HOLLYWOOD’s top designer dipped his toe in the industry buying trinkets at markets in Bromley and Greenwich.
Martyn Lawrence Bullard, whose clients include Elton John, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Nicki Minaj and Eva Mendes, started selling antique bric-a-brac to pay his way through drama-school.
The star designer from Bromley told Vibe: “I had no idea that training would hold me in better stead than my acting training.”
Martyn, 46, said he took off to Hollywood 20 years ago with “stars in my eyes”.
He said: “I thought I was going to become this big actor. I got there and it suddenly turned into making coffees for people in the coffee shop.”
Eventually he was cast in a movie as Eartha Kitt’s toy boy and befriended the producer who loved Martyn’s flat and invited him to decorate the movie studio’s offices.
Once people saw his work, the requests started coming.
He said: “Nine months later I was on the cover of six magazines around the World being declared a style icon.”
“From there on it led to Sigourney Weaver calling, Rebecca Romijn, Christina Aguilera, Edward Norton, Eva Mendes, right the way through to Sir Elton John and David Furnish, Cher, Nicki Minaj, I’m currently doing Tommy Hilfiger.
“It has been crazy.”
Martyn has won multiple awards and thrown himself into the Hollywood lifestyle, counting Jonny Lee Miller, neighbour Minnie Driver and Joan Collins as friends.
Picture: Martyn with neighbour Minnie Driver
He said: “Sharon Osbourne and Ozzy are like my family.
“I go on vacation a lot with Elton and David, I spend Christmas at Cher’s house.”
He added: “I’m a living example of going to Hollywood with the stars in my eyes and that dream morphing into something amazing. That magic is still in Hollywood.”
In the States, Martyn has had a hit TV series – Million Dollar Decorators – which has run for two series in 61 countries.
For those wanting to see his style nearby, he decorated the entire interior of his sister Tina Bullard’s pub – The Imperial Arms in Chislehurst – for the series, making it stylish and cosy yet traditional pub.
He said: “She gets these mad American tourists calling up saying ‘we saw you on the show, we want to come over for a pint.’ It’s hilarious, the whole thing.”
Tina, who runs the pub with partner of 25 years Alan Weeks, loves the reception the pub gets.
She said: “It all worth the hard work when people say it’s their favourite pub and they love our food.”
Picture: Martyn (centre) with his sister Tina and her partner Alan Weeks at The Imperial Arms
A famous face overseas, Martyn is about to become a big name here too.
His new series Hollywood Me begins on Channel 4 tomorrow (Wednesday, June 18).
In the show, deserving people are plucked off the streets and sent to Hollywood for three days to hang out with Martyn’s showbiz mates and get pampered.
And while they are away, unbeknownst to them, Martyn is busy giving their home a touch of glamour.
He said: “It was crazy. I’m used to working with huge budgets and we didn’t have a massive budget but I needed it to look glamorous.
“It was quite a mad experience but I was very impressed with the cool style you can find on the British High Street.
“It was fabulous fun.”
HOMES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS
Picture: Martyn's own house
Martyn said every client has ideas about their dream interior.
He said: “I’m there to make it happen for them.
“For Cher, she wanted to live like she was an Indian princess. I bought the facade of an Indian palace and rebuilt the interior of her house using those fragments and created this wonderful Indian ambience.
“For Sir Elton and David, they wanted this disco, 1970s studio 54 vibe that they thought worked in Los Angeles.
“For Kid Rock I created a Balinese escape on the beach in Malibu.
“Everyone has different fantasies that I help them live out and create these wonderful interiors.”
Picture: Cushion, £20 from BHS
Martyn’s big-spending celebs have given him budgets of up to $25m to transform their pads.
Vibe asked him for some great low-cost tips.
He said: “Living in Hollywood and working with all these big stars you learn the most important thing is lighting.
“Everybody wants to be lit like they are in the movies.
“One of the cheapest, easier fixes for the interior is a dimmer switch
“Turn the lights down and the sex up.
“All these High Street stores like Debenhams, BHS, TK Maxxx have all got the most amazing cushions and throws that you can just update your sofa with.
“For £20 or £30 you can give your sofa a summer look and give your living room some life.”