too - what a wild team they were - I LOVE it!
    PVE: Yes - many companies, if not all, have auzanis in their line. What's nice is that they are in today's colors. Carlton V has one that I adore. And Donghia's suzani was fabulous.

    Thanks everyone for your comments!!!
    Joni

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  29. I have never been to Palm Springs and now I know where to stay (though I must also swing by some of the Parker while I am in town). Great post.

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  30. Love the post Joni and the friendly discussions! Brilliant Asylum I am with you, a trip to the Parker and The Colony Palms are on my list!!

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  31. First off Happy New Year Joni!!! Second, I love this man's work and wouldn't think twice to book a getaway weekend at this Hotel...let's all plan a blogger trip to Palm Springs :)

    ~Kate

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  32. WOW, How I would love to live out the rest of my days in a place like that! What talent. Wonderful find and research!

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  33. Dear Cote de Texas,

    your comments and your responses make me laugh.

    I'm wondering if anon is the same anon that harasses Maison21???:-) :-)

    That barley sugar twist four poster is delicious!
    Good to have you back in the New Year!!

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  34. Joni,
    love the post, regardless of Anon. Do you know the artist of the contemporary paintings in the living room photos? I LOVE THEM, and know of a San Antonio artists who paints similar works. Just wondering ...

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  35. Hi Joni
    Well I am late in commenting on this fantastic post of yours, but I get to read all the comments and discussions that have been sparked. I think it is pure genius how Martyn Lawrence-Bullard has blended so many styles into one homogenius design: Moroccan, Spanish, Oriental, Uzbekistan (home of Suzanis), English, Contemporary, Palm Springs and I could go on. The Suzanis that he used are a small part of the over all design and the other treatments shouldn't be obliterated with all the suzani bashing. I for one am glad that Suzanis have come to be so fashionable. I love them and they add another layer to the design of the rooms that they are in. BTW I love the picture of Bullard's living room with the white sofa and the red silk draperies and the zebra carpet peeking out underneath the coffee table. You have done a superb thorough post. Anon be gone!!

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  36. oooh, I love all his lovely Moroccan flourishes.

    I think this whole suzani debate is crazy. There are about 2 people in Morocco who have ever heard of suzanis. The fact is that each suzani can take well over a year to make and are an absolutely incredible craft. I can't wait to buy more and find new ways to use them - they have so much history and love sewn into them, compared to machine made fabrics.

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  37. Ok - So I'm back tracking through your blog - and this. Martyn Bullard was on a show on Discovery Home channel when I first moved to NY, so maybe 2.5 - 3 years ago, called "Material World". It was by far, one of THE best shows I had ever seen in relation to design. It showed the life of high-toned decorators and designers, and the type of work they create with endless budgets. So much better than these $500 budget shows - not that they don't have merrit. Anyway, I love these photos, and I felt connected to Martyn. This photo is a much better photo than he showed up on tv, and his voice and speech. So, "Couturean" third person and what not. I can't stand people like that - although he is fabulous.

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