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Martyn on the Perfect Pub

Martyn reflects on his sister becoming a "publican" and lets you know what the thinks a perfect pub should feel like.

By Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Firstly I want to wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and love encrusted New Year! The support of all my family, friends, clients, staff, and all you wonderful design fans made 2012 an amazing year for me and I know with you all behind me and the wonderful Bravo family that 2013 is going to be the best year yet!

All that being said this week's episode is an amazing way to start the New Year. This episode is the most personal to me so far as it chronicles a project I have worked on with my sister Tina, the first since we were teenagers almost 30 years ago and had a designer wear store together in Bromley, Kent that I designed firstly to look like an Arabian tent and later revamped to resemble an exotic Egyptian temple. It was actually my first foray into interior design of any sort.

Now after years of owning various fashion apparel stores and a beautician business, my sister and her husband Alan decided to make an enormous change to their lives and take over a 215-year-old pub in the local historic village of Chistlehurst. I have to say this has come as enormous shock to me. The pub world, even though a centuries old tradition in England, has been suffering greatly in the last few years from the recession and changing tastes of the public. In fact, pubs are closing down like wildfire all over the country, so for my family to suddenly decide to become publicans seemed both shocking and foolhardy!

Now the task comes to me to help turn this rundown, smelly, and badly reviewed pub into a beautiful spot that the wealthy local clientele can once again love and provide my sister and her family with a successful business. . .Well I hope so anyway!

Upon my first visit to the pub I was astounded by the terrible state of this historic building. The place stank, the floors were caving in, the walls and woodwork were rotten, and many of the traditional details had disappeared. I decided if this place was to once again become a successful business, not only did the pub need its soul given back to it via good decorating that honored both the traditions and history of this pub, it also needed a shift in the outlook of both my sister and Alan.

To me a pub should be old school, cozy, sexy, inviting, and should always feel like an old friend -- familiar, welcoming, and there to give you support and comfort. That is the perfect recipe for a successful pub as far as I'm concerned. . .Now I have to convince both my sister and Alan that in fact is how we need to proceed and my decorative ideas for the rebirth of this hidden jewel are the way to go.

Not only do I have to contend with the concerns of Alan about both my color and wallpaper choices, but there also seems to be a deeper routed problem. The pub is haunted by Napoleon's lover Charlotte who used to live in the pub in the nineteenth century when her lover was exiled to Chistlehurst. The pub was then an inn and apparently she lived there for years and must have eventually died there of a broken heart. She now haunts the east side of the "Charlotte" bar and it seems her presence or another ghosts keeps company in the basement. One of our decorators was actually pulled from his ladder whilst painting and ran screaming into the street!

With all these difficulties, the biting cold, the crumbling walls, the ghostly apparitions, and an escalating budget will the pub and my vision ever actually come to fruition? And within a time frame that will not cause my sister to go broke?!? Stay tuned for our season finale next week and see how this very personal adventure finally pans out.

So once again I thank you all for watching us, being so amazing with your support and love. All the special comments on Facebook, Instagram and, of course my favorite, Twitter are very much appreciated and even though I know I don't answer you all please know I read them all and love to hear what everyone thinks. Believe me you inspire me as much as you tell me I inspire you!

2013 is going to be a magical and lucky year for us all. Personally my brand expansion is going in many directions -- men's fashion, jewelry, tiles, wood flooring, new fabric and wallpaper collections, a fragrance line to add onto my candle collection, tabletop, crystal, and a new furniture collection. My book was one of the biggest selling design books of 2012 and a new book is in the pipeline now too. All this has been possible through your support and I love all my wonderful Bravo fans so much for this. You are truly delicious!

Thank you, thank you, may all your dreams come true in this new year and may you always live, love, and decorate!

X Martyn

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