Emma and Damon Rickards

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
9th of January 2013

The Seddon home of designer and school teacher Emma Rickards, and her partner Damon, a carpenter.  Custom built steel doors and windows by Fusionworks. Pendant lamp by David Trubridge, from Tongue and Groove.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Nifty storage (and dog house!) under the stairs, featuring Iris the Dachshund!  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Stair / dog house detail. Peace screenprint by Ghostpatrol, Seeking screenprint by Heather Moore, Loves U pen drawing by Tali Antonina, Jizz (from Birding) photograph by Nick Stephenson. Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Love the simple, scandi style of this kitchen.  Cabinetry constructed in formply by Damon.  Pendant lights from Industria (formally of Gertrude Street, Collingwood) Benchtop made from an old Essendon bowling alley, sourced from Urban Salvage.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

My trusty editorial assistant Lisa Marie Corso was mighty chuffed when she scored this home for a TDF feature – because it belongs to her former high school art teacher!  Lisa reckons ‘Miss Rickards’ was the coolest teacher ever…  and if her fabulous little family pad in Seddon is anything to go by – we reckon she’s pretty cool too!

Emma is a designer and teacher/lecturer of art and design, whilst her partner Damon is a carpenter.  Their little house is home to a very busy little family, which includes two year old Hector, one year old Hazel, and Iris the dachshund!  AMAZINGLY, Emma and Damon have managed to squeeze four bedrooms and two bathrooms into this modest Victorian cottage on a corner block in Seddon, in Melbourne’s inner West.  Here’s how they did it!

Emma and Damon purchased their home twelve years ago. At the time it was a run-down, two bedroom single fronted terrace, and had undergone several ‘hotch potch and just-plain-weird renovations’ (to quote Emma!) – where sadly all original features had been removed.

After living in the house for about 6 years whilst saving for renovations, Emma and Damon approached architect Glenn Irwin of Loop 8 to create a new extension that would maximise the tiny block (24 x 4.5 metres) and accommodate a growing family. ‘Glenn’s design of a caravan-like timber and metal box with wraparound windows really complemented our modernist sensibilities, while adding 2 more bedrooms and a second bathroom to the space’ Emma explains.  I must say, it certainly is a genius use of space – this home unfolds to reveal clever cabinetry and space-saving details in every nook, and whilst the internal spaces are small, the layout is so carefully considered and the ‘flow’ of the home so effortless – efficient design as its best!

Damon and work partner Hilary Logan built the rear extension in 2008, which includes custom-built steel windows and a balustrade by Fusionworks, exposed structural steel columns, formply cabinetry and hardwood timber finishes sourced from Urban Salvage. Two years later, Damon renovated the original rooms in the front section of the house, whilst the most recent addition is the under-stairs joinery, including a walk-in storage space.  ‘Stage Four will be the garden!’ says Emma.

While the home and its furnishings are very much inspired by Emma and Damon’s love of Scandinavian and mid-century design, this design-savvy pair were also very keen to create a distinctly Australian aesthetic, using a colour palette of desert orange and gumleaf grey/green, and features such as Bonnie and Neil’s cockatoo screenprint in the bathroom (custom made at Emma’s request!).  Creating a home that was clever in its use of space, and that could be easily lived in with small children, was of course also a top priority.

Massive thanks to Emma and Damon for sharing their beautiful home with us today – it’s so inspiring once again to be reminded how clever design can transform a teeny tiny space into a comfortable, functional family home, even on a modest budget.

I should note too, the home is filled with framed artwork created by Emma, I particularly love the illustrated family portraits and posters in the kids spaces – she is SUCH a talented illustrator!  You can see more of Emma’s design and illustration work on her website.


Downstairs front bedroom – Hector’s room.  Large framed poster – ‘A Delicate Balance’ by Emma Rickards.  Circus letterpress print by Chamo, part of the Wilkintie project. The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Tonia Composto, from the fabulous Fairytales for Hope project. Sleepy Dog pillow by Robin and Mould, Geometric cushion by Thirtyfive Flowers.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Downstairs front bedroom – Hector’s room.  Handmade quilt by Emma’s sister Georgia of Itty Bitty Oak.  Illustrated family portraits on left wall by Emma.  Wishbone bike.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Downstairs bathroom – cabinetry by Auld Design, featuring inset screenprinted cockatoo panel by Bonnie and Neil.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Love the modernist-inspired wraparound windows.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Master bedroom.  Screenprinted artwork by Spacecraft Australia.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Upstairs bedroom – Hazel’s room.  Ikea rocking chair, covered in an Ikea fabric.  Geometric cushion by Thirtyfive Flowers. Kiwi toy from New Zealand. Shelves and storage boxes made by Damon. Paper mobile made by Emma as a decoration for Hazel’s 1st birthday party.  Fandeck pendant lamp by Yellow Diva.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Emma’s study (second bedroom, ground level).  Artwork from bottom left – Monster Cookie by Wendy June, Gocco print by Catherine Campbell,  Man with a Hat by Dean Bowen, Papercut from a Sydney beachside market.  Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Exterior showing rear extension and general tiny-ness!   Photo – Sean Fennessy.  Production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Latest Stories

Recent Architecture