Adding a wood extension to your crowded existing home might turn it into something out of a dream. Imagine your dream home – I bet you saw its front facade with your mind’s eye. But did you ever think that your home’s backside competes for your attention also? Additional spaces for your home can come in different shapes and sizes, according to the functions they must meet. And when creative teams like Studio FMD Architects bring their expertise and vision to the table, dreams come true. Do you know that feeling of seeing something built better than the plan, better than expected?

This is the feeling that must have rushed over the owners of the newly extended Cross Stitch House in Melbourne, Australia. Once a Victorian residence, the recently re-imagined home was slightly altered to encourage air and light movement. Three tapestries of houses made by the client’s mother were placed in the heart of the home. “They served as the inspiration to work on the project, and the new extension like embroidered cross in the continuation of the main part and is decorated with wooden beams and glass.”

By adding a new living room and dining room, Studio FMD Architects extended the functional spaces as well as added a stylish modern dimension to the historic character. Architects explain how the brief turned into the Cross Stitch House:  “The site is a single storey terrace on a small 5m wide block in the inner city of Melbourne. The brief was to create new living and dining spaces, relocate the existing kitchen and bathrooms and improve access to natural light in the main living and main bedroom areas. The existing Victorian eastern end of the house containing 2 bedrooms was to remain and be refurbished. (…) Our design strategy is always to celebrate the particularities of the project, so while exploring the tradition of tapestry and stitching techniques, the concept of stitching the new house form to the old established the design approach.” Thanks to photos by Peter Bennetts, the interior and details of this creative solution for a larger space inspire us to look into our own yards and extension possibilities.

The architects used the only request owners made – to keep and display the three tapestries – to create a whole concept of the space: “The timber beams form the thread which stitches the new living room to the existing house, then beyond to the western courtyard. The timber beams at the northern point converge into a large timber column, reminiscent of a bobbin thread. Within the courtyard a mirror is positioned strategically at the end of the threads to extend the space and create a sense of unraveling (while concealing the services of the building). The timber threads twist over the western façade to provide added shading to the Living area which will soon be overgrown over by greenery.”