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Renovating Revives An Aging Art Deco Home

The decaying 78-year-old dwelling is restored to its mid-century glory.

An art deco-style home in Canada has been restored as a showpiece of mid-century modern detailing. The circa 1939 home, which required extensive mold and rot remediation, was restored by DPAI Architecture with Toms+McNally Designs.

Renovating Revives An Aging Art Deco Home

The project team expanded and modernized the home while paying homage to its original style. Here, BUILDER talks with DPAI designer Elena Balaska about the renovation.

What special design challenges did the project pose?
The structure was badly deteriorated due to the absence of insulation and poor detailing. The interiors were also dated.
Ingress of water and vapor had caused severe mold growth and deterioration of plaster. Rot was apparent on some of the floor framing members. Had the exterior walls not been made of concrete bloc, the house may not have survived structurally. A lack of attention to building science in the average mid-century modern home often caused this type of accelerated deterioration.

What are your favorite elements of mid-century modern design?
The designers of the best MCM buildings and places were often groundbreaking in their design approach and were often pioneers of experimentation and innovation. As with any style, there are good examples, often the earliest, and many bad copies. I believe that this house is one of the good ones.

The retro-style kitchen features vintage

How does the house stay true to its origins while meeting the needs of 21st century homeowners?
Rather than resorting to mimicry, it is in the spirit of this experimentation and innovation that the new additions dialogue with the original building. This dialogue is what will carry the original intent into the future as a meaningful story in the neighborhood. At its most superficial, style is a snapshot of an era. But at its most meaningful, it is a continuing story, a living manifestation of an evolving community.

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