In the heart of Melbourne’s inner north, an 1800s Victorian house has undergone a transformation by FMD Architects. The architects, who took inspiration from the historic Edinburgh Gardens the home overlooks, embraced sentimentality and sustainability when it came time to design the new addition. The double-story, north-facing Tiara House goes beyond mere functionality, embracing amenity and livability as its core ethos.
Falling into the category of house mullet (when the front and back facades don’t match), Tiara House’s ornamental frontage keeps its Victorian roots, but has been updated with a neutral palette. The original iron lacework, corbels, and decorative plaster are preserved, creating a contrast to the home’s new modern addition in the back.
The original front interior features shades of blue, along with a wide arched hallway, a formal front room, and an original wood staircase that have been carefully preserved.
The challenge of a southern orientation led FMD Architects to establish connections to the landscape from every angle. The new addition, replacing the 70s lean-to, boasts lofty, light-filled spaces adorned with fluted wood linings, white rendered brick, and bespoke concrete aggregate floors. The kitchen and living areas are bathed in natural light from an eastern lightwell, while the rear garden unfolds to the west, providing a framed view of the landscape.
The rear elevation is graced with a floating screen of vertical wood slats on the upper level, forming a tiara-like structure that provides privacy from the neighboring homes. This embellishment adds a new type of adornment to the typical blank Victorian facades seen near the Tiara House.
A second bedroom has been transformed into a shared bathroom, featuring curved forms, ink blue tiles, speckled terrazzo, granite, and reeded glass, resulting in a moody feel.
Just off the new upstairs bedroom, is a landscaped deck hidden behind the tiara-like screen. The bedroom boasts a calm palette of soft blues and whites, while the ensuite bathroom goes bolder with chartreuse and green veined stone. The original bedrooms have been restored with the wood floors stripped and lime washed.
Photography by Dianna Snape.