Million Dollar Decorators

I’ve recently started watching Million Dollar Decorators (why am I so late to the game?).  It has been really fun to watch – it’s like I am a fly on the wall watching top designers work.

A charge from Amazon ratted out my guilty pleasure to my husband.  He asked me recently, “What ten dollar movie did you buy on Amazon?”  I sheepishly answered, “Uh, I bought a season of Million Dollar Decorators.”  It’s a work expense right?  Can I write it off as learning materials? I am learning a lot about client relations.

I’ve watched all of season one and am in the middle of season two.  What has stuck out to me the most is not the quality of the designers’ designs, but the relationship the designers have with their clients.  Martyn Lawrence Bullard definitely wins this.

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What I notice about him versus the other designers is that he really gets along with his clients.  They are all “darling,” and he really listens to what they want. I also imagine that he manages their expectations on the front end – that he lets them know what to expect. He’s got an over the top personality on the show –  he plays up the posh British accent with lots of dramatic emphasis when he speaks. I wonder if how he acts on the show is how he is in real life, or if it’s a persona.  He even has a catch phrase:  everything is “delicious, darling.”

Growing up in London as a teenager, Martyn bought and sold antiques with his father.  He made enough from selling antiques to go to acting school and move to L.A. He fell into decorating when a producer of a film Martyn was working on saw Martyn’s home and was so impressed by the decor that he hired Martyn to do his office.  Martyn is now the  celebrity designer, and was named an Architectural Digest top 100 designer.

Here is a living room and dining room from a delicious home Bullard decorated in the Hollywood Regency style.  I love all of the color and Chinoiserie!

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On season 1, episode 8, he designs a living room for Daisy Fuentes.  The living room for Daisy is very contemporary Hollywood glam.  I think being able to do different styles well is the sign of a good designer who listens to what the client wants and delivering.  Here is Daisy’s living room:


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It’s a little too “contemporary” for me, but I’m not a celebrity in L.A., either!  If you look just to the right of the baby grand piano, you can see the edge of a photo mural that Martyn installed.


It is an image by photographer Michael Eastman.  Eastman agreed to let Bullard use a small black an white image of two chairs in Cuba (Bullard selected the image as a nod to Fuentes’ Cuban heritage).  What you see here is  large and in color:

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 7.41.30 AMHere is the photo:

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Bullard took Eastman’s image and brought it to be enlarged at the Warner Brother’s studio, where they have a large format printer.  After finding out that Bullard enlarged the image and used it in color, Eastman sued Bullard for $75,000 for copyright infringement.

I think that Eastman is right in this suit- photographers’ work is used all of the time without their consent.  The photographer usually only grants certain usage of images, not for it to be used however the buyer wants (for fine art and for commercial photography).  Having a husband who is a photographer, I’ve read a lot about this issue.  Photographers work hard to get their beautiful images, and they should be compensated fairly for their work.  I hope the suit worked out in Eastman’s favor.



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