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The Impossibly Chic Chyka Weekender!

Homes

When most of us scroll through Instagram on any given evening, we might like a picture of a friend’s holiday, click through to buy a pair of shoes, or fall into the depths of some distant cousin’s wedding photos. For media personality and The Big Group co-founder Chyka Keebaugh, Instagram daydreaming lead to the purchase of a stunning holiday home!

Today we take a tour of the Mornington Peninsula weekender of Chyka and her husband Bruce. Think Nordic style meets The Hamptons, with a Chyka twist!

19th June, 2019

Chyka and Bruce Keebaugh’s magnificent Mornington Peninsula weekender! Outdoor lounges, tables and chairs, wooden planters and lanterns from Restoration Hardware. Wicker baskets from Rose Street Trading. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘When we bought the house, only the left side was there. We felt the house looked unbalanced so when drawing up the plans we wanted to balance it out. We used the same colourbond steel and existing design features as we wanted it to look like it had always been like this, and not a new extension. We were so lucky with our builder as he had done the original renovation the year before so was across all the finishes and colours we needed. I love the dark tones of this house against all the greenery’, Chyka explains. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Chyka and Bruce are co-founders of massive Australian hospitality and party throwing company, The Big Group. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The family wanted big, comfortable outdoor couches to sit on amongst the backdrop of trees and the vegetable garden behind. The stonework by local stonemasons was a big part of this design – ‘they were amazing to work with’, Chyka says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The outdoor area is one of Chyka’s favourite places. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

This room was originally a gallery and didn’t really work for Bruce and Chyka. They decided to double the width and turn the colour scheme black – they wanted it to look dramatic, so peaked the ceiling to add the drama with three antler chandeliers. The room is light and bright thanks to the doors to the courtyard. The couch and chairs were old ones they recovered. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

‘We love the idea of the dining table working as an entrance table too’, Chyka tells, ‘I always fill the large vase with whatever is in seasonally, and because the space is neutral it can take any colour or style.’ The photo on the wall is of Capri by Bill Henson. Light, table, and chairs are from Restoration Hardware. Black bench from House of Orange. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The corner nook of the kitchen, which is ‘forever changing’. ‘I love creating little stories everywhere, but always keeping it in the theme of neutral colours and textures, and with a pop of fresh colour’, Chyka says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The kitchen, and the hub of the house. Where the long shelf now sits there was originally a large window, which Bruce and Chyka had to fill in for the renovation. Without the view they needed to create a bit of a WOW wall backdrop. ‘I love having my things on display, and to me this is the perfect place for them all to be. I change this regularly as I like things to constantly evolve’, Chyka says. Clock from Restoration Hardware. Wooden stands and lamps from Provincial Home Living. Marble pumpkins from Durance. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

This is the area called the mushroom as it leads off the garage and laundry. ‘I’m an eclectic person who loves layering, so the idea of creating a space to hang all my baskets and display some gardening bits and pieces sings to my heartstrings’. Table from Restoration Hardware. Knick-knacks from family travels. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Couch from Restoration Hardware. Coffee table from Provincial Living. Side table from Canvas and Sasson. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Bruce and Chyka lined the gallery with bookshelves, and added the drama with black covered books. For weeks Chyka sourced books from about 30 different charity shops – there’s around 2,800 books in total! ‘Whenever friends come over and ask what they can bring, I ask for more books!’ Chyka says.  Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Chyka’s incredible bathroom shelving! ‘We had a funny wall that we didn’t really know what to do with. I love to display things, so this became just that – a set of shelves to put extra soaps and creams plus glass cannisters filled with all the essentials. I also use this a great way to store towels etc.’ says Chyka. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

This bathroom runs off Chyka and Bruce’s bedroom, so they kept it in the same neutral tones. The lights are all on dimmers so that they can create whatever mood they feel. Marble tiles from Signorino. Bathroom sinks designed and built with a local cabinet maker. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The master bedroom – ‘a sanctuary of calmness’. The colours were kept neutral as the big windows are the main attraction. Chyka loves a bath, and it had to have a view, so putting it in the bedroom rather than the bathroom was the perfect place. Mirror, table from Manon Bis. Bed, side tables and draws from Restoration Hardware. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 19th June 2019

Chyka and Bruce Keebaugh weren’t particularly looking for a holiday home, when they stumbled across this Mornington Peninsula property on Instagram one evening. Chyka explains ‘I saw it on instagram… we went to see the house on the Monday, and bought it the following Saturday.’

The stunning home wasn’t always this sleek, though. As Chyka explains, ‘before being recently renovated by the previous owner, it was originally purple and yellow!’ Since moving in, she and Bruce worked closely to redecorate, and make the place their own. They were keen to retain the ‘look and feel of the place’ while extending the home and refining the materials palette. They extended and created a grand master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and dressing room, as well as introducing a large family TV room (with hidden bar!) on the ground level. Extensive work was also undertaken outside, with landscaping by Paul Bangay rounding out the new pool and entertaining area, complete with an outdoor fireplace.

The interiors employ a neutral, pared back palette, as Chyka explains ‘I am someone who loves knick knacks, so I really tried to make this space simple.’ She describes the aesthetic as inspired by Nordic design, but with her own personal twist. She highlights ‘I love that this house has such calming colours, we have one black space, our library,  that I call the spine of the home, and the other spaces are all neutrally toned.’

For Chyka and Bruce, this impressive weekend retreat is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. In addition to enjoying the serene interiors and impressive grounds of their new home, Chyka enthuses about the luxury of being able to simply ‘get away’.  ‘We have never had a holiday house before, and I absolutely love the feeling of driving down the road, opening the gate and knowing we are a world away, in our gorgeous little slice of heaven.’ Surrounded by rolling hills, vineyards and orchards – this home is indeed a dream escape for one very accomplished couple!

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net