sneak peek: penny and luke lucas


Luke Lucas and his wife, Penny, bought this industrial building on the northern fringes of Melbourne, Australia, as part of a consortium, which they and some other creative types subdivided into five spaces nine years ago. Built during World War II, the building was essentially a shell when they purchased it, with no gas, sewage or running water. Making it a livable space was a lengthy process that took a few years before the couple could move in, but the result pays tribute to the building’s industrial heritage while combining it with modern comforts and simple design. It’s also the perfect place for Luke to work on his illustrative and conceptually driven lettering and type. Many thanks to Luke and Penny! — Anne

Image above: Through the window you can see one of the original window frames of the building, which was removed during the renovation process. We chose to hang it on the wall outside to use as a climbing frame for the vines below.

Image above: The main drainage down pipe (seen on the left edge of the picture) from the roof runs through our living room. When it rains, it sounds like there’s a gushing waterfall in our house.

See more inside Penny and Luke’s industrial Australian home after the jump . . .

Image above: This is part of my home workspace, which is in front of what used to be a car entrance. We kept the crusty old roller door installed. Most of our furniture is pre-loved, but this desk designed by George Nelson was the very first piece of new furniture I ever purchased.

Image above: Our first painting we ever purchased was by Brooklyn-based Japanese artist Tomokazu Matsuyama.

Image above: This is the dining space. There’s a framed section of concrete at the far end that was reinforced for the use of a large press back in the day, and the floor is a little like a patchwork with different concrete poured at different times in the building’s history.

Image above: Our little old kitchen. We do a lot of cooking at home.

Image above: This piece was the test creation for a group exhibition I was part of in Sydney last year called A Type of Show.

Image above: Our bedroom is on a mezzanine level upstairs where the old sprinkler system pipes weave in between the steel truss beams that hold up the gable roof.

Image above: Storage space is limited, so my bike hangs to the left of my workspace.

Image above: Our red front door. These bricks have seen better days, but the thick walls of the building are still very sound and provide great insulation and sound integrity.

  1. Stephanie says:

    My favorite part of these post is reading the little note about “what they love the most about their home”, this one is touching and I feel the same about my place!

  2. Johnna says:

    I love this house, but is anyone else having trouble reading the posts on design sponge these days? the pink words are blending in with the grey background and I have to highlight the words to read them…It is too much work.

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      what browser and version are you using?


  3. When I was little our house had a red door. They just remind me of home! I will definitely have one in my future. Lovely post – thank you!

  4. Tasha says:

    @Johnna – If you’re using IE, switch to Chrome. IE is the worst. With Chrome, you’ll never have a problem!

  5. rosie says:

    so much style. so much soul! what a great eye for composition/design you two have!

  6. Rinna says:

    Awesomness, I love this industrial space ad the fact they had to wait years to move in. Enough homeyness to soften the industrial look but not dilute it.

  7. Bailey S. says:

    I’ve only ever had the problem Johnna was talking about in Chrome on OSX, on both Lion and Mountain Lion. Looks fine in Win7: Chrome, FF, IE; Fedora: FF; OSX: FF, Safari. Hope that helps, Grace!

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      thanks bailey- i’ll see if we can replicate any errors on chrome osx.

      g :)

  8. Johnna says:

    @grace- I am actually using Firefox 15.0

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      are you using it on a mac or pc? i’ll try to replicate this. i use 15.0 on a mac and don’t have that problem…


  9. Loving that home workspace…it must be so inspiring to work in!!!

  10. Kate says:

    this is my sister & brother-in-law’s place! …and it is as great as it looks xx

  11. scout says:

    this is an amazing home. i love well-converted industrial spaces like this; seeing them always makes me waffle on whether i one day want to end up in a rambling old house or a converted loft. this one has me leaning toward the latter.

    any chance you could tell us where the bed linens are from? i love the stripes contrasted with the tobacco edging on the pillows.

  12. bob says:

    I love this industrial space and your bike.


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