2 Jan, 2014

Those who know my wife and I know that we love history and nostalgia. From clothing, music, cars all the way to architecture, we are drawn to sights and sounds that have stood the test of time. When moving from Vancouver to the Okanagan we were looking to purchase a flat top or Spanish Adobe style home to renovate.  With the needs of a young family we ended up in a 50s bungalow that we are in the midst of renovating.

Now I have driven around Vancouver, Victoria, New Westminster, Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos & Kelowna mapping out most of the old Art Moderne Homes in the areas. Most of which, in the Okanagan at least, have fallen into disrepair. We are hoping to purchase a rental property in the next few years and I know on the top of our list would be one of these flat top roof homes.

Funny enough this year for Christmas I received a free brochure from my Mother; Architectural Institute of British Columbia, distributed through the Penticton Art Gallery a Penticton Art Moderne Architectural Walking Tour. This is a free guild to a lot of Penticton’s historic Flat Top homes.  A concern to me is that there is no current protection for these types of historic homes in Penticton. I have seen a few of these gems demolished to make way for Duplex or multi-family homes.



Art Moderne homes came out of the Art Deco Architecture era emerging in the 1930s. This style emphasized long horizontal lines and sometimes nautical elements. For the most part a lower cost style of building with great architectural impact. Some of the local homes in Penticton like this green one below were built for as little as $800 in 1944.

green house with white pillars


real estate property

It seems fitting that if history repeats itself that this type of architecture would be coming back in style manly a simplistic design with a proven history of style longevity at an affordable construction price.

plaque that says built by works progress administration

The Art Deco era was born out of the Great Depression where a worldwide economic depression occurred after the fall in stock prices that began around 1929 starting the stock market crash later that year.

Now we have the Global Financial Crisis & 2008 Crisis considered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930.

It would seem in our current times fitting to go back to the basics when it comes to banking and for that matter architecture.  This style of home was built using inexpensive materials stripping Art Deco Design of its ornament in favor of pure-line concepts of motion & speed developed from scientific thinking, essentially the basics!

A lot like the theory of the lipstick effect on consumers. We are happier in times of economic crisis to spend less money on high end items in turn for things with greater visual impact like great design or Lipstick.

1900s poster that says red lips kiss my blues away


2 thoughts on “Art Moderne & Flat Top Homes The Lost Era Of Home Building or The Next Big Thing In Renovation’s & Real Estate?

  • Jim Maxey

    February 1, 2019

    When did you write this blog?

    1. Jeff Di Lorenzo

      February 1, 2019

      Hi Jim

      I think I wrote this circa 2011 or 2012

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