For Arthur and Pam Williams, calling on FMD Architects to create their ideal home in Melbourne was a no-brainer—they were both former clients of the firm. In 2013, FMD had designed Pam’s Cross-Stitch House, a residence with a pitched roofline and cascading wooden beams that move from the exterior through the main living spaces. Arthur’s home, however, had stalled in the approval phase.
"Arthur’s lot was bigger than Pam’s, so they ended up deciding to redesign that space to make it suitable for their needs," says architect Fiona Dunin.
Due to the previous working relationship, Dunin was left with a "fairly pragmatic" brief, which freed her to think outside the box. The couple asked for comfortable living space, accommodations for Arthur’s adult son, and a secluded bedroom with its own private garden.
"We like modern homes with lots of light and of greenery," says Pam.
In the reconfiguration of the home, Dunin borrowed many concepts from the Cross-Stitch House, bringing in triangular skylights and focusing on light and greenery. However, Pam also wanted to introduce new forms that represented Arthur.
"There’s a poem by John Donne ["A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"] that talks about two compasses twisting and everything returning to one point," says Dunin. "The two triangle skylights in the kitchen, which form a Möbius shape, are referencing that sonnet. It’s a love story in a house."
Built in the late 1800s, the original home is a heritage-listed, Victorian terrace, so Dunin was required to preserve the front of the house, including two of the bedrooms. For the rest, she oriented the rooms to get as much northern light as possible.
The living room, which is the Williams’ favorite space, features a solid Tasmanian oak entertaining center that provides a material tie to the kitchen. The two triangular skylights overhead are bordered with LED lighting, so they provide a subtle glow even at night.
The master bedroom connects to a garden and includes a small study area for Pam, who’s semi-retired. Separated from the rest of the house per the homeowners’ request, it’s a serene room that is private, light, and airy.
Shop the Look
In the master bathroom, the geometric vanity references the joining of the two homeowners. The same tile from the kitchen appears here, creating a sense of uniformity.
Outside, which is where the couple enjoy spending most of their time, the scent of jasmine perfumes the air, while blown-glass lights add a sense of whimsy.
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