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colourful canvas

Volume 8 (Create), Autumn 2023

The home of artist Lucie de Moyencourt is as whimsical as it is contemporary. Her dream space is a manifestation of her personality – charming, tasteful, cultured and full of character

a LOOKBOOK Studio production  Words by Grace Crooks   Photography by Frances Marais   Art direction and Styling by Charl Francois Edwards 

A home is a vessel, and in the case of artist Lucie de Moyencourt’s ‘green dream’ in Cape Town’s city bowl, the space is an embodiment of her creativity.

Lucie is renowned for her painted ceramic shells, which she calls Shellegance, the perfect name for the artworks that bring such glee to their beholders. The shells have even washed up on shores to greet Vogue’s Anna Wintour.

Having completed a degree in architecture at UCT (prior to her career as an artist), Lucie started the project of designing her dream home with a 3D-render, before handing it to trusted friend and architect, Rohan Young, of Young Architecture to refine and develop.

Each detail of this Victorian home, whose renovation was completed in winter last year, is imbued with a story – from the collectable Fire-King jadeite green crockery adorning the kitchen shelves, to the green steel-and-glass extension in the backyard.

Friends and family visiting this private home are invited to celebrate a union of heritage and modernity, married with the utmost style.

Above Artist Lucie sits on her grandmother’s couch, against a backdrop of her Shellegance ceramic shells, which decorate a wall in her home studio in Cape Town.
Above The Memphis Milano Carlton bookshelf was bought on auction and adds a ‘wild’ touch to the home’s living room. Albeit unpractical, Lucie shares that she’s loved it since university, especially the stark contrast it creates against the ‘world of grey and monochrome architects often live in’. The African chair behind the door was hand-carved from a single piece of wood and acquired from Haute Antiques, then splashed with bright enamel paint by Lucie. Architect Rohan Young says Lucie challenged his comfort zone with her bold interior choices and colour palette, with green being a signature colour throughout the home.
Above The green madera rope chair from Haute Antiques is one of Lucie’s favourites. The candelabrum was bought from Happy Go Lucky, an inspiration for Shellegance. The home is filled with interesting objects, artfully arranged to create moments of charm and humour. The ceramic sculptural T-Rex and scorpion were made by Hylton Nel’s disciples, and bought from Chandler House. The comfy orange Ligne Roset Togo sofa reinforces the sense of fun that darts through the home. A snippet of Michael Taylor’s artwork The Peanut Gallery can be seen – it was the first piece Lucie bought with her partner.
Above Lucie is not at all afraid to use colour, splashing it everywhere from walls to artwork, ceramics to cabinets, creating a space that truly reflects her ebullient personality. Open shelves display vintage Fire-King jadeite crockery and other collectables. The kitchen opens up to a wraparound courtyard that has a Mediterranean feel with lush views of palm trees and Table Mountain.

Known for his work on heritage building renovations, architect Rohan Young worked on the renaissance of Lucie’s home – expanding it upwards with two storeys – allowing a lightweight steel structure with corrugated-iron cladding to stand on classic brickwork.

On entering the home, the eye is drawn straight through the heart of the space, down the passageway to the full-length windows on the far side, and the wraparound courtyard, all of which inject a sense of breathability and lightness to the house. The inclusion of skylights welcomes sunlight into what Tannie Marika described as the coldest, darkest home when she lived there for 12 years before Lucie’s renovations started in 2019.

‘For me, it’s always a highlight to see clients (who are often friends), move into their new homes. Lucie pushed my comfort zone in terms of the interior decor and colours, and I really loved that. To see how spaces that have been conceptualised become someone’s kitchen or bedroom is really what it’s all about,’ says Rohan.

Each decision improved the 1810 structure. Three small Victorian rooms, where the kitchen used to be, were opened up into one living space. Now, the kitchen opens up to meet the courtyard at the back and occupies almost the full length of the home, looking onto the street-facing verandah at the front, too.

Above The small red shell chair in the foreground was found by Lucie’s dad, Gilles de Moyencourt, and triple-enamel sprayed by his panelbeater to achieve a glorious new shine. The walls house a collection of treasured artworks by friends, such as Mia Chaplin, Kirsten Sims, Joh Del and Tamsin Relly, while the full-length windows in the lounge invite the outside in, as well as a glimpse of the family’s outdoor shower.

Upstairs, the bedrooms create an intimate sanctuary, with large corner windows in the main bedroom from which to gaze at the verdant backdrop of Table Mountain beyond. Lucie describes the view from her bedroom as being almost ‘prehistoric’, especially with the palm trees peeking into the picture. A montage of green is reflected throughout the space, a palette she and her partner could easily agree upon, accompanied by vibrant pops of red – such as the mirrored wall in the main bedroom, orange Ligne Roset Togo sofas in the lounge, and pattern-play wallpaper in the children’s room (designed by Lucie, from her own sentimental love for the plumbago flower). The colourful Memphis Milano Carlton bookcase in the front lounge is a perfect example of decorative statement pieces, something Lucie hopes her children will remember as a key furniture item they would associate with their childhood home.

The interiors feature adorned salon-style walls, a testimony to Lucie’s plethora of influences and muses, such as childhood friend and style crush Catherine Raphaely. The decor and art is an accumulation of family heritage illustrations (such as her grandfather’s illustrations from his time working at Vogue magazine), with a sprinkling of Milnerton Market acquisitions, collectables from her father Gilles de Moyencourt’s Woodstock antique shop, Haute Antiques, and, of course, avocations between fellow artist friends, such as dear friend Michael Chandler (which she says have been fortunate trades). Lucie’s home studio is laden with Shellegance vessels and one-metre-high prints of Venus. Her own ceramic Venus prototype hangs on the bathroom wall inside – ‘she’s naked because her clothes are being washed,’ laughs Lucie.

Walking back out into a spacious courtyard, a sense of laid-back relaxation and ease takes over in the sunny alcove – a recess from formality. It contrasts with the original structure but simultaneously complements it, creating a new design language just for them. A rich and imaginative display of colour and texture has been woven together to represent a tapestry of Lucie’s creativity.

Above The sensitive renovation ensured that the home’s Victorian heritage was preserved, while it was transformed into a light-filled, modern family home. The children’s bedroom features wallpaper designed by Lucie, which reflects her love for the plumbago flower. The chair was bought on auction from Ashbey’s Galleries.

Above In the main bedroom, a wraparound bench cleverly doubles as storage. The Tulip table and chairs were found at Haute Antiques. A colourful Suzani from Manina Baumann hangs above the bed. The modern, one-of-a-kind side table was created by architect, friend and furniture designer Timothy Penfold. The green-painted window frames blur the lines between the indoor nest and jungle outside.

Above The bathroom is an oasis of shell-themed fun. Lucie bought the bath from Cape Town vintage store Ride a White Swan before the renovation and kept it in storage until it could be installed. Architect Rohan Young added two storeys, clad in corrugated-iron. The new lightweight steel structure sits comfortable on the original Victorian structure.