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Style Crush:

July 19, 2011

It’s Back! Million Dollar Decorators Returns for Season Two on Bravo

MDD is a guilty-pleasure hit with L.A. excess, catty designers, celeb cameos and multi-million casas and it returns Nov. 13

By Nancy Staab

The Bravo show Million Dollar Decorators, which airs Tuesdays at 10PM eastern, has got everything: designer catnip (Regency furniture, Moroccan lairs, bolts and bolts of divine fabrics, and a museum-worth of exotic artifacts); dreamy palm tree shots of LA and the beaches of Malibu; scenic jaunts to Europe, Mexico, Miami and Palm Springs; a look inside L.A.’s top design shops; bitchy decorators and their high-maintenance clients; quirky side characters like Kathryn Ireland’s beturbanned, wine-loving French housekeeper; and lots of high camp—all in the name of furnishing the cossetted homes of the rich and semi-famous. Here’s a review of season one to catch you up to speed.

The MDD crew: Mary, Jeffrey Alan, Nathan, Kathryn and Martyn. The MDD crew: Mary, Jeffrey Alan, Nathan, Kathryn and Martyn.

Bravo's voyeuristic docu-drama following four of L.A.’s top-dollar designers: Mary McDonald, Jeffrey Alan Marks, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and Kathryn M. Ireland as they navigate their way in the high-stakes design world is back (minus season one's designer Nate Turner). And we can't wait to see what they do (and what domiciles they decorate) in season two! We do know that in the first few episodes of Season Two former Jimmy Choo CEO Tamara Mellon, Vogue model Amber Valleta, and upcoming designer Monika Chiang show up as high-maintenance clients. In fact,  Marks and his ponytail partner Ross dare to paper Amber's entire master bedroom, including the ceiling, in Elsa Shaiparelli's famous shade of shocking pink, while designers Lawrence-Bullard and McDonald jet to the ancient pink city of Jaipur, India, for inspiration for their One King's Lane tabletop collection.

In Season One, the cameras captured stunning casas decked out to the nine millions and more, but also followed the designers into their own fascinating abodes and chic offices. Lawrence-Bullard has a Morrocan tea nook where he sips tea from Hermés china and McDonald's black-and-white, glammed out office is to die for. In fact, the sharp-tongued, raven-haired designer, McDonald, is  rumored to be the original inspiration for the character of Karen in Will and Grace.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard brought the most star quality to season one, with his high-roster clients like Elton John, Cher and Christina Aguilera. In fact, several of his clients (Sharon Osbourne, Tamara Mellon the CEO of Jimmy Choo, Daisy Fuentes, and semi-celeb Joe Francis) made colorful cameos. Stay tuned to see what celebs grace season two. And the clients were just as outrageous as their decorators.  There was the demanding Osbourne, who required that her condo be tricked out in 3 days max. Martyn gave her vintage prints of the Beatles, Sinatra and JFK;  a mirrored hallway; and astro-turf for her balcony! There was the sweet Daisy Fuentes, besotted with her Old Havana wall screen print, chocolate velvet seating and lacquered goat-hair coffee table, and the too-busy-to-micro-manage Tamara Mellon, who asked Martyn to showcase her gold-dipped Choos. (He placed them in chocolate suede-lined Lucite boxes and displayed them like precious artifacts in her bookshelf). Finally, there were the tortuous type A’s like Kathryn’s client, a Max Factor heiress with a Malibu beach house build-out and an “overflow room” for the vast containers of antiques she had purchased on trips to Paris. Kathryn actually engaged in some hilarious, competitive diamond-wearing in an attempt to maintain the same status level as this pampered client.

Along the way there were droll quips aplenty. Echoing supermodel Linda Evangelista, Kathryn dryly proclaimed, “I have clients all over the world and I don’t get out of bed for less than a million dollars.”

Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators airs Tuesday nights at 10PM Eastern Time. For more info visit:


A Million Dollar Decorators Lexicon:

There’s just a few words you need to master to ape the lingo of an MDD:

Dahling:  Use this liberally when addressing practically everybody with the exception of maybe your four pedigree pugs (in the case of Mary) and be-turbanned French house servants (in the case of Kathryn)

Delicious: IF you want to be like Martyn Bullard you simply much adopt this as your favorite adjective… a breathy British accent also adds to the effect. Change it up with the adjectives “gorge” (short for gorgeous of course) and “fabulous” now and then for variety.

Tragic:  The opposite of delicious. For example, Martyn laments, “We are in a $30-million house with a $5 dead orchid.” It also applies to the disaster commission you are tempted to run away from even with a multi-million dollar price tag such as the job Mary passed up at a, gasp, track house. The decision was sealed when the potential client tried to sweeten her up with a tacky fruit bouquet (oh the horror). Chocolates, on the other hand, work wonders. Martyn ate up an entire box in one sitting sent by Gray’s Anatomy client Ellen Pompeo and then promptly submitted himself to L.A.’s top hynopist to cure him of his cacao cravings. Like we said, this show is rich.