Contrary to the wisdom of the Jedi masters, crossing over to the dark side isn’t necessarily always a bad move. In the case of designers Bruce Fyfe and Kelsey Boyce of East Coast-based design firm Fyfe Boyce, it was exactly what was needed when they tackled the renovation and decoration of this Cape Town apartment. ‘It may sound ominous, but working with darkness has worked for us every time,’ says Kelsey. What he’s saying here is that instead of struggling to bring light into a dark space, rather embrace it with moody fabrics, wall finishing and furniture. ‘Instead of a gloomy attempt at brightness, this approach creates a sexy, cocooning space that makes a statement and works with function.’
From the moment they stepped inside, it was immediately apparent that the floor plan was completely unsuited to the home’s incredible views and felt outdated in the vibrant Sea Point neighbourhood where it is located. ‘The block used to be an old Art Deco-style movie house, and this served as the starting point for us; we wanted it to acknowledge that sense of yesteryear Hollywood glamour.’ To achieve this, Bruce and Kelsey started by breaking down the warren of interior walls, opening up the space not only to its coastal views but creating a seamless living experience, especially by connecting the back areas of the apartment to the front. ‘We also wanted the main bedroom wall to be able to fold away entirely, achieving a loft-like feel,’ says Kelsey.
‘This is particularly useful when the other bedrooms aren’t being used as it further enhances the sense of space. ‘Bruce and Kelsey took a similarly free-flowing approach to the interiors, dismissing any standard thoughts of a beachfront home and celebrating the curves of the architecture. ‘We carried these elements through into the design of larger furniture pieces,’ says Kelsey. ‘However, to avoid a lava flow of fabric and form, we juxtaposed this with angular modern pieces to achieve cohesion.’ Balance was key to the design, with lighter areas, such as the main bedroom and living areas, playing out in gem stones, light fabrics and mirrors, while darker ones, such as the kitchen and guest bedroom, are presented in dark tones and textural finishes. ‘People think designing smaller spaces is easier – it’s not – everything you do is on display,’ says Kelsey. ‘Our guiding instinct is a willingness to be courageous; there’s no hard and fast rule.’
Photographs Elsa Young