Photos: Inside One of the Only Art Moderne Homes in Vancouver
See it yourself in person at the Vancouver Heritage House Tour June 5.
If you’ve ever driven by this Art Moderne marvel (which is part of this year’s Vancouver Heritage House Tour), it likely caught your attention. It’s not too often you see such a period-perfect example of late-1930s architecture here in Vancouver. While City Hall shares this home’s long horizontal lines and curving forms, not much else in the city does; after all, it was built during the Great Depression, when construction projects were few and far between, and those houses that did go up at that time tended to veer more towards modest, traditional stucco bungalows.
So when architect Robert Lemon and his late partner, the celebrated interior designer Robert Ledingham, saw the home on the market in 1989, they fell in love immediately. “It’s so unusual architecturally,” says Lemon. “It’s not as flamboyant as Art Deco—it’s restrained, a pre-cursor to the Modernism movement.”
Lemon specializes in heritage home rehabilitation, so he and Ledingham were well-equipped to work giving the interior a complete restoration, bringing this piece of history back to its original glory. Inside, the original fireplace, light fixtures and hardware were retained, and the layout remained mostly as it was originally designed, with the living room on the second story and the kitchen and dining room on the ground floor.
Almost as beautiful as the home itself is the garden surrounding it, done by noted landscape architect Bill Reed in 1990. “The landscape is as much a part of the house as the building itself,” Lemon notes. “People are instantly attracted to the hedges.” But other than a fresh paint-job, the exterior remains the same as looked in 1936… save one small change. “We did add a roof deck,” says Lemon, “but it’s invisible to the street.”