House Beautiful: A diamond in the rough
This house was built in the art moderne style back in the 1940s, but a sensitive and innovative restoration 75 years later led to its winning gold at the Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence Awards last year.
The home swept honours in five categories at the 2015 CARE event, including people’s choice, best residential renovation or restoration over $800,000, best bathroom under 160 square feet and best media room.
It also took gold for the best accessory building — a small boathouse by the shore and looking across to Oak Bay Marina.
“The original design of this house was amazing,” said owner Leonard Cole, whose company Urban Core Ventures did the renovations. He often has a house assessed by a feng shui consultant when he buys it, to establish whether the architecture and orientation of buildings is auspicious according to Chinese principles of harmonizing energies and flow.
“I was amazed this time because the house was perfect, so I didn’t alter the floor plan at all. The only major change was to take one wall down between the living room and den and I curved a few walls to make the interiors more art moderne.”
This streamlined style of architecture was popular from about 1930 to 1950 and is also referred to as “machine age” style. It typically features a low horizontal profile, flat roof, smooth white walls, rounded corners, glass block windows, perhaps a few portholes, and aluminum or steel trim.
This house has all that and more.