Architectural Marvel. Entertainers Dream. Beloved Family Home.

For the first time, a marvel of mid-century modern architecture designed by James E. Secord hits the Niagara Real Estate market.

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Architectural Marvel. Entertainers Dream. Beloved Family Home.

For the first time, a marvel of mid-century modern architecture designed by James E. Secord hits the Niagara Real Estate market. 

Many would be familiar with the award-winning La Pierre House in St. Catharines, which was designed by architect James E. Secord, as it has garnered much attention for the handful of times it has hit the open market.

However, it is a lesser-known fact that Secord designed a second home in the same St. Catharines neighbourhood for acclaimed Niagara builder Robin Stewart. The reason for this – it has never been offered for sale to the public before.

A true hidden gem of mid-century modern mastery, the Stewart House at 105 Marsdale Drive in St. Catharines was the beloved family home of Robin Stewart, founder of Stewart & Hinan Construction and later StuCor Construction.

Stewart and his partner Jack Hinan gained a reputation as ‘the gold dust twins’ in the 50s and 60s because prominent architects would select them to build projects, such as the Shaw Festival Theatre and Trent University.

In 1959, Stewart commissioned Secord to design the ultimate entertainer in the fashion of the era for his own family home.

The 3,000 sq. ft. bungalow with butterfly roof and natural stone exterior is eye-catching but give little indication of what lies beyond the front door, as it is designed for complete privacy from the outside world. 

At the rear of the home floor-to-ceiling glass reveals mature greenery with discrete fencing delineating a private oasis. In true mid-century modern style, the home is designed to bring the outdoors in, and the most recent homeowner, Interior Designer Elizabeth Loomis, has honoured this style with a palette of high-end natural materials, finishes and colour choices.

In 2001, while pregnant with her daughter, Loomis knocked on the Stewart’s door to ask if they would be interested in selling the home.

“Even as a child, this was my favourite house. Three generations of my family lived in the neighbourhood and I would ride my bike here just to look at it,” reminisces Loomis. 

“Robin Stewart was very passionate about this house and it is built so well. When we first met him, he said, this house has always been full of children and parties and joy and it’s very important that I select someone to buy the house that I am confident will continue that tradition. I also feel this way about passing it along. There is a legacy of gatherings and joy in this house.”

As a designer and a lifelong student of the mid-century modern aesthetic, Loomis says that without question this is one of the finest examples of mid-century architecture in the Niagara region. 

In 2012 she passionately and painstakingly renovated Stewart House with respect to the original design and era of the home. Each decision was made first and foremost as an homage to mid-century design from the flooring to the light fixture. However, it was also important to Loomis to factor in entertaining, eco-sustainability, low maintenance, and highlighting her beloved art collection, making this home not just a show piece but the perfect place to raise a family and entertain friends.

“The home is lovingly called ‘command central’ by my friends,” said Loomis. “Without question, this has always been the place for gatherings and parties. I have one child, but there were always a herd of kids here for dinner, and the pool and the hot tub were always full.”

The kitchen, in particular, could be described as ‘command central’ for any avid entertainer, with its 14 ft. island overlooking the outdoor kitchen and pool through a wall of glass windows and doors.

In 2012 the kitchen had a complete to-the-studs renovation. Custom cabinetry throughout the home is by Artcraft Kitchens’ Tom Ellis, one of the most respected modern designers for kitchen and bathrooms in the region.

The spacious 750 sq. ft. kitchen features an exquisite wood burning fireplace with embossed stainless-steel crocodile skin pattern, has a multitude of discrete storage to keep benchtops clear and the look minimalist, as well as Viking professional series appliances, walk-in pantry, handy laundry cupboards, fridge drawers by the back door for party-goers to grab a quick refreshments, Aristocrat large ceramic floor tiles with radiant heat.

The home interior is extremely tactile. It’s hard to hold back smoothing your hand over the natural stone walls, hide-look wallpaper or crocodile pattern embossed steel. Austrian Oiled Ash flooring with a driftwood look beacon you to take off your shoes and feel.

Cloud white interior walls with hits of colour to add warmth were chosen to best display Loomis’ art collection. Frosted glass on the areas of the house exposed to the street allow soft light to filter through while giving complete privacy. Drapery is custom designed by Loomis and manufactured  in high-end fabrics like velvet and Italian silk to add texture and warmth.

One room flows beautifully into the next as a you enter the main living/ dining area the traditional mid-century modern butterfly roof draws your eyes along the exposed beams and up to the 18 ft. ceiling above a dramatic woodburning fireplace, which Loomis had custom designed to suit the grandness of the room.