Australian Homes

Leah Bartholomew

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 10th July 2013

 The Coolangatta Home of designer Leah Bartholomew.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Coolangatta Home of designer Leah Bartholomew.  Society 6 Cushion, Beneath The Sun large Gem Vessel, Wire chair bought on Gumtree.  Brick wall painted by Leah in Dulux Coral Blossom.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

The Coolangatta Home of designer Leah Bartholomew.  Society 6 cushion, Beci Orpin cushion, Ikea cushion.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Leah painting on her back deck.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Leah Bartholomew at home.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

You might recall around this time last year we interviewed one very clever and particularly versatile local designer, Leah Bartholomew.  After five years working in Melbourne as Beci Orpin‘s right hand woman, Leah moved north in 2011, settling in Coolangatta on the Gold Coast, not far from her childhood hometown of Bilambil, which is half an hour north of Byron Bay.  Though she loved living in Melbourne, Leah craved all the usual things Melbourne is not very good at – sunshine, surf and a generally relaxed pace of life.

It didn’t take long for Leah to settle in to her new surroundings, after securing a lease on this sweet surf-shack style home, just minutes from Kirra beach.  She now lives and works from these perennially summery surroundings, tackling various freelance graphic design projects whilst also running her own fabulous homewares label, Beneath the Sun, from her home studio.

Since its a rental, Leah has made only minor cosmetic changes since moving in here, such as installing shelving in her little studio, and painting the brick wall on her back deck in her favourite summery shade of coral.  Inside, she’s filled the home with op shop treasures, sweet handcrafted details and her signature pops of cheerful colour in every room!  Many of the cushions and decorative elements you see here are Leah’s own designs – from cushions, to original artworks, ceramic ‘gem vessel’ planters and her super cute ‘woody’ printed timber objects.

Leah’s home reflects her relaxed, free spirited nature – she loves prettying up her surroundings with sweet handmade details, and is particularly skilled at op shop / roadside treasure hunting!  Some of her favourite furniture finds are the geometric pale pink side tables, found on the side of the road in Tweed Heads!  (This would not happen in Melbourne!).  Another much loved second hand find is what Leah calls ‘the most comfortable lounge in the world’ – the seventies velour corner lounge she scored for a steal on Gumtree!

As a former Melbourne resident, its no surprise that the real drawcard of this home for Leah is its proximity to nature – both Coolangatta’s impressive beaches, and nearby bushland.  ‘I was really happy to find this place’ says Leah of her relatively new home.  Surrounded by lush foliage, Leah says it really feels like you could be living in the mountains.  ‘Gorgeous Kirra Beach is 500 metres away, and I have views to the hinterland, where I see the most incredible sunsets every afternoon’.

Massive thanks to Leah for brightening up another freezing Melbourne morning with her fabulously summery home!  If you share Leah’s passion for bold colour, do check out the full Beneath the Sun product range online here!

‘Bike On Grass’ photograph by Conor O’Brien, Beneath The Sun hanging pot, German vase from Found Furniture, 1970’s velour lounge, kilim cushion, Sisauvage cushion from Etsy.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen detail.  Top left – Lucas Grogan plate, local pottery, Country Road mugs and bowls, op shop finds.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Loungeroom detail.  Artwork by Leah Bartholomew, Ikea lamp, Beneath The Suncushions, Beci Orpin cushion, Rug picked up at a garage sale, handmade timber lounge purchased in Brisbane.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Loungeroom.  Themis hanging mono mobile from Douglas and Bec, 1950’s chair – an op shop score.  Printed wooden objects on dresser by Beneath the Sun.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom.  Artworks by Leah Bartholomew, pillowcases – a mix of Beneath the Sun and Country Road,  Beneath The Sun Applique Linen Quilt, bedside lamp from Found Furniture, pink bedside table picked up on the side of the road!  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Bedroom details.  Fleur chair from Found Furniture, locally made Bangalow palm basket, Artwork by Leah Bartholomew.    Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Leah’s home studio.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Details from Leah’s studio.  Beneath The Sun timber objects, Holly Leonardson hanging rainbow, Mould Map images.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Russell Lewis surfboard, Gem Vessel.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Wednesday 10th July 2013


  • Trish 3 years ago

    What a beautiful home with gorgeous light and colour! What a life.

  • Emily 3 years ago

    Love the colors in the home and how she mixes color with white.

  • Siobhan 3 years ago

    Much needed pop of colour on this dreary winter’s day – thank you Leah (& Lucy!). Your artwork is lovely.

  • Cathg1g2 3 years ago

    Yes, this is definitely some gorgeous colour and sunshine this dreary cold Melbourne morning

  • Kelly 3 years ago

    So sunny and bright! This is definitely reflected in her beautiful work. Just gorgeous.

  • Alana 3 years ago

    I can almost hear Leah’s incredible laugh in these photos. I wouldn’t mind testing out that cosy couch with a cuppa in hand. She has made a beautiful home. What a cheery way to start my cold Melbourne day. Thankyou!

  • Eva 3 years ago

    I think its a wonder of all those rooms. Great combinations of colours and shapes. I’m Nine and I hope to have an art space like that when I grow up!!!!!!

  • Kirsty // Otis & Otto 3 years ago

    Such a wonderful, happy space. LOVE all the thrifted finds & hand made details…so homey. I’m moving in! Thanks for sharing Leah. X

  • Robyn 3 years ago

    Gorgeous mix of found/op shop items and classily chosen pieces. The whole place has such a colourful beachy summery feel. Beneath The Sun is awesome!!

  • Kimmy 3 years ago

    Oh as I sit here shivering away on another cold Melbourne morning, what a delight to see Leah in her home and read her success story! As a girl growing up on the Tweed (and I even remember Leah from school – and her teacher dad, Mr Bart!) I understand the draw card of returning to warmer climates, for now though I’ll let the warmth of her beautiful home warm my cockles. Sigh (shiver). xx

  • Kate 3 years ago

    Remind me again why I live in Victoria!

  • Madeleine Stamer 3 years ago

    So, so good Leah xoxox

  • Alison 3 years ago

    Mid July in Melbourne & the sun is shinning !!!
    What a delight !!!
    I’m not complaining – I think it’s raining in Queensland today – AGAIN !!!

  • Bonnie Jean 3 years ago

    Go Leah! Beautiful place, can’t wait to come visit xxx

  • kelly gilbert 3 years ago

    i love it!

  • Imogen 3 years ago

    So beautiful!

  • gemma 3 years ago

    love, love, LOVE it!

  • JESS 3 years ago

    love love love this post

  • hutchy 3 years ago

    I’m loving that surfboard! :-D

  • Kylie 3 years ago

    I love Leah’s home. A lot.

  • Love that ceramics collection :) Also my favourite thing ever is checking out people’s workspaces…especially their pinboards…gorgeous!

  • Lorna 3 years ago

    Love your styling ability. Suits your sunny disposition.

  • Kara 3 years ago

    Such a bright and happy space, such an amazing use of colour and pattern.
    LOVE IT.

  • Hannah 3 years ago

    At least someone (Alison) speaks the truth!! Melbourne is having the most amazing, sunny winter… Look out your windows guys!! A far cry from last years 24/7 drizzle.

    Doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful to see a QLD home! Leah has done a gorgeous job and it’s so nice to see a rental featured on TDF.

  • bianca 3 years ago

    Made me feel so nice and warm looking at this happy home. Such beautiful light and colours.

  • Jean T 3 years ago

    L-O-V-E this place! Yay Queensland!

  • John 3 years ago

    Clourfull like her personality

  • Liss 3 years ago

    yay! been waiting for this peek at Leahs place. love her taste!

  • Emma Kate 3 years ago

    love it. such a light and scrumptious home.

  • Kathryn 3 years ago

    Congratulations Leah. What a talented lady you are. Thanks for letting us look into your colourful world.

  • RC 3 years ago

    Wait … Melbourne gets cold? How cold are we talking?
    A serious query from an upstate New Yorker who pictures year round sun across the entire Australian continent. :-)

  • Lucy 3 years ago

    HA ha yes it’s true, we’re having an unseasonally sunny winter in Melbourne… which is SO beautiful, but its still hot water bottles out / heaters on / scarves and winter coat weather! Still, no complaining from me!

    RC – Yes it gets cold here! Melbourne and Tasmania get pretty chilly in winter! (Not as cold as NY though… no snow unless you’re in the mountains).

  • Jemma 3 years ago

    I love Leah’s place! So much sunshine and creativity!

  • Gaz 3 years ago

    Aaahhh…. Bringing back fond childhood memories of holidaying with my Gran in Kirra. Gorgeous and sunny, just like Leah’s place. Very envious of the roadside finds- esp the bedside tables!!!

  • Kim 3 years ago

    Such gorgeous colours I feel light and tropical viewing it in my puffer!

  • Ooh I nearly bought a Beneath the Sun print the other day. Kicking myself for not doing so now. This is such a cheerful home – it’s Gold Coast done right!

  • What a wonderful house with lovely interiors that everybody love to have it. I really like the color choices and can say no other color combination can look better than this. Your imagination and creativity is really great.

  • Jay Lillien 3 years ago

    Great pictures, the house aura is full of energy, the doors and windows are so inviting. :)

  • james 3 years ago

    Great Post.appreciate your share… waiting for more.

  • Andre Peraza 3 years ago

    I love the ‘F**k Yeah’ plate lol. Oops.

  • Susan 3 years ago

    Love the warmth and brightness.

  • Erin 3 years ago

    This home is so beautiful!

    Anyone know what the colour of the wall in the second last picture is? I’m desperate for it. Please email me if you know at

  • Dave Clark 3 years ago

    Hello Lucy,
    Great Ideas. I really liked one of your pic with the surfboard so I have an Idea here to share that surfboards and Decorative Surfboard Wall Art is great option for home decor. It will give different interior to your home.
    Dave Clark

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