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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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Make Yourself A Master Chef

Are you one of those home cooks that adores spending time in the kitchen, but you’ve yet to unlock your true potential? I certainly am. And I wouldn’t say it’s from a lack of time or cookbooks that I’ve not yet embraced some of the more complex cooking challenges I’ve been lately eyeing off. It’s more that, I’m lacking the essential accoutrements of a well-appointed kitchen. Fitting out your kitchen takes time. There are a lot of options out there. Options that speak to all manner of personal priorities – whether you consider aesthetics as paramount, or place complex cooking functionality over looks and style. Whether you want to show off your kitchen, or indulge your love for home cooking with a space that fits you ‘to a T’. Is there a kitchen brand out there that ticks all those boxes? Design by Carole Whiting, Photography by Tatjana Plitt I recently caught up with a fellow home chef, Craig Logan, who also happens to be a gourmet academy demonstrator with the Swiss boutique appliance manufacturer, V-ZUG. Craig’s introduction to V-ZUG’s kitchen appliances led to a moment of realisation that resonated so strongly with him that he quit his job in accounting and took up a career in cookery. It was during the renovation of his own home kitchen that Craig’s true passion for cooking was awakened. He, like many of us, set out to purchase his kitchen appliances with aesthetics foremost in mind. V-ZUG instantly appealed to him for its simplicity of style – “a really elegant, moody looking appliance” and timeless in a way that wouldn’t require a kitchen update for another 20-odd years. But it was upon further investigation – a serious look at what V-ZUG’s appliances could do – that Craig was truly wowed. “What I loved about them was the ‘simplexity’,” he says. “They’re so simple to use, but when you want to be experimental and start doing more complex things, they can accommodate that.” Design by Carole Whiting, Photography by Tatjana Plitt “I would stay in my comfort zone of cooking, but now, because I have confidence in my appliance, I’m buying all these cookbooks and trying things which I thought were for fancy cooks only. It’s because, when you [try something new or complex] and you’re met with success, that’s what ignites passion. V-ZUG’s appliances really ignited my passion for cooking.” The beauty of V-ZUG’s kitchen appliances is their flexibility to a user’s needs, interests and skills. Craig uses the example of his combi-steam ovens, which he uses both to cook his toast (no pressure – simple, easy, delicious), and also experiment with new styles of cooking. “I’ve gone a bit crazy on sous vide cooking and now I’m vacuum-sealing foods to sous vide on a low temperate for a long period of time,” he says. What helped to unlock Craig’s knowledge and build his cooking confidence was V-ZUG’s friendly and accessible cooking classes and online cooking sessions. These sessions are for sharing and exchange, where V-ZUG appliance owners swap notes on their recent meals and cooking techniques, and expand their cooking horizons together with V-ZUG’s knowledgeable demonstrators, (Craig himself included). Photography by Trudy Photography For V-ZUG owners who are just starting out, there are also simple, how-to demonstrations that take you through the basics and allow you to build your expertise at your own pace. The brand also has a Swiss-based gourmet academy team devoted to creating new and exciting recipes using its appliances. “I think what’s absolutely incredible,” says Craig, “is that V-ZUG will go over and beyond to make sure you feel satisfied and happy.” Because, to own a V-ZUG appliance is to be part of the V-ZUG family – a truly elevating experience that goes right to the heart of what it means to live and live well. V-ZUG vzug.com Photography by Trudy Photographyabc
Design Hunters
DH - Feature

Cushla McFadden’s Place Of Self Expression

Cushla McFadden might be better known by the name TomMarkHenry, the unlikely pseudonym she and business partner Jade Nottage chose for their interior design practise established in 2014. It’s a combination of paternal names in their respective families. “They were both really influential to us, Jade’s grandfather and my dad,” says Cushla. Moreover, its abstract nature aligns well with the company’s positioning: an architectural approach to interior design projects. 

Cushla met Jade while studying for her Interior Architecture degree at the University of New South Wales. But they didn’t start their business until after Cushla had returned to Australia following a stint in New York working for a U.S. architecture firm across high-end residential and commercial projects.

“When I got back from New York, TomMarkHenry naturally evolved from there,” says Cushla. “We didn’t have a business plan or a client list, it just grew organically”. Their first clients were friends (as they tend to be), and then friends of friends, and continued to grow from a network of referrals. 

With a number of notable commissions under their belt, and space enough for the smaller residential projects like Cushla’s own house, TomMarkHenry looks to be in a particular kind of sweet spot. “We’re small enough to be really responsive, adaptive, and flexible but just big enough to take complex briefs and play in that market, too,” says Cushla. With a team of 11 (which includes one of their first hires) and a focus on hiring the right people for the company – “we’ll choose fit over skills any time” – Cushla co-leads a young and dynamic studio in which the senior members are across every project.

While Cushla prides TomMarkHenry’s ability to flex to the client’s needs and wishes – rather than rolling out the same design time after time – in her own work she continues to return to early influences like Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson and Le Corbusier for inspiration.

“I’ve always been influenced by modernism and quite minimal design,” she says. “It was a nice reflection piece doing my own home to see that that is still very much the case.” Cushla and her husband Brendan have recently moved into their newly renovated house in Annandale, Sydney, with their newborn son August.

Cushla and Brendan bought the 1-bedroom terrace with relative freedom: knowing that ultimately they would be renovating. However there were still some factors with potential knock on effects to what was possible design-wise that influenced the purchase. They wanted access to natural light, a sense of connectedness between rooms, and calm spaces to retreat to after busy, sometimes stressful days.

Upon entry, the clay-rendered walls are a pleasant surprise in the context of the Inner West, and yet it feels wholly appropriate. Ever in favour of clean lines, Cushla opted for concealed LED lights along the ceiling cornices in the entry hallway. When on, the light washes down and highlights the texture of the walls.

The clay walls follow through to the open kitchen, dining and living zones at the rear of the house. In order to put a staircase in up to the first floor addition, they needed to extend out to the full 3.8-metre width of the plot by appropriating a passageway along the side.

The staircase balustrade with its effortlessly simple geometry belies quite the challenge. Each piece, 10 milimetres thick and powder coated in white, weighs 350 kilograms and had to get craned in over the carport. Finding the right people for job was equally a challenge: “It’s metal work but it’s craftsmanship at the same time,” says Cushla. Now one of her favourite details, it is often the hardest tasks that give us the greatest sense of accomplishment.

The concrete slab poured for the ground floor was polished and left exposed. “Part of the reason for choosing concrete floors was passive solar design,” says Cushla. “[The rear of the house] faces east so the sun comes through in the morning, heats it up in winter and it stays warm throughout the day. On the flip side, in summer, because it’s slab on ground, it draws up the earth’s temperature. It pretty much stays at 22/23 degrees [celsius] even on hot days.” 

The clay walls also help to naturally optimise the internal temperature and humidity levels by absorbing moisture in the air. Double-glazing on the glass windows and doors is an additional barrier. “Even on those really muggy days it stays cool in here,” she adds.

Such attention to the environment and willingness to design for it rather than against it is one of the things Cushla feels most proud of in her peers. “The environment contributes a lot to [Australian architect’s] designs. Before we even put pen and paper we’re researching what is happening around the site,” she says.

That is frequently what our Region is known and celebrated for. Indeed TomMarkHenry have won a number of international design awards. “When things like that happen we do really do need to stop and take note,” says Cushla, referring to herself and her team. Everyone else certainly has noticed.

TomMarkHenry tommarkhenry.studio

Photography by Damien Bennett


A Café That Looks As Good As Its Coffee Tastes

From the founder of Tulip Coffee in Degraves Street, Melbourne, Florence Coffee, designed by CoLAB Design Studio, looks as good as the coffee tastes. Located on the corner of well-known Hardware Lane in Melbourne’s laneway district, Florence brings its special blends of coffee and a smart, easy menu to an area that is known as a mecca for eating and drinking. Pairing Tulip’s delectable coffee blends with a fresh grab and go menu, Florence is all about finding the simple pleasures amidst the city bustle. Brought to life by the talented team at Melbourne-based interior design practice, CoLAB Design Studio, Florence Coffee’s interiors are an elegant interpretation of the client’s brand, transposed into the medium of space. The result is a new destination for Melbourne’s caffeine loving community that evokes a fresh take on the city’s vibrant café scene. The interior palette was conceived during demolition, when the original terracotta paved floor from the 1920s Farrant’s Saddlery store was revealed. This was the inspiration for the interior colours cheme. Florence Coffee presents as a delightful mix of frothy pink leather banquet seating, salmon pink terrazzo floors, cool teal green painted walls, caramel tiled benches and furniture from Australian product designer Ross Didier. It’s not Florence Italy, it’s better; it’s home-grown Florence Melbourne and it serves excellent coffee. Photography by Hannah Caldwell CoLAB Design Studio colabdesignstudio.com.au abc
Around The World
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Rules Are Made To Be Broken

In a built, up, suburban area of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a youthful couple with a young son gave architect Fabian Tan a call. Their house, which was generous in size and located on a corner block, had a lot going for it – but it could be improved to better suit to the residents and their unique way of life. Their brief to Fabian was to build on the bones of the original architecture to create a minimal but comfortable design that enhanced the residence’s access to natural light and views. In part, his response was to use materiality to heighten the spatial experience inside, and connect with the landscape outside. Maple, marble and white paint are equal heroes of the material palette and used consistently throughout the house. Strong and sturdy, they also relate to natural features (such as the rock sculpture garden and internal courtyards) to create an environment of balance and serenity. But it is the central stair that defines the house, with prominent positioning in the middle of the open plan kitchen/dining/living area on the ground floor. Timber wraps the staircase and continues upwards to clad the open corridors of the mezzanine, which occupies the north end of the house only, creating a double-height void above the living spaces below. Built into the corridors is ample storage both concealed and open. A thin galleria extends along the eastern wall visually connecting the mezzanine and ground floor. At the end of the mezzanine lies a cleverly designed daybed or study areas, for the residents to sit and enjoy a book or views out the double-height floor-to-ceiling walls to the garden. On the first floor, the master bedroom has been enlarged, and although it came at the expense of the second bedroom, the open space concept was more beneficial to the clients. Interior walls indicating the walk in robe and ensuite have been built below ceiling height to allow light to diffuse softly through the spaces. The clients’ son’s bedroom has been reimagined and reconfigured as an exciting three-tiered space, the highest of which is an alcove that looks out through an existing clerestory window to the neighbourhood beyond. A thin steel stairway is accessed via the light well in the office and provides access to the rooftop viewing deck. The intention was to emulate an outdoor living space and capitalise on otherwise inaccessible views overlooking the city skyline. Fabian Tan Architect fabian-tan.com Photography by Ceavs Chua We think you might also like Bewboc House by Fabian Tan Architect abc