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


This upside-down house is set within two majestic gum trees in McLaren...

This upside-down house is set within two majestic gum trees in McLaren Vale

This upside-down house is set within two majestic gum trees in McLaren Vale

Responding to the natural landscape, this home by Architects Ink in South Australia offers a compact solution, using the gradient of the site to its advantage.

In the heart of the rural South Australian landscape, a residence seamlessly integrates with its surroundings. Blending architectural form and a carefully selected material palette, the house is strategically positioned on the site’s gradient. Designed by Architects Ink, the architectural response considers the natural terrain and ensures the preservation of two majestic sugar gum trees that stand as guardians.

Embracing a compact footprint, the residence strategically divides its space over two levels. Ostensibly upside-down, the lower level has been reserved for bedrooms, with the living areas elevated above. This approach not only captures the main view – with open, expansive vistas of the countryside as a core focus – but also aligns with the upper road level, creating a harmonious balance within the landscape.

The steep terrain is an ally as the house is ingeniously built into the site, minimising its impact while maximising the breathtaking westerly outlook towards McLaren Vale and the distant sea.

The outcome is a home that not only respects the environment but also bathes its interiors in natural light, a strong connection to the site is evident. The passive design principles for heating and cooling the home have been considered.

The exterior’s restrained material palette effortlessly transitions into the interior, creating a cohesive aesthetic. White painted brick, burnished concrete, and American Walnut coalesce with black and white joinery elements and Corian accents in wet areas.

Sugar Gum embodies simplicity of form with refined detailing and efficient spatial planning, culminating in a highly liveable environment. Each design element serves a purpose, contributing to a home that not only stands as a testament to architectural ingenuity but also fosters a profound connection between its inhabitants and the picturesque surroundings.

Project details

Traditional custodians – Kaurna people
Architecture and interiors – Architects Ink
Photography – Sam Noonan

You can read more about this project and the thermally broken Schüco window system that helps make this home so sustainable