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Design Discussions: Stories from Six Houses

Private homes are a relatively new endeavour in FBM’s 104-year-old history. Under the direction of design principal, Susan Fitzgerald, FBM has come to be recognized for elegant, context-rich designs that demonstrate a profound relationship with both the landscape and owner.

May House, House in Scotch Cove, and Freda’s Point Residence are three distinctive designs completed within the past five years. All share the simple idea of progression and choreography within a rural setting, and each home reflects client-driven values; the May House owes its expansive views to sailing traditions, House at Scotch Cove makes room for multigenerational activities, and Freda’s Point Residence shares the same attention to precision and layered detail as its ophthalmologist-owner. All are rooted in their owners’ stories as much as Nova Scotia’s bucolic coastal backdrops.

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FBM’s urban residential designs consider context in a different way—how cities and people evolve. Bridgeview House, Fuller Terrace, and King Street Live-Work-Grow, are essays in living, working, and dwelling within the density of a budding metropolis. Bridgeview House is a modern aesthetic built with traditional materials and nestled into a four-storey ravine. Preserving the natural vegetation and rock outcroppings of the site lends the design to uncommon privacy within the city. Fuller Terrance explores a piano nobile and carriage house within the vernacular of a turn-of-the-century neighbourhood. The design allows for mixed uses and additional housing on a dense city lot. King Street Live-Work-Grow reimages a deep, narrow parcel in a neglected part of the city to create a new, mixed-use urban typology filled with productive green space that is shared between neighbours.

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Homes are one of the truest reflections of self. Though driven in part by physical context and conditions, FBM centers the narrative of each home on the traditions and rituals of the inhabitants to create spaces that are built beyond form to respond to everyday life.