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.

 

Learn more

Design Products
Accessories

Le Creuset Sydney Store

Known for their meticulous eye for detail and sophisticated approach to design, a team of British architects, Leckenby Associates, have used a combination of solid beech furnishings and European oak flooring to create a neutral backdrop that will allow maximum focus on the selection of signature colours le Creuset has to offer. Special design features include a le Creuset casserole lid wall as well as a chandelier made entirely from le Creuset Tagine Lids.

To mark the launch of the first le Creuset stand-alone store, Paper Installation Artist Samanatha Gazal will be designing a colourful 3D window display using a combination of paper and le Creuset pots. Samantha's signature installations have included The Melting Paper Beach Balls (Westfield) and The Paper Candy Bar (The Eyescene, Double Bay):

"I wanted to convey Le Creuset's explosion of colour - colouring Sydney for the launch of their first Australian store. I love that the fragility and ephemeral nature of the paper contrast so distinctly with the solidity of the product and its guarantee to last forever" commented Gazal. 

le Creuset
lecreuset.com.au

abc
Design Products
Accessories

HYPER–REAL by Easton Pearson

Poolside glamour was the definite mood at this year’s show, with hyped up colours and large scale prints slinging the 50’s into the future. By combining their exquisite designs with candy coloured beehives and matching coloured brows, the styling by Renya Xydis, helped the show hit an ultra-contemporary chord. Borrowing brushstrokes from colonial Morrocco, the heavy piano soundtrack helped recall 50’s housewives living ‘in the lap’. Bright and breezy stripes of blue and orange opened the show with a Matisse like palette, while the sexy shorts and beaded mini’s that followed were all fit for a post-Amy Winehouse present.

A clever layering of colour built the show step-by-step, with colours of orange, deep pea green and sherbet yellow as fresh as painted boats.

Eagerly anticipated by media and buyers alike, this final show in the MBFW program, marked the first time the Brisbane duo have shown on Australian soil in 5 years. With a legacy of showing in Paris, the Easton Pearson customer looks to France each year, for their timeless, cult collections.

This year did not disappoint.

The feather, metallic and plastic fringing gave more than just nod to the lives of rock stars. Yet on the feet, bejeweled ‘slip ons’ added further to the distinctly laid back vibe. 

Pansy earrings in bird’s eye sized beading were another leitmotif, an oversized partner to the excessive up-do. African decoration was never far from reach, until the show took a turn toward the exotic gardens of Alison Wonderland. Here Easton Pearson offered us lots of beading on beautiful, floating gowns. One dress looked like red fireworks on a pale blue silk chiffon sky, another in tinkling gold metallic was fit for a Bond girl sauntering into view. 

Obviously one of the strongest collections at fashion week, Eason Pearson brought more timeless brilliance to the catwalk once again. Each piece was visually sustainable, cerebral and astute. According to the designers - “50’s inspired, but more like 2050”.

Easton Pearson
eastonpearson.com

Renya Xydis City Salon
valonz.com.au/site/4/renya-xydis 

abc
Design Products
Furniture

‘Baxter’ from Designer Rugs

A contemporary, vibrant visual and tactile study, the Baxter hand knot rugs showcase the superb quality of the wool and silk they are woven from and the skill of their designers. The design's beauty lies in its deceptive simplicity - a dense geometric pattern creates a subtle texture from a distance, and reveals intricate detail up close. This versatility gives the rugs the ability to elegantly animate any environment.

The Baxter hand knot rugs are part of the Mystique collection, and are available in Lime, Blue, Black & Pink.
They are suitable for residential and light commercial applications, and can be custom sized, including hall runners and circular rugs.

Designer Rugs
designerrugs.com.au

 

abc
Design Stories
Design Hunters
Conversations

Thoughts on Landscape Architecture

1. What are the main points a client should consider when deciding whether/how to commission a landscape architect?

• Was the house designed by an architect and does the garden need a similar level of detail
• Are the works likely to require council approval
• Do I need a basic makeover or are there some fundamental flaws with the layout requiring a major restructuring of the job
• How long do I plan to stay and what is my budget

2. Is a landscape architecture project more effective when commissioned before or after an architectural project?

By and large , yes it is best considered at the same time. Depending on the size of the house renovation and build the council often requires a landscape plan to be submitted with the house plans. Designing at the same time ensures that the junction of house meeting the garden and the adjacent areas are more fluid. The garden design often influences elements of the house design as well. One of the major benefits is that there will also be economies of scale from a construction perspective if both scopes are considered at the same time.

3. How does being commissioned prior to or after a project's completion affect the outcome of the landscape architecture?

Too often we see a house designed that does not take advantage of a potential asset, particularly a green outlook. An architect visualises a house from the inside looking out most of the time. A landscape architect will concentrate on experiencing the house from the outside. For the best result you have to consider the whole picture, otherwise opportunities will surely be missed.

4. In your opinion, why do clients wait until after a project's completion to commission a landscape architect?

I think that sometimes it all gets a bit hard for the client and also the less experienced house architect. The better architects will ensure the clients engage a landscape architect early on. There is also going to be concerns re budget and the cost of installing the garden but at least look at the concept plan of your garden at the same time.

5. What are the differences between being commissioned by an architect as part of a project or directly by the client?

The architect often places greater emphasis on aesthetics, less on the practical requirements of the home owner. This is important to the client of course but they often focus on the practical elements first, aesthetics second. ‘’Where is my clothesline, bins, where will my children kick a ball, I need a dining table that will seat 10’’. Sure it has to look good, more importantly it has to work but an equal balance is the best outcome.

6. What are the main mistakes/misunderstandings that arise when designing a landscape? How do you think these could be avoided?

The design solution has to be practical and needs to be able to adapt to the home owners changing needs. A simple design that balances the structural requirements with the horticultural elements is the starting point. Ensuring that the nice outlooks or views are enhanced and that unsightly ones and overlooking from neighbours are addressed complete the picture. Ornamental pieces need to be subtle and tasteful, “Garden bling’’ will date and is an unnecessary expense. An understanding of the maintenance that a client is prepared to perform or pay for also needs to be established. If the right maintenance does not occur, the design will not be realised.

Matt Cantwell

abc
Design Hunters
People

Design Hunter Q+A with Adam Dettrick

Your name:  Adam Dettrick

What you do:  Architect

Your latest project:  Cape Paterson Ecovillage - an inspiring project to be involved in because it is proving that zero carbon, sustainable living is affordable now. We have also recently finished the new Movida restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney.   

Who are three people that inspire/excite you:

1)  Robin Boyd
2)  Jahn Gehl (he started a great ongoing conversation about designing our cities for people)  
3)  Laurie Baker (British-born Indian architect) 

What is your favourite…

Car/bike/plane/boat model: Surly Long Haul Trucker touring bicycle (my ride!)

Chair model: I love the local Melbourne range by Jardan – current favourite: Sunday.  When budget is more modest, I often choose Ikea!

Residential space: Gamble House in Pasadena, CA. I really responded to the ambience of the rooms, full of shadowy intrigue – such a contrast to the bright and light that architecture aspires to today. It was a timely reminder that good architecture needs to use light and views with discipline – less can often be more even when it comes to light.

Commercial space: I thought I’d talk about public space rather than commercial. The High Court and National Gallery in Canberra are the two buildings that inspired me to become an architect – I visited them on a school trip in year 11. Both buildings opened my eyes to the possibilities of architecture in modern society, and in retrospect it’s hard to go past the uber concrete detailing!

Decorative product: I really like Castlemaine designers Studio Antic:  my current favourite are their print blocks.

Functional product: Wind power generators – clean, green and beautiful. I love everything they symbolise about a future where humanity lives within its means.  

Handmade good:  Studio Antic (again) for their great screen printing abilities.

Meal: Roast lamb

Restaurant: Movida Aqui

Drink: Pinot noir in moderation of course

Bar: Movida Next Door

Item in your studio: Eames meeting table

Piece of technology: The internet is changing the world for the better in the same way that canals, rail and the motor car did in previous times.  

Historical figure: Charles Darwin 

Fictional character: Atticus Finch

Vice: Cycling and bushwalking gear

Virtue: Attention to detail

What does ‘sustainability’ mean to you?  Living within the means of our planet.

What is your favourite aspect of the Mullum Creek development? It’s great to see a development that takes its environmental responsibilities seriously.

What type of community do you think Mullum Creek will attract? I imagine it will attract people with a shared interest in community and the natural environment.

What does the term ‘Design Hunter’ mean to you? Anyone who can see and understand the benefits of good design is instinctively a ‘Design Hunter’.

abc
Architecture
NOT HOMES
Places

Elemental Architecture

As China settles into its position of political and economic superpower, the hallmarks of its historic glory are resurfacing, manifested most visibly through its architecture. And, whilst the futuristic skyscrapers of Beijing and Shanghai carry the clarion for this trend, increasingly the private homes and exclusive destinations of the nation’s upper class reflect it as well. The brief for the Lakeview Restaurant, which forms part of the Eadry Royal Garden Hotel in Haikou, was for “a private club… reserved for the client’s important/high-end guests or the hotel VIP guests”. As such it is no surprise that the architects, BLVD International Inc., should draw inspiration from the Qing Dynasty Summer Palace of Beijing, a destination created to offer the imperial court respite from the city’s heat and seclusion from the lower classes. The building where the restaurant is located maintains this high level of privacy by being located away from crowded areas, and is nestled in the forest near the edge of a lake. Large windows on the perimeter draw the lush outdoor landscape inside, enhancing the continuity between exterior and interior. The layout of the restaurant responds to the Chinese philosophy of the five elements: earth, metal, water, fire and air. The main dining hall is treated as the central earth element while the west entrance signifies metal (gold) and the abundance of wealth, success and prosperity. North of the dining space is the peaceful study space, reminiscent of a calm body of water, while the fiery south was picked as the obvious location for the Kitchen. The lounge, located on the eastern axis, draws on the Chinese idiom that “precious air comes from the East” extending this flattering metaphor to its guests. The material palette of the project sustains the premium feel, including ‘golden brick’ (used to pave the Forbidden City), ebony/rosewood (the most expensive wood in China), silk, china and traditionally valuable metals such as copper. Furthermore, many items and materials were custom made, such as the tables, composed of carefully selected rare woods and shaped by a specialized root carving method. Overall the restaurant feels refined and expensive, managing to convey the luxury and prestige demanded by its owners and patrons while avoiding the more gratuitous opulence of other examples in the same class. Noteworthy, and ironic, is that while the explosion of wealth broadcasts the success of China’s charge into modernity, the visual vernacular of the wealthy more and more approaches that of an Empire which ended more than a century ago.   BLVD blvd.com.cn/flash/#!/enabc
Design Products
Furniture

Jamie Durie for Riva 1920

The range features strong architecture with subtle finishes, and a simplistic palette of natural and luxurious materials. An elegant arrangement of construction details with an understated raw beauty makes each piece feel grounded and inviting.

Jamie has been creating custom-made furniture for over 14 years and working on a range of diverse commercial projects, including resorts, public domain and multi unit developments in Australia and overseas. He has won over 30 national and international design awards throughout his career and has a vast celebrity following including Charlize Theron and Anne Heche. Jamie says ‘I am thrilled to collaborate with luxury Italian furniture brand Riva 1920 and excited to launch my first range at Milan Furniture Fair’.

Jamie Durie with designer David Knott

Conceptually the Riva 1920 brand is committed to producing furniture using only natural and sustainable materials, guaranteeing low environmental impact and bringing to life the ideas conceived by great international designers, including Renzo Piano and Philippe Starck.

The Jamie Durie for Riva 1920 bespoke collection features five pieces, including the Ficus and Bungalow Stools, Tubular Shelves and Table and Fur-Nature Modular Sofa all maintaining the distinctive Riva 1920 heritage and aesthetic, using reforestation timber, American Walnut and Cedarwood with all styles finished with natural oil.

Jamie Durie with Designer and Managing Director of Riva 1920 Maurizio Riva

The collaboration was born thanks to the philosophy and principles shared by the two companies: environmental sustainability, designing products made of natural and recycled materials, keeping in mind that the design and the respect for the environment are tied together. Designer and Managing Director of Riva 1920, Maurizio Riva said, “This new partnership between Jamie Durie and Riva 1920 makes us very excited and we are sure it will result in a long-lasting and enthusiastic collaboration for both our companies”.

Riva 1920
riva1920.it

Jamie Dury
jamiedurie.com

abc
Architecture
Homes

Paddington Garden by Pepo

The owners loved living in a vibrant urban suburb but missed the large coastal garden space they had left. Our brief was to design a deck and low-maintenance garden that felt like an extension of their indoor living area. Movement, space and intimacy were all important in this compact space.

Pepo’s design also had to be practical and accommodate a rainwater tank, clothes line, care parking, BBQ and entertaining space, not to mention an established conifer hedge.

Simple but elegant polished concrete stepping stones were handcrafted in organic shapes to create a pathway through the garden. These were a major design choice as many rooms overlook the garden space and the pattern the stones form. 

Copper sculpture – we commissioned this stunning piece from Mark McClelland to break up the strong lines of the residence without blocking light. The owners love looking out onto this sculpture and the sense of strength and movement it adds.

Plants were chosen to complement the sculpture and add some colour highlights, but requiring little maintenance. The evergreen Magnolia with glossy green topside and copper underside of the leaf fills the space and screens the footpath. A bowl of red impatiens and red flowering Anthurium provides year-round flowers, with mounds of buxus adding a sculptural element. 

The end result is an inviting garden that has an urban aesthetic with a sculptural feel. The garden softens the modern design of the home and the deck has become a well-loved and well-used everyday living area. 

Pepo Botanic Design
pepo.com.au

abc
Architecture
Homes

Concrete Minimalism

The home is the result of the renovation, reconfiguration and union of two loft style apartments in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont. The building these were housed in has a long and varied history, tracing the trajectory of the area’s development from peripheral, when it was the first wool store in the suburb in 1882, to metropolitan, when it was converted into a car park in the late 1980s and also housed the motor museum, well known for its slot car track.

A first priority of the fit out, carried out by Bokor Architecture + Interiors, was to remove the pre-existing cladding and finishes in order to create an open, natural space and expose the structural concrete and brickwork. Present in every room of the house, these textured, robust materials provide an excellent canvas for more refined trimmings.

The house adheres to a minimalist colour scheme, with composite timber flooring, cabinetry, painted finishes and paneling either dark, black or white. Ironically, it is the bricks and polished concrete that alleviate what might otherwise be cold interiors, interrupting the greyscale and animating the space.

With a successful Sydney restaurateur as the owner, it is unsurprising that the kitchen is not only excellently equipped but given centre-stage, offering the cook a view through the two-storey windows onto Harris Street. Surprisingly austere for what is usually a warmer, more colourful location in the home, its status as modern hearth is nonetheless cemented by an impressive slab of Fontainebleu used for the island bench. The seamless continuity between storage, flooring, cladding and appliances creates a precise simplicity in the area, presumably allowing for creative, experimental gastronomy as well as its more gregarious and casual cousin.

The apartment’s material and chromatic coherence borders on the ascetic, but is saved by the generous use of space and illumination, which allow it to be tranquil and refreshingly uncluttered. Whilst certainly not a home for everybody, for some it would be a breath of fresh air.

Bokor Architecture + Interiors
bokor.com.au 

Photography: Stuart Scott
stuartscottphotographer.com

abc
Happenings
What's On

‘Big Game Hunting’ at Heide Museum of Modern Art

Fiona Hall emerged as a photographer in the 1970s and now works across a broad range of media, producing extraordinary works that transform mundane man-made materials into organic forms with both contemporary and historical resonances. Her pieces are painstakingly crafted with an attention to detail that emphasises the beauty and fragility of the natural world while engaging with issues concerning the environment, colonialism, consumerism and globalisation. Hall’s visual aesthetic is alluring yet confronting, encouraging the viewer to contemplate the politically charged messages which underpin it. 

Fiona Hall: Big Game Hunting installation view, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Photograph: John Brash 2013

Fiona Hall: Big Game Hunting installation view, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Photograph: John Brash 2013

Described as a ‘21st century hunter’s den’, Fall Prey is a menagerie of trophy-style sculptures of endangered species from the International Union for Conservation ‘Red List’, rendered in military camouflage. While resembling taxidermied specimens, these larger-than-life creatures are embellished with the detritus of contemporary culture—disturbing signifiers of the cultural and ecological changes that have wrought havoc on their natural habitats and contributed to their plight. The chimpanzee from the Belgian Congo for example, holds a Blackberry phone, a stark reference to the unregulated mining of coltan in the region for use in the electronics industry. The resultant pollution, and the miners’ hunting of apes for food, has critically threatened the local wildlife and natural environment. Surrounded by clusters of found objects and sculptural video works, the creatures in Fall Prey appear as part of a macabre yet wondrous wunderkammer, a cabinet of curiosities which forms the core of this compelling survey. 

Fiona Hall, Untitled 2012, aluminium, video. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Also included in the exhibition is an installation of innovatively re-designed beehives produced for the 2010 Biennale of Sydney and a suite of large etchings celebrating the flora and fauna of Arnhem Land. 

Big Game Hunting runs 28 March – 21 July 2013 at Heide Museum of Modern Art. 
heide.com.au

Hero image: Fiona Hall: Big Game Hunting installation view, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Photograph: John Brash 2013

 

abc
Design Products
Accessories

The MINI Paceman

The Paceman represents MINI's first foray into the Sports Activity Coupé segment. The Paceman's powerful, dynamically stretched coupé lines and hallmark MINI go-kart feeling team up with the exclusive ambience of its variable-usage interior to make the MINI Paceman a pioneer in the urban environment - and one whose character is vividly imbued with the innovative and inimitable style of the British brand. With its two doors and large tailgate, plus two full-size individual rear seats, the seventh model in the MINI family complements the elegant sportiness of its proportions with a new rendering of the familiar MINI interior.

 

The innovative concept of a compact Sports Activity Coupé is expressed in an exterior design that faithfully embodies the MINI Paceman’s multifaceted driving properties within the template of the established MINI design language. The front end exudes muscularity and presence, while dynamically sweeping lines and powerfully curved surfaces lace the flanks of the car with sporting elegance. The coupé-style roof, swooping downwards towards the rear, sits almost seamlessly atop the passenger compartment and its distinctive contours fit neatly into the coupé mould. The most eye-catching new feature of the rear end are the taillights which, in a first for MINI, feature a horizontal design.

Internally, the MINI Paceman has been designed squarely as a four-seater. Sports seats for the driver and front passenger are included as standard, and the pair of individual seats in the rear offer impressive shoulder room and headroom, outstanding lateral support and exceptional comfort. The side window controls, meanwhile, are integrated into the prominently three-dimensional door trim. The high-opening tailgate of the MINI Paceman and its low boot sill allow the luggage area to be accessed in comfort. Load capacity stands at 330 litres, increasing to 1,080 litres when the rear seat backrests are folded down. 

Available in four powerful and efficient petrol and diesel variants and sporting an updated version of the classic go-cart-esque chassis, the Paceman adds a gutsy, gritty dimension to the unique urban style that MINI is renowned for.

MINI Paceman

minipaceman.com.au

 

abc
People
Design Hunters
Conversations

A Storied Homestead

Hero Image: Tim Storrier in the Studio working on one of a new series of paintings of icebergs inspired by a recent trip to the antarctic. Australian artist, Tim Storrier, didn’t want to leave Yarras, the Victorian mansion in the Bathurst suburbs where he had lived for fifteen years from 1994. The rooms had high ceilings and cavernous interiors and there was even a spacious ballroom. But Janet, his wife, insisted. She wanted outdoor space and animals and a garden where she could grow produce and a kitchen where she and 20 year-old daughter, Antonia, could spend hours cooking. “Janet persuaded me,” says Tim. Front of the original house, Blackdown, that dates from 1823 showing the atlantic cedar in which he free roaming peacocks roost.  Tim Storrier is an artist who has been immensely successful since 1968 when, as a nineteen year-old, he became the youngest artist ever to win the Art Gallery of NSW Sulman Prize. Now his paintings hang in every major Australian museum. Tim and Janet married in 2004 and blended their families; Janet’s three daughters and a son, with Tim’s son. The joins were, and remain, seamless. With the marriage, Janet took on and re-ordered the minutiae of Tim’s artistic and domestic life as the routine of family life blossomed around him. Above: In the Studio. Decades accumulated acquisitions cover every surface, many of which have appeared in Tim's paintings over the years. Bottom right: Tim and Janet Storrier in Tim's Studio in front one of Tim's Comet Series of paintings from 2011 and a painting of his late companion and muse, Bunce.  The Storriers have now been at Blackdown – a Colonial farmstead dating from the earliest period of European settlement west of the Blue Mountains – for three years. It sits on fertile plains ten kilometres outside Bathurst in rural New South Wales. It is a rabbit warren of a place with 22 or more rooms, extensive gardens, orchards, and more space than Janet could ever want. Above left: The dining table is capable of seating more than 12 guests. Painting in one of Tim's own works from his 2010 series, In Absentia. To the left are three aquatints by Fred Williams that Tim bought for $90 each in 1974. Above right: Looking out through the front door of the main 1824 house towards the seven foot high bronze statue of Yamuna, Daughter of the Mountain (2004) by English Sculptor, Nigel Bonham.   Blackdown was built in 1823 by Thomas and Elizabeth Hawkins, two of the first free settlers west of the Blue Mountains. There is a letter written in 1822 by Elizabeth Hawkins to her sister, Ann Bowling (who lived in England) which tells of their eighteen day journey from Sydney to Bathurst where Thomas was to be the commissariat storekeeper. They took with them twenty convicts and were granted 2000 acres of Government land that stretched down to the Macquarie River. Blackdown is a family home and, as in any home, there is a gentle and comforting chaos inside. Storrier is very acquisitive. Every surface, every wall, every corner of every room, is littered with stuff, much of which has made its way into his paintings over the years:  leather boots, spats, flying jackets, a multitude of hats, plus a fez and pith helmet, a large model of a bi-plane, Victorian and Colonial furniture… the list goes on, a litany of a life well-lived and of an artistic endeavour never satiated. The main kitchen/family room. Janet Storrier and 20-year-old daughter, Antonia, are in the process of compiling a cook book, a collaboration of recipes using produce from Blackdown's orchards and potager. To walk through Blackdown is to walk through time suspended – antiques and old rugs are everywhere – and it is also to walk through the fabric of Storrier’s art and life. His paintings hang on the walls at every turn; landscapes with his signature burning logs, infinite flat horizons with vast endless skies, a series of portraits where only clothes define the characters, and more recently scenes from the Antarctic where he and Janet ventured last year, and which shimmer with a blue iridescent light. “It is the new frontier,” says Tim. Also there are dogs galore – Molly, Jack, Bella, and Smudge – and cats and peacocks, too. “Sixteen I think,” ponders Tim. “Common Indian blue and white, they roost in the Atlantic Cedar at the front, although we lost two peachicks recently to marauding foxes.” There are alpacas, chickens and horses.  And there is a recent addition to the canine pack, a short-haired fox terrier named Trigger. It was Janet’s birthday present to Tim. Tim has been collecting art books for years. There were 760 when Jane lat catalogued them, but the collection has grown to over 1000. Biographies and military histories are favourites of Tim's.  Today the property has shrunk back to 140 acres with the majority given over to pasture and lucerne and fifteen acres of gardens with picturesque parklands. There are orchards, too – figs, medlars, and assorted fruit – ornamental English-style herbaceous borders, an extensive potager supplying the house, and 650 olive trees that give deep, rich green oil. Left: Small nude sculpture on desk in the maquette for the full size work by english sculptor, Nigel Bonham, which stands on the lawns. Right: The 'Green Room'. The original colour was restored to the walls twenty years ago - "During the day it can look grubby but at night it comes alive". Painting above the desk by Sidney Nolan from his 1964 series, Burke and Wills. The garden is absolutely Janet’s domain where she has developed the English concept of ‘outdoor garden rooms’, inspired in part by Vita Sackville West’s glorious garden at Sissinghurst in Kent. “I would be out there all day if I could,” she said. Left: View along the east-west corridor that dissects house from the front door, to the back. alls are lined with old photographs and drawings of Sydney. Right: Bathroom with calligraphy artwork by chinese master calligrapher, professor Wang. Described by Tm as "a poetic portrait of me", it was drawn for him by Wang on a visit to Beijing in the 1980's.   The buildings remain more or less intact, although the convict cottages (which now double as guest rooms) have been re-built on their original footings. But the main house remains virtually unaltered and presents to visitors at the front an understated almost austere symmetry with deep wrap-around verandah. Previous owners had carried out extensive and sympathetic restoration work. There was little the Storriers needed to do when they moved in other than installing hand-made terracotta tiles under the verandah. Left: Equestrian drawings by Australian painter George Lambert (1873-1930) Right: Hats and coats hang in pleasant disarray in the sun-drenched winter verandah with Miner's Settle, at the rear of the main house.  The main body of the house forms a square, a simple arrangement of four rooms (library, drawing room, two bedrooms) and a central corridor that runs as straight as a die from the front door, to the back to a long gravelled walk that cuts through the walled potager and on up to Storrier’s recently built cavernous agricultural tin shed of a studio. “The largest studio I’ve ever owned,” he says. Swimming Pool Rose Garden Here several works in progress are surrounded by the detritus of creativity. Brushes and paints are everywhere, but not in a messy way. In one corner, a sculptural figure is taking shape. Built on an unseen armature, Storrier is creating an allegorical self-portrait from his resin soaked clothes to achieve a hard exoskeleton. It is a ghostly and eerie memento mori. Chopin nocturnes play quietly in the background. Attached to the west side of the house are two wings with whitewashed brick and galvanised tin roofs, which define the courtyard and stable yard. In one wing is the original Hawkins’ homestead built the year before the main building and now used as bedrooms. The other wing houses a long kitchen – the heart of this country homestead, a place where the family gathers for evening meals. Leisurely lunches are taken outside in the courtyard where flowers are left to self seed Storrier has an extensive art collection displayed, salon-like, floor-to- ceiling, throughout the house. In the drawing room hang a small Ray Crooke, two John Olsens and a Sidney Nolan (from the Burke and Wills series), as well as a Hugh Ramsay self-portrait. Ramsay painted the picture in Paris in 1910 and sold it to Dame Nellie Melba to raise his fare home to Australia shortly before he died from tuberculosis. The library is clubby, with dark shelving set against wallpaper, described by Storrier as “hideous”, which was replicated in England from fragments found under several layers of later additions. Willow the cat strolling along the path that leads to the potager and perennial vegetable garden beyond the Blackdown convict brick wall rebuilt in the 1980's by the previous owner during an extensive restoration. The gravel path is flanked with Boxus Domes and Miscanthus Sinensis, self-sown Nicotania. The path ends at Tim's door.  “I’ve got to be in a place where people have lived,” Storrier comments. “And with an extended family, a rambling house works.” Blackdown, is a magnificent old dame of a building, forming the perfect backdrop for Storrier to assume the role that he has made his own – that of a slightly louche, 19th Century squire, complete with guns, dogs, horses and children and a wife whose sense of hospitality and tolerance, is endless and who feels daily, “an enormous sense of responsibility” from just living in such an historic home. Photography: Paul Green thepaulgreen.comabc