Tracy Rushmere is a fearless lover of all things bright, and her home – which she shares with her husband, photographer Pete Maltbie, their children, 11-year-old Tom and eight-year-old Tululah, and Cody, a black-and-white cat – bears striking testimony to this. Two semi-detached properties converted into one multi-level home in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood in central Cape Town, it’s a space abuzz with activity, noise and vibrant colour.
For the living room, Tracy opted for a fiery red that lends a feeling of opulence and warmth. After the more neutral entrance, this room rushes up to you with a welcoming energy. Architectural features stand out against walls in punchy Plascon Cashmere Red Flame (R7-A1-1) and a much-loved painting (which also cleverly hides the TV screen) pulls together a scheme that mixes reds, oranges and distressed turquoise. “I love noise, in every sense, so I don’t fret too much about whether colours go together,” says Tracy. “Colour is an expression of yourself and I simply go for the ones I love.”
The small kitchen, meanwhile, is an oasis in the verdant shade of Plascon Velvaglo Tangy Glow (Y5-B1-1). It’s filled with an extensive, colourful and quirky collection of African artworks and curios, lovingly collected by Tracy over many years of sourcing African artefacts for her various businesses.
The main bedroom, too, is a testament to Tracy’s love of all things African. “Before ShineShine Fabrics, I owned the retail businesses Afro and African Image. Through them I developed a love for the vibrant urban energy and imagery of modern-day Africa,” she says. Also in evidence here is Tracy’s belief that an off-white, such as Plascon’s Cashmere Resplendent (Y4-D2-3), offsets bright colours better than pure white, which can offer too glaring a contrast.
The children, Tom and Tululah, share one large bedroom. Not only is it big enough for them to rollerblade and play table tennis in, but they also get to swing from the rafters – literally – on bungee ropes. Although Tululah loves the space, she wanted an area that felt like it belonged to only her, a zone that she could decorate and use to display her Buddha statue and show off her collection of soft toy bunnies. So here Tracy has used colour to demarcate different spaces, giving each child their own, separate zone that is distinct in colour, look and feel.
Like her mother, Tululah has strong ideas about colour. “I didn’t want a girlie pink for my room, rather a purple-pink,” says this spirited eight-year-old, who happily settled on the powerful Plascon Cashmere Magenta Rose (P7-A1-1) for her feature wall. Tom’s zone pays homage to his three passions: drumming, surfing and sports. As he loves the sea, he chose the blue-green of Plascon Cashmere Tuscana Blue (B1-B1-1) for his feature wall – and is still trying to convince his mom to allow him to paint graffiti on it.
In the children’s bathroom the walls have a skimmed plaster finish and the floor is a cement screed, so it was up to the door and window frames to provide an injection of bright colour. Tracy opted for a high-gloss enamel in Plascon Enamel Doors & Trims Signal Red (G7) – the perfect complement to her shiny collection of plastic dolls. “Don’t overthink colour,” says Tracy. “You can always paint over it again.”