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!