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.’