About Habitusliving


Habitus is a movement for living in design. We’re an intelligent community of original thinkers in constant search of native uniqueness in our region.


From our base in Australia, we strive to capture the best edit, curating the stories behind the stories for authentic and expressive living.


Habitusliving.com explores the best residential architecture and design in Australia and Asia Pacific.


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Design Hunters

Green Thumbs

What are the most important elements to consider when designing an outdoor space?

“…functionality, sustainability and maintenance. But don’t forget colour, comfort and luxury or as I like to call it ‘luxe-scaping!” – Jamie Durie
“Client’s Desires – lifestyle, personality, their desired use and vision for the finished garden.” – Nicola Cameron
“to keep things simple, you don’t need lots of garden bling” – Matthew Cantwell

What are some of the most commonly made mistakes?

“Using the wrong plant in the wrong environment, not taking soil and existing conditions into account” – William Dangar
“Scale or the incorrect use of it is a common mistake. Getting the scale correct in a project is critical to its success” – Dean Herald
“When you see a garden with too much structure and not the right balanceof plants and greenery.” – Matthew Cantwell

How do you predict outdoor spaces will change in the coming years?

“More confined, space limitation, larger developments so more shade” – William Dangar
“As technology continues to push us forward, it is inevitable that we will need quiet and nurturing spaces to come back to, spaces we can create for ourselves, our very own sanctuary.” – Jamie Durie
“We will see budgets concentrated on sound construction and quality materials rather than recreating the house in the garden”- Matthew Cantwell

 What would you like to see more of in outdoor spaces?

Less structure, more plants” – William Dangar
“people being brave and trusting the vision of the designers to take their brief and express it in a different method than what most would.” – Dean Herald
“People investing their budget in mature plants so they can enjoy their garden from Day 1.” – Matthew Cantwell

What is your single most liked plant for a garden?

“hardy, tough species that look good year round and don’t require heavy maintenance – William Dangar
“Australian natives are always close to my heart for their unique sculptural aesthetics.” – Jamie Durie
“Anything edible is often up there, but so are the beautiful Eucalyptus trees” – Nicola Cameron
“The Dracaena draco (Dragon’s Blood Tree) has always been a favorite of mine as a statement tree in a garden where it works” – Dean Herald


William Dangar, Dangar Group                                                             Jamie Durie, Durie Design
                                                                                                                         (Photograph: Tonya McCahon)


Nicola Cameron, Pepo Landscape Design                                          Dean Herald, Rolling Stone Landscapes

Matthew Cantwell, Secret Gardens


Architectural Alchemy

Some structures are so unappealing they offer little hope to would be renovators. At the same time, budget and environmental factors encourage the reuse of as much of the pre-existing building as possible, putting architects and owners in a difficult position. In the case of this project, a creative set of alterations and additions makes the most of the site’s assets whilst repairing and upgrading its less appealing aspects. 

The brief, in the words of the owners, was to “repair the design wound wound the 1980’s urban brick bungalow inflicts… [whilst]… retaining as much of the original structure as possible”. The owners are a couple who wished to accommodate visiting children and their families, creating upper and lower areas that could function independently or as a single residence.

Of primary importance was the addition of a second floor to capitalize on ocean views and expand living space. Clad in lightweight, clear finish fibre cement, the expansion features an elongated, two-level deck that adds an outdoor area to the upper-floor rooms. The external finish of the surfaces, coupled with the original clinker brick and western red cedar cover battons, creates a varied and textured finish that acknowledges the original structure while softening and modernising it. With abundant windows and skylights the upper floors are bright, airy, and immersed in the expansive prospect of their panorama.

Internally materials, colours and furnishings sustain a light, contemporary feel and integrate fluidly into the coastal suburb aesthetic. Blackbutt floors and v-groove panel walls create attractive, cost-effective surfaces, with warm white tones complementing the natural illumination. Multi-coloured fins above the stairs and upper deck provide subtle highlights of colour, and the mix of modern and vintage furniture that populates the home is both relaxed and tasteful.

Ultimately there is only so much that can be done to mask the eyesore of the original structure, but the striking second story addition and use of a vine-covered pergola to screen the clinker bricks go a long way in transforming this lump of lead to gold.

David Boyle Architects

Photography: Brigid Arnott

Design Products
Habitus Loves

Habitus Loves… Outdoor Cooking



Designed by: Beefeater

Why we love it: Portable, powerful and brightly coloured, the BUGG (Beefeater Universal Gas Grill) marks the culmination of the company’s quarter century in making bbqs. 

Where you can get it: Selected retailers




Designed by: Indu+

Why we love it: Customiseable with a range of accessories including woks and grills, the TOMBOY brings all the convenience of induction cooking to the outdoors. 

Where you can get it: Cosh Living


 Outdoor Grill


Designed by: DCS

Why we love it: A product of the great Californian tradition of outdoor cooking, the DCS Outdoor Grill produces an enormous amount of heat distributed across the entire surface. The chicken rotisserie and abundant storage space round this outdoor cooking station out to deliver excellence across your al fresco menu. 

Where you can get it: Fisher & Paykel (from mid-November)


Grill Daddy


Designed by: Grill Daddy

Why we love it: Whilst its name alone might prompt affection, the measured water release feature, which melts grease and grime from grill tops, is truly loveable. 

Where you can get it: Amazon


Grill Tweezers


Designed by: Claus Jensen & Henrik Holbaek for Eva Solo

Why we love it: These elegantly modern bbq tongs might not be best suited for racks of beef, but for lighter, more delicate foods they offer surgical precision.

Where you can get it: top3


BBQ Grill Light


Designed by: Man Law

Why we love it: Gloom can lead to perfidious over and under cooking, not to mention rogue sausages scattered around the garden. Illuminate, monitor and safeguard your dinner with this powerful portable light.

Where you can get it: Amazon


Jaffle Iron


Designed by: Kulkyne Kampers

Why we love it: A quintessential component of the Australian camping experience, the jaffle iron brings cheese-melting, bread-crunching, and finger-scolding joy to campfires. 

Where you can get it: Kulkyne Kampers


Pizza Stone


Designed by: Emile Henry

Why we love it: Whilst barbecues may occupy a royal position in the meat-cookers pantheon, with the right tools they can adapt to create a number of other dishes. A pizza stone, for instance, converts a hooded bbq into a pizza oven, creating crispy, evenly cooked deliciousness. 

Where you can get it: Williams Sonoma



Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q+A with Jacqui Thomas

Your name: Jacqui Thomas

What you do: I founded and ran a design and branding agency for 21 years and now I am a hunter & gatherer of Australian Objects of Design for Sooper Design, a company I co-founded with Anne Sherlock in 2012.

Your latest project: Sooper Design

Who are three people that inspire/excite you:

     1)  Marc Newson – awesome Australian Designer who can apply his thinking to just about anything

     2)  Brodie Neill

     3)  My son who has a creative soul and is exploring his passions and creativity in new environments as he emerges from secondary school into the the big wide world

What is your favourite…

travel destination: They’re poles apart but Paris and South East Asia. I love to spend an afternoon in Rodin’s garden with a baguette and a French vogue, but a recent stay on Gili Trawangan was a real treat and a total getaway. Bali Island, beyond the tourist muck is a great place to be relaxed, inspired and eat well. It has a great mix of traditional culture and the creativity of artisans and business people from all over the globe.

hotel/place to stay:  A tiny apartment in the Marais district of Paris or a beach hut overlooking an ocean somewhere warm.

luxury goods company: Sooper Design

value for money company: Sooper Design

design classic: The Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. I have 4 different sizes and the smallest one gets used several times a day and always goes with me when I go away.

new design: The Clover light by Tassie born, UK based Brodie Neill

type of chair: A comfortable one. Either that or the floor

meal: Number 27 at the local Thai takeaway with coconut rice.

restaurant: Fog

drink: Bubbles from Tassie – Clover Hill or 42º South

bar: On board the Barnstormer (Bavaria 42 match yacht) after a day of racing.

Item of clothing for…

Winter: A pair of pink fluffy bunny ear muffs that I bought in Hanoi

Summer: a sarong

artwork: “A few things fundamental”, a bronze sculpture by David Owen Tucker that I bought in 1992. It reminds me every day of the simple things in life and makes me smile.

artist: At this moment Mauro Palmieri, an incredibly talented Melbourne photographer who’s creating my portrait for me.

gallery/museumQdos in Lorne. The sculpture garden is where I sit and dream and plan. I always leave there feeling so alive.

book: An interiors or architecture picture book

item in your studio: My desktop screen saver because I can change it to whatever pleases or inspires me at the time.

piece of technology: I can’t say I’m in love with technology but would find it hard to live without my Apple products and a decent internet connection

historical figure: Is Audrey Hepburn historical enough?

fictional character: The Mad Hatter

vice: Too, too many of those

virtue: hmmmm! Is humility a virtue?

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you?

A Design Hunter is someone who seeks to enhance their existence through the presence of good design.

Design Hunters

Alex Clayton

Clayton’s love affair with photography began developing film in a home made dark room after a trip to Vietnam. Working on a print of a young woman paddling a low-lying canoe he realised that the photograph he had created was a distillation of the actual moment – purer, brighter and more evocative. In his own words, “there was a magic in the process of rendering the scene into a flat printed image, making the whole thing somehow more romantic and exotic than it actually was. I recognised that despite how much fun I had had on the journey, the experience of making, looking and wondering at that print was actually what I was looking for.”

When asked about inspiration Clayton’s answer suggests a stimulated and curious mind, mostly because it seems there isn’t much that doesn’t inspire him. From minimalist Japanese Ryokans to literature, film, the internet (“probably one of the best representations of humanity ever to exist”, he comments), music and the very nature of the relationship between the artist and their art, the photographer applies a thoughtful and discerning lens to the world around him that yields a seemingly infinite stream of creative fuel.

Clayton’s itinerant chapter, however, stems from a particular fascination; “Iʼm inspired by any heaving metropolis that manages to operate despite the turmoil and chaos caused by so much happening in such close proximity” he explains, no-doubt alluding to his almost two decades of exploring Asia and its own human termite hills.

Now, back in Australia, it is the “unforgiving harshness and raw open beauty” of the landscape that feed his creativity.

His last comment on the topic is to do with aging: “Iʼm inspired by the perspective of getting older. Not cause I want to become old and decrepit, but because an older person has so many more memories and experiences to ponder existence with.”

Around The World

Venice of the East

Loy La Long (literally “floats away”) is a seven-room residence-turned-hotel located in the back end of Bangkok’s historic Chinatown. The hotel features an interior space where a “sense of locality” can be genuinely absorbed, and rather than offering the standard river view from a high ground, it tells the story of traditional riverside living.

The journey to find the hotel creates a sense of rediscovering something lost, as guests wander through the small lanes inside Wat Pathumkongka, a historical temple that is even older than Bangkok, to discover a discreet 30 year old teak house hidden at the back. The two owners, known by their nicknames of ‘Sea’ and ‘Air’, both have creative backgrounds in advertising, and have kept the hotel small and intimate so as to offer guests the convivial atmosphere of visiting friends. For instance to access the hotel guests either enter through the front door with a household key, or simply knock. At the end of their stays, most guests have befriended the owners.     

The river is not immediately visible when entering the hotel; the long foyer to the common space acts as a transitional area where the city’s furore can be left behind, and then the view of the Chao Phraya River is revealed at the raised floor common area, where the dark teak sobriety of the original structure is lightened by lively, colourful floor cushions.

Contrasting the high-rise developments on the opposite side of the river, the view from the floor-seats in the lounge, framed by worn teak, offers a perspective of the river as it was once seen by the locals. It is a historical glimpse of the time when Bangkok was dubbed the Venice of the East, and the main river and small canals formed part of the daily lives of the people as the main communication and transport routes.

The seven available rooms are of different sizes, ranging from being able to accommodate single traveller to family with children. Each room is detailed in a single colour, and its pairing with the timber space and eclectic furnishings results in an ambience that can be both contemporary and playful and traditionally relaxing at the same time.

The surreal charm of Loy La Long is best encapsulated in the experience of entering on one side from the infamous traffic jams of Bangkok City, and passing through a portal into a sanctuary where water hyacinth calmly floats down a quiet river. 

Loy La Long

Habitus Loves
Design Products
Design Accessories

Habitus Loves… Cleaning

Magò Broom


Designed by: Stefano Giovannoni for Magis

Why we love it: The humble broom is often the harbinger of serious cleaning. What starts with a quick sweep inevitably spirals into an obsessive quest to find and conquer every lurking screed of dirt. The Magò broom, with its bright, fun colours, injects an air of levity into this crusade against clutter.

Where you can get it: top3


DC35 Multi Floor


Designed by: Dyson

Why we love it: Not needing to walk all the way back to the other room to unplug the vacuum cleaner and then walk all the way back to plug it in, again, so as to vacuum that last thirty square centimeter patch of floor? Yes please. Cordless glory.

Where you can get it: Dyson


Super Swish Spray Mop


Designed by: Sabco

Why we love it: Integrating a spray bottle into a mop so as to have soapy water on hand to deal with stubborn grime may seem like an obvious concept now that it’s been done, but its convenience and ingenuity are not to be underestimated. No more messing around with swishing buckets and drenching your floors, just squeeze out a simple spray to soften and lubricate, and mop away.

Where you can get it: Selected retailer


Floor Cleaner


Designed by: Planet Luxe

Why we love it: Now that you’ve got that spray mop, continue the upgrade with this powerful yet luscious and environmentally friendly floor cleaner. Featuring a titillating cast of organic soapwort extract, sweet orange essential oil, lemon myrtle essential oil, kakadu plum extract and organic lavender extract, this stuff is packed with aromatic cleansing muscle. 

Where you can get it: Selected stockists


Jetz Scrubs


Designed by: Jetz

Why we love it: It’s odd to be this excited by a sponge, but our recurring frustration at having average sponges rapidly degenerate into broken, mottled petri-dishes of bacteria caked and spotted with burnt soup and chicken fat required resolution. Jetz Scrubs, at last, feature a tougher structure that allows them to scrub better and last longer. They can be cleaned in the dishwasher and disinfected in boiling water, and the non-scratch scouring surface on the back is brutal on grime without harming your cookware. 

Where you can get it: Amazon


Woodgrain Dustpan and Brush


Designed by: Alice Supply CO.

Why we love it: A plastic dustpan and brush? Pffft. Get some REAL sweeping power with this woodgrain-pattern metal dustpan and timber brush! You’ll be yearning for someone to break a glass at your next dinner party with this bad boy stashed in your cupboard.  

Where you can get it: Gessato


Spit & Polish


Designed by: Murchison-Hume

Why we love it: Now that you’ve punished your floors with broom, vacuum and mop, raise the altitude and go berserk at the steel benchtops and pots with this chrome and stainless steel cleaner. Available in enticing aromas of Australian White Grapefruit and Coriander, it’ll bludgeon stains while leaving your kitchen deliciously fragrant.

Where you can get it: Selected retailers


Grapefruit and Watercress Room Fragrance


Designed by: Jeremi London

Why we love it: Unwanted smells, regardless of their provenance, merit exile. Banish them with the Jeremi London range of room fragrances – we particularly enjoy the grapefruit and watercress varietal, but the bergamot and cedar wood, melon amber and peony and persimmon and plum also sound attractive.

Where you can get it: Selected stockists




Contemporary Cool

In certain dishes, a collection of ingredients can be transformed from clashing to balanced with the addition of a single, unifying flavour. Such is the case with Trocadero – a new restaurant located within the recently redeveloped Hamer Hall on Melbourne’s Southbank. 

Reading a list of its architectural and design features, one could be forgiven for suspecting a garish or at least ill-conceived panache of concrete-finish plaster, black and white marble, gold-mirrored brass, stone columns and dark carpet, with a contemporary graffiti feature wall as the proverbial cherry-on-top. 

And yet in its execution, Trocadero demonstrates how disparate elements, carefully chosen and blended, can yield a pleasing aesthetic rich with unexpected details.

Occupying an elongated and narrow site flanked by the open panorama of the Yarra river and Melbourne CBD, the restaurant capitalizes on the spectacular views with floor to ceiling windows and outdoor seating, vastly opening the space and flooding it with light during the day.  

The separate cocktail bar and restaurant areas share a palette of black, white and grey but are distinguished by fragmented marble floors, buffed brass bar and timber stools in the former and dark carpet and central stone column in the latter. A mix of rectangular square timber and circular marble tables in the dining area prevents it feeling repetitive and cater for both intimate meals and larger parties, with Dark Thonet Leiter chairs lending their lightweight elegance to the space.

What gives the restaurant it’s aesthetic punch, however, is the specially commissioned artwork by Japanese graffiti artist Jun Inoue. Regarding his choice of medium Inoue comments that he was drawn to “its physicality, rebelliousness, and artistry”, and this is certainly evident in his work at Trocadero. Drawing from traditional Japanese art and calligraphy he fuses techniques and colours to create an abstract, evocative piece that simultaneously sustains the contemporary edginess of the space while introducing a softer, more whimsical dimension.


Gastronomically Trocadero serves a modern brasserie style mix of mediterranean inspired dishes, presented with just enough artistic flourish. The whole baked garfish pie and cooked caramel cream with popcorn crumble are particular favourites and have become signatures of the restaurant.

Allan Powell Architects

Anthony Musarra

Photography: Sharyn CairnsRichard Nolan-Neylan

What's On

‘Southern Wilderness’ by Gary Fernandez

Hailing from Madrid, Fernández is bringing his anticipated collection titled “Southern Wilderness” to Perth and Sydney for an exclusive exhibition in September.

Southern Wilderness is an imaginary journey through a magical, whimsical and surreal American South.
It’s the place where the unreal crosses the thin line and merges with the real; where Brown Thrashers, squirrels
and rabbits dwell with fantastic fauna, five-legged beasts and witches in foggy forests filled with old trees that
whisper and stir in the night. It is there that the son of the rabbit and squirrel becomes a Contortionist, and where
bees tear the wings from butterflies, trying to steal their beauty and where birds fight to the death.

Fernández has recently published a book called “Introduction to Fantastic Girls, Future Landscapes & The Most Beautiful Birds Ever Seen”. He transforms the environment, taking the beauty of the world as we know it, nature, birds and femininity, and creates the scene into something magical.

“My work is about exploring ideas, and imagery and giving them life. It’s about thinking how something could be with a twist. It’s about extrapolating meanings and seeing what happens.”

His corporate client list is impressive from fashion icons Dolce and Gabbana to to advertising heavies DDB, McCann Erickson, JWT and Grey to super brands such as Coca Cola and Nokia. His illustrations have graced countless magazines around the world and have appeared in numerous books.

This exhibition features an exclusive limited run of his works, some original pieces and beautiful sculptures.

Southern Widerness will include an exclusive limited run of his works, some original pieces and sculptures and will be on display at gallery 140 in Perth from the 6th to the 8th of September and Friends of Leon Gallery in Sydney from the 20th of September  to the 14th of October.

Friends of Leon Gallery


Gary Fernandez


Old and New

The homes architects design for themselves are often surprising – be it the frugal material palette, reserved colours or spare furnishings, there is a desire for purity and simplicity.

This is evident in the home of architect Stewart Smith; built on a modest 200sqm plot the structure features a number of finer points of design, however it retains an oversized-verandah’s charm and maintains the breezy character of its Brisbane suburb.


A core objective of the project was to maximize the sense of space in the home while balancing openness with privacy. To achieve this the project makes use of semi-transparent boundary materials – from the narrow vertical timber of the fence and windows to the incorporation of an outdoor curtain – which both connect internal and external spaces and shield inhabitants from the sight. The cubic volumes rising from the kitchen to the two-story ceiling enhance the sense of internal space and allow light from sliding doors and louver windows to flood into the communal area.

A further effect of the draped fabric is that it adds another layer of texture to the exterior, which ties in to a broader theme of using interesting and varied textures as an aesthetic device. Extensive use of spotted gum and tin left in their natural colour and tone create a pleasing visual variation throughout the home and resonate with the vernacular of pre-war structures in the area. Internally these materials are highlighted against the black tiling and cabinetry and white paintwork, keeping the palette clean and consistent.

A number of considered material and design choices give the home effective passive heating, including the positioning of windows and awnings so that they allow sunlight to penetrate in winter but not in summer, the use of a Resene product to prevent heat being absorbed by black surfaces, and the strong cross-ventilation created by continuous internal spaces and abundant windows and doors.

The success of the project in Smith’s eyes is encapsulated in comments from passers-by that it’s ‘a nice renovation’ – for Smith this ambiguity over whether or not it is a new build demonstrates that it is sympathetic to its context without trying to replicate it. In his own words, “I love that it is difficult to know when the building was built”.

Smith Architects

Design Hunters

Design Hunter™ Q+A with Shareen Joel

Your name:  Shareen Joel

What you do: Designer – Industrial & Interior for Shareen Joel Design and Share Design

Your latest project: High End residential building and interior design, product design

Who are three people that inspire/excite you:

     1) Achille Castiglioni

     2) Piero Lissoni

     3) Carine Roitfeld

What is your favourite…

Car/bike/plane/boat model: Bike- Velorbis – pure style! Boat- Brenta 60 Car- New & vintage Porsche 911 & Aston Martin DB7- the styling never dates!

Chair model: Cassina Utrecht- it’s both classic and surprisingly comfortable.

Residential space: Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye. The design is simple, honest and beautiful – a dream house!

Commercial space: I love the Louvre glass pyramid – it’s incredible to stand inside and look up. Also, locally I love the new RMIT Design Hub. The pivoting circles on the façade cast stunning shadows throughout.

Decorative product: Art- paintings & sculptures

Functional product: Artemide Tizio Task Lamp – I have one at work and home.

Handmade good: Natural hide Robert Clergerie tote bag & Fredericia Borge Morgensen leather dining chairs. The leather patinas beautifully.

meal: I can’t go past steak tartare with loads of spice!

restaurant: Nopi in London

drink: A thirst quenching Caprioska.

item in your studio: The Tivoli radio- I cant bare the quiet in the office!

piece of technologyMacBook Pro & iphone- although predictable!

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you? Always being on the look out for new inspiration and great design. 

Check out a copy of Habitus 17 (available September 19) to learn more about Shareen Joel’s design studio and website. 

Design Products

‘Porcelana Innovadora’ from Earp Bros

The work, a wall-mounted multi-faceted piece, comprises multiple layers of six different types of 3D ceramic tiles from the Earp Bros range.

The sculpture is illuminated by projections of complex light designs and patterns that oscillate and shift over the tiles, further enhancing their overall dimensionality and relief. The sound complements the complexity of the sculpture and vision, creating a mesmerising futuristic atmosphere.

Conceptually the work demonstrates advancements in tile manufacturing while highlighting the design of the tiles, producing an engaging and dynamic artwork. 

With the intricate design, video animation and sound, the artists wanted to create a sense of mystery; there are subtle references to the wall art of ancient cultures such as that of Aztecs, yet the work hints at something new and undiscovered.

Created exclusively for Earp Bros’ exhibition at Saturday in Design, Porcelana Innovadora will be long remembered by those who saw it. For those who didn’t – watch this space…

Seven Spanish tiles were used to create the artwork: Prisma Nacar, Sea Silver, Madison Plata, Oxo Mosaico Blanco, Diamonds, Pearls White and Pearls Dark, all available from Earp Bros - Innovative Tile Solutions.


Earp Bros

Kit Webster
Chiara Kickdrum