One of only a handful of Art Moderne homes still standing in Victoria, this landmark dwelling became a labour of love for an Oak Bay couple wanting to celebrate the home’s gentle curves and flat roof while bringing more useable space and a contemporary feel to the interior. A creative collaboration between Zebra Group, G.E. Wilson Construction Ltd., and millwork by Rosewood Designs, the mission was to preserve the classic architectural features while integrating timeless elements to resume the home’s history of unconventional design.
“It’s important to keep these historical structures alive,” says Wilson, because once you tear them down, all the unique elements are irreplaceable. The façade’s modern lines still blend with the neighbouring homes but the original interior had compartmentalized rooms,” adds Wilson, who gutted the entire house, removing every piece of lathe and plaster. The interior and exterior were stripped down in accordance with the Historical Society who requested that the siding and windows had to be replaced to look original.
“We didn’t want the interior to become a theme park for art deco,” says interior designer, Lorin Turner of Zebra Interiors, who allowed architectural elements to inform some of the design decisions while making it relatable and livable today. Referencing modernist curves, colour palettes, and light fixtures of the mid-century era, Turner’s intention was to keep the design grounded in the twenty-first century.
Residential designer, Rus Collins of Zebra Design reconfigured the layout to maximize the kitchen’s compact footprint to include a full wall of cabinetry, custom storage, and a pantry beside a sizable fridge while strategically placing windows and skylights to flood the interior with natural light. A passionate design enthusiast, the homeowner was not afraid to take risks in the design process, incorporating art deco curvatures in the hood vent, china cabinet with suspended glass shelves, and island countertops.
Blonde maple cabinets bring warmth to the room while the navy blue on the island has a grounding presence with its bentwood blonde maple eat-in bar, meticulously rendered by Rosewood Designs. Quartzite on the island and backsplash is durable for the heavy work areas and pure white quartz on the perimeter countertops visually calm the area.
The flat roof required that the structural columns remain so they were enhanced with a subtle grey Venetian plaster to add a textural quality that wouldn’t overpower the room. In the name of maintaining the home’s historical integrity, this thoughtful collaboration redeveloped the grace of the original structure in a way that changed the home’s course forever.