The Big Group co-founders Chyka and Bruce Keebaugh were looking for investment properties when they came across this new apartment development in Richmond. A mate was building the project, and the couple ended up falling in love with the site, so they decided to live there themselves!
Originally two separate apartments, the couple bought both and merged them into a single giant space, allowing ample room for parties on the 35 metre long terrace, and a huge dressing room!
The apartment is now Chyka and Bruce’s city base, which they live in part time, dividing their time between here and their sprawling weekender on the Mornington Peninsula.
Chyka reimagined the standard interiors in the design phase, replacing nearly all the sinks, joinery, taps and handles in the process. ‘‘Our powder room now has a chinoiserie armoire bought in Boston, a gold sink we found in Morocco, a black toilet (from Bunnings!), and houses one of our best paintings by Gaston La Touché!,’ Bruce says.
The floor plan has also been significantly altered by Bruce (in collaboration with MAArchitects who designed the building), to include fewer internal walls. ‘We used glass French doors throughout to ensure the spaces were open and seen, but could be closed off if required,’ he says.
The couple are big art and decor collectors, which Bruce credits to Chyka’s eye for unique pieces. ‘Her very special gift is the ability to be able to curate all this “stuff” in a manner which provides warmth, joy and comfort, and creates a home where the pieces feel alive and coherent,’ says Bruce. ‘There is not an item within all these collections that Chyka couldn’t tell you a story about – from where it was bought to why.’
Several of the couple’s treasured artworks have informed the wider interior design scheme, such as the green-toned Nicholas Harding painting that inspired the deep jewel shade on study walls. Meanwhile, a custom rug from Morocco aligns all the colours of this area into the hallway, and works with the soft green and pinks in the 1896 Cuban tea chest from Graham Geddes.
The power couple describe their finished home as layered, eccentric and warm – filled with a lifetime of collections of antiques, treasures and ceramics!
In response to the challenges of this year, The Big Group have recently launched a brand new venture, The Commons at Ormond Collective – a beautiful garden restaurant and bar, inspired by the great terraces and outdoor dining spaces of Europe and America. The perfect venue for festive celebrations this summer!