Photographed by Greg Cox
I think we are looking for new kinds of connection through design, not in the monolithic sense but rather with individuals.’ And just like that, interior designer Dylan Thomaz encapsulates not only the theme of this issue but the unmissable zeitgeist in the industry right now.
It is this kind of realness, and more so, self-awareness, that translates from Dylan’s broader views to his personal space. ‘I’ve been living here for four years,’ says the designer of his Hout Bay home. ‘I go through periods where I feel things need to be updated and renovated, and this was one of them. I wanted to change it to be a space that feels safe and also just, you know, reflects who I am now, which is a constant evolution.’
That meant introducing panelling throughout, as well as updating the furniture pieces. Dylan’s home, which he shares with Emerson, his orange Roan Cocker Spaniel; Bella, his Golden Retriever; and his cat August, an Applehead Siamese, is strongly geared towards entertaining, so we also considered this. Finally, glorious views of both Chapman’s Peak and the ocean were also championed.
‘My aesthetic two years ago and my aesthetic today is vastly different; however, there is still this Dylan Thomaz undertone that you can see,’ he says. ‘The renovation was about making use of all of these things in a way that makes me happy every day. I smile in the morning because I feel good in this space – and that sets the tone for my day. That was the thought process.’ As someone who themselves has recently undertaken an (admittedly, more superficial) interior renovation, I have realised that the journey from concept to execution to the end result can often be a surprising one if done honestly.
There is, indeed, character-revealing psychology to designing one’s own space. ‘I can see something and know how to make it work. I am a fixer. I have been that way my whole life and I think that is why I got into interior design,’ says Dylan. ‘Every time we moved house, I was able to change it and do whatever I wanted because my mom allowed me to.’ This time, it meant opting for quality over quantity, investing in pieces that are not transient or trendy but rather occupy a calculatedly happy space for him. As he says, ‘the emotion behind every piece has become so much more important to me.’