The Two of Us | Jade Nottage + Cushla McFadden
Jade Nottage and Cushla McFadden of Tom Mark Henry met at University while studying Interior Architecture. After they followed seperate career paths for a year after graduating, they reunited in 2014 to embark on their very own Interior Design business and have been a design force to be reckoned with ever since. We catch up with Cushla and Jade to talk about their young (and award-winning!) Sydney-based business, Tom Mark Henry, the best part about working as a team and what success really means to them.
Hi Jade and Cushla, tell us about how and when did you first met? Jade: We met in first year Interior Architecture at UNSW, way back in 2006!
How about the journey to where you are today - how did the partnership first come about? Jade: The timing just worked out, it wasn’t something we’d planned and talked about for years, it was just fortuitous. Cushla was returning from a year working in New York and I was finishing up a contract in Sydney. The GFC meant jobs were scarce, so we threw caution to the wind and just started!
What’s the best part about working together? Jade: We get along as friends first and foremost, so it’s always nice to come to work and see a friendly face. Whilst we obviously share a similar design aesthetic and passion, we also have different strengths as people.
What was the best piece of advice you were given when you were starting out? Jade: Don’t stop looking forward.
Do you work best in a team or on your own? Cusla: It varies depending on the task. For day to day admin type work, I definitely prefer a quiet, focused environment but for creative work such as concept designs, I thrive in a team environment. Being able to share ideas yields the best outcome for the project.
What does success mean to you? Jade: Happy clients, happy staff and the creation of beautiful spaces that people love spending time in.
What’s your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut? Cushla: Travel, or any kind of breaking of a regular routine, which could just mean working remotely or getting out to spaces which you don't often inhabit.
Jade, what characteristic do you most admire in Cushla? I’ve never met anyone as strong as Cush, she is resilient yet empathetic, a perfect combination. These characteristics are reflected by her close friendships and highly respected reputation.
Cushla, what unique attribute does Jade bring to the partnership? Jade has an infectious enthusiasm which she brings to each project, and the running of our business. She's in touch with the emotional side of decision making, but can be pragmatic when she needs to be, often being quick to make the right decision based on a gut feeling. If Jade has a feeling, then we go with it! It hasn't let us down.
Your proudest professional achievement so far? Cusla: Being awarded Best Emerging Practice at the World Interiors News Awards is pretty hard to beat, as this recognised the work of not just one project, but our whole team and what we have achieved in the last 4 years together.
What are you looking forward to in 2018? Building on our portfolio with some very beautiful and unique projects in the pipeline.
I usually wake up at: 5am.
My perfect day would involve: Time with my son.
I am inspired by: My design peers - there are some exceptional Australian designers out there.
Best advice I’ve ever received: The grass is greener where you water it.
I couldn’t live without: My son and escaping into the pages of a great book.
My favourite daily ritual: Meditation.
I recently discovered: Thermomix!
On my wish-list: Skiing in Canada.
I’m currently reading: Insomniac City by Bill Hayes.
And listening to: Safia.
My guilty pleasure: Hot chips.
My mantra is: Treat others as you wish to be treated.
I usually wake up at: 6.30am.
My perfect day would involve: Sun, yoga and surf.
I am inspired by: People.
Best advice I’ve ever received: Be true to yourself.
I couldn’t live without: My close family.
My favourite daily ritual: Coffee.
I recently discovered: Hand-built pottery.
On my wish-list: The Wilfred sofa from Jardan.
I’m currently reading: 12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson.
And listening to: If I Tremble by Jack Grace.
My guilty pleasure: Sleeping.
My mantra is: Everything happens for a reason.