The Okanagan Home Magazine – Spring 2013
Written by Darcy Nybo | Photography by Colin Jewall Photography
The home was designed to look great from the road, 100 feet above. The curve of the driveway and the lines of the home match the curve of the road above and the lake below.
Craig Mohr and Vineyard Developments are well known for their multi-family townhome developments and single-family homes. They recently tackled a project at Sheerwater in Kelowna, BC with a specific task in mind: to ensure all the main rooms of the home had a view of Lake Okanagan.
“I had just finished designing a show home that was really unique,” says Mohr from his Kelowna office. “My business partner took that plan with him on a business trip. His client saw them and was interested in buying those plans; however, I wasn’t ready to sell them.”
The client informed Mohr they had a lot picked out in the Sheerwater development and wanted to build there. He asked Mohr if he could create new plans for that specific lot. “I told them I could design something way cooler within their budget,” laughs Mohr. “I worked on a preliminary design which they liked, and then started working with them on a new design for their property. I took six months to complete the design and another six months to go through the price and permit process. A year after we met, we started construction.”
The build was difficult, as it was located on the side of the mountain. “I worked on site work for six to seven months before we could even pour concrete footings,” says Mohr. “It was very environmentally sensitive so a lot of thought had to go into managing drainage when it rained. We developed a rain harvesting system for irrigation and a large trenching system where the water would filter into three different trenches and then trickle down to the lake. There was a lot of thought and effort involved to make sure we handled the water correctly, that there was no erosion on the mountain, and that water entering the lake would be purified.”
The home itself is a considered a rancher with a walk-out basement; however it goes above and beyond that general description. The home has four sails, each one covering a major area of the home: the master bedroom, the great room, the kitchen/dining room, and the flex room. The ceilings are 20 feet at their highest point. As unique as that is, it gets even better. Mohr also designed the house to be round, in order to capture a different view of Lake Okanagan from every room in the house. The sails themselves are rounded at the back, as are all the windows in the home. You can look north to Vernon from the master bedroom and south to Kelowna from the flex room at the other end of the house. Everything in between is pure lake view.
Building a rounded home has its difficulties. “Nothing in this house is straight,” says Mohr. “It’s all angles. I spent months reviewing material and looking at different ways of approaching dealing with a round house. Most of the material was sourced locally from companies out of Kelowna.”
Another difference in this home is that it is 100 feet lower than the subdivision road. Mohr had to make sure the home looked good from above.
“We covered the sails with a raised ridge metal and the flat roof sections have 2-foot by 2-foot paver stones. We needed something that could be taken off easily in case the roof needed repair or replacing.”
The pool at the front of the home follows the natural contours of the house and has a built-in infinite edge spa. Under the trellis area is a cabana with a change area and outdoor shower as well as a sit up bar and a summer kitchen. There’s also a barbeque area with custom stainless steel cabinetry and exterior stone and granite countertops. “We wrapped the decks around the entire lake side of the home,” says Mohr. “The outdoor living space is massive. There are so many different areas to sit and enjoy the views.”
Even the front gate incorporates the home design. If you placed the two columns at either side of the gate together, it would be the same shape and angle of the sails on the home.
Then there is the inside of the home. The front entrance has a lot of long sweeping lines. Even the chandelier is suspended in a spiral pattern. From the entrance there is a staircase which takes you to the lower level where you will find three guest bedrooms, each with their own ensuite, a pool table, a wet bar and a gym. “We also built a circular man cave underground (under the driveway) that has a theatre room with a custom built-in couch,” says Mohr. “There’s even a secret entrance built into a curved wall.”
Upstairs, the master bedroom is a sight to behold. Step into the room and you’ll see a feature wall chosen by Jen Szewczyk from Fresh Interior Design and Consulting, that gives added privacy to the sleeping area. Glass sliding barn doors open onto two steps, which lead down into the master ensuite. Again, the same style of feature wall is used to give added privacy to the room. The ensuite has a river rock feature that starts on the floor and then crawls up the walls of the shower. “These are all individually hand-laid stones,” says Mohr. “It took about 10 days complete. The rest of the floor is ceramic tile. As you can see the bathtub is a triangle shape with rounded edges, to match the rounded walls of the home.”
Then there is the kitchen area. The doors for all the cabinetry are made with the same rift cut cherry as the garage and front door. The glass tile mosaic wall behind the gas range is also on a curve, as are the walls for the cabinets.
The centerpiece of the living room is a Montego ribbon flame gas fireplace; approximately 12 feet in length. The fireplace wall has ceramic tile and the hearth incorporates the rift cut cherry wood.
The collaboration of homeowner and designer created this truly stunning home. “In the housing industry, it usually takes a year and then you are on to the next project,” says Mohr. “This one took three years. They gave me a huge amount of artistic freedom and I was able to design what I felt was best for them and for the neighbourhood. As a fifth generation builder, I’m proud of this home. It gives us credibility for larger projects.”
We can’t wait to see what Mohr and Vineyard Developments come up with next.