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An Adults Only Terrace, Channelling Mid-Century Party Houses!

Homes

The Abbotsford, Melbourne home of Drip founder Hugh Crothers and firefighter Matt Badura is specific to their taste (think late 1960s and early ’70s, John Lautner, ‘90s Memphis, and Robin Boyd) and lifestyle as a couple.

Unashamedly ‘adults only’ in its design, the home was created with Naomi Brennan Architects to channel a 1960s party house… complete with velvet, indoor plants, and bold colour!

20th July, 2022

Inside Matt and Hugh’s adults only abode! Light on fireplace custom made by Christopher Boots. Curtains by Lovelight. George Nelson Lighting from Living Edge. Wall hanging by Hugh’s mum in the ’70s. Blue sofa by Steelotto. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Hugh Crothers (left) and Matt Badura (right) with their cat, Techno! Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Sofa upholstered in Raf Simmons orange velvet by Kvdrat. Rug by Pendleton. Ceramics by Hugh, @thiccboiceramics. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

George Nelson Lighting from Living Edge. Shagpile rug by RC&D. Sofa upholstered in Raf Simmons orange velvet by Kvdrat. Stainless steel planter box with Tasmanian tree fern. Curtains by Lovelight. Blue sofa by Steelotto. Cushions made by Matt’s mum using old ’70s curtains from Hugh’s grandparents. Jug by Hugh @thiccboiceramics. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Light on fireplace custom made by Christopher Boots. Fireplace stone and landscapes by Bradnam & Co. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Shagpile rug by RC&D. Bill Coffee Table and Wilson Tray by Steelotto. Jug by Hugh @thiccboiceramics. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

‘Cheeky Fag’ artwork by Luke John Matthew Arnold. Tapestry made by Hugh’s mum in the ’70s. Original Marcel Breuer Cesca dining chairs. Ceramics by Hugh @thiccboiceramics. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Custom kitchen bench made from 60mm American oak. Custom table features travertine on top of a blue powder-coated steel base by Steelotto. Piano is Matt’s grandpa’s. Original Marcel Breuer Cesca dining chairs. Pink artwork by Jack Rowland. Other artwork by Charlie Djirrimuy, from East Arnhem where Matt lived and worked as a social worker. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Grey laminate by Wilson. Timber benchtop from Urban Salvage. Kitchen tap from Reece. Custom shelves. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Photograph by Kate Ballis. Custom wall sconce by Christopher Boots. Eames chair. Built-in American oak veneer desk. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Tiles by Artedomus. Plywood box by Mark Tukey. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Tiles by Artedomus. Products on basin from Hugh’s brand, Drip. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Editorial styling – Annie Portelli. Assistant – Taryn Peck

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 20th July 2022

‘We wanted our home to be uncompromising in its appeal to adults, and particularly queer people.’

Drip founder Hugh Crothers and firefighter Matt Badura had a clear concept for the recent renovation of their single-fronted Abbotsford terrace: ‘A house that’s great for an intimate party, super cosy, textural, and visceral.’

The couple were inspired by modernist homes from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, particularly the set of The Party (1968), which they hoped to channel on a tight budget – and even smaller footprint. 

‘It was such a time of freedom and liberation, colour, and vibrancy… This is what I wanted our home to emit,’ says Hugh. 

Working with Naomi Brennan Architects and Topp Constructs, the couple replaced the home’s existing lean-to with a new addition tailored to their every desire. 

Central to the concept was creating an ‘adults only’ space championing the couple’s lifestyle and sexuality. Hugh explains, ‘With domestic spaces, heteronormative relationships are [traditionally] centered: his and hers basins, the baby room, the kids room… We wanted to intentionally have our relationship affirmed and celebrated within the space, like straight people have been getting for so many years.

‘We wanted our home to be uncompromising in its appeal to adults, and particularly queer people.’

Also key was introducing plenty of colour, and building connections to nature via an indoor garden. 

Hugh and Matt planned on living with friends when renovations commenced in early 2020, but the pandemic had other ideas! ‘Little did we know that six weeks in all restaurants would close, along with state and international borders, and we’d be living in a house without a kitchen or bathroom in the middle of a global pandemic!’ says Hugh. ‘In hindsight, we can now call it “relationship building.”‘

Many cold showers and microwave dinners later, the project was completed in August 2020!

Hugh and Matt have styled the home in keeping with their initial vision, including wall tapestries made by Hugh’s mum in the ‘70s, and curtains sewn by Matt’s mum using Hugh’s grandma’s previous curtains! 

Almost every piece is sentimental, from lighting by Christopher Boots (where Hugh previously worked), to the ceramics he personally made over lockdown, and Matt’s grandpa’s piano. ‘Matt learnt to play on it, as well as his mother and his pop before him. It’s gone full circle!’

Hugh and Matt love their home’s bold colour palette, stone fireplace, and statement indoor fern, but most important is how the space affirms their place in the world. 

As Hugh says, ‘For queer people growing up around this kind of domestic architecture, it’s hard to imagine how you’ll make your life ‘fit’ into a domestic mould… It makes both of us so happy to be forging our own queer identity and our home reaffirming and celebrating this, rather then reminding us of how our life is “different” to our heterosexual counterparts.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net