Details-rich renovation imbues artistry, whimsy and functionality
Words Darcy Nybo
Photography Lia Crowe
- Renovation time: 10 months
- Square feet: 6,800 (house) 1,000 (cabana)
- Floors: 3
- Bedrooms: 6
- Bathrooms: 5
- Chandeliers: 14
- Amenities: Gym, two offices on the main floor, double-sided fireplace, courtyard pool, hot tub, media room, bar
Dana and Bob Reiter purchased their Tommie Award-winning Tuscan home in West Kelowna in 2009, one year after Balehowsky Built completed it. While they loved the initial layout, they realized they’d like to see more of their fantastic view. Thirteen years later, their vision and renovation were solidified into the stylish house they have today.
In 2014, the Reiters purchased the lot beside them and brought Jay Balehowsky back to build their pool and cabana area. They added an 18- by 40-foot swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen, outdoor bar and eating area, and a bedroom with a bathroom in the pool house.
In early 2021, they again contacted Jay to see if he would do their renovation. He agreed and the results are stunning. Dana was very hands-on with the reno, choosing everything from basic design and flooring, to lighting fixtures and more.
Also helping bring Dana’s vision to life was Westside Curb Appeal, which worked on demolition, structure and framing for the new main-floor layout and addition, and turned a lakeside wall into full windows and doors to augment the view. The company was also involved in many of the finishing details, such as the coffered ceilings, glass wall, custom millwork, exterior rock.
Shawn Corrigan, owner of Ecotec Electric, handled the wiring systems for the new lighting, which encompassed full lighting control, elegant crystal chandeliers, recessed accent lighting throughout, a full wiring rework, landscape lighting and a motorized light lift installed in the attic for the main 200-pound chandelier above the great room.
“A few times during my career as an electrician and business owner I’ve had the privilege to be involved in a project that truly leaves me with a sense of great pride—and this was one of them,” he said.
Making an entrance
As you walk up to the front door of this Tuscan-style home, you are greeted with the relaxing sound of a stone fountain. Step in through the double solid mahogany doors and you are transported into a welcoming space with a feature fireplace and fabulous lake and mountain views.
To the left is a powder room, and to the right sits Bob’s office with floor-to-ceiling bookcases.
Walk up three stairs and you come face to face with the double-sided fireplace, which rises up to the top of the second floor and faces the front door and the living area. There’s a curved wall hallway to the left that is backlit and covered in glass-beaded wallpaper. The chandelier in the front greets you with a whimsical feel.
“I think it’s reminiscent of a vine or branch. I just love it,” Dana said.
The back wall of the main floor is mostly windows and folding glass doors, which cover the entire kitchen, dining and living room areas. It’s here where you get the most stunning Okanagan views.
“I really love the cabana area,” Dana said. “It’s right off the living area and it’s a great place to relax. We created this space for us and our family and friends to enjoy. It has an outdoor kitchen, a dining area that seats 12, a beautiful fireplace and a pool house with a bedroom and bathroom. We completed the look with a water wall that adds the right amount of ambiance to create a serene feel to the space.”
The Reiters wanted several smart home features such as multi-zone audio, security cameras and learning thermostats, and Mission Audio Visual was contracted to make this happen.
“We proposed a Savant Home Automation system, which would integrate with everything we were installing and greatly simplify their experience by controlling everything fluidly through a single app,” said Drew Mervin, company spokesperson.
Every aspect of the house—from the lights to the home theatre system—can be controlled through the phone app or on wall-mounted iPads that were installed.
“Pre-programmed scenes make it even easier, as selecting one will activate a number of features at once,” Drew explained. “For example the ‘away’ scene will shut off all audio throughout the house, turn off all the lights, arm the security cameras and adjust the thermostat to an energy conserving mode. Convenience doesn’t get any cooler!”
Kitchen with a view
Dana loves to entertain. Once the cabana area was complete, it was time to create a more open kitchen and let in more of that great Okanagan sunshine.
“It originally had quite a large butler’s pantry at the far end of the dining room/kitchen area. This didn’t take advantage of the lake views, so we tore out the walls, and put in larger windows. We built a smaller butler’s pantry just off the kitchen, and complete with lots of storage space and a dishwasher.”
All the appliances were upgraded, including the star of the kitchen, the eight-burner Wolf stove and oven with pot filler. There’s also a custom-designed overhood to round out the space. The main focus of this kitchen area is a 16-foot Calacatta matte porcelain island, with waterfall, which comfortably seats 10 people.
The kitchen prep area has Cristallo Quartzite, which is also in the butler’s kitchen. To tie it all together they took up the wood flooring and replaced it with 24” x 24” marble from Spain.
“I also had the three 30- by 32-inch kitchen chandeliers installed, which really adds elegance to the space,” Dana said. “Then we replaced the sliding doors with folding glass doors, which leads onto a 680-square-foot patio.”
The open-concept design includes the dining area and the living area, which are complete with a 500-pound chandelier and 12 transom windows to let in even more light. There’s also a wine cellar directly across from the seating area in the living space.
Textures and colours
Two rooms on the main floor reflect Dana’s creative flair, featuring an infusion of colour and texture. Walking down the hallway to her office, you can see the walls are made of mini pearlescent tiles—a testament to Dana’s fun side—while the Roberto Cavalli leopard print floor tiles in the office and pantry show off her style.
“My office is a reflection of me,” she said. “I’m really creative, so I love this space.”
Colour abounds in this house. Dozens of family photographs are mounted on raspberry walls near merlot-coloured cabinets. At one point in her life, Dana created a line of children’s clothing, so the shelves in her office are filled with colourful fabrics. (During the COVID-19 pandemic, she crafted colourful masks, and now has her eye on creating unique handbags.)
There’s a touch of whimsy in the laundry room where colourful flower wallpaper on the ceiling and vintage turquoise penny tiles generate a fun vibe.
To the right of the fireplace, stairs lead up to the sleeping area. Once you reach the top of the stairs it’s hard not to stop and take in the view from the Juliet balcony.
A few more steps down the hallway and you’re in the master bedroom, which is divided in two with a built-in storage headboard.
“We left the master bedroom pretty much as it was; all we changed was the paint and wallpaper.”
A large walk-in closet sits behind the divider headboard and there’s also a display area where Dana can store her impressive collection of shoes. The master bathroom comes complete with a soaker tub and large shower with two rain heads. His-and-hers sinks complete the space.
Paint and wallpaper were also the only things changed in the other two guest rooms and the four-piece bathroom.
“The lower level of the home didn’t require much renovation,” Dana explained, “but we did add a few things. We took out what was in the seating area and added a raised platform and eight recliners—four on each level. Now we can all sit comfortably. We also put in a long bar-style table where we could sit and eat and still watch a movie.”
Just behind the recliners is a large pool table and an exit onto the lower-level patio.
If movies or billiards aren’t on the agenda, there’s always the gym, infrared sauna and a full bathroom. One can easily imagine having a great workout, going for a swim and then getting comfy in the media room to watch a movie.
Opposite the pool table is a full-sized bar, with an under-lit bar top. To the left of that sits one of the lower-level guest rooms, replete with wall-to-ceiling bookcase. There’s a second bedroom next to the gym that also leads out to the lower deck.
Home sweet home
While the Reiters’ children are now all grown, some with children of their own, the house isn’t too big for this close, active family.
“The kids and grandchildren come and visit quite a bit. It’s nice having all this extra space for them, so they feel right at home,” Dana said. “Everyone can have their own space if they need it, and then we can all get together in the cabana area, have a meal together and relax with a movie, or watch the sunset.”
- Architectural & Interior Design/ Builder: Balehowsky Built
- Framing/ Finishing: Westside Curb Appeal
- Electrical: Ecotec Electric Smart home, whole house audio: Mission Audio Visual
- Plumbing: Deans Plumbing and Heating
- HVAC: Cory Gould
- Flooring: Ozon Construction
- Millwork: Metro Furniture
- Countertops: Madeira Stone