This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Different Kind Of 'Tree House'

Architecture

According to the Victorian era language of flowers, magnolias symbolise dignity and nobility. In China, magnolias are connected with feminine energy and ‘gentleness’. Today’s home, designed by Green Sheep Collective, finds a new architectural language for the magnolia – one of sustainability and beauty.

We chat to director Shae Parker McCashen about how the backyard magnolia tree inspired the design of this spectacular house in Fairfield, Victoria, and informed the passive solar design principles of the home.

9th November, 2018

Welcome to indoor/outdoor living in the Magnolia Soul house. Photo – Emma Cross.

The home has a small footprint, but a big impact. Photo – Emma Cross.

An elevated extension brings light and space to the property. Photo – Emma Cross.

Designed for all seasons. Photo – Emma Cross.

Dappled light floods the living room. Photo – Emma Cross.

The new design encourages plenty of outdoor relax time. Photo – Emma Cross.

Peek through the Magnolia Soul home. Photo – Emma Cross.

A sleek and cool bathroom in an environmentally conscious home. Photo – Emma Cross.

Lucy Feagins
Friday 9th November 2018

The design for the Magnolia Soul house came from ‘the stunning magnolia x soulangeana tree located in the client’s backyard’ explains Shae Parker McCasher, director of Green Sheep Collective. Shae describes how the house was designed to showcase the tree’s changing foliage throughout the seasons, while also embodying passive solar design principles. As the tree cyclically blooms and rejuvenates, the house echoes these changes through clever window positioning, double glazing, thermal mass and insulation.  The beauty of being green!

The angled ceiling and high window in the apex of the roofline offer a framed view of the tree through the seasons, as well as allowing soft dappled light into the centre of the home. The residents can nestle into the window seat to relax, read, ‘admire the flowering magnolia or sit at the edge of the garden’ Shae enthuses. The living room space is sunken, increasing the thermal mass of the home, in addition to creating what Shae describes as a ‘playful step, that doubles as informal seating between the deck and dining area.’

The brief for this home was to generate a ‘warm, robust and pet-friendly extension, which celebrates the mature magnolia tree and maximises the garden area’ Shae describes. This informed the strategy for designing efficient and highly functional internal spaces, with a small building footprint and emphasis on the garden.

The Magnolia Soul property places the environment at the forefront of the design, both through the sustainable design ethos, and the focus on the tree as the heart of the home. Shae explains that the design is intended to be ‘unique, robust and exciting, a space that people want to live in, maintain and cherish for years to come.’ The perfect space for this family and their much-loved magnolia tree to grow together, over time.

This Week

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Home

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  4 hours ago

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Native Garden For An Off-Grid Home, That Embraces The Elements

Native grasses, towering gum trees and panoramic views help draw the award-winning Elemental House into its natural surrounds.
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Pavilion in the Trees

A spectacular, seamless addition to an existing mid-century house in Camberwell, by Melbourne firm AM Architecture.

Architecture

A Clever Home That ‘Cheats’ Extra Space

Creating space where there is none… an almost invisible extension to a tiny Victorian terrace, by Whiting Architects.
Elle Murrell

Architecture

The Anti-McMansion House

David Boyle Architect reacts against the generic with this poetic family home in Sydney.

This Week

Homes

A Cosy Retro Rental In Melbourne’s North West

Dog lovers Michelle Campbell and Katy Louise share their warm and welcoming rented home in Maidstone.

Studio Visit

Dani McKenzie’s Detailed Paintings Look Like Familiar Photographs

The Melbourne artist recreates local streetscapes and everyday scenes, filled with intimate reminders of our own inner-worlds.
Christina Karras

Homes

An Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1970s South Yarra Apartment

How designers Lola Digby-Diercks and Sebastian Owen completely transformed their South Yarra apartment in just six months.

Art

10 Emerging, Affordable Artists You Need To Have On Your Watchlist!

From ethereal still lifes to striking ceramic work, and meticulous soft pastel drawings, these are the artists to start collecting now!

Creative People

How Powerhouse Designer, Yuwaalaraay Woman Lucy Simpson Is Making Waves

How the Sydney based designer weaves stories of Country and culture into her collaborations with leading brands, such as JAG and Breville.
Jirra Lulla Harvey

On The Market

A Rare Robin Boyd House Is Available To Rent

You could be the next tenant of this house, designed by Australia's most famous architect.

Shopping

Shop The Chunky, Colourful Furniture You’ve Seen All Over The Internet

Meet the tradie brothers behind FEARON, who have been making quirky, must-have furniture that blends fun with functionality!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Native Garden For An Off-Grid Home, That Embraces The Elements

Native grasses, towering gum trees and panoramic views help draw the award-winning Elemental House into its natural surrounds.
Christina Karras

Art

9 Unmissable Exhibitions To See In 2023!

From NGV's Alexander McQueen exhibition, to a showcase of Frida Kahlo's works, here are the must-see exhibitions of the coming year.
Christina Karras
  4 hours ago

Architecture

A Brazilian-Inspired Update Of A 1920s Brisbane Cottage

Bowen by Shaun Lockyer Architects elevates a 1920s cottage with a stunning renovation and addition.

Family

Journalist Nas Campanella On Parenting With Blindness + Building Disability Awareness

How ABC journalist Nas Campanella navigates motherhood as a person living with blindness and Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Interiors

Before + After: A Dated Brick Home Turned Coastal Holiday Home

Dark timber and dated tiles have been replaced with light and bright interiors in this Mornington Peninsula beach house.
Christina Karras

Design Eye

How to Create Fun + Playful Interiors, With Studio Joy’s Kristel Marshall

The Melbourne designer shares how to balance minimalism and maximalism with playful colours and bold furniture – in a way that won't date!...
Christina Karras

Sustainable Homes

How An Architect Turned This 1930s Bungalow Into A Sustainable Family Haven

Architect Emily Sandstrom's warm family home runs off solar power, with a vegetable garden and impressive entertaining area hidden inside!
Christina Karras

Creative People

A Noosa Design Studio's Chic New Office, Inside A Former 80s Club

CLO Studios' have transformed an old music club into their dreamy new office space, and it's filled with eclectic design inspiration!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Pavilion in the Trees

A spectacular, seamless addition to an existing mid-century house in Camberwell, by Melbourne firm AM Architecture.

Architecture

A Clever Home That ‘Cheats’ Extra Space

Creating space where there is none… an almost invisible extension to a tiny Victorian terrace!
Elle Murrell

Architecture

The Anti-McMansion House

David Boyle Architect reacts against the generic with this poetic family home in Sydney.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net