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Palm House lets light in through playful details

Palm House lets light in through playful details

Palm House by Leeton Pointon Architects + Interiors is an extension about more than additional space and openness. Instead, sensitivity has been given to the connective tissue, seen in the thresholds between old and new, which create curious angles to guide the eye through the layers of this home.

Leeton Pointon Architects + Interiors was briefed to design an extension that would introduce living and entertaining space suited for family life, reinterpreting the character of Palm House’s 1940s Melbourne, post-war shell.

Descending the ornate staircase, leads to an arched hallway — not a long nor large space but one worthy of tunnel-like sentiment that promises light at the end of it. The living and kitchen spaces are indeed light-filled by ceiling-height glazing to the rear and portal telescope-shaped skylights that demand as much attention as the sky beyond. A touch of drama, one portal acts as a spotlight over the kitchen’s circular breakfast bench, echoing its form and ushering in sunlight.

Glazing envelops the rear walls providing continuous outdoor connection, opening out onto a lush, established garden, with outdoor seating sheltered by undulating curves of a cantilevered concrete soffit that nudges into the green space. The overhang is also punctuated by a portal skylight allowing daylight in and views out.

The living space plays with height unconventionally, where a low meandering bench-like form emerges as a continuation of the wall. It wraps itself around the glazing, creating seating with views of the densely vined fenced boundary, interrupted only by the towering sculptural fireplace. The large dining, living and outdoor entertaining spaces enjoy maximised northern light and, with surrounding views of greenery, embody the intended ‘garden room’ aesthetic.

Contradicting the airiness of the space, the ceiling and overhang are constructed from concrete delivering a grounding security blanket. The rougher materiality complements the natural landscaping. Materials and structural details such as the splashback, have been elevated, morphing out in wave-like forms.

Sculptural, carefully selected furnishings are plush with a touch of art-deco, juxtaposing the clean lines of the overall architecture. Each piece seems deliberately placed and balanced yet mingles playfully. Considered colour palettes deliver character into each space, from a texturally blush bathroom, to burnt oranges that add warmth to the living zone. Collectively the interior lends a sense of living with ease among beautiful forms.

Palm House personifies a distinctive character — unencumbered, slightly eclectic, vibrant, well-groomed and exquisitely put-together. Were it human, it would have an emboldening effect on others, and as a home, there’s no doubt it revitalises the daily lives of its inhabitants.

Project details

Architecture – Leeton Pointon Architects
Interiors – Karyne Murphy Studio
Landscape – Sophie McLean Landscape Design
Builder – LBA Construction
Engineers – Clive Steele Engineers
Photography – Lisa Cohen


In Good Company, Globe West, Anibou, Mobilia, Space, Cult Design, Haclyon Lake, Vogue Upholstery, Dedece, Castorina & Co, CCSS, Grazia and Co, Kazari.

EST Lighting, Anna Charlesworth, Snellings Studio, JSB Lighting, Euroluce, Nicholas & Alistair, Smith St Bazaar.

Fixed & Fitted
Astra Walker, Fisher & Paykel, Artedomus, Corsi Nicolai.

Dulux paint, Venetian wall plaster, Signorino tiles.


Caitlin Leishman

Caitlin has worked in the architecture, not-for-profit, advertising and legal sectors – but it’s writing that combines her joys of meandering conversations with people and creativity. A voracious reader with an overflowing bookshelf, she’s interested in the way we think and therefore how we conduct our days and design our lives.