The Hambly House: modern Houses by dpai architecture inc

Relish this rehabilitated Art Deco home in Hamilton, Ont.

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
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This unique restored home, nicknamed The Hambly House after its original owner Jack Hambly, is one of only a handful of Art Moderne houses that can be found throughout the province of Ontario. Located in Hamilton, this stylish home speaks strongly of a specific design era, characterized by Art Deco features such as a flat roof, archetypal curved corner, speed-striped stucco walls, and a nautical-inspired aesthetic (including an iconic porthole window).  The home that you'll see in this tour is the result of a labour of love, as the most recent inhabitants purchased the home in a dire state of disrepair, with the intention of rehabilitating it. The architects from DPAI Architecture Inc describe the process of planning the home's rehabilitation: 

The house was purchased in dire condition in 2013 by new owners who wanted not only to rehabilitate the house but also to reimagine it. They recognized the opportunity to connect with their new neighbours through the process and product of the design by holding regular, open dialogue with their community from the project’s conception. They were also able to maintain a closely collaborative approach with the architects, construction managers, builders and consultants.

The result of this rehabilitation project is a bold, spirited house filled with a lighthearted sense of playfulness. The interior decor displays an affinity for funky mod and retro design, with the interior renovations attempting to highlight the home's unique historical character rather than disrupt it.

Street view

Embodying the streamlined spirit of Art Moderne design, the structure is characterized by strong horizontal suggestions, with bold contours that emphasize an interplay between mass and lightness. The transparent addition above the white base has added volume to the upper story, housing a master bedroom and living area, which opens up to a rooftop patio in the front. The curved corner was designed to mimic the iconic solid curve of the original building below. This new addition identifies with the residents' desire to establish a friendly connection to the neighborhood, its transparent design welcoming passersby with open arms.

​Backyard patio

One of the major changes on the home is the addition of the backyard patio and dining room, which serve to open up the kitchen, fill the interior space with light, and provide easy access to the quiet backyard. Above, the second story living space is visible, the master bedroom cantilevered over the lower mass.

​Kitchen

The lower story of the home was significantly de-compartmentalized, resulting in the breezy, open space that you see in this stylish shot of the new kitchen. The interior has been completely refinished, topped off with clean, minimalist millwork that gives the room a fresh atmosphere. Of course, the highlight of this playful space is the bright turquoise stove and fridge, appliances that the owners brought from their previous home. These highly unique appliances dance playfully in the spotlight, serving as the starting point for the kitchen design.

Inspired by this cheerful, upbeat space? Find tips for cheering up your kitchen in this ideabook!

​Lower floor living room

Playful details abound in this colourful and upbeat space – the design aesthetic is distinctly mid-century, with smooth curves and bright, punchy colours governing the scene. A characteristic niche in the wall has been preserved, an interesting element that speaks of the home's Art Deco origins.

​Bathroom

Perhaps the only room in the house that doesn't instantly establish a retro look, the bathroom has been renovated to introduce greater functionality and a bright, clean, and modern aesthetic. This change isn't just superficial – the home received new underground waterproofing, in addition to a freshly insulated, airtight envelope, and new windows that remain true to the original shape and size. In the bathroom, these windows provide excellent illumination, sending bright rays through the transparent shower and reflecting off of the long, horizontal mirror to fill the room with a rejuvenating energy.

​Upper floor living room

The living room has been designed to communicate with the street, with access to a rooftop patio near the top of the stairs. Low, horizontal furniture fits in well with the low-profile, horiztonal layout of the home, with a shag rug giving a small shout-out to a funky mid-70s mod style.

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