Soft Touch

Soft Touch


A bright, bold inner-city office is transformed into a calm and spacious urban sanctuary
Words by Suni Golightly

Architect Leon Moulton has transformed this space, which was once an office for an interior design firm, into a contemporary and spacious apartment in Melbourne’s inner-city. Prior to the renovations, there were curved walls and coloured feature walls everywhere, including a lowered false tiled ceiling. Moulton’s aim was to maximise the light flow, create guest accommodation and incorporate a home office and home theatre. He also wanted to take this haphazard area and create one cohesive, open-plan home with a feeling of space and calm.

The body of work has been extensive, with internal walls removed to create an open-plan warehouse feel to the interior, and a curved wall and ceiling bulkhead created to visually expand the width of the interior and direct the eye to the windows. A new kitchen, bathroom and external rear terrace have also been added. “I wanted to create a seamless flow of interior spaces with differing functions,” Moulton says of the design, “to maximise interior light and create visual and acoustic privacy. As with all our projects, we wanted to create an urban sanctuary that enhanced the heritage character of the building.”

The resulting space is simple and sophisticated, casually elegant. Moulton’s desire for an open and spacious living area has been realised. Inside the apartment the feeling is one of space and light. The blond timber flooring and crisp white walls featured throughout the home add simplicity to the space and play beautifully against the raw brick wall. Here, as with in all Moulton’s projects, the new contemporary elements of the home sit comfortably within the historical site. The exposed brickwork and huge arched windows pay homage to the pre-renovation space, and combine with the newer details to create a unique apartment.

“My favourite part of the space is the open-plan kitchen, living and dining area,” Moulton says. “I like the way it flows from one end of the warehouse to the other. It is a large space yet it is comfortable to be in alone. It has a sense of stillness and calm.”

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the renovation was not the actual design or execution, but the logistics of the project. Most of the apartments in the building were being done at the same time so it was a monumental task. “Phasing and co-ordination of the works with the tenants above and below so that everyone could have their plumbing and electrical works where and when they were needed was a challenge,” Moulton says. “Fortunately everyone in the building is still friendly after the renovations. But it was a great opportunity to create an inner-city warehouse. The client was really open to our ideas and enthusiastic to create the new spaces. The end result is open yet calm and restful.”

The project was designed by ???????? of Leon Moulton Pty Ltd Architecture and Interiors, Lower ground floor, 10 Church Street, South Melbourne Vic. Phone 03 9690 1702, email or go to

Kitchen, dining and living areas: Recycled timber flooring
Bedrooms: Carpet
Bathrooms: 500X 500 Porcelain tiles in limestone finish

Kitchen, dining and casual dining: Hard render Plaster in paint finish Exposed brick wall
Kitchen: Laminex Alabaster
Living and bedrooms: Hard render Plaster in paint finish
Outdoor: Cement render in natural and painted finishes

Benchtop: Corian, colour Everest
Splashback: Paint back glass
Cabinetry: Laminex vinyl wrap in Alabaster

Basins: Nostromo Zero
Tapware: Luna and Neo
Toilets: Wall-hung Nova with wall-concealed cisterns
Bath: Bette Starlet and surround from Roger Seller

Main: Recessed low-voltage downlights
Feature lighting: Floor lighting for exposed brick wall is Sentinel from Beacon Lighting

Existing warehouse glassing.