Meet Denise: co-founder of interior design firm Habit, and also my long-time friend and ex-colleague.
It's been over a decade - somehow Denise was an easy friend to make, and an easier friend to keep. During our rare but always caffeinated catch-ups, it doesn't take much for us at all to jump into unreserved conversation about our highs and lows, and laugh in wild abandon over the oddest things. As a friend, she's someone I can count on to call me out on things, and to shoot the elephant in the room. She's a keen observer, fiercely loyal and owns a wicked sense of humour ( and more recently, a ragdoll named Mao). If there's one thing that I've learnt from her professionally, it would be that doing good work takes unwavering perseverance and commitment. So, I'd like to share with you a little bit more about her in our WS Woman journal...
How did your passion for design begin, and what about it draws you in?
I think I’ve always known I wanted to do something with drawing or design as early on since I was in kindergarten– I used to love drawing bedrooms. I also frequently asked my dad to drive me around so that I could look at nice buildings and houses.
Tell us about Habit - how did it begin?
Habit started as a two-woman team, purely doing design consultancy. Along the way, we felt that something was missing. We came to a realization that the process was tough because we had no control over who was doing the job, which could affect and determine the end result.
Do you have any daily rituals or habits?
Every day is different, but I never start the day without coffee.
As an interior designer, is there a project that has stood out the most to you, or brought you the most pride?
It would have to be my own home - I got to be my own client, which meant I could push the boundaries and be as bold and unconventional as I wanted to.
If you could start all over again, what would you have done differently?
Starting all over again wouldn't make a difference as our business has always been based on passion and consistency. Branding and trust in this industry can only be achieved through time, especially when most of your clients are residential.
As much as design is a process, running a business is also a process; understanding and identifying what people want and what they are looking for is a skill that can only be honed over time.
What is your design philosophy?
Be real, be you. Design is an open-ended process. It's about leaving space for change and manipulation.
How would you describe your personal style?
A sense of alignment. Subtle. Clean but with warmth.
Give your younger self a little piece of advice...
Don't sweat the small stuff. Look at the broader picture!
The Weekend Sundries Woman is a series of narrative photos and conversations, featuring authentic, independent women in their most familiar element and craft. We hope this project elicits thoughts and discussion about the nature of the modern woman today - her growth, her challenges, and her comforts. At our studio, we are inspired by the beauty found in the imperfect, the raw — in one's commonplace. We believe finding rest and a moment of pause in this hectic world is the key to thriving.