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House of the Month // January 2015

This month a very elegant and demure intervention to a tiny Melbourne terrace by FMD Architects.

Cross Stitch House by FMD Architects

The brief for the project was, so the architects say, a very simple one : to ensure the house’s access to natural light in the existing main bedroom and new living area, to provide space for three handmade tapestries, and to rearrange and update the existing kitchen and bathroom within the house’s slightly enlarged footprint.

Completely refurbished from front to back, the house completes a smooth, almost imperceptible transition from old to new as one moves from the front, Victorian part of the house, toward the new rear extension and garden beyond. Unusual in many contemporary refurbishment projects, the bedrooms, bathrooms, and hall located in the old part of the house look distinctly part of the new whole. The footprint of these spaces remain largely as they were, yet the interior fitout has been so thoroughly considered that the line between old to new is surprisingly difficult to remark. Indeed, the only distinct indicator of the new addition is the fulcrum of columns sited at the edge of the old building and the beginning of the new extension. This marker stands amdist the old and new and splays forth the underlying design sensibilities of the architects in every direction.

The new addition houses the living room and is voluminous and gallery-like. The kitchen sits at the rear of this space quietly surveying the architectural intervention as it unravels along the length of the site and steps into the garden. The newly inserted layer of timber beams invoke a sense of certain discovery and draw ones eye toward the now unhindered vistas of the courtyard garden.

Cross Stitch House is a whole hearted exploration into the complexities and opportunities of layered space, the result of which is a wonderfully light and airy home with the innate sense of being able to accommodate so much more than its compact two bedroom plan might initially indicate.

All photographs by Peter Bennetts and plans from FMD Architects, sourced from ArchDaily


Floor Plan



long section

Longitudinal Section







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About the Author:

Our principle designer Poppy is a Masters of Architecture graduate from the University of Newcastle, Australia. She graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours, received the Dean's Medal and was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter Masters of Architecture Graduate of the Year prize. In 2010, Poppy received the Eric Parker Travelling Scholarship encouraging the research and drawing of architecture.

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