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Heaven on the hilltop

Peace, quiet and the ultimate in luxury living at this Woodland Hills home
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- Words by Darcy Nybo Photography by Lia Crowe

Quick Facts

Square feet: 4,200

Bedrooms: 3

Offices: 2

Bathrooms: 3 plus 2 powder rooms, including one outdoors

Garage: Oversize 2-car

Amenities: Swimming pool, gym

Fireplaces: 2

Decks: 1 upper and 1 lower

Darryl Chemel and Cindy Granek were happy in Toronto, except for the traffic and noise, which seemed to get worse each year. Visiting Kelowna, they were captivated by a lone vacant lot with sweeping views of mountains, lakes and vineyards.

It was the last lot in Woodland Hills, so they bought it, and over the next year, they worked with Destination Homes and Uprise Design + Drafting to create an eclectic, functional and comfortable home—built just to their liking.

It’s apparent that this professional couple has eclectic tastes the moment you walk up to their bright orange front door. As you step inside the house, the open space immediately takes the eyes darting from one unique feature to another. First, they settle on the gas fireplace, which is encompassed in a tiled, 18-foot-tall, monolithic-style wall. These gorgeous tiles have warm browns, whites and greys running through them to create asymmetrical patterns.

A glance to the left and the kitchen area pops with splashes of colour, like the bright red quilted island stools and deep red kitchen cabinet uppers.

Look again and you’ll see a custom-made, 42-inch round kitchen table attached to a rectangular island. This works remarkably well in the room and adds a softness to the right angles. The island countertop is made of Dekton, a mixture of 20 minerals bonded to create a composite that is functional, easy to clean and beautiful.

When you look more closely at the large open-concept area, you’ll note that while everything is beautifully designed, much of it is not symmetrical. This couple loves asymmetrical patterns, and this theme repeats itself throughout the house.

“If you were to describe us, you could say we are very asymmetrical,” Cindy says. “We don’t need things to be perfectly balanced.”

This attitude is present in the asymmetrical patterns in the counters, the fireplace surrounds and the unique lighting choices. The highly asymmetrical Kuzco Cursive LED linear pendant above the island draws the eye with its unique design. The fixture above the dining room table is also asymmetrical, with a different number of lights on each end.

No matter how you look at it, this kitchen/dining area is ready for any cook or chef to create cuisine to their heart’s content. The kitchen backsplash features vertical glass tiles instead of horizontal ones. The couple decided on a BlueStar six-burner gas stove with a pot filler and a large double-door fridge/freezer by Frigidaire. Add two Miele dishwashers, a Blanco sink in the island, and another below a window on a side counter, and you have a dinner party just waiting to happen.

Heading into the butler’s pantry, you’ll see more Dekton counters, both in the pantry and in the large mudroom and laundry room, located off the garage. The pantry also has Norelco pull-out shelving, a sink and a coffee area.

Back in the great room, one can’t help but notice the 18-foot ceilings are complemented by the entire dining and living area walls, which are constructed almost entirely of glass. Five glass doors lead out to the upper deck, and each can be opened on its own or, since they are joined together, they can be folded into each other. Sixteen transom windows in the great room let even more of the great Okanagan sunshine in.

There’s more on this spacious main floor. To the right of the front entrance sits Cindy’s office, which catches the morning sun. From here, you’ll find a large closet and a powder room for guests, and snuggled away behind that colossal fireplace is the master suite, which happens to be Cindy’s favourite room.

“We end up with a gorgeous view of the lake and the sky with the L-shaped windows,” she says. “The light is amazing, especially at sunset. I love it here at that time of day. Then in the morning, we wake up to the mirrored surface of Okanagan Lake.”

The master en suite has a full soaker tub, a double-headed walk-in shower and a separate side room with a toilet and sink. Off that is the master closet complete with shelving.

As we head downstairs, it’s time to see Darryl’s favourite room. It’s not the open-concept family/entertainment room with more gorgeous Okanagan views and floor-to-ceiling windows and doors. It’s not the almost-full second kitchen complete with sink, dishwasher and freezer/fridge. It’s also not the two large bedrooms with a full bathroom and steam shower sitting between them. It’s not even the downstairs fireplace, which mirrors the one upstairs, without the towering height.

It’s the electrical and mechanical rooms that Darryl loves, because this home is a techie’s dream come true.

“I have an app that does almost everything in our smart home,” Darryl explains. “I can change the temperature of the floors in each room separately. I can choose lights anywhere in the house and turn them off or on. I can open the garage door for deliveries and close it when they are done. I love that I can see who is at the door without going to the door. This smart home has it all’ from the control of the blinds, lights, security cameras and alarms, to floor and room temperature and so much more.”

After a tour of the mechanical room, we enter the home gym. It is a huge space and comes complete with Fibrematt flooring. Natural light pours through the windows and there’s another bathroom with a shower right around the corner.

On those days when work has to get done, Darryl simply walks into his lower-level office.

Hands-on from far away

When you plan to build a home in the Okanagan while living in Toronto, you may assume it will be stressful. Darryl and Cindy say there was a little stress, but for the most part, it was easy.

“We’d come out for four or five days and we’d have three to five appointments in a day,” Darryl said.

They give a simultaneous head shake when Cindy brings up the day they went to Wolseley Plumbing to pick out sinks and plumbing fixtures.

“We have 14 sinks,” Darryl says, “and we had to pick out every one of them.”

“Then there were the faucets,” Cindy adds. “Each one was accompanied by a question like what kind of finish we wanted. Near the end of picking out sinks, we just told them to pick anything, we were done!”

Darryl, the gadget-loving owner, admits that much of the stress was relieved due to their Buildertrend app. “We knew when everything was being scheduled. All the materials were listed on it, as well as the architectural drawings. If we needed information, we just went to the app.”

Asked why they chose Destination Homes as their builder, both smile.

“Travis from Destination Homes was better than great to work with,” Darryl says. “You could tell he cared. He treated our home like it was his own. He’d drop by just to check in to see how things were going.”

Describing how they found Destination Homes, Cindy says, “We went to Lakeshore to see the open house, but it was after hours. Charlotte, Travis’s partner, told us to come in anyway. They were having a little party for their subcontractors. We felt that if they treated their workers that way, we wanted that too.”

Cindy and Darryl are looking forward to warmer days when they can use their outdoor, in-ground pool.

“We’re looking forward to enjoying the Okanagan summers,” Cindy says. “And all they have to offer.”

Supplier List:

Destination Homes

Uprise Design + Drafting

ROBINSON Lighting & Bath

Coast Appliances

Folding Sliding Doors Canada Ltd.

Ply Gem

Smarttech Integration

K2 Stone

Interior Pool & Spa

Wolseley Plumbing

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication
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