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An Art Deco Treasure Goes Retro Modern Inside & Out

by Caitlin Kelch


Sometime the past looks a lot like the future. When the owners of this 1930’s Streamline Moderne style home in Hamilton, Ontario decided to renovate the structure, they took inspiration from the unique existing features of the building, but also from a suite of retro kitchen appliances they already owned. Working with architecture firm DPAI and Toms + McNally Design, they also decided to introduce a second level to the home with 360 degrees of glass and a sweet outdoor roof space. It was obvious from the outside of this home that design reigned the first time around, so the renovation honored that kinship and created a truly modern home in the new century.

Known as The Hambly House, the home was originally built by local builders on a corner lot in 1939 for Jack Hambly. The concrete exterior, with its round windows and flat roof, feels nautical in the context of the neighborhood which is peppered with mostly Tudor Revival architecture. The Hambly House renovation was completed in 2012 by DPAI in cooperation with Toms + McNally Design.


The kitchen is the bright spot of the home and exudes a cheeky nod to the past. The clean, unfussy millwork in this space takes a backseat to show off the Elmira Stove Works turquoise appliances that obviously steal the show. The simplicity of the millwork in this room, however, also provides continuity and unifies this space with the rest of the interior. The appliances were the genesis of the kitchen design and were brought from the owners’ previous residence into their new home.


The custom dishwasher panel provides a color blocked feel from this vantage point, while the turquoise microwave, just below counter level, offers some color and shine on the all-white island that dominates the center of the kitchen.


The serene dining area off the bold kitchen provides a respite from the day and overlooks a semi-wooded backyard.


The front sitting room is the only other space that shares a colorful connection to the kitchen. With its minimalist approach to furnishings, it feels peaceful under the glow of the bright orange sofa.


The second level addition with its wrap-around glass is a brilliant spot to watch the season change. The outdoor roof spot is perfect for a dose of vitamin D or an evening gathering under the stars.


The modern bath, with its clean lines and chrome, provides more visual interest with the sleek curves of the stand-alone tub and a stunning view of the tree outside.


This photo taken in 1940 shows The Hambly House as it originally looked on its corner lot. The shrubbery hides some of its most distinct features that the current owners uncovered and celebrate.


The exterior of The Hambly House foreshadows the show-off kitchen and all of its turquoise glory with the window casings painted in the home’s signature shade.

We were so inspired by The Hambly House’s kitchen that we put together some inspiration boards with Elmira Stove Works appliances as the key to the design. I’m currently going through a bisque moment and can’t get enough of the gentle, color. This soft color, combined with the rounded corners of a retro fridge, outs me in kitchen heaven. Of course, a part of me wants to go bold or go home, so imagining a kitchen designed around all the colors of the Elmira rainbow has taken up some inspiration time too! Which color is your favorite?

All Photography above by Revelateur Studio, with the exception of the vintage photo from skyscraper.com.  The photographs above are © A. Marthouret / Revelateur-Studio.


Image (clockwise): 1. Elmira Stove Works refrigerator | 2. Pendant Light | 3. Dinnerware | 4. Microwave | 5. Planters | 6. Rug | 7. Plates


How ’bout that keg fridge? If I had a small counter service restaurant, that would be front and center dispensing sparkling lemonade! Elmira Stove Works refrigerators here!

I love this buttery yellow fridge with that woodwork and tile in Austin, Texas!


This kitchen kicks it up a notch with a full suite of Elmira appliances and large-scale pattern on the backsplash.

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  • This house is lovely and the appliances are amazing. I’ve seen this brand at the store, but the turquoise is so much prettier than what they had on display. I guess I’d better start playing the lottery so I can join in on the fun, too!

  • Denver has a small Art Deco house that is very similar and I drool all over myself every time I drive by.

    You have done an amazing job of expanding and renovating your home inside and out while keeping the lovely Art Deco elements that make it so special.


  • There is some misuse of terminology here. You can’t take Art Deco and make it modern.
    Art Deco = modern.
    Moderne = modern.
    Mid-century = modern.
    Current trends = contemporary.
    Modern is a broader term for a design style. There are many different phases within that style. Since mid-century modern is popular right now, it is contemporary. You can take Art Deco and make it look more contemporary, which is what happened here. But modern began a while before the middle of the twentieth century. In fact that is considered the end of the movement. Post-modernism was developing at that time, leading to the style of Memphis and Peter Graves. Generally, contemporary movements don’t have a label until a new style has been in place for a while.

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