Aug 17, 2011

Rescue Me Please: I'm Art Deco!

 Today, we are on a rescue mission.
{In our imaginations, that is...}
We are going to be seduced 
by the sultry allure of Art Deco.
We are going to purchase this dilapidated Deco house,
complete with P & O curved glass windows,
{my heart trembles looking at that glass}
and imbue it with dignity & drama, 
as befits an Art Deco prima donna.

 Oh my, is that our bathroom?
Why, it won't take too much to return that to glory.
Perhaps the curtains are a little sad,
but those cream tiles with the curved black banding
and the marble floor,
well...I am a little speechless...
Some new wallpaper above the dado,
the plumbing and grouting may need a little attention,
but otherwise, it's rather good to go.
Here's a modern version to keep us inspired.
Hmmm...all that glittery silver + gold,
mirrors + crystal basin
= sparkly glamour.
Let's check out our floor plan to see 
what we have to play with. 
Spacious rooms, 
two with curved glass windows,
and a decent sized garden as well. 
So we can grow lots of vintage roses...
Cream roses, perhaps,
heavily scented,
which will look beautiful dotted about our house.
We may need to do a little work 
to bring these living rooms back to beauty,
do you think?

The glass patterned doors are fabulous, 
how about we add some parquet timber floors?
Yes, timber floors in a chevron pattern,
which would suit our Deco house perfectly.
While we are at it, painting our steel windows in black
would make them jump out against the creamy white walls,
just as it does here
(in another beautiful house for sale in the same suburb.)
And this wallpaper, from Graham Brown
will be stunning in the living rooms.
How about our kitchen?
I guess they didn't cook as much as we do now.
Or as much variety.
Is that we need such enormous kitchens now?
I often wonder...
But I reckon we should be selecting this 
curvaceous new Vuelo tap from Brizo
for our new kitchen.
Some brass handles, subway tiles (except ours will be cream)
hanging brass pans & lots of vintage books should 
work pretty well as a base for our new kitchen.
The bedroom will need to be glammed up 
with some cream and gold wallpaper.
And a bold bird or two could add some 
curvaceous 1920s drama to the hallway.
Then, to celebrate all our hard work, 
we better have a little Black & White cocktail party,
so we'll need some glam gowns. 
With a jazz quartet to play sultry beats.
So what do you think?
Have we done a good rescue job today?

I think it would look stunning, 
and I just hope that somebody with imagination 
will buy this darling house. 

Property location: 197 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield, Melbourne
Agents: Gary Peer
All original deco images: artdecoblog
Contemporary fashion: Charlie Brown dresses & Prabal Garung trouser suit.
Graham Brown wallpaper. Modern deco bathroom: source unknown.
Roses. Yellow floral bouquet. Bird in living room. Kitchen with books.


  1. Stunning house and I love your ideas! Would love to renovate an art deco home one day, not too many of those in Townsville unfortunately!

  2. Hi Anna, yes stunning is indeed the word for it. An art deco Queenslander would be amazing though, if you could find one! Just imagine all the curvaceous timber balustrading there may be....

  3. Love the bold bird! =) Great Post!

  4. Howdy Florencia! Yes, isn't he gorgeous? So completely, utterly, over the top, which makes him quite perfect for the over-the-topness of Deco itself. 

  5. Claire Neville17/8/11 1:18 PM

    Really, really enjoyed this post - well done!  I'm a big fan of art deco.  It's great that this one hasn't been played around with too much over the years.  What a fun game this is!  Have you seen the "my Dream House' post i did on Stylish Irish?  I'd love to get your ideas on what we could do with that!

  6. Thank you Claire! Off to check out your dream house now...

  7. Claire M Neville17/8/11 5:02 PM

    Hey Virginia, on my blog go to 'me' under Labels and it's the 2nd post down. C x

  8. Claire M Neville17/8/11 5:57 PM

    Ok Virginia. My mission tomorrow is to come up with some images of how I'd decorate my dream house. And you're so right - the outbuilding is a great project in itself. I like what you're thinking on that btw... C x

  9. Virginia, you are KILLING ME. If I had the money I would be sorely tempted to move to Australia and save this beautiful dame beacause she just needs a little love, that's all! Not even a facelift! Oh my, I LOVE this house...sigh. Yes, let's hope that she goes to good hands...How amazing that she is still so intact. Talk about good bones!

  10. Yes, you are so right Heather. My greatest sadness would be that somebody buys her and "modernises" her or simply knocks her down. 

  11. Ps. I saw at the bottom of the ad that they mentioned the possibility of tearing it down to make "your dream development"--NOOOO!!!!

  12. Perhaps I better stand there at the auction with a "please save me" placard, do you think? 

  13. I love love me some Art Deco! To the rescue! Hope you are having a great week! xoxo

  14. I love Art Deco architecture, and hope that whoever buys this home does so because they love it too. It would be such a shame to pull it down. I originally come from Napier, New Zealands Art Deco city, and when you see a complete town of Art Deco architecture, you really appreciate the style and era.

  15. Hello Amanda. I didn't know that Napier was known as an Art Deco city, but I'm glad you said so, for now I shall go hunting it up in my architecture library. I imagine it's a bit like walking the streets of NYC too, where one is almost totally enveloped by the grandeur and glamour of Deco. 

  16. Hello Virginia

    well I really need your help here.

    I am not good at all with Art Deco houses - I would want to change them dramatically and you would need to guide me through it :)
    great photos - again.

    have a great day.


  17. Adore this home Virginia!! It is a statement piece and deserves some TLC to be back in its glory,; your ideas are terrific. I want to be invited to the party!

  18. renee finberg17/8/11 10:18 PM

    this would really be a dream restoration project...
    wouldn't it?
    i can't get over the place. and my heart trembles when it looks at the curved windows as well.

    you have done a super redo!

  19. martine@martinelouisedesign17/8/11 11:05 PM

    oh my goodness! This house is to DIE for! Great project! so much fun. Makes me reeeallly want to trade it for the cat urine entrenched 1940's bungalow we're looking at in our neighborhood! lol! Thanks for visiting my blog. Martine x

  20. Rachel {Da Paura}18/8/11 12:57 AM

    Oh I love this post.  You are so creative and talented with your writing... and what a gorgeous house this is!  I'm smitten with the gold bathroom and the gorgeous peacock... how fabulous!  xo

  21. TamraSanford18/8/11 1:48 AM

    There is so much potential to that house!!!  The architecture is stunning and those windows, wowza!!  Great inspiration for a renovation. The buyers should discuss with you!

  22. Transitoinicial18/8/11 1:59 AM

    I love the Art Deco period, all the selected images convey very well the spirit of the time. The doors of empty rooms are gorgeous!

  23. thanks for visiting my blog ;-)

  24. I really love all your ideas of a makeover especially the gold bathroom. Good post!

  25. Vtinteriors18/8/11 8:49 AM

    I really love this post. It sounds like dream renovation.

  26. Wow!  I'm on board...where do I sign?
    What a fabulously thoughtful post!

    Love It.....J x

  27. Hi,

    We bought this house on the spur of the moment at auction having a thing for Art Deco. We really can't afford to bring it back to it's former glory but have started on it as a conservation project. We want to protect the building and remaining features from further decay and preserve it for someone in the future who, like yourself has the flair to reinstate its grandeur. Definitely keeping the bathroom and kitchen fittings. The glamorous entertaining rooms only need a tidy up. This place is good for another 70 years. We us well :)

    1. Hello there! What a delightful ending to the story! I am tickled pink that you bought it, and will protect it for the treasure that it is. Oh yes, the kitchen & bathrooms are quite splendid, and it is fabulous that you are retaining them. The marvelous thing about this house is that it doesn't need a lot of money spent on it to bring back its glory. More a polishing & TLC exercise.

      Drop me an email to let me know how you are progressing with the restorations. I would love to follow the progress.

    2. We weren't sure whether you would read our comment. You wrote about the house a long while ago. I'm glad you did.
      We've had the wiring, roofing, cold water, hot water and heating all renewed / repaired so the house is liveable.
      Large sections of wall paper and the curtains were badly water damaged so we had to remove them and are currently having the place re plastered.
      All the tiling in the kitchen and bathroom has been restored including the shower recess which used to leak badly. We installed all new tap fitting except of course the lion's head bath outlet. We couldn't find a suitable wash stand so for now, we installed an ex display modern black top vanity whose white cabinet had yellowed in the showroom. We think it was a lucky find. We decided not to try and rescue the terrazzo floor as we are already way over our initial budget.
      We are now planning the decorating stage and are stumped. The inside of the house is rather dark but we don't want to paint it white and can't afford nice wallpaper. Scraping back the layers, the house has seen yellow, green and grey. Nice nostalgic colours but not sure if they still work in today's world where there is more abundant lighting. We are thinking maybe boring beige tones with wooden Venetians in the bedrooms and drapes and sheers in the reception rooms finished off with some sort of cheap carpet for now.
      By the way, we are surprised by the number of strangers who walk in off the street wanting to talk to us about this house.
      Cheers for now.


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