Oak Bay heritage reno is the ‘People’s Choice’

The People's Choice CARE Award went to “Moderne,” by builder Urban Core Ventures

  • Oct. 29, 2015 7:00 p.m.

The people spoke, and awarded their CARE Award to the renovation of a 1940 heritage registry Oak Bay home dubbed “Moderne,” by builder Urban Core Ventures.

The winner of not only the People’s Choice Award at the Construction and Renovations of Excellence Awards, handed out recently by the Victoria Residential Builders Association, Moderne also took home awards for Best Accessory Building, Best Residential Renovation or Restoration over $800,000, Best Bathroom under 160 sq. ft. and Best Media Room.

The home was designed by architect P.L. James in the Art Moderne style that followed Art Deco, explains builder and homeowner Leonard Cole. Cole’s renovation maintained the distinctive street view of the home, including restoring some elements that had been altered in earlier renovations, he says.

The property had sat on the market for some time, bringing fears the home might be lost altogether. However, the time allowed Cole time to look into the ins and outs of taking on a heritage renovation.

“Renovations like this are harder than building new. From a financial standpoint, you don’t save a lot of money but it’s one-of-a-kind – you can’t replace it.”

Key was maintaining the distinctive  ribbon-style design and glass block windows, along with the interior piano wall and the over-exaggerated original entry door with porthole window.

“It’s been really well-received – people are so happy that it was saved,” he says.

Inside, the layout was quite similar to today’s design preferances, so Cole retained the rooms in their original locations while creating an open floor plan to better reflect the flexible layout needs of today’s families. “The original floorplans were very forward-thinking for the era,” he reflects.

Located on a quiet oceanfront cove off Beach Drive, considerable focus involved adding 40 feet of floor-to-ceiling glass to the back of the home to take in panoramic views of the Salish Sea and Olympic Mountains.

The kitchen boasts a large butler’s pantry (one of only two additions, along with a second garage) and a traditional rectangle island with a raised, circular feature that allows guests to chat with their hosts while enjoying the views.

The project’s award-winning master bath enjoys ample natural light and sweeping ocean views while the extensive use of glass and marble epitomize modern luxury and honour the home’s  post-Art Deco era.

Rounded walls over the vanity purposely follow the curvy, Streamline Moderne design of the home, continued in the streamlined, horizontal, double floating vanity whose lines continue through into the steam shower.

A massive and adaptable 1,200-square-foot media room with hidden theatre area also features a roomy home office.

Outside, the original boathouse remains intact by redesigning the three-walled structure to be fully enclosed with a bi-folding Nano door that offers both unobstructed views and greater security.

“I took advantage of the original concrete work done in the ’30s and added a slate roof and Nano door out front,” Cole says.