Wood beams create stitch-inspired details at Cross-Stitch House

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FMD Architects used thin lengths of timber to ‘stitch’ this narrow Melbourne house and its new garden extension.


The project, called Cross-Stitch House, consisted of expanding the single-story residence to create new family living spaces, as well as improving natural light in existing rooms.

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

The brief given in Melbourne FMD Architects requested space to display three tapestries made by the client’s mother. The architects used it as a starting point for their design.

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

“Our design strategy is always to celebrate the idiosyncrasies of the project,” the team explained, “thus, while exploring the tradition of tapestry and tailoring techniques, the concept of sewing the new old-fashioned shape has established the design approach. “

Wooden columns and beams are installed along one side of the building, framing both the wall and the slope of the roof. The result is a series of linear protrusions meant to look like stitches.

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

At the junction between the house and the extension, these wooden elements flourish around a column and create the framework of a skylight.

At the other end, they extend into the garden to enclose a patio and a small swimming pool – similar to another Melbourne extension by architect Andrew Maynard, and one in Spain by architectural duo Anna and Eugeni Bach .

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

Some of the beams fold back to create louvers through the glazed end wall, and one creates an arch at the rear entrance to the site.

“The wooden beams form the thread that connects the living room to the existing house and then beyond to the west courtyard,” the architects said. “The wooden beams converge into a large wooden column, reminiscent of a coil wire.”

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

“In the yard, a mirror is strategically positioned at the end of the wires to expand the space and create a sense of disentangling,” they continued.

“The wood threads twist on the west facade to shade the living room, which will soon be invaded by greenery.”

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

The new living space created by the extension offers open plan spaces for cooking, eating and lounging. The water basin, located just outside, naturally refreshes this room.

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

Wooden fittings have been added throughout the space, matching the stitching elements. They include a triangular profile kitchen counter and an angular drawer cabinet.

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

In the existing house, a generous skylight has been created to bring daylight into the master bedroom and the bathroom. The wooden details of these rooms resonate with those of the living space.

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects

“What used to be a damp, dark Victorian patio has now grown into a series of spaces that have a strong connection to the outdoors, providing ever-changing natural light, as well as natural ventilation and cooling,” added the company.

The photograph is by Peter Bennett.


Project credits:

Project team: Fiona Dunin, Andrew Carija, Robert Kolak
Builder: Grenville Architectural Construction P / L
Structural engineer: Macleod Consulting P / L
Landscape architect: Eckersley Garden Architecture

Cross stitch house by FMD Architects
Floor plan – click to enlarge image
Cross stitch house by FMD Architects
Long section – click to enlarge image
Cross stitch house by FMD Architects
Cross section – click to enlarge image


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