I have just returned from an amazing few days in sunny San Diego attending the Christie’s International Luxury Specialist Conference and can now proudly call myself a Luxury Specialist. The conference was held at the historic Hotel del Coronado, which is situated on a beautiful beach and filled with old world charm. It was nice to meet Christie’s-affiliated Realtors from all over the US and to hear about their local markets. Allow me to share some of the insights I learned from the conference!
A Little Trivia
Christie’s is owned by Groupe Artémis, a French holding company owned by François-Henri Pinault. Christie’s complements other luxury brands owned by Artemis including winery Château Latour, Le Point, Stade Rennais F.C., and Théâtre Marigny. Artemis is the controlling shareholder of luxury-goods conglomerate Kering, which includes the brands Gucci, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga. Talk about a strong luxury brand alliance!
Martyn Lawrence Bullard of Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design gave a presentation on trends in interior design. Martyn has worked with many celebrities – his list includes the Kardashian’s Calabasas homes, Elton John, Tommy Hilfiger, Ellen Pompeo’s LA villa and Malibu Realtor Chris Cortazzo’s retreat to name a few. Martyn shows off his style with his own mid-century Palm Springs home.
What impressed me most about this designer is that he seemed to really listen to what his clients wanted and created unique spaces for them, rather than a formulaic “look” you see with other designers. Tommy Hilfiger’s Miami residence,which is currently on the market for $27.5 million listed with a Christie’s affiliate, is very edgy and contemporary with vibrant modern art throughout. This is a sharp contrast to the work Martyn did on Tommy and Dee Hilfigers’ Ivy Covered Connecticut Castle which has the vibe of “hunting lodge meets yacht club”, designed to showcase his many antiques and collectibles. When working with Khloe Kardashian Martyn had Khloe show restraint with the colour palette of her home in order to showcase her growing art collection.
Trends Martyn is seeing in Luxury Homes
- Two kitchens, one for family living and one for catering. The catering kitchen being more industrial and the family kitchen flowing to a family room area.
- Exceptionally large kitchens as they have truly become the hub of most homes today.
- TVs that are hidden unobtrusively under the bed with a mechanical system that can be purchased for US$5000-6000. Fun fact: Elton John was the first to have one of these mechanisms years ago. Now they are more affordable.
- Movie theatre rooms are still popular but they are evolving into cozier spaces with sectional seating and throw cushions rather than theatre seats. For ease of use, clients are opting for extra large flat screens instead of movie projectors.
- Kids’ rooms have become a very important. Martyn actually now interviews the children to hear directly from them what they want their rooms to become. Martyn created a sailboat bed for one of the Hilfiger’s children and the bathroom had scratch-and-sniff banana wallpaper!
- Usable rooms, even in large mansions. Living rooms are divided into more intimate spaces.
- The Kardashian homes were outfitted with pink-hued glow bulbs so everyone looks tanned all the time and Instagram-ready anywhere in the house!
- Hilfiger’s Miami residence has a disco ball from Capri that was sourced by Martyn and shipped to Miami for installation. An attached bonus was a Polaroid photo of Joan Collins dancing, which they framed as art! Unique items such as this give a luxury home more personality.
- Martyn created a full La Cornue Kitchen for a client when the iconic range alone wasn’t enough.
Martyn is currently working on the Seafire residences for sale in Grand Cayman. It is a new Kimpton resort property described as “modern flare meets island life.” Suites range in price from $1 million to $8 million. The units have local crafts, indigenous hardwoods, and are clad in oak with beautiful ocean views from floor to ceiling windows.
Not everyone will have the budgets of those on this celebrity list, but it’s always great to look at design as inspiration for any budget. Design savvy does not mean expensive!
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