Donovan and Colleen Brummer’s custom Vela apartment reflects their chemistry in designing spaces as a duo.
In the movie “Sex and the City 2,” Carrie Bradshaw famously proclaims: “I have been cheating on fashion with furniture.”
Upon seeing the final product of Colleen and Donovan Brummer’s Vela pre-construction fit-out, something similar comes to mind.
Had they been cheating on fitness with furniture?
The answer is, of course, no. The couple’s pilates studio ENERGY Essential Fitness in Cricket Square continues to thrive, and Donovan is also a full-time business development manager for Kirk Office.
But, much like fictional style-icons Carrie and Big, the pair had specific desires of their home-space. They spent a significant amount of time ensuring that each feature of the house matched their shared modern aesthetic and desire for beauty and functionality, combined.
The couple purchased the condo pre-construction in August 2015 and it would be two years before they stepped foot into the space to spend their first night.
While they loved Vela’s picturesque placement in South Sound and stunning outdoor shared space, they knew immediately that they wanted to spend a lot of time creating a look that was totally customized to their needs, down to the floors and finishings.
The two worked together on the fit-out of ENERGY Essential Fitness, so this collaboration was not new to them.
“We looked at the available base plan and layout, then moved some walls around for practicality and to maximize the use of space in each room to suit our preferences, such as a larger master bath,” says Donovan. “We knew we wanted a clean and streamlined kitchen to be one of our focal points in the main floor and went immediately to Garrison Industries as we knew they would help us create the aesthetic we were going for.”
The couple changed the floor-plan on the entire second level to create a larger master bathroom and a bedroom with custom-closets, making it obvious that both dislike clutter.
The furniture in the four-bed, four-bath house, with its luxe finishes, muted palette and clean lines, speaks to this.
“We literally filled a container with most of our furniture sourced from a single store in Florida, Scan Design, which offers high-quality furniture direct from Italy, that was more affordable than you’d think,” Donovan says.
Invest in your passions
The couple has owned two residences in the 20 years they have called the Cayman Islands home.
Colleen is originally from Vancouver, Canada and Donovan from South Africa. The two share a love of work, travel and luxury design, so this journey into creating a customized space was heavily strategized and influenced by these passions: in particular, the couple’s love of wine country.
“The custom acrylic wine rack was one of our larger purchases, but we knew we wanted that bar area to be a highlight of our indoor space,” Colleen says.
The kitchen benefitted from another investment piece: a heavy, glass dining table with a watch face that expands the table leaves.
“I was always a little concerned about getting a glass table but having the ‘watch face’ makes it more than just a table and more of an art display,” Colleen adds.
Two Sputnik chandeliers complete the luxe modern-industrial look of the table and are one of Colleen’s favorite purchases.
Color me fun
Colleen and Donovan love a clean, rich-looking neutral palette, but when it came to creating a look that was balanced, the two brought in interior designer Lydia Uzzell to assist with the final additions of art, accessories and pops of color. She also had input on the design of the moody, yet chic, downstairs powder room and the redesign of the kitchen.
“Most of our entertaining takes place in the kitchen; drinks outside on the deck or around the kitchen peninsula arm, and then dinner and drinks,” says Colleen.
Splashes of color in the living room and in the kitchen bring life and a touch of surprise to the cozy downstairs space, where the couple entertains frequently, especially over the holidays.
“We loved the neutral, clean look of the white and gray palette, but wanted to add in the touch of blues in the living room and some yellow in the kitchen for color,” says Colleen.
If asked to choose a favorite room, she leans toward the bedroom.
“It doesn’t have a lot of color but the white and gray provide the cozy, peaceful and relaxing feel we wanted to achieve as the perfect place to retire for rest every night,” she says.
Although the fit-out shows the couple’s commitment to high-quality pieces, not every item broke the bank.
“We decided early on that the downstairs space, and master bedroom space, would be our big-ticket areas,” Colleen says. “In Donovan’s office we went for IKEA and we were able to create a clean, contemporary look that was much easier on the pocketbook.”
Love at first step
It is refreshing to see homeowners who viewed their home like a blank canvas not influenced by fads or the norm. Inside the home, one is brought back to that caper of a movie and the line which defined that New York City couple in the film.
It was an inscription on a watch to Big, which Carrie presented for their anniversary and expresses this Vela home perfectly, as Colleen and Donovan settle into their custom-designed love nest.
“Me and You. Just Us Two.”